Home Entertainment Mark Wahlberg refused to star in the iconic Oscar-winning film because he was “uncomfortable” with its gay plot, after Brad Pitt turned down the “controversial” project

Mark Wahlberg refused to star in the iconic Oscar-winning film because he was “uncomfortable” with its gay plot, after Brad Pitt turned down the “controversial” project

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Mark Wahlberg passed up the opportunity to star in one of the most iconic films of all time because he felt
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Mark Wahlberg passed up the chance to star in one of the most iconic films of all time because he was “scared” by its gay plot.

Wahlberg, now 53 and best known for his roles in The Departed and Transformers franchises, could have starred in Ang Lee’s 2005 epic Brokeback Mountain, which became one of the most successful LGBTQ+ films ever and won three Oscars.

However, Wahlberg admitted to feeling uncomfortable due to the “graphic and descriptive” nature of the script, which tells the story of two American cowboys turned gay lovers, with the roles ultimately played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

In a 2007 interview, Wahlberg said that the film’s opening sex scene between cowboys Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist left him convinced that the film “wasn’t his thing.”

He said: ‘I met Ang Lee on that film, read 15 pages of the script and was a little scared.

Mark Wahlberg passed up the chance to star in one of the most iconic films of all time because he was “disgusted” by its gay plot – photo from 2023

Wahlberg added: “Spit in your hand, get ready to do something.”

“It was obviously done in good taste – look how it was received.”

The National Enquirer reported at the time that Wahlberg’s Catholic priest advised him to reject the project.

Before Lee – who would go on to win the Best Director Oscar for the film – took on the project, My Own Private Idaho filmmaker Gus Van Sant was approached to direct, and he revealed that numerous celebrities had been offered the project and turned it down.

In 2018, he told IndieWire: “Nobody wanted to do it. I was working on it and I felt like we needed a really strong cast, like a celebrity cast. That wasn’t working. I asked the usual suspects: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Ryan Phillippe. They all said no.

“Yes, all those young gentlemen (at the time) rejected the project, for various reasons.”

The film received critical acclaim and earned eight Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor for Gyllenhaal and Ledger.

It won the awards for Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Wahlberg, now 53, could have starred in Ang Lee's 2005 epic Brokeback Mountain, which won him three Oscars; Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal played cowboys-turned-lovers Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist.

Wahlberg, now 53, could have starred in Ang Lee’s 2005 epic Brokeback Mountain, which won him three Oscars; Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal played cowboys-turned-lovers Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist.

In a 2007 interview, Wahlberg said that the film's opening sex scene between the cowboys left him convinced that the film

In a 2007 interview, Wahlberg said that the film’s opening sex scene between the cowboys left him convinced that the movie “wasn’t his thing.”

Wahlberg is known to be a devout Catholic, and The National Enquirer reported at the time that Wahlberg's Catholic priest advised him to turn down the project.

Wahlberg is known to be a devout Catholic, and The National Enquirer reported at the time that Wahlberg’s Catholic priest advised him to turn down the project.

Gus Van Sant revealed that both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were approached to star in the film, but said no

Gus Van Sant revealed that both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were approached to star in the film, but said no

Director Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director in 2006 for the film

Director Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director in 2006 for the film

The film surprisingly lost the Best Picture Oscar to Crash, a decision that has since been marked as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the awards show.

Gyllenhaal reflected on the film’s most famous lines: “I wish I knew how to leave you” and how powerful that scene was to film.

“That line has been moved, it’s been made fun of, it’s been everything else, but I remember walking out of that scene, off that crest of the hill, and seeing several crew members, some of whom didn’t even know what the movie was about, crying,” Jake recalled.

“When I first read that line, I thought, ‘What is that? ‘ I realize now that anyone who has loved the movie knows what that feels like. The interesting thing about casting us at such a young age was that we didn’t fully understand what we were involved in, and that’s also the beauty of the movie.”

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