Hollywood’s “sensitive” boy actor Jake Gyllenhaal is all manly and epic for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. In the film, he’s a buff man’s man who’s able to leap tall buildings with a single bound as a noble-hearted royal avenger, the adopted son of the King of Persia. His adventures begin when his father is murdered and he is framed for the crime.  Armed with the gorgeous Princess Tamina played by Britain’s Gemma Arterton and a steadfast horse, Dastan (Gyllenhaal) heads into the desert to undo the wrongs done to him and his family.

The movie’s an old-fashioned, ’50s special effects extravaganza — the way they used to make them with Errol Flynn, Cornel Wilde and Charlton Heston.  But it’s based on a totally modern video game. It’s also a big-budget gambit for Jake Gyllenhaal. And this Jake is all new.

Q1: AskMen.com : This character is out of character for you as an actor. Jake Gyllenhaal : The character I have in the movie is more similar to me than any character I’ve ever played in a movie. Really, contrary to popular belief, I like to have a good time and not take myself too seriously. I really don’t like to look inwards because it’s boring. No, not really!  I liken movies to playing a piano: Sometimes you’re playing the chords and different notes with unresolved cadences and playing all major chords that are all over the place and you’re enjoying yourself with a great, simple melody. You know I love that type of music just as much as the complicated introverted complicated stuff. This happens to be a whole lot of really fun major chords for kids and families and everyone. I should be singing my answer!

Q2: AM : How important are your newfound abs to you? JG : I don’t know if I have enough time to go into specifically how much they mean to me. But they make me who I am. Without them, I don’t know. At awards shows, I will always thank them, that and the hair. I think I’m going to make my hair jealous in the movie, anything about my abs. If you don’t mind, I would like to include my hair in this comment and so I’d like to say my abs have been a little upset actually that they have been covered by suits and shirts for most of the publicity of this movie so without them, thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about them. I don’t know where I would be without them.

Q3: AM : You shoot off the tops of buildings and off walls as the athletic prince. He appears to be doing his own Parkour, and Parkour isn’t for sissies. So did you do it for real? JG : Uh, I gotta go! No, I can’t do that. You learn how to do the jumps, particularly the landing. It’s the most important part. You start with very small landings. When you get your mind into, when you’re doing a thing like this for six or seven months, it was my everyday. And so, eventually at six months in, you know, we were shooting at Pinewood Studios in London, at the end of the shoot and we were doing a lot of the secondary stunt stuff and some big jumps. It was a little bit more controlled because we were on stage when we weren’t shooting in the casbahs of Morocco. You know, the falls would be as high but we had a little bit more control. I’m sort of surprised I did them.

Q4: AM : Gamers who have played the Prince of Persia video game for 20 years are going to watch the film closely, they may be super critical. Does that provoke a case of nerves? JG : I think we have a lot of people who are very excited to see it, particularly the gamers. Video game movies have not been successfully adapted and I think we have gone out of our way to interpret the video game not copy it. Which brings criticism from avid gamers but it’s the only way to make a movie based on a video game good, to take it and interpret it.  I’m excited for them to see it. They’re going to have a great time.

Q5: AM : You have premiered Prince of Persia around the world and everywhere you go people have one question for you. JG : The question I always get is how I got into shape. That seems to be from photographs and the trailer which is all they have to go on at this point. It’s interesting to them, seeing me in a different light. But what I would want people to know about the movie — it’s really important to say — is that I know guys are interested in the movie, but kids! I cannot wait. All over the world at premieres, wherever there was a child, to see their response after was… [huge smile]. I screened the movie for my cousins and family the other day. My cousins were jumping off the seats! They’re anywhere from 6 to 14, and they were terrifying their parents, but jumping off reasonable heights, jumping and fighting, and that’s what I felt like when I saw Indiana Jones when I was a kid. That’s what I want people to know, people ask me if they can take their kids and if it’s too dangerous? And I’m like: “this movie was made for kids, for family.” I can tell everybody now, you can take your kids.

Q6: AM : But of course, the thing people most need to know about Jake Gyllenhaal is, how do you pronounce your last name? JG : My thoughts on my last name are that it’s already complicated for people and I don’t want to complicate it anymore. I will clear it up. The last name is pronounced Jill-en-hall. It’s spelled with two l’s, two a’s. We have a song in my family; G-Y-Double L – EN – HAAL spells Gyllenhaal. It’s a Swedish name. It’s a family heirloom set to music. I’m singing all over these interviews, aren’t I?