Jake Gyllenhaal Recalls 'Really Deep and Fun' Experience Making Brokeback Mountain with Heath Ledger

"It showed me, I think, how devoted he was as an actor," Jake Gyllenhaal said of making 2005's Brokeback Mountain with Heath Ledger

Jake Gyllenhaal is looking back on his experience working with late costar Heather Ledger on their 2005 drama Brokeback Mountain.

Gyllenhaal, 41, reflected on his career for a video released Friday by Vanity Fair, at one point sharing details of the relationship he formed on the Oscar-winning movie Brokeback Mountain with Ledger, who died in 2008 at age 28.

"You know, the relationship, I think between me and Heath while we were making this movie was something that was based on a profound love for a lot of people that we knew and were raised by in our lives and a deep respect for their love and their relationship," Gyllenhaal said.

He and Ledger play a cowboy and a ranch hand who carry on a private romantic relationship over the years. Gyllenhaal told Vanity Fair he admired Ledger's approach to the subject of the film and its portrayal of two men in love and their complicated feelings for one another.

"One of the things I really remember about the process after the movie came out was Heath never wanting to make a joke," the Ambulance actor said. "Even as I think culturally, there were many jokes being made about the movie or poking fun at and things like that. And his consummate devotion to how serious and important the relationship between these two characters was."

Brokeback Mountain

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He continued, "It showed me, I think, how devoted he was as an actor and how devoted he was, and we both were, to the story in the movie. And for us, the experience of the movie, I can say, was a really deep and fun one."

While filming Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal said they shot the film over the course of three weeks, during which they would wake up each morning to make coffee, eat breakfast and walk to set.

"It's a technique of movie-making that I wish we did more of, you know, where we all just powwowed and lived together in a space," he said.

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Directed by Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain also stars Randy Quaid, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. The film was nominated for eight Oscars, and won three of the nominations: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.

Gyllenhaal looked back on Brokeback Mountain as a whole, telling Vanity Fair, "There's so much to say about this movie. There's even more for me to say about my experience of it."

"There's even more for me to say about the reaction to it and what it meant and what happens when you realize, as a performer in particular, that something has nothing to do with you," he continued.

Gyllenhaal said stories can have "the power beyond anything that you think you have control over or part of," explaining that once a story like Brokeback Mountain "goes out into the world, it becomes everyone else's."

"And so, you have a short time with it and that's my job and my honor to do and then it is everyone else's and it is no longer mine," he said. "And there is no film that I've ever done that has shown that to me more than Brokeback Mountain."

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