New secrets from the filming of Brokeback Mountain are coming to the surface.
During an interview with Empire, director Ang Lee praised Heath Ledger by saying he "was a brilliant young actor. God only knows what he would have achieved later in life. He had so much talent - I'm sure he would have been a great director."
He spoke on Ledger's quiet aura that powers the story, noting that he did most of his preparation on his own and often surprised the director with his work. Lee added, "One aspect I cherish was getting to witness Heath and Jake [Gyllenhaal] develop that relationship between their characters."
The director watched everything unfold right in front of him, from rehearsal all the way through to filming. Although both actors brought their own strengths to the table, Lee said they "had a very different attitude towards their work." While this tension never led to any outright fighting, Lee said that the actors experienced a "clash of styles" that oftentimes caused friction.
Brokeback Mountain set the world on fire with its 2005 release, eventually becoming one of the pivotal films that brought the discussion of sexuality to the table. It certainly helped (or hindered, depending on who you asked) that the main actors were played by straight heartthrobs Gyllenhaal and Ledger, whose compelling performances granted the film a whopping 141 awards.
"Sometimes I would mediate that," he said, "but they were both good in different ways. They would always make the effort to find a way through."
Elsewhere, Lee said that Ledger understood Ennis's character very deeply and said, "We are all very lucky we were able to make movies with an actor of that caliber. He had a God-given gift."
Brokeback Mountain was one of Ledger's last few films before his untimely passing in January 2008.
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