Jake Gyllenhaal Says Late Co-Star Heath Ledger Refused To Joke About ‘Brokeback Mountain’

It has been 11 years since Heath Ledger passed away.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger speak onstage during the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

It has been 11 years since Heath Ledger passed away.

Culture and views regarding the LGBTQ community have come a long way since Brokeback Mountain was released back in 2005. The controversial film commanded attention around the world thanks to its tragic love story starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as cowboys.

For many, the film became an easy punchline for a wealth of “gay cowboy” jokes. During a clip previewing his appearance on Sunday Today, Gyllenhaal revealed that his late co-star was not a fan of these types of jokes. In fact, the actor admitted one of the things he loved most about Heath was how quickly he shut people down when they tried to take cracks at the movie.

“I see people who have joked with me or criticized me about lines I say in that movie — and that’s the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever he was like, ‘No. This about love.’ Like, that’s it, man,” Jake continued to explain.

During the very brief clip, the 38-year-old actor also opened up about what type of impact Brokeback Mountain had on his career, being that he was just in his 20s at the time.

Jake noted Brokeback Mountain was the type of movie that struck a lot of nerves. He claimed the film meant “so much” to both him and his late co-star. He talked about the opportunities it led to as well.

“It opened tons of doors, it was amazing. It’s defined my career in different ways.”

Confirmed by The Daily Mail, the controversial film was wildly successful as it won three different Oscars in 2006.

Heath Ledger passed away just three years after the film was released on January 22, 2008. Ledger was just 28-years-old when he died.

At the time of his death, it was reported that Ledger passed away due to an accidental prescription drug overdose.

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Ten years after his death, an opinion piece in The Huffington Post confirmed the actor was discovered in the bed of his home in Manhattan with a mixture of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, and alprazolam in his system.

The media outlet’s opinionated piece went on to explain Ledger passed away at a time that drug overdose was still a shocking cause of death to hear about. Many found it even more shocking in his case as he wasn’t known to be a junkie. In fact, Ledger was regarded as a young and healthful actor in the prime of his life.