Kate Mara says Heath Ledger took her “under his wing” when they filmed ‘Brokeback Mountain’ together.

Kate Mara

Kate Mara

The 37-year-old actress was only 19 when she landed a role in the 2005 hit movie as the daughter of Heath’s character, even though the late actor was only a few years older than Kate at the time.

And now, Kate has explained that despite their close age, Heath - who passed away from an accidental prescription drug overdose in 2008 at the age of 28 - was protective over her, and helped show her the ropes of the industry.

She explained during an appearance on ‘Watch What Happens Live’: “I was 19, but he was only a few years older than me. It was pretty crazy. But he was the sweetest thing. That whole experience was really amazing.

“Even though he was only a couple years older, he really took me under his wing, because I hadn’t worked that much. It was really special.”

Heath was a beloved member of the Hollywood community, and earlier this year, fellow ‘Brokeback Mountain’ star Jake Gyllenhaal opened up on the careful way his late friend approached the LGBTQ storyline of their Oscar-winning movie.

He said in April: “I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it. And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, OK … whatever.’ I’m always like: it’s all in good fun. And Heath said, ‘It’s not a joke to me – I don’t want to make any jokes about it.’ ”

And more than a decade after the film’s release, Jake still struggles to come to terms with the impact the iconic production has had on its fans.

He added: “When we did ‘Brokeback Mountain’, I was like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ This is a level of focus and attention that hits a certain nerve and you’re like, ‘This is bigger than me.’ I understand what it is but this little movie we made that meant so much to us has now become not ours anymore. It’s the world’s.”