It’s been 20 years and Hansel is still ‘so hot right now’.
But it was almost Jake Gyllenhaal, not Owen Wilson, as the hippy-dippy male model in “Zoolander.”
Gyllenhaal, 40, was in the running to play Hansel in the movie “Male Model of the Year” in the 2001 film alongside director and star Ben Stiller, who revealed the bombshell in an interview with Esquire.
In honor of the film’s 20th anniversary, stars Stiller, Christine Taylor and Milla Jovovich recalled the hilarious satirical film about the fashion industry and revealed that Gyllenhaal was in the running for Hansel at a time when the star of “Wedding Crashers” almost missed due to other engagements.
Stiller said Wilson was always his first choice for Hansel, but when the “Loki” star appeared to have scheduling conflicts, the filmmakers were forced to set up auditions and look elsewhere.
“The only one I clearly remember was a young Jake Gyllenhaal doing this wide-eyed version of Hansel that was really funny,” Stiller said.
And that wasn’t the only big reveal from Stiller, who said Will Ferrell wasn’t the first choice to play the evil fashion mogul Mugatu, either.
“Andy Dick was supposed to play [the villain] Mugatu,” the Along Came Polly actor added, noting that Dick had a conflict with the filming of a sitcom. “Now, it’s impossible for me to imagine anyone other than Will [Ferrell] doing it. “
The film opened just two weeks after 9/11 and initially received less than positive reviews. But alas, it remained a cult classic two decades later, and a sequel was released in 2016.
“It was such a difficult time with comedy,” Taylor said. “Laughter might be a cure in the moment, but the truth is people weren’t ready. “
“It was a strange time,” added Stiller.
The cast also revealed how they avoided receiving an R rating and instead settled for a PG-13 rating. “Ben went to the scoring committee to say, ‘Look, would I ever put my wife in something that would be questionable?’ Taylor explained. The star of “The Wedding Singer” has been married to Stiller since 2000.
She continued, “Because he was able to use it as part of his argument, besides keeping it shorter and reducing the number of characters that were a part of that scene, [that] had to do with the way he ended up being evaluated [PG-13]. “