"Zoolander" director Ben Stiller opens up about how Jake Gyllenhaal was almost selected to play Hansel instead of Owen Wilson in the cult movie.

On the occasion of the comedy movie's 20th anniversary Tuesday, the 55-year-old actor-director revealed that Gyllenhaal was almost finalized for the role as Wilson had some other commitments.

The actor recalled how Gyllenhaal performed at the audition. "The only one that I remember clearly was a young Jake Gyllenhaal doing this wide-eyed version of Hansel that was really funny," Stiller told Esquire Tuesday.

"Andy Dick was supposed to play Mugatu," Stiller further revealed. The role finally went to Will Ferrell. Still admitted that now it is impossible for him to picture anyone else in the role.

"Zoolander" was released in 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The movie was not received well at the box office, although it later became a cult classic.

A sequel, "Zoolander 2" was released in 2016. Both the movies were directed by Stiller, who also played the lead character Derek Zoolander.

Stiller's wife, Christine Taylor, who played Matilda in the movie, said, "It was such a hard time with comedy. Laughing might be a remedy in the moment, but the truth of the matter is, people weren't ready."

Taylor also recalled how they successfully received a PG-13 grade instead of an R rating for their movie. "Ben went to the rating board to say, 'Listen, Would I ever put my wife in anything that would be questionable?'" she said.

Stiller and Taylor got married in 2000 and the couple shares two kids – Ella Olivia and Quinlin Dempsey.

Stiller was last seen in the movie "Locked Down," which was released on Jan. 14. He is currently serving as an executive producer for the TV series "High Desert."

Taylor has been a regular on the "Search Party" TV series since 2016. She was recently featured in the sitcom "iCarly."

ben Stiller
Ben Stiller, pictured at the New York premiere of "While We're Young" in March, thanked his Twitter followers for their support after the death of his mother, Anne Meara. Reuters