'Velvet Buzzsaw' director Dan Gilroy explains the inside joke behind Jake Gyllenhaal's viral 'melancholy' moment

Presley Ann/FilmMagic/Getty ImagesDan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal attend Los Angeles Premiere Screening Of ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre on January 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
  • A video of Jake Gyllenhaal correcting “Velvet Buzzsaw” director Dan Gilroy’s pronunciation of “melancholy” went viral earlier this week.
  • Gilroy tells INSIDER it was actually an inside joke about the movie “Megamind.”
  • “Will Farrell came up with this great thing in the film where he mispronounces words, including ‘melancholy,'” Gilroy said.
  • Gilroy says he and Gyllenhaal have “sent probably 30 text messages back and forth doing nothing but laughing” over the last few days when they realised the moment had been picked up on by the media.

“Velvet Buzzsaw” director Dan Gilroy is setting the record straight about the viral video of Jake Gyllenhaal’s impatient correction of the way he pronounces of the word melancholy. Turns out the whole thing was an inside-joke reference to the 2010 animated movie “Megamind.”

“I have to give credit to Will Ferrell and ‘Megamind,’ which is a movie I really love,” Gilroy told INSIDER during a phone call on Friday afternoon.

Gilroy found himself in the spotlight at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, thanks to a Hollywood Reporter interview with the “Velvet Buzzsaw” cast. As Gilroy discussed the movie’s other star, Renee Russo, he used the word melancholy, pronouncing it “mell-AHN-coly.”

“It’s melancholy, Dan,” Gyllenhaal said in a deadpan voice. He then raises his eyebrows, looking slightly annoyed. “That is not the first time today.”

When speaking with INSIDER, Gilroy laughed at the memory and explained how he was actually referencing the title character of “Megamind,” voiced by Will Ferrell.

“Will Farrell came up with this great thing in the film where he mispronounces words, including ‘melancholy,'” Gilroy said. “And he also mispronounces Metro City and calls it ‘metrocity’ [rhyming with ferocity].”

Gilroy says he was talking to Gyllenhaal about “Megamind” just minutes before the filmed interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“I was joking around with Jake and started saying ‘melancholy’ and Jake was dying [laughing],” Gilroy said. “So the camera starts rolling, and I throw out ‘melancholy’ as a joke to Jake and he – in all seriousness – corrects me.”

The moment was noticed on Twitter, particularly by Vulture associate editor Hunter Harris (whose tweet about the video has over 21,000 favourites).

“To be honest I have no problem with [people] thinking I don’t know how to pronounce the word melancholy,” Gilroy said. “And also, he sort of strangely says ‘It’s not the first time today’… like what does that even mean? That I’ve been mispronouncing the word all day? We were dying.”

Gilroy says he and Gyllenhaal have “sent probably 30 text messages back and forth doing nothing but laughing” when they realised the moment had been picked up on by the media.

“Velvet Buzzsaw” is streaming now on Netflix. Read INSIDER’s review of the movie here.

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