This past weekend marked the release of Prisoners, the new film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman that has not only blown away expectations at the box office but is a hit with critics. But while making the rounds promoting the film, the unfortunate topic of one of Gyllenhaal deceased friends has come up, forcing the actor to relive the loss of Heath Ledger.
Both Gyllenhaal and Ledger were nominated for Oscars back in 2005 for their iconic roles in Brokeback Mountain, but the actor says his friendship with Ledger existed long before they played lovers on the big screen in Ang Lee’s classic.
“Heath and I knew each other for years before that because we had both auditioned for ‘Moulin Rouge’ together. And I remember thinking, ‘I like this guy. He’s just like, super lovable’.”
The role in Moulin Rouge eventually went to Ewan McGregor but both Gyllenhaal and Ledger rose to fame at around the same time and hit the big time together in 2005. Ledger even starred in The Dark Knight with Gyllenhaal’s sister Maggie, thus deepening the ties between the two actors.
Gyllenhaal and Ledger were so close that Gyllenhaal was named godfather to Matilda, Ledger’s only child with actress Michelle Williams. When Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008, Gyllenhaal said it was like losing a family member and states that even to this day when he thinks about losing Ledger, he feels as though he lost s brother.
It’s been over five years since Ledger’s death, but it’s clear that those who spoke of his impact on their lives at the time of his death weren’t being light in saying so.