Guess who auditioned for 'Moulin Rouge!'
May 3rd, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Guess who auditioned for 'Moulin Rouge!'

Ten years after its release, "Moulin Rouge!" still remains a classic, thanks largely to the talents of leads Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

But according to director Baz Luhrmann, several other stars were also seriously considered for the movie musical, including Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and Courtney Love.

"Heath Ledger [had] incredible scenes with Nicole," Luhrmann told MTV. "Because at one stage, Christian [the role that went to McGregor] was very young, he was a younger guy, and then I was aware of Ewan but I didn't know if he could sing."

Gyllenhaal also tried out for Christian. "Jake should do a musical. He's a wonderful actor, but [he has a] great voice, tremendous voice," said Luhrmann. "He sang some [Stephen] Sondheim for me, complicated singing, great voice. When is he going to guest on 'Glee?'"

Love, meanwhile, not only tried out for the film but also agreed to let Luhrmann use late husband Kurt Cobain's song.

"She was fascinating, she was beguiling," Luhrmann said of the singer. "Also, without Courtney's approval, we would never have [Nirvana's] '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."

Like Ledger and Gyllenhaal, Love wasn't cast in the film—nor were countless others.

"I saw everyone," said Luhrmann. "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."

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Filed under: Celebrities • movies • Music • Nicole Kidman

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    I remember hearing Renee Zellweger tried out for it as well.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Denizen Kate

    I didn't love it, but at least it was creatively original, not just another boring sequel or remake, which is most of what comes out of Hollywood these days.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    Its funny. I actually considered the film unwatchable. I like the fact that directors do have their own style. But having said that, the whole shaky camera school of film is annoying. Its like shaking car keys to get a baby's attention.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. jim bob

    Loved this movie. It's so unique, bizarre and yet genuine. BTW, there is nothing wrong with being gay, so calling this movie "gay" is not an insult. If you avoid this movie for silly reasons, you're missing out on a very creative and enjoyable oscar winning film.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jennifer

    I like some parts and hate some parts but the songs are all really good in this movie and costumes and makeup are great ....for those who complain u couldn't get through the forst ten minutes well no one. Told u to watch it and maybe complain about it after u watch the whole movie!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Captain Noble

    I saw this movie six times in the theater. Love it. It's my favorite musical.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. V james

    Good day all please take a deep heart felt moment and consider the victims of alabama now who stand with me ( THE M R WAS TOO LONG)

    May 4, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Maude Kipz

    Funny, the only part of the movie that I found watchable was the first ten minutes. Then it fell apart to a mess of bright colors and poorly done song covers. I forced myself through it and it lacked substance up to the very end. Its your generic tragic love story. Awful movie, to say the least.

    May 4, 2011 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. crazytrain!!

    Blaw blaw blaw!!hahaha don't u peeps have better things to talk about?thought grease was gay but still watched it! woohoo

    May 4, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. zoe

    Toulouse Lautrec

    May 4, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. nono n' jojo

    Loved it!Nothing else like it out there. Blown away that it actually was Nicole and Ewan singing.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. j clark

    my apologies to Mr, Jim Broadbent for forgetting to mentiion his outstanding performance. And to John Leguzamo for no mention of his brilliant portrayal.of the artist, Toulose LaTrec. Oh hell, its just a great movie. Fast-forward thru first 10 minutes and enjoy!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. j clark

    My apologies to Mr. Jim Broadbent for forgetting to mention his outstanding performance as the Master of Ceremonies and owner of Moulin Rouge. Also to John Leguzamo for his portrayal of the artist who's name escapes me right now. Oh hell, its just a great movie. Watch it and enjoy.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. j clark

    The cover of Sting's Roxanne alone makes this movie worth watching. Nicole Kidman is breath taking and Ewan was fantastic. I so looked forward to seeing Nicole in another musical, but her performance in Nine was a disappointment. Kate, Penelope, and Fergie stoled that one right out from under her.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. angel

    of course everyone will have their own opinion rightfully so but i love it! have to admit some parts r an aquired taste per say but it is a beautiful story...i would love to see this in Broadway with all the original characters!

    May 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Alex

    I lived in Utah for 6 years. Mormon's are scary cultists - but they like to sing and dance!

    May 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  17. haterr

    Love this movie. One of the best musicals out there.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Cyberace

    This movie is awesome very well done.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mormon Elder

    Alas many of our mormon brethren auditioned for this movie. Even Elder Thomas and Elder Horatio. We forbade them but they paid no mind. Thankfully they became lost during the journey and were forced to return home. We are thankful they were not contaminated by the ideas of the outlanders.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Katharine

    I love this movie, but I can see how people might be turned off by it. It really hits you in the face–it's basically a musical on heroin. I remember seeing this in the theater, not knowing what to expect, and after the first ten minutes, when it kicks into gear, I had my jaw on the floor. One of the best movie-going experience Ive ever had. Also, people who like Moulin Rouge! should check out 'Across the Universe' by Julie Taymor. It's a little more low key in comparison, but brilliantly done, and far too under-seen.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Snooki's Taint

    I hate this movie more than anything

    May 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  22. TheWordMaster

    Hey, Heath is an awesome actor! I may have to see this movie.....

    May 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  23. dude

    hmmmm....gay.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  24. amanda

    the first ten minutes are the worst. if you can get past that you'll be good to go, the rest of the movie is great!

    May 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  25. be quiet

    I've tried to watch that movie several times and have shut it off each time after 10 minutes.

    May 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      You've tried to watch it several time? Why try so often? There must have been something about it that made you keep coming back. Maybe the millions who eventually saw it on dvd and thought it was awesome? Maybe even the weird first few minutes is still newer and more original than anything out there in the last decade? Maybe it's just really good and it bothers you that you just can't appreciate it. That's okay. I should appreciate jazz, but still hate it.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • i cant belive is not butter

      that was a lil weird jan! Are you mentally healthy to post here.?

      May 4, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      The first fifteen or so minutes are really strange but after that it gets much better. Try getting past the ten minute mark, you may like the rest.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |

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