A stage play based on Brokeback Mountain is officially in production.
The 1997 novel, by Annie Proulx, is best known for its 2005 Oscar-winning film adaptation – which stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two cowboys trying to reconcile their feelings for eachother in a deeply homophobic society.
It was announced back in 2015 that a new stage adaptation of the novel was in the works, helmed by producer Tom O’Connell.
Two long years later, and the project is finally getting going with a production workshop.
Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain” (Photo by River Road Entertainment)
The creator of the upcoming play teased the news, confirming: “Today is workshop ‘DAY ONE’ for #BrokebackMountain #WestEnd #Stage with our workshop cast and creatives.”
O’Connell said: “I am honoured to bring Annie Proulx’s beloved story to the stage as a new play that celebrates her compelling writing and will bring a new perspective on this heart-warming tale of an unbreakable bond.
“I’ve been extremely lucky in my career to produce plays which challenge, inspire and educate as much as they entertain; the struggles that the characters of Brokeback Mountain go through are still present in the world today, making the piece as relevant as ever.
“I am very much looking forward to working alongside Annie with a first-class creative team to bring Jack and Ennis’ story to new audiences.”
The venue for the play is yet to be announced, as is the cast.
Annie Proulx, who has previously expressed disdain for the noteriety surrounding Brokeback Mountain, said previously: “I am looking forward with sharp anticipation to the stage interpretation of the star-crossed lovers of Brokeback Mountain who moved from the page to the screen and now, under the skilled hand of producer Tom O’Connell and the sensibilities of the company, to the stage – a strange journey for two messed-up wannabe cow-hands from Wyoming.
The actors who pull on their scuffed-up boots will step into a difficult time in a hard place.”
Don’t expect a stage-friendly happy ending to be written in, though, if Proulx has any say about it.
She previously complained that “so many people have completely misunderstood the story”, adding: “They can’t bear the way it ends — they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild.”
“They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it.”
She said: “I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out.”