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Jake Gyllenhaal opens up about "extraordinary" Heath Ledger, 10 years after Brokeback Mountain

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jake Gyllenhaal remembers Heath Ledger as being “way beyond his years as a human”.

By Stephanie Anderson
Happier times - the friends and co-stars presented a clip of Brokeback Mountain together at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2006.
It’s been almost eight years since Heath Ledger’s passing, and a decade since Brokeback Mountain was released, but when Jake partook in an interview series with The Hollywood Reporter, entitled The Hollywood Masters, the memories of working with his friend still sounded fresh.
"I wasn’t really quite sure where he came from, and I think that’s the feeling most people got when they were around him and why he was so extraordinary," the 34-year-old actor shared.
Jake described the script for Brokeback Mountain as “one of the most beautiful scripts” he’d ever read, and described the prospect of working with Heath as “sort of alluring”.
“At the time, Heath was a friend of mine – before we even shot the movie,” he said of the prospect of working with the late Australian star.
Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain was widely critically acclaimed and picked up a slew of awards, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards in 2006.
"Heath was always somebody who I admired," he shared candidly. "He was way beyond his years as a human, in a way. I wasn’t quite sure where he came from.”
“I mean, I know he’s from Perth!” he quickly clarified.
Of the opportunity to co-star alongside his friend in Brokeback Mountain, Jake was enthusiastic, he recalls.
“I was like, 'Yeah, I’m in’,” the actor told THR.
As for the reaction to the film, Jake remains proud of his work: “I know a lot has been made of the choice to do it, but it just didn't seem like something that was scary to me. You know, it was binding, because sometimes a lot of that character is very specifically the more overtly gay character of the two. The one who's struggling with it less. And I didn’t really realize that. And that was an interesting journey for me, giving into that idea. Being the one who tries to push the relationship.”
Jake shared that the pair were friends even before the filming of Brokeback Mountain, and that was one of the reasons he jumped at the opportunity to work with his friend.
Reminiscing about his time on-set with Heath, Jake recounted that he didn’t share the same “connection” to the animals of the film that Heath did.
“Heath, you know, would walk up to a horse and could like silence the horse. Just literally he’d be like, 'Shh. Shh.' And then he’d get on the horse. I’d be like, 'I’m going to get on you.' They’d be like, 'F— off!’ I didn’t really have that style’,” he shared.

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