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Heath Ledger turned down Oscars speech due to homophobic 'Brokeback Mountain' jokes

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Heath Ledger refused to deliver the opening monologue at the 2007 Oscars alongside Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal, as the Academy was keen to incorporate jokes about the film.

Gyllenhaal shared the news in an interview with Another Man, relaying Ledger’s refusal based on the comedy element suggested.

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“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.’”

The two actors played Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning film, framing the secret love story between two cowboys.

Jake Gyllenhaal continued on his thoughts about the late actor: “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.’”

Elsewhere, in 2018 it was revealed that the two lead parts in Brokeback Mountain could have been played by Matt Damon and Ryan Philippe, as well as Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio – but they all said no.

In relation to another of Ledger’s roles, Joker cinematographer Lawrence Sher recently shared concerns that Joaquin Phoenix would “go too far” into the character, in the way that Ledger did when playing the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight.

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