It started as a short story, became an Oscar-winning film and then an opera, and now Brokeback Mountain is going to be adapted for the legitimate stage.
Producer Tom O’Connell has acquired the rights to Annie Proulx’s short story about two male ranch hands who fall in love in the 1960s and carry on a clandestine affair for years, and the production is expected to premiere in London’s West End in 2016, Playbill reports.
“I am looking forward with sharp anticipation to the stage interpretation of the star-crossed lovers of Brokeback Mountain who moved from the page to the screen and now, under the skilled hand of producer Tom O’Connell and the sensibilities of the company, to the stage — a strange journey for two messed-up wannabe cow-hands from Wyoming,” said a statement issued by Proulx. “The actors who pull on their scuffed-up boots will step into a difficult time in a hard place.”
The 2005 film adaptation, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the lovers, was nominated for eight Oscars and won three — for director Ang Lee, screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, and composer Gustavo Santaolalla. It also had wins at the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards.
An operatic version premiered at Madrid’s Teatro Real in 2014. Gay American composer Charles Wuorinen wrote the music, and Proux the libretto (in English). “It is a story about rural regional homophobia...in a situation that needlessly ends in tragedy," Proulx told Out at the time. "It is only a romantic story if you think the inability to conquer fear and self-loathing are romantic.” As Wuorinen explained before the premiere: “I’m almost worried that now that my opera is becoming so old-fashioned that it’s not of interest anymore. But I never undertook it in the service of some cause, so I have to hope the work carries it through.”
To follow the play’s progress toward its premiere, visit BrokebackPlay.com.