"I’ve always wanted to kiss Joaquin," Hartnett said of his opportunity to star opposite Phoenix in the history-making 2005 drama.
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Josh Hartnett seemingly doesn't know how to quit thinking about smooching Joaquin Phoenix.

The actor revealed that he and the Oscar-winning Joker performer were originally set to play the two cowboys who fall in love at the center of Ang Lee's history-making 2005 drama Brokeback Mountain, but that both parts eventually went to Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal instead.

Josh Hartnett; Joaquin Phoenix
Josh Hartnett says he and Joaquin Phoenix were originally cast in 'Brokeback Mountain.'
| Credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images; Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

"I was going to do Brokeback Mountain," the 43-year-old recently told Australian outlet News.com.au, adding that he had to drop out of the film due to contractual obligations tied to filming his 2006 thriller The Black Dahlia. He said that Phoenix was also cast alongside him, and that "it was a different film altogether" with both men in the lead roles.

The film went on to receive a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars, with Ledger, Gyllenhaal, and supporting actress Michelle Williams all receiving Academy Award nods for their performances. But, the thing Hartnett laments the most?

"I've always wanted to kiss Joaquin," he joked. "So that's my biggest regret."

Representatives for Phoenix didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

Film Title: Brokeback Mountain
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Brokeback Mountain.'
| Credit: Kimberly French/Focus Features

Gyllenhaal has since spoken about Ledger's deep appreciation for the role and its importance to pop culture.

The actor said his costar, who died in 2008, "would never joke" about the film, even though it became a topical touchstone for talk show hosts and comedians at the time.

"Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever he was like, 'No. This about love.' Like, that's it, man," Gyllenhaal said.

Read Hartnett's full interview here.

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Brokeback Mountain
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  • 134 minutes
  • Ang Lee