Brokeback Mountain author: I wish I’d never written that story
The author of the original Brokeback Mountain story has claimed she wishes it had never been written.
Author Annie Proulx wrote the 1997 short story, which was adapted in 2005 into the iconic Oscar-winning film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Speaking to the Paris Review, she expressed her dissatisfaction with the hype and controversy around the film.
She said: “I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out.
“Before the film it was all right…A large section of the population is still outraged. But that’s not where the problem was.
“I’m used to that response from people here, who generally do not like the way I write.But the problem has come since the film. So many people have completely misunderstood the story.
“I think it’s important to leave spaces in a story for readers to fill in from their own experience, but unfortunately the audience that Brokeback reached most strongly have powerful fantasy lives. And one of the reasons we keep the gates locked here is that a lot of men have decided that the story should have had a happy ending.
“They can’t bear the way it ends — they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild.
“They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it.
“I can’t tell you how many of these things have been sent to me as though they’re expecting me to say, ‘Oh great, if only I’d had the sense to write it that way.’ And they all begin the same way — ‘I’m not gay, but…?’
“The implication is that because they’re men they understand much better than I how these people would have behaved. And maybe they do. But that’s not the story I wrote. Those are not their characters. The characters belong to me by law.”
“I haven’t had the same sort of problem with anything else I’ve ever written. Nothing else. People saw it as a story about two cowboys. It was never about two cowboys.”