I refused to see it. And there was no getting around the movie being gay. The film was being parodied ad nauseum before its release. Each punchline reaffirmed my decision to maintain a safe distance. Even Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to steer clear. Here, there was already a thinkpiece: Intimacy between two men was a novelty to be uncomfortably giggled off screen between mouthfuls of popcorn.
My cousin, I remember, told me about some of her friends that ran into Ledger in a small Alberta town where he was filming. He was shy, they said. Not very impressive in person. Cute, but no big deal. A short scene was recorded at a makeshift grocery store in Crossfield, Alberta. He taught himself how to act by recording himself on camera and watching back the footage — in the same way basketball players review game play. Acting found Ledger, all cherubic-faced and curly-haired. He was not yet dead behind the eyes from lack of sleep and a steady mocktail of prescriptions.
I have no interest in being that guy. He hid behind a producer while meeting fans. We were so giddy and happy we got to have even a short conversation with him! He looks happy in the photo. Its impact was immeasurable. But you already knew that. Heath Ledger was famous for being gay. In , still pining for any screen time, he was offered the part of either a swimmer or an Olympic-bound gay cyclist on Australian TV show Sweat. He took on the gay cyclist, Snowy Bowles, because it was more challenging.
It was the first time a gay teenager had been portrayed on Australian television. He covered the January issue when making the press rounds for Brokeback. I had no idea what I was doing. Mostly because nobody saw the show. To call it brave is to overestimate its significance.
And to call Heath Ledger gay is flawed logic, but it sure felt that way. How he played Ennis so tenderly, almost wordlessly — it seemed real. Even the way he kissed was thought through.
He has a specific target within him. The hate group wrote an open letter to the family of Heath Ledger. All those whom Heath misled will arrive ultimately in Hell, and they will curse Heath to his face throughout all eternity.
Whenever I think about his death, I think about a couple of things that happened in response to it: When you pre-empt the narrative by dying prematurely, or of arriving ultimately in Hell, you become frozen in time.
All he left was a string of unfinished projects pregnant with possibility. For him to be holding on, and for it all to be inside — but in the shower I would really like to let go. It was his idea, and he did give himself a black eye in the process. He just played a very convincing gay character. The camera pans to show Heath, visibly pleased, but coy. At least for me — a young, closeted gay man — it was.