With Kirsten Dunst to keep him warm, the actor helps open The Day After Tomorrow

By Natalie Finn and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 27, 2004 03:00 PM

Civilization may end in the The Day After Tomorrow, but the new disaster flick celebrated its European premiere Wednesday night in London, where the main draw was handsome star Jake Gyllenhaal, PEOPLE’s London bureau reports.

Fans – most of them teens – lined up in Leicester Square for a glimpse of Gyllenhaal, 23, and costar Emmy Rossum, 17, who play a couple stranded in Manhattan during the world’s worst ice storm in 10,000 years.

Gyllenhaal, sporting a brown corduroy blazer and pants, arrived with his girlfriend, Spider-Man costar Kirsten Dunst, 22, decked out in a mint-green dress. She quickly ducked into the theater, letting Jake soak up the attention outside.

Though he made his name on the indie film circuit (The Good Girl, Donnie Darko), Gyllenhaal didn’t seem concerned about losing any street cred by taking part in a big Hollywood action film.

“They’ll think, ‘Oh, a big movie. And then after they see it, they’ll say, ‘Wow, a good movie,” he said.

He and Dunst are keeping a low profile in the British capital, though Gyllenhaal does marvel at the offbeat kind of attention they attract.

“We don’t even get photographed at pubs,” he told reporters. “We get snapped at the coffee shop. Maybe they think we’re smuggling something in our coffee cups, because we do nothing that interesting.”

Although Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich assured the press that the film’s dark premise about vicious global warming should not be over-interpreted, it still seemed fitting to ask Gyllenhaal what he’d do if he had one more day left on Earth.

Gyllenhaal said he would spend the day with his family, or else “I’d be in London, doing press.”