In a recent video for Vanity Fair's YouTube channel, the beloved, 41-year-old actor opened up about some of the most iconic movie titles in his entire career thus far. We might be a little biased, but the best bit in the VF video comes when Gyllenhaal, who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor after starring in Ang Lee's gay-themed 2005 romantic, Western drama, opened up about what it was like filming the groundbreaking movie alongside his late co-star Heath Ledger.
"The relationship 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," Gyllenhaal said. "A deep respect for their love and their relationship."
"There were many jokes being made about the movie, or poking fun at, things like that," Gyllenhaal continued, talking about how seriously Ledger, who was famous for shutting down homophobic jokes and comments at Brokeback's expense, took his role. "[Ledger’s] consummate devotion to how serious and important the relationship between these two characters was—it showed me how devoted he was as an actor and how devoted we both were to the story and the movie."
Gyllenhaal also opened up about a moment during the Brokeback press tour when he and Ledger realized just how much of an impact the on-screen love of their characters would have for future generations of LGBTQ+ viewers, further cementing our love for the duo.
"There’s a moment that I go back to a lot," Gyllenhaal said. "Heath and I were at a Q&A at the Aero Theatre in Los Angeles, and I remember us going to dinner while the movie was screening. And I remember us joking backstage, and I remember us coming on to stage in a humorous mode because we were just having fun with each other. We sat down, the lights came up, and a man stood up — and the movie had been out for a week and a half — and he said, 'I just want to say, this is my 11th time seeing this movie, and I can’t stop watching it, and I just want to thank you all for making it.' And I thought, 11 times in 10 days.”
"I remember the wash of that over us," Gyllenhaal said. "We were poking fun at each other before we go on, and then the profound realization of — the profundity of this thing washed over us. It happens constantly to this day, and I can’t really express how proud I am of it."
Watch Jake Gyllenhaal take a journey through memory lane and talk more about his iconic career in the video below.