Ben Stiller has revealed how Jake Gyllenhaal nearly played Hansel in 'Zoolander'.

The 53-year-old actor - who played fictional male model Derek Zoolander in the 2001 cult classic comedy - admitted Owen Wilson almost missed out on his own supermodel role over doubts he'd be available to film.

Although Wilson was first choice, Stiller told Esquire: "The only one that I remember clearly was a young Jake Gyllenhaal doing this wide-eyed version of Hansel that was really funny."

Other members of the main cast didn't match up to the original plan, as Andy Dick was initially meant to play Jacobim Mugatu but he was working on a sitcom which meant the part ended up going to Will Ferrell.

Stiller added: "Now it's impossible for me to picture anybody but Will doing it."

Meanwhile, Christine Taylor - who played journalist and love interest Matilda - wasn't going to audition for the film after missing out on playing Pam in her husband Stiller's 2000 film 'Meet the Parents', the year they married.

She wanted to avoid any more potential awkwardness, but she was approached after the likes of Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker didn't work out.

She explained: "I remember getting a call from Ben one day say, 'So, what do you think about playing Matilda?' "

She remembered him saying: "Paramount loves you, and you did 'The Brady Bunch Movie' for Paramount, and they would love for you to do it."

The cast turned into a family affair, with Stiller's father Jerry playing Maury Ballstein, and Taylor loved the dynamic on set.

She said: "Being able to have a scene with my father in law where he's looking at my chest, [saying] ‘With a push-up bra, you could have a nice rack of lamb going on there,’ we were just laughing non-stop.”