E Annie Proulx, best-known as the author of Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News, has expressed her dismay at the legacy of the short story which became a critically acclaimed film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.
In an interview with the Paris Review, she is quoted as saying, “I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out. Before the film it was all right.”
The main focus for Proulx’s ire is the way that fans of the film and the story have felt the need to ‘fill in’ the rest of the story by giving it a happy ending. “…a lot of men have decided that the story should have had a happy ending. They can’t bear the way it ends—they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth… And it just drives me wild.”
These comments echo what Proulx previously said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2008, where the success of the film, “has had little effect on my writing life, but is the source of constant irritation in my private life. There are countless people out there who think the story is open range to explore their fantasies and to correct what they see as an unbearably disappointing story. They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me…”
Brokeback Mountain originally appeared in the New Yorker and was later republished in Proulx’s collection Close Range: Wyoming Stories. Proulx’s new book, Bark-Skins, is scheduled for publication in 2015.