Warm and wet conditions greeted the cast of the desert epic "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" at the red-carpet premiere of their big-budget action flick in Los Angeles. But after shooting the movie in the brain-melting heat of summertime Morocco, a little rain outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Monday night didn't seem like a big deal to Jake Gyllenhaal and his co-stars.

It wasn't just the weather that marked a welcome change of pace for Gyllenhaal. After a series of movies geared more toward the art-house set than the blockbuster-hungry masses ("Brokeback Mountain," "Rendition," "Brothers," to name just a few), the 29-year-old jumped at the chance to let loose in front of the camera.

"I've seen a lot of my peers starting to not take themselves so seriously and make really fun, big films, and I was itching to try my hand at it," he told MTV News on the carpet. "I think maybe as I've gotten a little bit older, I feel like I don't want to take myself so seriously anymore. I think before, as much as those movies mean to me, and they continue to mean to me, it's time to have a little fun too."

Thus, Gyllenhaal became Prince Dastan, a guy who isn't as interested in hanging out at the palace as he is getting his hands dirty out in the world. "I thought he was the perfect guy for the role for all sorts of reasons," director Mike Newell said of his star. "I thought he had a fabulous sense of humor and he was a real anarchist under the skin. And you wanted that. The guy is not a royal prince; he's a real worker prince. He's a bad boy."

Filling out the cast are Gemma Arterton as Gyllenhaal's love interest and Sir Ben Kingsley as the villain Nizam. Arterton, who just starred in "Clash of the Titans," returns for another swords-and-sandals epic, one that she says has more in common with classic silver-screen flicks than with her earlier work.

"I always loved those old Hollywood, swashbuckling movies from the '40s — 'Lawrence of Arabia' — and Elizabeth Taylor is one of my icons, and I can so see her playing this role if it were 60 years ago," the actress said. "I just love those theatrical, romantic movies."

Kingsley, a four-time Oscar-nominated legend who has dabbled in every conceivable cinematic genre, said he signed on to "Prince of Persia" for one simple reason: a quest for the unknown.

"If a role surprises me, if I think, 'Ooh, fancy thinking of me for that part,' then I get a little buzz of excitement and it gives me the energy to learn my lines and get on the set," he explained.

Check out everything we've got on "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."

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