Brokeback Mountain is coming to the West End as a stage play

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Pioneering drama Brokeback Mountain is to be re-imagined as a West End play.

The 1997 novel, by Annie Proulx, is best known for its 2005 film adaptation – which stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two cowboys trying to reconcile their feelings for eachother in a deeply homophobic society.

It has been announced that a new stage adaptation is coming to London next year, helmed by producer Tom O’Connell.

O’Connell said: “I am honoured to bring Annie Proulx’s beloved story to the stage as a new play that celebrates her compelling writing and will bring a new perspective on this heart-warming tale of an unbreakable bond.

“I’ve been extremely lucky in my career to produce plays which challenge, inspire and educate as much as they entertain; the struggles that the characters of Brokeback Mountain go through are still present in the world today, making the piece as relevant as ever.

“I am very much looking forward to working alongside Annie with a first-class creative team to bring Jack and Ennis’ story to new audiences.”

The venue for the play is yet to be announced, as is the cast.

Proulx, who has previously expressed disdain for the noteriety surrounding Brokeback Mountain, said: “I am looking forward with sharp anticipation to the stage interpretation of the star-crossed lovers of Brokeback Mountain who moved from the page to the screen and now, under the skilled hand of producer Tom O’Connell and the sensibilities of the company, to the stage – a strange journey for two messed-up wannabe cow-hands from Wyoming.

“The actors who pull on their scuffed-up boots will step into a difficult time in a hard place.”

Don’t expect a stage-friendly happy ending to be written in, though, if Proulx has any say about it.

Last year she complained that “so many people have completely misunderstood the story”, adding: “They can’t bear the way it ends — they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild.”

“They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it.”

She said: “I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out.”