‘Moulin Rouge’ Could Have Starred Heath Ledger, Baz Luhrmann Reveals

Jake Gyllenhaal and Courtney Love also auditioned for the musical before Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor landed the roles.

“Moulin Rouge At 10: A Spectacular Spectacular MTV News Event” on Monday (May 2) brought out the best of the best via a live-stream chat with director Baz Luhrmann, actor John Leguizamo and Catherine Martin, who won the Oscar for costume design and art direction, not to mention a Skype interview with star Ewan McGregor .

And although we can’t imagine a “Moulin Rouge” without stars Nicole Kidman and McGregor, one of the interesting tidbits that came out of the discussion was the fact that there were several high-profile actors in contention for those roles, including Heath Ledger, Courtney Love and Jake Gyllenhaal.

“I saw everyone,” Luhrmann said of his lengthy audition process. “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,” Luhrmann revealed. “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.”

Another familiar face up for the role of Christian was Jake Gyllenhaal.

“Jake should do a musical,” Luhrmann said. “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?’ ”

Luhrmann went on to talk about Courtney Love’s involvement with the film, as a potential actress and as the widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

“Courtney had two parts to the process,” he revealed. “I worked with Courtney. She was fascinating, she was beguiling. 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,” he said. “She’s absolutely fantastic. I adore her spirit. She’s wild and unpredictable and a great performer.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Moulin Rouge.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.