The off-screen hookup between the Brokeback Mountain stars was "a gift," producers say

By Todd Peterson
Updated November 21, 2005 08:00 AM

For the people working on the film Brokeback Mountain, the real-life romance between costars Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams was “a big gift,” producer James Schamus tells Time magazine.

The film, directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), stars Ledger, 26, and Jake Gyllenhaal as two ranch hands who fall in love and maintain an affair that spans many years. Williams, 25, plays Ledger’s wife, who is kept in the dark about her husband’s infidelity with another man.

That screen time between Ledger and Williams, who rose to popularity on the TV drama Dawson’s Creek, helped foster an off-screen romance that added a little spark to the set.

“It was a big gift to have two people falling in love in our midst,” Schamus told Time. “You forget how lovely that is.”

That “lovely” romance certainly outlasted the filming of the movie. The couple, who are engaged, celebrated the birth of their first child, daughter Matilda, three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, reviews are glowing for Brokeback, which hits theaters Dec. 9, and Ledger is being singled out for his performance. He acknowledges to Time: “I feel like I’ve never been in a film that people have liked before.”