• Heath Ledger declined to participate in a “Brokeback Mountain” Oscars joke
  • Jake Gyllenhaal pushed himself hard for his movie "Stronger"
  • Heath Ledger was warned against mixing sleeping pills and prescription drugs

Jake Gyllenhaal recalled how Heath Ledger declined to participate in a “Brokeback Mountain” Oscars joke in 2007.

Gyllenhaal and Ledger both starred in the romance drama film. They played the role of two shepherds who developed a sexual and emotional relationship. Gyllenhaal said in the past that it’s one of his movies that he couldn’t dare to watch.

He also shared that Ledger refused to present at the 2007 Academy Awards over a joke that did not sit well with him. It involved their respective characters’ romantic relationship in the movie. Gyllenhaal was okay with it and even considered it “good fun” but his on-screen partner declined.

“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said.

“And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, okay... whatever.’ I’m always like: it’s all in good fun. And Heath said, ‘It's not a joke to me—I don’t want to make any jokes about it.’”

Gyllenhaal added that he understood Ledger’s decision and even praised him for it.

“That’s the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, ‘No. This is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no,’” he continued.

Gyllenhaal also shared how he has evolved as an actor. According to him, his 2017 movie “Stronger” which follows the true story of Jeff Bauman, a Boston Marathon runner, moved him. He admitted that there was a lot of pressure on his end because he pushed himself so hard to make the film realistic.

“I think I kinda pushed so hard, I wanted that movie to be so excellent. It was a devotion of mine to the guy I played and for myself. I tried everything I could to do his story service—I fought so hard for that movie to get seen, for his story to be appreciated,” he explained.

Meanwhile, when Ledger was still alive he portrayed creepy characters on-screen including The Joker. Clinical psychologist Naomi Hynd warned that “over-identification with roles could potentially lead to mental health problems.”

Ledger was found dead on Jan. 22, 2008 in his apartment. His friends and family warned him against mixing sleeping pills with prescription medications. A toxicology report revealed that there was a fatal mix of prescription drugs in his system, People reported.

Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal arrives for the 2015 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, July 15, 2015. Reuters/Danny Moloshok