Brokeback Mountain was initially birthed by author Annie Proulx in 1997, almost a decade before it became a cinematic smash.
Now the 85-year-old has spoken out against not only the film but its massive fan base in a new interview where she reveals her regret about writing it in the first place.
“I wish I’d never written the story. Before the film it was all right,” she said in an interview with The Paris Review. Brokeback was first published as a short story in The New Yorker before screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana adapted it for its 2005 movie.
Proulx went on to say that the fans “can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis” before giving her take on how she views the movie that starred Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger.
She said it’s about “homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality.”
The Pulitzer Prize winner referenced Brokeback followers later on in the chat where she touched on their fan fiction which “drives her wild” but not in a good way. It includes, “all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack (Gyllenhaal) is killed.”
“That’s not the story I wrote. Those are not (your) characters. The characters belong to me by law,” she said.
“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.”
Proulx was so fed up with its aftermath that she wrote a libretto for a 2014 opera version of Brokeback to ensure the story wasn’t “ruined” by a happy ending.
“I figured one of these idiots who loves happy endings would come along and start messing with it. I want to keep the story as it is,” she said. “It’s a strong story and it shouldn’t be mangled into everybody lives happily ever after.”
Brokeback Mountain just celebrated its 15th anniversary release in the United States on December 9. It became one of the most awarded and talked about films of 2005 and is widely considered to be a pivotal flick for the LGBTQ community. Ledger and Gyllenhaal earned Oscar nominations for their work the following year along with Michelle Williams (Best Supporting Actress) and Lee who scored Best Director.
“I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be what it became,” Gyllenhaal said about it in a 2015 interview with Howard Stern. It took home a whopping $178 million dollars which was quite impressive given that its budget was only $14 million.
“In a way maybe someone should have sat me down and had a talk with me about that but at the same time it moved me, the script moved me,” he continued while talking about why he decided to take on this role. “And I was like, ‘F**k it. I’ll do it.’”