Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger bonded over their mutual dislike for Ewan McGregor.
The actors became firm friends while playing lovers in 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, but Gyllenhaal tells GQ Australia that working together on the acclaimed Ang Lee movie was only part of the reason they became pals.
The Stronger star reveals he and Heath discovered they were both up for the leading role in Baz Luhrmann’s movie musical Moulin Rouge! – and missed out to Scottish actor McGregor.
“I was auditioning for Moulin Rouge!” Jake explains. “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.
“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.”
The two stars spoke about their “mutual frustration” as they started shooting Brokeback Mountain – and Heath was so angry about the way they had been treated during the Moulin Rouge! audition process, he turned down the chance to work with Luhrmann.
“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, ‘Hey mate, I got some news for you… Baz just offered me his next movie. I just wanted you to know, I f**king turned it down!’
“So that was how much Heath loved me, you know.”