It has been eight years since the shocking death of Heath Ledger who died of an accidental prescription drug overdose at the age of 29.
His death came just a few years after Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal earned widespread acclaim and Oscar nominations for their performances as two ranch hands who fall in love in Brokeback Mountain.
Gyllenhall has said very little about Ledger’s death over the years and still doesn’t want to go there in any personal detail.
‘Personally, it affected me in ways I can’t necessarily put in words or even would want to talk about publicly,’ he tells People and Entertainment Weekly’s Jess Cagle.
But he’s more willing to open up about how it impacted him professionally.
‘I think I was at an age where mortality was not always clear to me … I think you live in this bubble, too, of making films… There are real friends, and there is a real community, but there also is that (new Macklemore new album) where he says, “The curtain closes and nobody notices”‘
‘I think that’s true, and I think that’s okay. But I think at the time, I assumed everyone would notice – and they did with Heath dying, but I think it (gave me) the experience of, “This is fleeting.” And none of the attention or synthesized love that comes from the success of a film really matters at all.
‘What matters is the relationships you make when you make a film, and the people you learn from when you’re preparing for a film.’