Josh Hartnett has opened up about why he didn’t take the lead role in the LGBTQ+ classic Brokeback Mountain.

Since its debut in 2005, the romantic drama has been praised as one of the best LGBTQ+ films of all time.

Many of the film’s critics have also lauded the heartbreaking performances of Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger.

But the iconic Ang Lee-directed film almost featured Josh Hartnett and Joaquin Phoenix in the lead roles.

In an interview with, the Penny Dreadful actor gave insight into why he had to turn down the beloved role.

“Unfortunately, I was going to do Brokeback Mountain,” he revealed, “And I had a contract with [The Black Dahlia] that I had to film, so I had to drop out of it.

“It was a different film altogether, it was me and Joaquin Phoenix. But they went on to do it with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.”

He went on to joke that he “always wanted to kiss Joaquin” so not taking the film was his biggest regret.

Hartnett’s comments come a few months after Gyllenhaal told The Sunday Times that “two straight guys” playing the film’s lead roles broke “stigma.”

“Aaahh, I don’t know. Maybe? Part of the medicine of storytelling is that we were two straight guys playing these parts,” he said.

“There was a stigma about playing a part like that, you know, why would you do that? And I think it was very important to both of us to break that stigma.”

He went on to say that since the movie’s debut, the industry has changed and diversity within casting is needed.

“But then again I think that has led the way towards people saying, you know, people of all different experiences should be playing more roles, that it shouldn’t be limited to a small group of people. And I believe that,” he said.