Jake Gyllenhaal Has Trouble Expressing How Heath Ledger’s Death Affected Him


Take a deep breath and get ready for a real somber interview with Jake Gyllenhaal! He sat down with People magazine’s Jess Cagle to share some new reflections on making Brokeback Mountain. He’s talked about the movie before, but this is a far more candid interview than past conversations.

“When I read it I wasn’t quite sure,” he revealed. “Ang just brought me into a room, sat me down … and he hardly said a thing. Just sat there and I said a couple things and he nodded, smiled, and sat there with more weird long beats with nothing to say, and he patted me on the back and escorted me out, and then three weeks later I heard he wanted to cast me in this part.”

Playing the character of Jack took a toll on him. “What a sad broken-hearted fellow he was,” said Jake. “We were super young and we had no idea what the movie was going to become. That whole movie for all of us, even with the beautiful love between Michelle and Heath, there was a real sadness there. There was a real sadness there. And particularly a loneliness in shooting where we were shooting, even with all the beauty around us.”

Of Heath’s death, Jake said,  “Personally, it affected me in ways I can’t necessarily put in words or even would want to talk about publicly but in terms of professionally, I think I was at an age where mortality was not always clear to me. … I think it [gave me] the experience of, ‘This is fleeting.’ And none of the attention or synthesized love that comes from the success of a film really matters at all. What matters is the relationships you make when you make a film, and the people you learn from when you’re preparing for a film. That changed a lot for me.”

Watch the interview below.

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