NEW YORK – When Maggie Gyllenhaal caused a stir with comments about the U.S. role in the Sept. 11 attacks, she was particularly concerned about the opinions of two people — Port Authority Officer William J. Jimeno and his wife, Allison.
The 28-year-old actress says she was ready to drop out of Oliver Stone's upcoming "World Trade Center" film if the couple didn't accept her explanation.
"I wanted to tell them the absolute truth of what I meant," Gyllenhaal said of her visit to their home following her comments last year.
"If they still didn't want me to play Allison after that, then I wouldn't have," she said in an interview published Monday in the New York Post.
The movie, also starring Nicolas Cage, is based on the story of two Port Authority police officers, Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin, who became trapped during rescue efforts after the collapse of the twin towers.
In April 2005, Gyllenhaal said the United States "is responsible in some way" for the attacks. She later said that she regretted the comment and issued a statement saying that Sept. 11 was "an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world."
The couple told the Post that a long talk with Gyllenhaal in their Chester, N.J., home last summer smoothed over any concerns they might have had.
"Right away, both Will and I felt comfortable with her and realized how sincere and passionate she is. We had no problem with her in this movie," said Allison Jimeno, 34.
Gyllenhaal recalled her nervousness as she traveled to the couple's home. "I was shaking," she said.
The native New Yorker's film credits include "Mona Lisa Smile," "Secretary" and "Donnie Darko," co-starring her brother, Jake Gyllenhaal.
She is engaged to Peter Sarsgaard and is pregnant with his child.
Michael Pena stars as William Jimeno in the film, which is set for release Aug. 9.