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Image credit: Brokeback Mountain: Kimberley French

The sex scenes

The sex scenes were an emotional gauntlet for both actors. This was terra incognita in Hollywood moviemaking. Two young, male mainstream movie stars had never engaged in such ravenous make-out sessions or such graphically choreographed sex. The Brokeback script called for all that in addition to the biggest acting challenge: genuine intimacy and raw emotion. Both actors tried to hide their day-of jitters with varying degrees of success. ''I was super uncomfortable, but I was the one who shouldn't have been,'' recalls Gyllenhaal, explaining that his character is the more sexually experienced of the two. ''What made me most courageous was that I realized I had to try to let go of that stereotype I had in my mind, that bit of homophobia, and try for a second to be vulnerable and sensitive. It was f---in' hard, man. I succeeded only for milliseconds.''

And then Lee made them repeat the sex scene 13 times. ''For me it was a little easier than it was for Jake,'' Ledger says, nervously pulling his red cap inside out and back again between his hands. ''Any kind of nerves I had about approaching that scene, I didn't have to hide. We were like, 'F--- it, we took on this story and there's no point in shying away from it.' Neither of us wanted to do it again any time soon. But in the end, it was just like kissing a person.''

''Heath and I made love,'' Gyllenhaal says, with an impish grin, ''and they got a baby out of it.''

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