Brokeback Mountain star Jake Gyllenhaal: I can’t put into words the impact of Heath Ledger’s death
Jake Gyllenhaal has opened up about the death of his Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger.
The pair appeared as ill-fated lovers in the Oscar-winning 2005 drama, which has widely been credited with bringing gay cinema into the mainstream and sparking a wave of LGBT film-making.
Heath Ledger died in 2008 after an accidental drug overdose, aged just 28.
Speaking to PEOPLE Magazine, Gyllenhaal said he can barely put into words the impact of the death of his close friend and colleague, years later.
Asked about the tragedy, he said: “I don’t know if I can answer that in one answer.
“Personally, it affected me in ways I can’t necessarily put in words, or even would want to talk about publicly.
“In terms of professionally, I think I was at an age where mortality was not always that clear to me.
“You live in this bubble of making films… there are real friends, and there is a real community, but also [as Macklemore sings on his new album] there’s that moment where ‘the curtain closes and nobody notices’.
“I think that’s true, and I think that’s okay.
“At the time, I assumed everyone would notice – and they did with Heath dying -but I think it [gave me] the experience of ‘this is fleeting’.
He added: “None of the attention or synthesized love that comes from the success of a film really matters at all.
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“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.”
Gyllenhaal paid tribute to his “best friend” last year ten years after the film’s release.
He said: “I miss him as a human being, and I miss working with him.
“And what an unfortunate thing it is that we won’t be able to see the beauty of his expression.
“He was incredibly special, and that doesn’t even come close to encapsulating who he is — who he was.”
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