Baz Luhrmann REVEALS late actor Heath Ledger was almost cast opposite Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge

Updated on May 09, 2021 04:32 PM IST  |  203.8K
Heath Ledger was a top contender for Moulin Rouge lead role

As director Baz Luhrmann's Oscar-winning film, Moulin Rouge celebrates its 20th anniversary, the filmmaker opened up about some interesting details about its making including a major casting scoop. The director recalled how actor Heath Ledger had also auditioned for the lead role of Christian and had even almost landed it, if not for his age difference with female lead Nicole Kidman. Luhrmann while talking to News Australia, recalled how Ledger's audition was and why he lost out on the role.

While speaking to the Australian news portal, the filmmaker said, "A young Heath Ledger was up for the role and I thought maybe the character could be very young. And it turned out they [Ledger and Kidman] did really work together. And it was quite beautiful." At the time of the audition, there was 12-year age difference between Kidman, who was 33, and a 21-year-old Ledger.

Considering Ledger felt "too young" for the role, the part eventually went to Star Wars fame Ewan McGregor. Revealing how he decided to go with McGregor, the director said, "They [Nicole and Ewan] were hysterical and wonderfully matched. They were great. He was just the perfect partner for Nicole."

Another actor who also auditioned for the role of Christian in Moulin Rouge was Ledger's Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal. After being passed on for Moulin Rouge, Ledger later turned down director Luhrmann when approached for one of his other projects, due to the long casting process as revealed by Gyllenhaal during his GQ interview.

Unfortunately, Ledger was taken away much sooner from the industry as he passed away aged 28 in 2008. After his death, the actor was posthumously honoured with an Oscar for his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. 

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