Gyllenhaal directs the forthcoming film The Lost Daughter, an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s 2006 novel of the same name.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the actor-director opened up about the difficulties she faced during the casting process for the film.
Gyllenhaal said that she knew she wanted to cast her husband as the character of Professor Hardy but said she was hesitant about the decision since casting him would mean directing Sarsgaard’s sex scenes with Jessie Buckley (who plays the character of Lena).
“I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to create that situation – where my husband is playing the object of desire for this brilliant, beautiful young actress?’” she said.
The 44-year-old, however, decided to move forward with casting Sarsgaard despite her worries.
She said: “We’d been together 20 years, through all sorts of joys and difficulties, and I knew that there was no one who could begin to do this role like he could.
“I mean, he is irresistible, which is exactly what the character needs to be. So I told myself, it’s going to be fine.”
Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard have been married since 2009. The couple share two children.
Speaking about the film’s sex scenes, Gyllenhaal suggested that they were “hot?”.
“The sex feels unavoidable, right?” said the director. She added that the she believes the chemistry between the two characters is due to their intellectual connection.
“Maybe this is a female thing,” she said. “But if someone really gets how your brain works, right down to the molecule, there’s nothing sexier than that.”
The Lost Daughter is slated for a theatrical release on 7 January next year.