Focus Features / Peccadillo Pictures

The film’s original director approached several Hollywood stars, but “nobody wanted to do it”. 

Filmmaker Gus Van Sant has revealed the A-List actors who refused a lead role in the beloved gay drama, Brokeback Mountain.

The Academy Award nominated director was originally supposed to helm the project, but dropped out because he was unable to secure A-List actors, such as Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.

“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.”

He continued: “What I could have done, and what I probably should have done, was cast more unknowns, not worried about who were the lead actors.

“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 two lead roles eventually went to Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack Twist) and the late Heath Ledger (Ennis Del Mar).

Both stars received Oscar nominations for their performance, and the film received six other nominations including Best Picture – which it lost to Crash in a controversial upset.

Brokeback Mountain also starred Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway and David Quaid.

Watch the trailer below: