Apparently Heath Ledger And Jake Gyllenhaal Were Supposed To Be In Moulin Rouge

As the film turns 20 this year, director Baz Luhrmann is spilling the tea.

The iconic Moulin Rouge turns 20 this year, and as we try to wrap our heads around that fact (and hastily apply some eye cream) director, Baz Luhrmann, has been spilling some juicy secrets from behind the scenes.

If you’re in need of a refresh, the film, which came out in 2001, is part romance, part musical. Starring Ewan McGregor as Christian, a writer who moves to Paris to join the Bohemian revolution and Nicole Kidman as Satine, the lead dancer at the Moulin Rouge.

This film has everything you could possibly need for a night in with the gals, a great story, stunning costumes and of course, an amazing soundtrack.

However, Australian director, Baz Luhrmann (who is also behind The Great Gatsby) has revealed that it wasn’t always supposed to Ewan and Nicole in the leading roles.

Instead, Heath Ledger was initially tipped to take the role of Christian, but that they felt the age difference between him and Nicole would be too much. Speaking with he shared; “A young Heath Ledger was up for the role and I thought maybe the character could be very young.”

We already know Heath could sing from his role in 10 Things I Hate About You, and Luhrmann revealed that Heath and Nicole did work well together, although we can’t imagine it rivalling the chemistry between her and Ewan.

Ultimately, the age gap, which was 12 years, was seen to be too much between the pair and that he was “just too young.”

In another surprising bit of tea, Luhrmann shared that Jake Gyllenhaal was the third actor they had in mind to play Christian, but they agreed that he was also too young at the time. Of course Gyllenhaal and Ledger would both go on to star across from one another in Brokeback Mountain where they spoke about this.

In a 2008 interview with GQ Jake shared that it became a running joke between them that they both missed out on the role; “Heath called me and he was like,‘Hey mate, I got some news for you’. I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Baz just offered me his next movie. I just wanted you to know, I f**king turned it down!”

Turns out the pair never met whilst auditioning either; “I was auditioning for Moulin Rouge! Baz Luhrmann had chosen three actors. It was Ewan, it was Heath, and me. And we auditioned with many different actresses, it was a long process.”

“But I never met Heath, I only heard about him. We would be shuffled in and out of rooms. They would literally put me in a room and lock the door and Heath would come in and then Heath would be shuffled through the door. I never saw him.”

Although we could imagine a world where Heath or Jake played the role of Christian instead, nothing beats the original Ewan and Nicole combo for us. Perhaps it’s time for a rewatch….


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