By Shirley Li
Updated July 23, 2015 at 03:02 PM EDT
Credit: SGranitz/WireImage
  • Movie

Ten years after the release of Brokeback Mountain, Jake Gyllenhaal reflected this week on working with Heath Ledger on the film and how Ledger’s death in 2008 affected his outlook on life.

In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, the actor discussed his late co-star after Gross played a scene from the film. “I miss him as a human being and I miss working with him,” he said. “What an unfortunate thing it is that we won’t be able to see the beauty of his expression.”

Gross then gently asked Gyllenhaal if Ledger was the first person he was close with who died.

“Yeah,” he answered. “He was incredibly special and that doesn’t even come close to encapsulating who he is, who he was.”

Gyllenhaal then paused and spoke of how losing Ledger made him rethink his work.

“I’m trying to have relationships that are as real as they possibly can be on a movie set, be close to people because I know that it’s precious,” he said. “And I know, not only can this career end in a very short period of time and this or that can happen, but that life is precious. I think losing Heath and being a part of a family that was something like the movie, the movie we all made together, makes you see that, makes you appreciate that and hopefully moves you away from the things that really don’t matter to the things that do.”

Brokeback Mountain

  • Movie
  • R
  • 134 minutes
  • Ang Lee