Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The film that Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio rejected and became history

They are two established actors. The film industry and books dealing with the seventh art will always have on a special page two of the people who made the turn of the century a challenge with a happy ending. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio need no introduction. Their talent was confirmed by the long list of films in which they appeared individually, as well as the film – by Tarantino – and the short film – by Scorsese – that they showed in front of the camera. But people make mistakes from time to time, and not even they are immune to slip-ups. In fact, one of the biggest and at the same time most unknown of their careers was celebrated together.

This story begins at the beginning of the new millennium. Gus Van Sant wanted to have a great cast for his new work and he noticed the names of actors who started touching the tip with their fingers. Mainly a male couple was needed. Two men. Matt Damon and Joaquin Phoenix were an option; Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, another. He sent the script and the response was negative.

This is how the film took shape and was released in cinemas around the world at the end of 2005. The coffers were bursting. It was Brokeback Mountain, the groundbreaking cowboy film that put an end to one of the Western’s most powerful myths. The protagonists were homosexual cowboys, something that had never happened before.

Change of direction and eight Oscar nominations

There were various reasons. The Damon-Phoenix duo declined the offer because Damon did not want to commit to a project that, in his opinion, was a repeat of his last works: he had just made a film in which his character was homosexual, and later another, in which he was a cowboy. A third film in which he played a gay cowboy seemed too much; although he later assured in an interview for Entertainment Weekly that he regretted it. Josh Hartnett was also an option. It didn’t work either.

The filming was left to Ang Lee and the rest was history. Eight nominations at the Oscars. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t see themselves in this role because sometimes you don’t realize the size of a character until you see the finished film. Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams and Anna Faris joined, but the couple stayed. Ultimately, the responsibility fell to two young talents who had already proven their cinematic potential: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. The first, nominated for Best Actor; the second, for best supporting actor. And Lee went home with the best director statuette.

Nation World News Desk
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