Road House star Jake Gyllenhaal watched classic Western Unforgiven to prepare for the reimagining of the '80s classic

Road House
(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Road House has all the trappings of a traditional Western: there's a local watering hole infested with wrong'uns, a quiet loner with his own way of laying down the law, and a megalomaniac villain with designs on the town. All that's missing is a high noon shootout. 

It's something Doug Liman's reimagining of the '89 classic deliberately emphasizes, too – and, as star Jake Gyllenhaal tells us, the genre formed part of his preparation to take on the role of bouncer Dalton. 

"Doug and I watched Unforgiven before we started the movie, just in terms of structure and character, and stillness," he explains. Unforgiven, starring Clint Eastwood, follows a retired outlaw who takes on one last job. 

"There's a real sense of tough calm to those characters. Little is said with words, but then a lot is said with behaviour," Gyllenhaal continues. "The genre is used [in Road House]: you have a guy coming into a small town with a past that he's dealing with, and then all the townspeople are being taken advantage of, and then he's asked to defend them, and then he gets himself into more trouble than he should."

The Western aspect of the film is spotlighted by Hannah Love Lanier's character, who playfully points out all the ways Dalton's story is mirroring those classic tropes. "Hannah, who is there playing the girl in the bookstore, she always comes out and is like our narrator, and is making a bit of fun of the structure of the story," Gyllenhaal adds. "And that's kind of the nature of this movie, is there's always a bit of a wink through most of it. The Western trope is definitely a massive part of this movie."

Road House is available on Prime Video from 21 March. For more, check out the cast on reinterpreting their characters from the original film and working with Conor McGregor – or see what Billy Magnussen had to say about starring in the upcoming live-action Lilo & Stitch remake. You can also hear more soon on the Inside Total Film podcast.

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.