Brokeback Mountain may have been released a decade ago, but new details continue to emerge surrounding the film’s production that add even more depth to the future classic.
Speaking to Variety about the 10-year anniversary, director Ang Lee revealed that Heath Ledger based his performance on a homophobic gay rancher uncle. What are the odds?
“Heath came in and wanted to do it right away,” Lee said, adding, “he told me that he learned from one of his uncles, who is also a very macho, homophobic gay, much like Ennis [Del Mar, Heath’s character], and also a rancher.”
Lee also shed some light on what it was like shooting those unforgettable sex scenes:
“I was pretty shy shooting sex scenes, so I designed a very complicated one-shot deal, with 13 points of focus. I made it technical so that no one would think about anything else except hitting their marks.
Once we got past the first take, nobody was shy anymore. We tried to make it as real and compelling as possible, and they were very professional. Getting into the first take was hard, and it was the 13th take that I ended up using, which was the last take.”
Ultimately, Lee was shocked at how wide an audience the film reached — Brokeback remains the most commercially successful LGBT themed film ever made.
“I also thought it would be an arthouse film with a very small audience. I was nervous about the subject matter hitting the shopping mall, and I was surprised at its success,” Lee said.
“I think it has something to do with the fact that it’s a poignant love story.”