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He was in London for one day in February when his agent suggested he go that night to see “Constellations,” another of Payne’s plays. Gyllenhaal did, loved it _ “it was so precise, so sharp” _ and the next morning managed to have breakfast with the playwright. Within a month, the revival of “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet” was set up.

He heard the script was being sent to O'Byrne and crossed his fingers the older actor would agree. “As soon as I heard he was going to do it, I was so excited,” Gyllenhaal says.

“It’s been a really wonderful thing to have Brian there to be able to guide us. Not only in scenes. Not only as a tremendous actor. But as somebody who I can turn to and say, `Is this supposed to happen?’ And he’ll go, `Yes, it’s supposed to happen. And later it will be like this.’”

They’ve also since learned that the first show each saw on Broadway was the same _ “Anything Goes” with Patti LuPone in the late 1980s. (“I, by the way, was 8; he was 40,” Gyllenhaal jokes.) And they have learned that they are both actors who revel in the reality of scenes.

“He listens to my rants and he guides me and calms me down and also jacks me up,” says Gyllenhaal. “It feels safe even within the danger of the moment.”

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Online:

http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/If-There-Is.aspx

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