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Heath Ledger 'Refused' To Participate In Brokeback Mountain Joke At The 2007 Oscars, Says Jake Gyllenhaal

Heath Ledger refused to do gay Oscars joke

Heath Ledger was an LGBTQ+ ally long before it was cool!

The late actor’s Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal revealed that Ledger refused to present at the 2007 Academy Awards over a joke that involved their characters’ gay romance in the film.

VOTE: Which Role Of Heath’s Was Your Favorite?

In an interview with Another Man, he recalled:

“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.'”

And this was years before cancel culture existed — Heath truly was years ahead of the curve!

The 39-year-old added of his former on-screen love interest:

“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.'”

Looking back, Jake still doesn’t know why he and Heath were chosen for the lead roles in the 2005 film. He mused:

“There are things you’re chosen for—a quality, an essence—and [director Ang Lee] did that. And it’s still a mystery to me. And something that Heath and I shared: that it was a mystery to us at the time.”

The Aussie actor, who died of an accidental overdose in 2008 at the age of 28, has been remembered by his former co-stars as nothing but kind, caring, and charismatic.

Last year, Ledger’s former 10 Things I Hate About You colleagues paid tribute to him in honor of the beloved teen comedy’s 20th birthday. In a profile published by The New York Times, the film’s director Gil Junger admitted he knew he was going to cast Heath in the role the second the actor walked through the door, recalling:

“Heath walked in [for his audition] and I thought to myself, ‘If this guy can read, I’m going to cast him.’ There was an energy to him, a sexuality that was palpable… When Heath was done, literally, with the first page, I said, ‘OK, you can put down the script. You’re doing great. I want to improv a little with you.’ I just wanted to see how fast his mind would adapt, comedically. After 35 seconds, I said, ‘OK. Fantastic.’… The instant the door closed, I turned to the women in the room and said, ‘Ladies, I have never wanted to sleep with a man. But if I had to sleep with a man, that would be the man. Please cast him immediately.’”

That might solve the mystery of why he was cast in Brokeback Mountain, too!

[Image via WENN/Focus Features]

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Apr 08, 2020 13:20pm PDT