At the end of last year Brokeback Mountain writer Annie Proulx surprised many when she said of her short story, “I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out.”
Her problem was that since the film came out, people haven’t responded to the story the way she would like, as they would prefer if it had a happy ending. “So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed,” she said.” And it just drives me wild. They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it… The implication is that because they’re men they understand much better than I how these people would have behaved. And maybe they do. But that’s not the story I wrote. Those are not their characters. The characters belong to me by law.”
However despite her rather crotchety attitude it hasn’t stopped her cashing in, making a mint from the movie, turning Brokeback Mountain into an opera, and now she’s sold the stage rights to producer Tom O’Connell, who intends to turn it into a play due to be staged next year in London’s West End. At the moment, it’s not clear who will write the play (Proulx herself wrote the book for the opera, but it doesn’t appear she’ll be involved in that capacity here).
Playbill prints statement from Annie, saying, “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. The actors who pull on their scuffed-up boots will step into a difficult time in a hard place.”
There’s no specific date given as to when it will hit the London stage, or what theatre it will be at. You can follow the show’s progress at brokebackplay.com.