Time begins priming folks for Heath Ledger’s understated performance in Brokeback Mountain in an article that charts the sequence of cinematic duds he’s appeared in…as well as the resurrection of his career in the landmark cowboy film.
Ledger makes some comments that are very similar to the much-commented-on statements that Jake Gyllenhaal made in articles that appeared last week with regard to the approach to the characters of Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist:
Says Ledger: “I don’t think Ennis could be labeled as gay. Without Jack Twist, I don’t know that he ever would have come out. I think the whole point was that it was two souls that fell in love with each other.”
This is perhaps a better articulation of what Jake was trying to say. While the Brokeback story and characters would undeniably be labeled as “gay” from our modern perspective, back then the labels weren’t as prevalent.
Even now, Ledger offers, the labels of gay and straight, are too strict and marginalize people who may have attractions to both sexes:
“I don’t think it’s that black-and-white, and I think because we label it so harshly, there’s just a lot of confused people running around thinking, Oh, f___, which side am I on?”
In a recent article in Newsweek, Ledger explained why he feels some straight men get uncomfortable at the notion of a film about cowboys in love: “I suspect it’s a fear that they are going to enjoy it. They don’t understand that you are not going to become sexually attracted to men by recognizing the beauty of a love story between two men.”