All The Straight White Men Who Turned Down Brokeback Mountain

Photo: Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
The noughties were a different time, so much so that apparently many actors passed on the 2005 film and what ended up being two of the most iconic roles of all times. Brokeback Mountain, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, explores a 20-year affair between two characters Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar (a groundbreaking story for its time considering it was ten years before same-sex marriage was made legal in the United States). In an interview with Indiewire, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot director Gus Van Sant opened up about the difficulties of Brokeback Mountain, which he was originally slated to direct before it eventually went to Ang Lee.
"Nobody wanted to do it," Van Sant told the outlet. "I was working on it, and I felt like we needed a really strong cast, like a famous cast. That wasn’t working out. I asked the usual suspects: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ryan Phillippe. They all said no."
Van San cited "various reasons" for the actors' passing on the project, but it's possible that big names weren't ready to so publicly advocate for a movement that was still considered controversial. Refinery29 has reached out to the actors mentioned to find out why they decided not to accept the roles. If any of them want in on a reboot, I'm sure it's not too late.
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