The 15th anniversary of Brokeback Mountain took place on December 9th. Fans and critics consider it to be one of the greatest LGBTQ films of all time as the movie follows the complicated relationship between Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) during a time where being gay was not only taboo but illegal.
Jake, who earned a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as well as a number of other nominations, chatted with Howard Stern about the movie in this throwback clip from 2015.
“Man it’s weird, I don’t know,” he said after the long-running radio host asked him about making such a big “career decision” by taking on this part.
“First of all it was Ang Lee directing it at the time, so at least coming from where I come from Ang Lee is like a genius,” he continued. Lee ended up victorious at the 2006 Oscars by winning Best Director for Brokeback. He later scored the same honor for Life of Pi.
“In my opinion it was like, ‘Oh wow. This is a movie with Ang Lee.” So it wasn’t just that,” Jake said, referring to the bigger picture of him playing a same-sex romantic part with Ledger.
“That was part of it, you know? Thinking, ‘Oh my god this person’s going to make it in a really amazing way.’ But it wasn’t calculated like that, you know? I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be what it became.”
Brokeback was a massive success at the box office. 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,” Gyllenhaal also revealed. “And I was like, ‘F**k it. I’ll do it.'”
Gyllenhaal, who turns 40 on December 19, hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since although he has taken on many other acclaimed roles in films like Nightcrawler, Prisoners and Love & Other Drugs.