Life's tough when you play a gay cowboy
Heath Ledger says it's tough playing a gay cowboy. Shooting love scenes in the film Brokeback Mountain with another Hollywood heart-throb, Jake Gyllenhaal, apparently will not be the hardest part.
Ledger has been ordered to the gym to bulk up for the role and confessed to a huge American television audience yesterday he is not a gym junkie.
"Oddly enough it's the one job that I've been asked to build up on and kind of work out," Ledger told top-rating US talk show host Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.
"You'd think you would kind of build up and work out to play a superhero or something, but it ends up being for a gay cowboy story."
Ledger just returned from a surfing trip with friends in Costa Rica and joked that catching waves, stretching or "yoga in bed" were the only forms of exercise he enjoyed.
"It's been really tough to have to lift weights. It's just terrible," Ledger complained.
The 24-year-old was encouraged by girlfriend Naomi Watts to take the gig as a cowboy who falls in love with a ranch hand in 1960s Montana.
The Aussie actor was in a good mood as Leno baited him about the role.
"Now who are you? Are you really 'butch' Cassidy?" Leno asked.
Ledger also joked the film was a "musical comedy" and he and Gyllenhaal played "sheep herders".
"It's a gorgeous script and God Jake's cute," said a smiling Ledger.
Leno replied: "I'm not even going to ask you about that audition."
Ledger is on the publicity circuit in America promoting Ned Kelly, which despite opening in Australian cinemas last year, only hits US theatres this Friday.
Leno gave the Australian-made film his thumbs up, however he had trouble explaining the plot to his American audience.
"It's a western," Leno said.
"That sounds silly, but it's a western in Australia basically.
"Well, what we would call a western."
During the interview Ledger encouraged Leno to try on a replica of the famous head armour the bushranger wore.
With only Leno's eyes peering out of the slot in the armour, the talk show host said: "How kinky is this? Well, I'm ready to play the gay cowboy."
Ledger responded: "You've got your protection on there Jay."