Gyllenhaal And Ledger Auditioned For Moulin Rouge!

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May 3, 2011 | 7:40am EST

Baz Luhrmann has opened up about his lengthy Moulin Rouge! casting search – the director auditioned Jake Gyllenhaal and late Australian actor Heath Ledger for the lead male role.
The part of penniless poet Christian in the 2001 movie musical eventually went to Scottish actor Ewan McGregor but Luhrmann admits it took months of auditions to find the right man for the job.

He tells MTV.com, “I saw everyone. I have audition material of people you wouldn’t believe. I know who can really sing, people who’ve got amazing voices, from that process.

“Dear Heath Ledger, (he had) incredible scenes with Nicole. Because at one stage, Christian was very young, he was a younger guy, and then I was aware of Ewan but I didn’t know if he could sing.

“Jake should do a musical. He’s a wonderful actor, but (he has a) great voice, tremendous voice. He sang some (Stephen) Sondheim for me, complicated singing, great voice. When is he going to guest on Glee?”

The filmmaker has also heaped praise on Courtney Love for granting him permission to feature her late husband Kurt Cobain’s iconic anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit in the film.

He adds, “I worked with Courtney. She was fascinating, she was beguiling. Also, without Courtney’s approval, we would never have Smells Like Teen Spirit in Moulin Rouge! and I had to go and show her the whole piece. She’s absolutely fantastic. I adore her spirit. She’s wild and unpredictable and a great performer.”

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