According to a report from People.com, Jake Gyllenhaal is very proud of the fact Heath Ledger would continuously swat away homophobic jokes based on their role in Brokeback Mountain, released in 2005. The movie was quite controversial at the time, not only for its subject matter but also for the Oscars snub that year between Brokeback and Crash.
In a promotional clip for this week’s Sunday Today, Jake Gyllenhaal shared a memory of his co-star, who tragically passed away in 2008 from an overdose of prescription drugs.
The 38-year-old said, “he would never joke,” referring to the way in which people would make fun of Jake for his lines and scenes in the movie.
Whenever someone wanted to poke fun at the story, Jake claims Heath would say in response, “No. This is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no.” Moreover, the actor stated the movie was completely unlike anything he had done at the time. It impacted his career irreversibly.
Speaking on the influence of the film, Jake said it became bigger than either he or Heath. The film belongs to “the world,” and not the people who made it. According to the Donnie Darko alum, the movie ended up opening doors for him that were previously never there, one reason being that he was given an Academy Award nomination.
During a conversation with People Magazine in 2016, Jake said the death of his former co-star affected his life in a way that he would never talk about publicly. The actor stated he was at an age around that time where “mortality” was never considered a possibility.
Gyllenhaal was 27-years-old when it was released, and he hadn’t experienced many deaths of close friends and family members. According to the actor, the success and attention brought by a successful movie aren’t worth as much as the value brought by the quality of relationships.
As it was noted above, the 2006 Academy Awards were the subject of controversy on account of Crash receiving the Best Picture award, rather than the far more controversial film starring Jake and Heath Ledger.