From Wednesday's Fresh Air interview with Jake Gyllenhaul, star of the forthcoming boxing movie, Southpaw.
GROSS: That's a scene from "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005 with Heath Ledger and my guest, Jake Gyllenhaal. When you made that scene, did you think I wish I knew how to quit you would become a famous line?To read/hear Gyllenhaul's reflection on his late co-star, go here.
GYLLENHAAL: I mean, no, not in any - not in any form anywhere. And anywhere in my mind, all I could think about was the love between these two people, you know? And it has since become something, you know - you know praised and mocked and many other things. And it's very interesting.
GROSS: So can I ask you a question that I'm not sure you can be honest about? The music that swells up at the end of the scene that we played - I'm going to be honest, it bothers me. 'Cause I think we know how we should feel hearing that. We - the emotion is being very clearly expressed. It's a very emotional scene. I feel like we don't need that kind of oh, isn't it sad music to cue us about the emotions being expressed.
GYLLENHAAL: Well, I didn't direct the movie so I don't (laughter).
GROSS: No, I know that. I know that. But I wonder as the actor who's like doing your best to convey this very like deeply-felt emotion. And Heath Ledger's trying to convey this very, very like repressed emotion. Listening back to it, can I ask you honestly if you ever wish that there wasn't music? I'm sorry, I feel like I'm putting you on the spot.
GYLLENHAAL: No, are you kidding me? No, I mean - I mean I would point out - I'd preface this by saying this is an Academy award-winning score. But I would say that I often feel like it's interesting in films because, you know, we - I think people feel manipulated in films sometimes. I often hear that particularly with music where they say stuff like oh, we're being - I feel like we're being told how to feel here or this is what I'm supposed to feel and - and I think that's - I think that that's true. I think the experience of a movie should be your own experience. And I don't think you should be forced into any feeling. And I think whatever feeling you have about it is important. That's - I mean, particularly with something like "Brokeback Mountain." It's like I respect just as much the naysayers as I do the people who support the film. I respect their opinion. You know, and I love that about art in general. I mean, people have come up to me many times in my career and said just openly like I just didn't like you or that film, you know? And I go man, like thank you for that expression. I mean, and it's not done in a way that's preferred not to be like aggressive but I - I love the expression of that whatever it might be. And with music in movies, I think sometimes people can feel that way. For me, listening to it brings me back to, you know, it brings me back to thinking about doing that scene with Heath, you know? And the honor it was to work with him and the beauty of his work and 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. And, you know, hearing those things really gets you. And so I don't - I didn't hear the music as much to be honest (laughter). I just thought about the feeling.
GROSS: This might be too personal so you just tell me 'cause I don't want to...
GROSS: ...Intrude. Was Heath Ledger the first peer, the first friend you were close with who died?
GYLLENHAAL: Yeah. Yeah...