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Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon turned down gay love story ‘Brokeback Mountain’

“Brokeback Mountain” won three Oscars in 2006, was robbed of the award for best picture (by “Crash”) and earned nominations for its young stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

But before Ang Lee took over as director of the film, Gus Van Sant had the job as he toiled unsuccessfully, trying to pull “Brokeback Mountain” together.

Van Sant told IndieWire his project stalled because he couldn’t get major, A-list actors like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon to star as gay lovers in the drama.

“Nobody wanted to do it,” Van Sant told IndieWire. “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.”

“Brokeback Mountain” producer and screenwriter Diana Ossana confirmed Van Sant’s comments to IndieWire.

“Yes, all those young gentlemen (at the time) turned down the project, for various reasons,” Ossana said.

Van Sant, who cast River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves in the unrequited love story “My Own Private Idaho” (1991), said the inability to cast the major stars in “Brokeback Mountain” dampened his enthusiasm.

“What I could have done, and what I probably should have done, was cast more unknowns, not worried about who were the lead actors,” he said. “I was not ready. I’m not sure why. There was just sort of a hiccup on my part. There was something off with myself, I guess, whatever was going on.”

The movie later went to Lee, who cast Ledger and Gyllenhaal in the groundbreaking roles. Van Sant has directed a new film ‘He Won’t Get Far on Foot.’

Source: USAtoday