To me, Brokeback Mountain is uniquely, and universally, a
great American love story.
We know the West from movies, as the romanticized world of gunslingers.
But the real West, I don’t think people around the world know
about that much. People like me, coming from Taiwan, outside of America,
think of America as New York and the West Coast. But there’s this
big chunk of rural American life that we don’t really know too
much about. It’s a love story about those people.
I think people need to know about that side of America. Like everybody,
they have a heart and they don’t talk too much about it. You have
to really dig to discover it, and share that experience.
If a project is not scary and sensitive, then it’s probably less
interesting to me. After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, we
were on our way to make our next project, and James Schamus mentioned
to me that he just came upon this interesting material. I read the short
story, which I wasn’t aware of when it was first published. I
had tears in my eyes at the end, and it stayed with me. I then read
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana’s screenplay, and
it was a very faithful and great adaptation.
Two years later, I asked James, “What happened with Brokeback
Mountain? Did it get made yet?” He said, “We haven’t
been able to make that movie.” Lucky for me. I said, “You
know, it’s stuck with me over the years. I can’t get it
out of my mind.”
James got the rights, and I started thinking about making the movie
right away. Before I knew I could physically do it, I jumped on. I just
knew, in the bottom of my heart, if I let it go, I would regret it for
the rest of my life.
Everyone has a yearning for love. Maybe you have that taste of it and
you keep wanting to go back; maybe you never have that. It’s a
poignant story—“would have, should have, could have...”