Jake Gyllenhaal shares ‘profound’ Brokeback Mountain memories of Heath Ledger

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain

Jake Gyllenhaal has nothing but fond memories about his time working with his late co-star Heath Ledger on their iconic 2005 drama Brokeback Mountain.

The Ang Lee-directed film saw the talented duo portray a cowboy and a ranch hand who become star-crossed lovers, and became one of the biggest LGBT+ films of all time.

Ledger, who died in 2008 at aged 28, and Gyllenhaal both landed Oscar nominations for their performances, while the film won three major gongs after successfully smashing through expectations as one of the first queer-focused films to hit the mainstream.

Reflecting on his experience filming the Oscar-winning movie, the actor told Vanity Fair: “You know, the relationship, I think 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 and a deep respect for their love and their relationship.”

The Donnie Darko star praised Ledger’s approach to Brokeback Mountain‘s subject matter and its portrayal of two men in love and their complicated feelings for one another.

“One of the things I really remember about the process after the movie came out was Heath never wanting to make a joke,” the 41-year-old continued. “Even as I think culturally, there were many jokes being made about the movie or poking fun at and things like that. And his consummate devotion to how serious and important the relationship between these two characters was.”

The Ambulance star added: “It showed me, I think, how devoted he was as an actor and how devoted he was, and we both were, to the story in the movie. And for us, the experience of the movie, I can say, was a really deep and fun one.”

Gyllenhaal revealed that filming took place over the course of three weeks, during which the cohabiting co-stars would be “waking up in the morning, making everyone coffee and then eating a little breakfast and walking to work” together.

“It’s a technique of movie-making that I wish we did more of, you know, where we all just powwowed and lived together in a space,” he admitted.

The actor previously revealed to Another Man that he is still unable to watch Brokeback Mountain more than 14 years after it was released.

“There are things you’re chosen for – a quality, an essence – and Ang [Lee, Brokeback Mountain director] 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 said.