Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe have been tagged to replace the feuding stars of the big budget remake of Brokeback Mountain in a last minute bid to save the floundering production, according to New Line Cinema.
The Australian actors will reprise the roles Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger made famous in the original version of the classic film, the Warner Brothers subsidiary announced Friday. The off-screen pals replace feuding stars Idris Elba and Bradley Cooper.
The original groundbreaking movie meshed the western, romance, and social revolution film genres. Brokeback also helped spur the movement for equal rights for people of all lifestyles and sexual orientations after its release in 2005.
"We're delighted to have two proven stars in Hugh and Russell with demonstrated chemistry and professionalism in these iconic roles," said Toby Emmerich, New Line's chief operating officer. "We look forward to working with Idris on other projects. Bradley on the other hand has been acting like a jerk ever since he played Chris Kyle in American Sniper and is completely dead to us."
Cooper, 41, was named "The Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine in 2011, replacing two-time winner Peter Griffin.
"You know what, Toby can fuck himself and New Line Cinema can suck a bag of dicks," the Philly native said during an impromptu presser in the lobby of the Hotel on Davenport, in Tauranga, New Zealand. "He's a friggin Mahoff. And I'm Bradley Cooper motherfuckers. I'm not some schmo who just got off the El in Cerritos."
The candid comments sparked a brief altercation with the passing Elba, who called Cooper a "wanker." The term is derogatory British slang for those who indulge in frequent masturbation.
The ensuing wrestling match ended with the two men locked in a passionate embrace on the floor beside the concierge desk, where a passing maid doused them with a bucket of mop water.
Cooper has been quarreling with his 43-year-old British co-star ever since they were named to Brokeback's lead roles. One acting coach described the bumpy relationship as a "stormy romance." Another called it "a case of method acting gone mad."
The recurring dustups have had a disastrous impact on the production schedule, according to New Line Chief Acting Coach John Franco.
"Things have clearly gotten out of hand," Franco said. "First they're fighting, then they're fucking. It's impossible to get anything done with these two maniacs. They fought for three hours one afternoon over who was the big spoon and who was the little spoon."
The actors have been unable to moderate their passionate emotions, according to New Line. Hence the decision to bring in Crowe and Jackman.
"These Barnies are not my fault," Idris tweeted to fans last week. "Bradley is contrary."
"I am not," Cooper responded. "That is so unfair."
The unprecedented juggle of romantic leads comes in just the second week of filming for Brokeback in New Zealand. The floundering project has a production budget of more than $100 million and had been led by Zero Dark Thirty Director Kathryn Bigelow.
She was replaced last week by South Park creator Trey Parker after a hotel incident involving handcuffs, a crate of cherries and a doe-eyed Pashtun cook named Mohammed. Details were unavailable at press time.
"It was pure self preservation," Emmerich said of the directorial switch. "If I had to listen to Kathryn brag about how she graduated from Columbia one more time I was going to cut my own wrists open. Swear to God."
Warner Brother shares immediately jumped $1.30 each to $75.57 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock, which trades under the TWX symbol, previously had declined in 20 out of 21 trading sessions during the Brokeback production.
The announcement that Crowe and Jackman will be the new leads didn't please everyone. America First advocates would have preferred to see to American actors in the iconic roles, according to New York City Bridge and Tunnel Association President Tony Naclerio.
The hiring decision was a disappointment for actors Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem. The No Country for Old Men co-stars were also in the running as potential replacements.
"This is such bullshit," Brolin said via email when informed of the studio's decision.
"Fucking cocks," Bardem tweeted of New Line.
The high profile role of Ennis Del Mar is familiar territory for Crowe, who portrayed a gay rugby player in his breakout role as Jeff Mitchell in the 2004 Aussie film "The Sum of Us."
Jackman is very popular with gay film-goers on account of his precise enunciation and chiseled abs. He played a well mannered prince in the 2001 comedy Kate & Leopold who might just as well have been gay, according to Naclerio.
"What a pretty boy," Naclerio said of Leopold. "Not for nothing, but I know 10 gay guys just from my neighborhood in the Bronx who would beat both those Aussie prick senseless in half a minute. Why can't New Line hire one of them?"