Jake Gyllenhaal has revealed his Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger refused to be a presenter at the 2007 Oscars over a joke involving their characters’ romantic relationship.
The critically acclaimed film told the story of two cowboys who had a homosexual relationship in the American West from 1963 to 1983.
It won three Oscars at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006, as well nominations for both Gyllenhaal and the late Ledger, who died in 2008.
Gyllenhaal has now revealed the pair were invited back to present at the Oscars the following year, but Ledger refused because he did not want to joke about Brokeback Mountain.
He told Another Man magazine: “I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it.
“And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, okay… whatever.’ I’m always like, ‘It’s all in good fun.’ And Heath said, ‘It’s not a joke to me – I don’t want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal added: “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 is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no.’ ”
Romantic drama Brokeback Mountain arrived in 2005 to both critical acclaim and controversy.
It was a box office smash despite criticism from some conservative pundits unhappy with its depiction of homosexuality.
At the 2006 Oscars Brokeback Mountain was widely tipped to win best picture but lost in an upset to Crash.
Ledger was nominated for best actor, Gyllenhaal for supporting actor and Ang Lee won best director.