In the aftermath of the Heath Ledger tragedy, director Ang Lee — who worked with Ledger on “Brokeback Mountain” and lives in Larchmont — had one of the nicest quotes about the actor in any of the stories I read.
“Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life. He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined – a thirst for life, for love and for truth, and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him. His death is heartbreaking.” </div></blockquote>
Eager to find any other comments Lee has made about Ledger in the past, I stumbled upon something even better: an article in The Age about how Lee is a cruel, cruel tyrant on film sets. As the story put it, Hugh Grant once nicknamed the normally softspoken man “Fang Lee” after shooting Sense and Sensibility. The only other evidence that the story puts forward to back up its claim is the Heath Ledger once said (with Lee standing at his side) that the director “drove him and Jake Gyllenhaal to the outer limit of physical endurance in freezing temperatures.”
I’m not sure how exactly that qualifies him as an evil taskmaster, but the article goes on, “Under that mild-mannered exterior — consisting of a gentle-to-inaudible speaking voice, self-deprecating manner and an overall Zen calm — lurks a driven obsessive, a Caligula among directors.”
As for another claim in the article — that Lee spent 100 hours filming a ten minute sex scene for “Lust Caution” — well, that’s just plain common sense. And, I think, even something that a frostbitten Heath Ledger would have approved of.
“Fang Lee: Cruel but True” [The Age]
(AP Photo/Focus Features)Ã‚Â