The 2005 romance epic that is the Brokeback Mountain is considered as one the best movies in the history of Bollywood that explore the feelings of two people caught in the forbidden love. It is often referred to as the ‘gay cowboy movie,’ but the critics strongly disagree. Brokeback Mountain is not just about two men falling in love with each other and finally realizing that they are gay.
It’s about the tragedy of not being able to be yourself or get what you want, restricted by the irrational laws of society. It’s an exploration of identity and belonging. This is one of the many great movies that Heath Ledger had a part in. And it is also the only really good movie that Randy Quaid got to play a part in. So without any further ado, let’s just jump into the things that you might not know about the Randy Quaid Brokeback Mountain.
The Titanic Influence
Marketing a movie is also a very tough job as it can stir interest in the public and change the Box Office outcome drastically. And the movie’s poster can play a huge part in this as it should be designed such that it catches the public eye and convince people to watch it in just a glance. When the marketing team of the Brokeback Mountain was set on the job for designing the best poster for the movie, they brought in the posters of 50 best selling romantic movies. And the poster that stood out the most was none other than the good old Titanic. So they decided to go with that style, and it seems like it worked just as intended.
Heath Ledger’s Pursed Lips
The famous American actor Heath Ledger spent his childhood at a farm, and you might think that he would be rough and tough already. But it turns out that Heath Ledger is a hygiene freak. He was so paranoid that a fly might get into his mouth while speaking that he decided to zip his lips. Thanks for his amazing acting skills and the paranoia of flies getting into his mouth, his pursed lips made him look like he was born to play a Texan cowboy.
Working with Sheep
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal won the hearts of many through their performances in the movie. Now, both of these actors are straight in real life and performing intimate scenes with these two actors should have been the hardest part of the movie. But it turns out that the sheep took the cake in this category. In an interview, the director of the movie Ang Lee revealed that shooting intimate scenes was comparatively easier than working with the sheep. According to Ang Lee, the sheep were so unruly on set that most of the flock was animated. Ang Lee had faced the same difficulties with sheep while working on Sense and Sensibility and now he hates them. He confessed in the interview saying,
“No more sheep. Never again sheep.”
The Plaid Shirts of £101,100.51
Randy Quaid Brokeback Mountain is a masterpiece in its own not just because of the gay romance. But that subject was a statement in its own as it portrayed the difficulties and backlash that gay people suffer from the society. So, the movie earned huge fan following of gay people. Tom Gregory, a gay activist, bought the plaid shirts that Ennis and Jake wore in the movie for £101,100.51 at auction.
When asked about his expensive purchase, he referred to the shirts as “the ruby slippers of our time,” which is a reference of course to the Wizard of Oz. The Ruby Slippers from the House of Harry Winston is a remake of Dorothy’s shoes that Winston got made in 1989 on the fiftieth anniversary of the movie. They cost $3 million and have 1,350 carats of rubies, meaning 4600 pieces and 50 carats of diamonds.
Anne Hathaway’s Audition
In an interview with Out, Anne Hathaway recalled her audition for the rodeo queen in the Randy Quaid Brokeback Mountain. She revealed that her audition for the part was held at the same time when she was playing a part in the Princess Diaries 2. They were shooting the scene of coronation in the movie and Hathaway was dressed in a ball gown with a big hairpiece on her head. She rushed to her auditions in a golf cart when she got the call. She told Out,
“We were shooting the coronation part of the movie, so I was dressed in a ball gown, wearing this big hairpiece that was way over the top, but also worked for a rodeo queen, so it was fine. I just put on my jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, and drove across the lot in a golf cart with my big princess hair.”
Anne Hathaway remembered being nervous because of her get up, but the producers didn’t care. When she asked about her get up after her incredible acting, Ang Lee said, “It’s okay. You play a Texas princess, anyway”.
Michelle Williams & Heath Ledger’s Romance
The romance between Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger blossomed on this set. When Out Magazine compiled an oral history of the film, the co-writer of the movie, Diana Ossana revealed how the two actors fell in love. They fell in love with each other during the very first scenes. And that was indeed the love at first sight.
During the scene when Alma (Michelle’s character) falls from the sled and Ennis (Heath Ledger) is there with her, Michelle accidentally twisted her knee, and the production called help to take her to the hospital. Heath was not ready to let her go on her own and insisted on going with her. As he got into the vehicle with her, he was brushing his hands in her hair. She was startled by the kind of treat she was given by him, and she too fell in love.
Michelle Insisted for Heath & Jake to Kiss
As the romance between Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams started to grow, they developed a new spark in their acting. The producer of the movie recalled that their acting after them falling for each other had a new sense of depth and helped much in playing the roles. It’s because of the off-screen and on-screen chemistry between the two actors. Michelle Williams played the part of Alma, the suffering wife of Ennis (Heath Ledger) who is gay and loves Jake.
To get herself in the shoes of Alma, Michelle William insisted both Jake and Heath kiss in front of her. So that she can relate to the situation her character was stuck in and it may help her play it naturally. Jake and Heath didn’t want to do it, so Michelle had to goad the actors into kissing.
Ennis & Jake’s On-screen Kiss
During the shooting of the film, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal refused to kiss when Michelle asked them to. She had to goad down both men into kissing and that too half-heartedly. But reportedly, they weren’t shy at all while kissing for the camera. In fact, Heath nearly broke Jake Gyllenhaal’s nose while kissing him for the camera. They didn’t hesitate for a moment and just went for it. This goes on to describe Heath Ledger’s passion for acting.
Roughing Up for the Role
The director of the beautiful film Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee pushed the actors to gain real-life experience beforehand for playing their roles. He needed the actors to experience exactly what it feels like chopping the woods, hauling bales of hay and putting up fences. While Heath Ledger had grown up on farms in Western Australia, he didn’t need to go for another trip to the farms. Ang Lee forced Jake Gyllenhaal to go on a one-month cowboy camp to gain all those experiences.
The Gasp from the Academy Awards
Randy Quaid Brokeback Mountain was released in 2005, and by 2006 it had gained a massive fan base. In the Academy Awards 2006, Brokeback Mountain was the public choice. But when Jack Nicholson came up on the stage to announce the winner, an audible gasp emerged from the crowd. Everyone was stunned because everyone expected Brokeback Mountain to win the award but it lost to another film called Crash. The gasp from the audience became the news the other day and portrayed the love of its wide audience.
The Combinations of Actors
Ang Lee is a widely acclaimed director for his choice of cast and directions. He didn’t choose the lead male actors for the Brokeback Mountain for their acting skills. Instead, he had made sets of actors who compliment each other’s acting skills. Before casting Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Ang Lee had many combinations in mind, and each pair had different characteristics. Perhaps Ang Lee thought of choosing the right pair first and set directions specifically to complement their mutual chemistry. It also means that if either Heath or Jake had walked or been rejected. The other would have been starred in the movie as well.
Hathaway Lied to Get the Part
Anne Hathaway is a celebrated American actor who has played several famous roles in movies like The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, The Princess Diaries and The Intern. She has proved her skills on various occasions while some of her skills were learned in just two weeks. As Anne Hathaway confessed in an interview with Out,
“When I left the audition, the last thing Ang said was, ‘Oh, by the way, can you ride a horse?’ My parents have given me a lot of gifts in my life, and one of them is: If you’re ever asked if you can do anything, say yes. You can learn anything in two weeks if you’re motivated enough.”
But that doesn’t mean you can MASTER anything in such little time. So Anne Hathaway’s horse ride was bound to get a little rough, and it did not go smoothly at all. As she added,
“I went to a rehearsal in front of 300 extras, all of whom work in rodeos. And the horse wouldn’t do a damn thing I wanted it to. And at the end, it threw me – in front of everyone.”
Kate Mara & Heath Ledger
Kate Mara is an incredible actor who has risen to fame through her dedication to the art of acting. She is willing to whatever it takes to portray a character as naturally as possible. But in an interview with CBC, Kate Mara opened up about her experiences on the set of Brokeback Mountain. She played as the daughter of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams. Kate revealed her nervousness regarding her role as she thought it was a wrong move given. That Heath was only four years older than her. But as the shooting began, she was startled by Ledger’s acting skills. And the way he handled the age gap with through his acting.
Matt Damon & Joaquin Phoenix Almost Made It
The director Gus Van Sant had his eyes set on the story earlier than Ang Lee. He planned to star Matt Damon for the Ledger’s role and Phoenix Gyllenhaal for Jake’s role. But Matt Damon already had The Talented Mr. Ripley and All the Pretty Horses in his pocket. So he passed telling the director, “Gus, I did a gay movie than a cowboy movie. I can’t follow it up with a gay-cowboy movie!”. Just like Ang Lee, Gus knew the story demanded complimentary acting and couldn’t settle for any other actor. So he chose to direct another gay-themed movie called Milk starring Phoenix.
The Fans of the Movie VS the Author of the Brokeback Mountain
The story of Brokeback Mountain first took over public attention. When it was published on 13 October 1997 in The New Yorker. The story by the author Annie Proulx was loved by many. And it found its place in the Close Range: Wyoming Stories. The collection of stories by the Annie Proulx published in 1999. When the movie came out, Annie was so proud of it. As she described herself as one of luckiest authors whose work gets adapted in its whole. She was happy that the entirety of her story was told by the movie with any changes.
But ever since the story reaches the consciousness of a far wider audience. Through the movie, Annie has sort of regrets ever writing it. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she revealed. That many people have written to her several revisions and expansions on her story by the fans. Who according to Annie, miss the whole point. She said that,
“These cover letters always begin with the sentence ‘I’m not gay, but ‘ (These fans) think that just because they are men, they understand men better than I do.”