Annie Proulx—Author of ‘Brokeback Mountain’—Wishes She’d Never Written It

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American novelist Annie Proulx, who’s probably most famous for being the author of Brokeback Mountain  says she wishes she’d never written it.

In a in an interview  in the The Paris Review from 2009, Proulx says she is regularly sent rewrites of her original story “including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack [Jake Gyllenhaal’s character] is killed”. She says it “drives [her] wild.”

“I wish I’d never written the story,” she said. Before the film it was all right….They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis [Heath Ledger].

“It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality.”

“It’s a strong story and it shouldn’t be mangled into everybody lives happily ever after.”
The short story was originally published in the October 13, 1997 issue of The New Yorker.
Proulx worked with Charles Wuorinen on an opera adaptation of Brokeback Mountain which premiered in 2014 in Madrid. She wrote the libretto (book) for the show. The New York Times review of the opera said, “Some new operas are exasperating because they fall far short of their potential. Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain, though, is exasperating because it falls just short. This Brokeback comes so close to living up to its promise and becoming a truly distinctive modernist opera. But for all Mr. Wuorinen’s skill and the risks he takes challenging audiences with unabashedly atonal, fiercely complex music, the score often seems relentlessly busy and ineffectively intricate.”
In a 2014 interview, Mr. Wuorinen stressed that his opera is closer to Ms. Proulx’s story than to Ang Lee’s powerful 2005 film, which presents the protagonists, Ennis and Jack, as matinee idols and the mountain landscape of Wyoming as lush and almost beckoning. The story makes clear that Brokeback Mountain is a treacherous environment for hard-bitten men.
In 2018, the film adaptation, directed by Ang Lee and starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal,  was inducted to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. Films chosen for inclusion are deemed worthy of preservation for future generations for their “cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage”.