- Heath Ledger said the queer cinema breakthrough film was ‘not a joke to me’.
Jake Gyllenhaal says Heath Ledger refused to take part in a joke about Brokeback Mountain at the Oscars because he didn’t want the film mocked.
The 2005 film by director Ang Lee was a breakthrough for queer cinema. It told the story of two cowboys and their complex emotional and sexual relationship in the 60s, 70s and early 80s.
And it earned a clutch of awards, including Oscars for best director, best adapted screenplay and best original score.
Meanwhile the Ledger secured an Oscar nomination as best actor for playing Ennis Del Mar and Gyllenhaal a nomination for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Jack Twist.
However, people also widely joked about Brokeback Mountain, dubbing it the ‘gay cowboy movie’.
In an interview with Another Man magazine, Gyllenhaal addresses what the interviewer calls ‘homophobic banter’ about the film.
Gyllenhaal replies: ‘I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it.
‘And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, “Oh, okay… whatever.” I’m always like: it’s all in good fun. And Heath said, “It’s not a joke to me – I don’t want to make any jokes about it.”’
‘A mystery Heath and I shared’
Interview Chris Heath then comments that Ledger’s response was smart and Gyllenhaal replies: ‘Absolutely.’
Moreover, in the interview, he reveals he still can’t watch Brokeback Mountain, 15 years later.
Gyllenhaal says: ‘There are things you’re chosen for – a quality, an essence – and Ang did that. And it’s still a mystery to me. And something that Heath and I shared: that it was a mystery to us at the time.’
While Brokeback Mountain was a commercial success, Gyllenhaal has more recently been part of an even bigger box office hit. He played Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home last year, his highest grossing release to date.
But he is going to play another closeted gay character soon. Gyllenhaal has been confirmed for a party in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Fun Home.
It adapts Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home. And the story follows Bechdel’s discovery of her own sexuality and her relationship with her gay father.