Maggie Gyllenhaal: An Honourable Woman

It has been nearly 20 years since Maggie Gyllenhaal walked into our lives – with a twinkle in her eye and an interesting line in office wear. Now, she is embarking on a new phase in her career – as a director. Prepare to be challenged.

  • fashion director Grace Gilfeather

  • by Stephen Wood

  • photography Michael Schwartz

Camel Loro Piana wool Naphill greatcoat, Kit Blake; ivory silk shirt, Emma Willis; camel virgin wool trousers and brown leather belt, both Brunello Cucinelli; burgundy calf leather Prince of Wales check brogues, Cheaney.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is catching her breath. “Sorry,” she says, and a mild sense of exertion is discernible in her speech. “I just ran up a bunch of stairs.” There’s banging in the background, a blessed pause, and another clatter of hammer or debris or domestic rearrangement. Maggie has the builders in — the Gyllenhaals moved into their new house, in Brooklyn, less than a week before our telephone conversation — and she is trying to find a room with a bit of peace and quiet. “There’s still a lot of work going on,” she tells The Rake. “Basically, it was a total wreck [when we bought it]. So we cleared out the ghost; that’s the way we put it. There was a kitchen here that the owner told us hadn’t been redone since 1974, which is older than me. I mean, it had a certificate of occupancy but I think it really wasn’t safe. We had to redo all the electricity, almost all the plumbing. It’s the same thing we did with our first house, which is a great feeling: to take something that needs attention and give it the thought and care it needs.”

There is a great energy behind Gyllenhaal’s voice; she’s become animated by talk of the new home, and what it means for her, her husband, the actor Peter Sarsgaard, and their children, Ramona, 13, and Gloria Ray, seven. “We moved so we could walk our kids to school,” Maggie says, “which is kind of a life-changing thing, if you have kids. This house is very different [to our first]. It’s light and white, and I think it represents a change in us. I was pregnant with my first daughter when we bought that house and fixed it up, and we’re just so different now.”

Contributor

Stephen Wood

Published

February 2020

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