Why Heath refused to work with Baz Luhrmann

Publish Date
Thursday, 11 January 2018, 3:06PM

Plenty of actors would love to star in a lavish Baz Luhrmann production — but it's been revealed that Heath Ledger wasn't among them.

In a new interview for GQ Australia 's February issue, cover star Jake Gyllenhaal opened up about his friendship with the late star, which at one time caused Ledger to turn down a role in one of Luhrmann's movies.

Before they co-starred in Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal and Ledger were both vying for the lead role in the Australian director's 2001 hit Moulin Rouge! — and were gutted when it eventually went to Ewan McGregor instead.

"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," Gyllenhaal said of the audition process.

"When Ewan was cast, I finally met Heath and we sort of became friends before Brokeback Mountain, based on our mutual frustration.

"When Brokeback Mountain came out and it got all the attention it did, I remember, a few months later, Heath called me and he was like, [affects Ledger impersonation] '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***ing turned it down!' ... So that was how much Heath loved me, you know."