When Brokeback Mountain was released in 2005, it was a movie that was rather ahead of its time. It took a premise that South Park thought ridiculous enough to joke about in the 90s and turned it into a heartbreaking love story for the ages.
It won about a bajillion awards as Gyllenhaal and Ledger were trotted out in front of all of Hollywood as its golden poster boys -- and this year marks the film's 15th anniversary. In a recent interview with Another Man, Gyllenhaal says he can't watch the movie (We assume due to his co-star's tragic death) and takes a minute to remember the lazy gay jokes about the film's premise. He also has a really good memory of Ledger handling those jokes.
Apparently, in 2007, the duo were supposed to present an Oscar together. Academy Award presenters are usually given some hammy jokes to lead into the recipient's name being announced, there's a speech, everybody claps, end of story. Except when Ledger read the lines they were given for the presentation, he noticed some homophobic bits had been mixed in. He apparently refused, telling Gyllenhaal, "It's not a joke to me -- I don't want to make any jokes about it."
That's such a subtle yet strong stand for him to take. It's a total rebuke of every joke that's ever been made about the movie. It's the Heath Ledger definition of cool, where you just respect it the way it came and have to pay attention to it. According to Gyllenhaal, he wanted the focus to be on the love, and that's something we could all use a little more of.
Top Image: Focus Features