Said Gyllenhaal: “I think we had been cast for our ‘essences' without really understanding what our ‘essences' were – and that's outside of our sexuality – we're two straight guys cast in these roles, but who we are, who we were, Ang could see. And I don't know if I could. So when the movie had the response that it had …. I don't think we recognized what Ang had seen in us so we were blind at the profundity and the echo the movie made … and I don't think we ever had any idea it would have the impact that it had.”
Gyllenhaal talked about the power of rehearsal, remembering that they had rehearsed the “I can't quit you” scene in the same bucolic valley months earlier, when there was snow on the ground, and what gave the scene some of its resonance was the memory of that earlier rehearsal, because it had introduced a time frame into the actors' knowledge of it and each other.
“To make a movie that even just works is a miracle,” said Gyllenhaal. “When it resonates even beyond that, it's impossible. And it has nothing to do with you in the end. Just being in Brokeback Mountain, that's the feeling I have. I feel that deeply about it. It had nothing to do with me. It came to me, I was honored to be a part of it, and it is now everyone else's in a way that I can't even fathom.”