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From the Washington Blade:
A ‘Mountain’ of hype
Is ‘Brokeback’ the most important gay movie ever made?
By TRAY BUTLER | Dec 8, 3:30 PM
In the weeks before filming began on “Brokeback Mountain,” director Ang Lee met individually with each of his actors to impart small bits of guidance about how to handle their roles. With Heath Ledger, the advice was simple.
Ang Lee, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal of ‘Brokeback Mountain.’
“The main thing I remember Ang telling me was 'stillness,'” Ledger told this publication in an interview this week.
It’s an appropriately Zen imperative from the Taiwanese director, whose work, including 1995's "Sense and Sensibility" and 2000's “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” earned him a reputation for squeezing soulful and intimate performances out of actors in the midst of grandiose settings.
Lee’s advice cuts to the core of Ledger’s character, Ennis Del Mar, a conflicted ranch hand who only feels safe when he’s in the quiet majesty of the Wyoming wilderness and in the arms of his unlikely soul mate, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal).
But that idea of “stillness” feels a million miles away from the unprecedented buzz surrounding the film itself. “Brokeback Mountain,” which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 9 before opening in other cities on Dec. 16, may be the single most talked about gay movie of all time — propelled not only by its two hunky young (and straight) lead actors but the firestorm of speculation over how Hollywood would handle such a unapologetic tale of same-sex romance.
Ledger and Gyllenhaal’s rash of recent magazine covers and the festival circuit’s acclaim for the film have only fanned the flames of hype, not to mention the endless “Brokeback” postings on gay blogs like www.towleroad.com.
As the world braces for the film’s opening this weekend, it’s almost as if there are two “Brokeback Mountains.” There’s the movie itself, a somber and gut-wrenching love story in the fine tradition of celluloid weepies, and then there’s the “Brokeback” buzz, with its twin hopes and fears of Oscar acclaim and a “red state” backlash against Hollywood’s very gay autumn.
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