It’s a decade since Brokeback Mountain became one of the most successful gay-themed movie ever at the box office, so it’s a good time for Jake Gyllenhaal to take a look back and consider whether things have improved for gay actors in Hollywood.
He recently told THR about the changes in gay rights over the last 10 years, “I think it is changing. And it’s pretty amazing how it’s changing. And one of the things that I’m so proud of [about] that movie, was to see, within the past basically 10 years, how much has changed. When the Supreme Court [issued a ruling] just a little while ago, I felt like we had been part, a little part and parcel of that movement. I was proud, you know? To me that’s really a pretty incredible moment. We had to wait a little while for it. But when will it be OK for an actor to be gay? I mean, it’s OK now.”
Of the decision to take the role of Jack Twist in Brokeback, he adds, “It’s one of the most beautiful scripts I’ve ever read and it was Ang Lee, and at the time Heath [Ledger] was a friend of mine — before we even shot the movie — and always sort of alluring to me. Heath was always somebody who I admired. He was way beyond his years as a human, in a way. I wasn’t quite sure where he came from. I mean, I know he’s from Perth, but I wasn’t really quite sure where he came from and I think that’s the feeling most people got when they were around him and why he was so extraordinary. And when that opportunity came I was a young actor. I was like, “Yeah, I’m in.” I know a lot has been made of the choice to do it, but it just didn’t seem like something that was scary to me. You know, it was binding, because sometimes a lot of that character is very specifically the more overtly gay character of the two. The one who’s struggling with it less. And I didn’t really realize that. And that was an interesting journey for me, giving into that idea. Being the one who tries to push the relationship. And I think in a very simple way people would say, “Oh the sort of more female character.” I don’t even know what the hell that means, but I’ve been told that many times — you know, the one who wants the relationship or something. That was an interesting thing for me.”
You can take a look at the full Hollywood Master interview below.