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Heath Ledger almost lost Brokeback Mountain role because he ‘wasn’t macho enough’

Written by gaytourism

Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain | Photo: Brokeback Mountain

Heath Ledger was almost turned down for the role of Ennis in Brokeback Mountain because the studio felt he ‘wasn’t macho enough’ the film’s screenwriter has said.

The Hollywood Reporter quotes Diana Ossana as saying: ‘Nobody wanted Heath but me and [co-writer] Larry [McMurtry]. The studio felt he wasn’t macho enough.’

Speaking at a screening Q&A in Santa Monica, Ossana furthermore revealed that another actor was attached to the role for six months.

However, when he dropped out, it was Heath’s then-girlfriend Naomi Watts who persuaded him to take part.

‘You’ve got to do this role, for your career and for the world’

‘Heath read it on the way home to Australia,’ she said. ‘And he said Naomi read it and she was jumping up and down on the bed telling him you’ve got to do this role for all kinds of reasons – for your career and for the world.’

She furthermore added: ‘He told me on the set, you know, “It’s the most beautiful script I’ve ever read in my life. I would’ve rowed a boat halfway around the world to meet with Ang to be in this movie.”

‘It was a battle to get him, but boy was it worth it.’

Brokeback Mountain, of course, famously starred Heath and Jake Gyllenhaal as star-crossed cowboys Ennis and Jack.

But the 2005 hit movie almost had a very different billing, Ossana admitted. She says a range of ‘prominent young actors’ were considered for the ‘gay cowboy’ movie.

‘Nobody would commit’ she added.

Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and Joaquin Phoenix were all considered for the roles, adds the Hollywood Reporter.

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