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Jake Gyllenhaal Says His Relationship With Heath Ledger Was Profound

Jake Gyllenhaal recalls working with Heath Ledger on 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, remembering their relationship coming from a place of “profound love.”

Jake Gyllenhaal remembers his time working with Heath Ledger on Brokeback Mountain, calling their relationship “profound.” The 2005 neo-Western romantic drama directed by Ang Lee starred Gyllenhaal and Ledger as two American cowboys who begin a romantic relationship in the mountains of Wyoming. The film received universal acclaim upon release with critics praising its direction, screenplay, and performances. Brokeback Mountain was also a commercial success, grossing over $178 million worldwide at the box office.

Although Brokeback Mountain was a massive success, it was the subject of numerous controversies, such as its loss to 2004’s Crash at the 78th Academy Awards. Concerning the film’s LGBT subject matter, it also received a number of criticisms from conservative media outlets and was subject to intense censorship in a number of countries. Still, Brokeback Mountain is remembered as a landmark in LGBT cinema and a turning point for the advancement of queer cinema into the mainstream. One of the reasons why the film is so beloved is the powerful performances from Gyllenhaal and Ledger, who seemed to have developed a friendly relationship of their own while making the movie.

Related: Every Jake Gyllenhaal Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best

Speaking with Vanity Fair, Gyllenhaal recalls his relationship with Ledger during the making of Brokeback Mountain. Explaining that the two actors’ relationship was “based on a profound love,” Gyllenhaal recounts how seriously Ledger took the film. As Gyllenhaal explains, while many poked fun at the movie’s subject matter, Ledger’s “consummate devotion” to the importance of the relationship between the two main characters showed Gyllenhaal how “devoted [Ledger] was as an actor.” This in turn helped Gyllenhaal find his own devotion to the film’s story and subject matter. View a transcription of Gyllenhaal’s recounting of his relationship with Ledger on Brokeback Mountain below:

“The relationship between me and Heath while we were making this movie was something that was based on a profound love for a lot of people that we knew and were raised by in our lives. A deep respect for their love and their relationship.

There were many jokes being made about the movie, or poking fun at, things like that. And [Ledger’s] consummate devotion to how serious and important the relationship between these two characters was—it showed me how devoted he was as an actor and how devoted we both were to the story and the movie.”

Gyllenhaal also goes on to describe his experience working with Ledger on Brokeback Mountain as a “really deep and fun one.” He recounts that they spent three weeks filming the movie, which consisted of both actors, “making everyone coffee and then eating a little breakfast and then walking to work.” Gyllenhaal called this a “technique of movie-making” that he wished he did more of, “where we all just powwowed and lived together in the space.” It seems the entire experience made a significant impact on Gyllenhaal since he still looks back on his time filming Brokeback Mountain fondly, especially his time working with Ledger.

Brokeback Mountain left a significant impact on American cinema. The film’s legacy is in part due to the masterful performances of its lead actors, Gyllenhaal and Ledger. For the story to work, audiences had to believe the chemistry between both actors. While there is no denying both Gyllenhaal and Ledger nailed their depictions, fans of the movie will be delighted to know the level to which the actors took their roles seriously. These same fans may even find a new respect for the relationship between the main characters after hearing Gyllenhaal and Ledger developed a friendly relationship of their own during filming.

Next: Ang Lee Movies, Ranked Worst To Best

Source: Vanity Fair

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