Though it's been more than eight years since Heath Ledger tragically passed away from an accidental drug overdose, Jake Gyllenhaal still has fond memories of working with his late friend on the 2005 flick Brokeback Mountain.
"I'd known Heath for a really long time before that movie. We were friends. We went to a sort of boot camp, where we'd all hang out and learn to ride [horses]. Heath already knew how to ride really well, but we'd ride and hang out on the ranch outside of LA," Jake, 34, recalled of his costar in a new interview with Out magazine.
Heath and Jake in Brokeback Mountain.
When Heath passed away at age 28 in 2008, Jake didn't just lose a friend — he lost someone whom he loved collaborating with professionally. "While there are many parts of [Heath's] real story that are sad, one of the saddest things is that I won't be able to exchange ideas creatively with Heath again, because that was one of the most beautiful things to come out of that," he explained.
Now, 10 years after Brokeback Mountain hit theaters, Jake said one of the best parts of making the film were the lasting relationships he made with not just Heath, but with other castmates Anne Hathaway, 32, and Michelle Williams, 34.
Heath, Jake, Michelle and Anne in September 2005.
"For the first month of shooting, we all lived by this river in little trailers... and would walk to set. We are all still close — not just bonded by the success of the film, but bonded by the experience. It was an intimate project in that way. We'd wake up and make breakfast for each other and hang out. Heath and Michelle fell in love. It was a really special, special time," Jake said.