Jake Gyllenhaal has spoken about the legacy of Brokeback Mountain
, admitting that while he and ledger felt "uncomfortable" filming some scenes for the 2005 romantic drama, they "both deeply believed" in the film's message.
The 34 year-old - who admitted last year
that starring in the Ang Lee-directed movie gave him a new appreciation of film's social and political power - also opened up to NPR
about the lasting effect Ledger's death in 2008 had on him.
Discussing the reaction at the time to two Hollywood A-listers playing a gay couple, Gyllenhaal said: "It was fascinating, particularly because I don't think we knew what a success the movie would be, what it would become and it was an intimate and really scary thing for me and Heath, in particular, to dive into.
"It was uncomfortable for both of us in some of the scenes, and yet we both deeply believed in what the movie was saying... At the time it was pretty unreal... The emotional response you get from that movie from people who see that movie, I think it was one of the first movies where people would go, "Oh, I can see it as love."
"Believe me, we got a lot of other responses, too."
Of his former co-star Ledger, who was found dead at the age of 28 in January 2008 after taking a cocktail of prescription medication, the Southpaw
actor said: "I miss him as a human being and I miss working with him and what an unfortunate thing it is that we won't be able to see the beauty of his expression."
He added that his friend's tragic passing had changed his outlook on life, work and relationships, explaining: "I'm trying to be present where I am. I'm trying to have relationships that are as real as they possibly can be on a movie set, be close to people because I know that it's precious. And I know, not only can this career end in a very short period of time and this or that can happen, but also that life is precious.
"I think losing Heath and being a part of a family that was something like the movie, that movie we all made together, makes you see that, makes you appreciate that and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don't matter to the things that do."
celebrating the film's tenth anniversary last month (June),
director Ang Lee revealed that Ledger had based his gruff character of Ennis Del Mar on one of his "homophobic, gay" uncles - click here to find out more
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