Jake Gyllenhaal recalls working with Heath Ledger and Ang Lee on Brokeback Mountain


It’s amazing to think about the fervor that
surrounded Brokeback Mountain when it was released eleven years ago. Heath, Ang and I were at the center of a storm
that year, fielding the praise and controversy that came from telling a love story about
two men. Standing here tonight, I can’t help but think
about Heath, and how much he would’ve loved to witness all of this incredible change that
has been effected in the LGBT community in the intervening years. [APPLAUSE] He would proud to know that he had somehow
played a small part in all of it. I know that I am. And even though Brokeback was very much a
movie of its moment in history, Ang made sure that it would stand the test of time. He kept it simple and quiet with respect for
the characters and their corner of the world. He knew that to tell a big story you have
to keep it small. Ang, like any master director, though there
aren’t many, is an extraordinary teacher. And while some auteurs lead their troops with
flash and bang, working with Ang is a masterclass in silence. We don’t always need to speak in order to
communicate and it’s a lesson that rings in my ears often. I remember the day we shot our big love scene. When we finished the scene we, both Heath
and I, we got up and we looked over to see a huge smile on Ang’s face and I was surprised
because, though you might not know it, Ang has a really great sense of humor. He rarely smiled on set. But this was a shit-eating grin. So, naturally I walked up to Ang and, I was
excited to see any sort of emotion cross his face, and he really…I asked, I was like
“how was that? how was that, you know? You liked the scene?” And he just was nodding in a really awkward
way and he just said “SOOOO GAY”. [LAUGHTER] Umm…Uhh…That was the first
of many times that he would say that. [LAUGHTER] But what makes him so unique and
so deserving of our highest honor is that Ang realizes that each film is elementally
different. And instead of choosing scripts that are in
his wheelhouse, or bending narratives to meet his style, he meets his stories where they
are. And he gives them what they need.

8 thoughts on “Jake Gyllenhaal recalls working with Heath Ledger and Ang Lee on Brokeback Mountain”

  1. Can't believe literally no one mentions Ang Lee as a director here. Of course I love the two actors but Lee is such an underrated director in Hollywood. Probably bc he's Asian??

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