As I watched the Brokeback Mountain clip on ET I have to say I breathed a sigh of relief—because what I saw appears to honor the quiet pacing and subdued intensity of Annie Proulx’s amazing short story. While it’s hard to judge the arc and tone of a movie by its clips, I’ll have to say this brief preview served to excite rather than disappoint. There was no wince factor.
The other thing I thought was interesting was the ET voiceover about Heath Ledger’s relationship with Michelle Williams. If it wasn’t planned to drop that information over the homoerotic trailer, it was a very smart mistake from a marketing standpoint. Why? Because it showed Heath Ledger’s comfort level in playing gay and in doing so, served to massage the nerves of anyone who might be uncomfortable watching Ledger and Gyllenhaal acting romantically on screen.
From a publicity standpoint, it’s the antithesis of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes situation. Here’s Heath Ledger, a straight man comfortable enough in his own skin to play a romantic gay character on screen, getting wrapped up in a very genuine (and relatively private) offscreen relationship with a former Dawson’s Creek actress. In Tom Cruise’s case, you have an actor battling rumors of his sexuality offscreen, acting out a highly public (and oft questioned) “romantic relationship” with a former Dawson’s Creek actress that is splashed all over the entertainment shows.
How does the public perceive them onscreen then? For Ledger, I think it’s entirely possible that the public will buy him as gay. For Cruise, I think the rest of the roles he plays in his career may be dogged by this offscreen image that the public doesn’t buy.
In case you missed it on last night’s ET, the Malcontent has a clip of the Brokeback Mountain trailer segment. I give it a thumbs up.
Love is a Force of Nature [tr]
Heath on Brokeback: Best Script Ever Read [tr]
Jake “Coy” on Brokeback Love Scenes [tr]
The Brokeback Tease Continues… [tr]
Cowboy Ballads [tr]
Brokeback Mountain Teaser Trailer [tr]
Heath and Jake Swap Spit [tr]
Cowboy Love [tr]