Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Emotional Discussing Late Friend Heath Ledger

Published on July 24, 2015. Updated November 10, 2019
Michael Germana/Everett Collection

Jake Gyllenhaal, 34, has craved himself out as one of Hollywood’s best and most adaptable actors, as he completely immerses himself in every role he takes on. This talent is most recently seen in Gyllenhaal’s newest film Southpaw for which he underwent rigorous training to transform his body into that of a champion boxer.

While he has been applauded for various roles over the years, one of his most iconic will always be for his portrayal of Jack Twist in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, which he starred in alongside Heath Ledger.

While doing press tours for Southpaw, Gyllenhaal opened up about his friendship with his late co-star ten years after the movie’s release and seven years since Ledger’s tragic death with NPR’s Terry Gross.

“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,” he stated, referring to the loss of Ledger.

“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… appreciate that and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don’t matter to the things that do.”

Gyllenhaal and Ledger became very good friends off-screen after portraying lovers on-screen and he went on to state that he still feels the void of Ledger’s absence.

“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 said, before becoming emotional and stating, “He was incredibly special and that doesn’t even come close to encapsulating who he is, who he was.”

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