‘Moulin Rouge!’ Was *Almost* a Love Story Between Heath Ledger & Nicole Kidman—Here's Why It Didn't Happen

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It appears that Nicole Kidman almost had a different co-star in the musical cult classic Moulin Rouge!.

Director Baz Luhrmann sat down with to discuss the 20th anniversary of the 2001 film, and he revealed that instead of Ewan McGregor, the leading man was originally going to be Heath Ledger.

Although Luhrmann said he knew that Kidman and McGregor would be a "dream match," he originally had his eyes set on the late Brokeback Mountain star. Luhrmann said, "There’s some stories to tell here … A young Heath Ledger was up for the role and I thought maybe the character could be very young. And it turned out they (Ledger and Kidman) did really work together. And it was quite beautiful."

So, why didn't Ledger nab the part? "Heath was just too young in the end," Luhrmann revealed.

Don't fret though, because Luhrmann was certainly pleased with his final pairing. The director said, "I went and saw Ewan and worked with him vocally, and I went and saw Nicole and I worked with her vocally, and I put them together in my head...The real moment was when they met in Sydney and we did the first day of rehearsals."

After that moment, the chemistry quickly formed. "They were great," Luhrmann said. "(McGregor) was just the perfect partner for Nicole. Getting the right chemical equation between two leads in a romantic relationship is really important. You can’t fix that if you get it wrong."

We won't be able to stop imagining what Ledger would've been like in the role (but also, we can't envision that "Come What May" duet without McGregor's killer vocals).

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Joel Calfee

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...
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