Despite being a box office bomb that its leading man actively disowned in the years following its release, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time spent six years reigning supreme as the highest-grossing video game adaptation ever made after netting $336 million at the box office back in 2010.
In fact, Jake Gyllenhaal was so put off by his experience that he swore off studio-backed blockbusters for the better part of a decade until the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man: Far From Home lured him back into the fold, and it turns out that he can’t even write a children’s book without being roasted for his ill-fated stint as Dastan.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the actor-turned-author admitted that illustrator Dan Santat sneaking a skeleton holding a playbill for a show titled The Persians into The Secret Society of Aunts and Uncles where a character fails in front of an audience was made without his knowledge, even if he’s humble enough to take it on the chin.
“That was Dan Santat. He snuck that in before printing, and I didn’t approve that. I don’t know where that came from. Dan likes to put in his bits of humor, even misspelling my name at the back and having to put a post-it, having two A’s at the end. But no, when I described that space, it was the space where there was no farther down to go than the depths of where Leo is in that moment in the book. So I guess that was Dan’s joke on me.”
Referring to the Prince of Persia Easter Egg as being befitting a character that has “no farther down to go” sums up Gyllenhaal’s thoughts on the Disney-backed bomb in a nutshell, not that the target audience of his new endeavor will understand the joke.