Jake Gyllenhaal’s Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger refused to present at the Oscars over an offensive joke about the film.
Before the 2006 Academy Awards, at which both Gyllenhaal and Ledger were nominated for their roles as gay cowboys in Ang Lee’s groundbreaking romantic drama, the co-stars were allegedly asked by the show’s producers to poke fun at their characters’ romance.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” the 39-year-old told Another Man magazine. “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.'”
Gyllenhaal remains in awe of the late Australian actor’s work ethic and professionalism.
“That’s the thing I loved about Heath,” he shared. “He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, ‘No. This is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no.'”
Gyllenhaal also confessed he was still unable to watch Brokeback Mountain, more than 15 years after he made Lee’s movie, because of the filmmaker’s incredible talent for creating such a tragic love story.
“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,” he shared.
Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose in January 2008.
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