'Chicago': Six things you didn't know about the 2002 film

The 2002 movie, starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Queen Latifah was nominated for 12 Oscars and became the first musical to win Best Picture since "Oliver!" in 1968.

To celebrate the milestone, we’ve tracked down some little known facts about the hit film:

STARS WHO PASSED ON CHICAGO

Richard Gere won a Golden Globe for his role as Billy Flynn in the movie, but he wasn’t always the first choice to play the charming lawyer.

Hugh Jackman told The Hollywood Reporter that he was offered the part, but passed because he felt he was too young.

John Travolta also turned down the role and later told Entertainment Tonight that it’s a decision he regrets.

“Probably the one I didn’t explore enough is Chicago,” Travolta said.

“Harvey Weinstein offered it to me three times. I never met with the director because I thought the play was about a bunch of women who hated men, and I like women who like men.”

The role was eventually offered to Gere who told the BBC that he wasn’t that keen on it at first.

“Actually, it was my agent who was pushing for it much more than I was,” Gere said.

“I was a little resistant because I wasn’t that taken with the stage production. But my agent just really kept pushing. I had just done a very intense movie, "Unfaithful," and I thought: ‘At the very least I’m going to have fun doing this.'"

OH, BABY, BABY

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Harvey Weinstein was still the co-chairman of Miramax Films when "Chicago" was being made. And the now disgraced movie mogul was adamant at the time that Britney Spears should be given a role in the movie.

According to The New York Times, Weinstein sent three Miramax execs to pitch the idea to Spears backstage at a concert in Canada.

But director Rob Marshall and other producers were “dead set against having someone they regarded as a fluffy, pubescent pop star in a role that required a brutal edge,” the NY Times claimed in 2003.

Eventually Weinstein relented and the offer was never made to Spears.

CHARLIZE THERON GOT DUMPED

Renée Zellweger was nominated for an Oscar for playing Roxie Hart in the 2002 movie, but she only landed the role after Charlize Theron was booted from the film.

“I was attached to 'Chicago' for a while,” Theron explained earlier this year to Howard Stern.

“I was a dancer for most of my life and there was a real nostalgia in making that movie for me. But I got kicked off it. The director kicked me off. I was really bummed about it.”

Theron said she was dumped from the film when the original director left the project before shooting began, replaced with successful musical director Rob Marshall.

“He didn’t want to make the movie with me,” Theron told Stern.

The "Monster" star went on to praise Zellweger’s performance in the film, saying, “She did an amazing job, I’m fully envious of what she did.”

THE REAL REASON ZETA-JONES HAD A BOB

Catherine Zeta-Jones worked her butt off to prepare for her role as Velma Kelly and it certainly paid off when she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

The dance sequences were so demanding during shooting that Zeta-Jones was “black and blue up and down her thighs," according to her hubby Michael Douglas.

At one stage it was suggested that her character should have long hair in the film, but Zeta-Jones shot it down for a very specific reason.

“She said: ‘If you think I’m going to have long hair over my face so anyone is going to think that I’m being doubled and not doing every darn step, you’re crazy,'" producer Martin Richards told People.

OSCARS SNUB

"Chicago" was nominated for 12 Academy Awards. Renée Zellweger was nominated for Best Actress, John C. Reilly was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

The only big name star from the movie who wasn’t nominated was Richard Gere, and he was definitely “bothered” by the snub.

“Everyone else got nominated,” he said on The View in 2012.

“I’m waiting for my name (to be read out in the nominations) and it goes right by me, like, ‘Wow, what happened?’ I have to admit, that got to me.”

The four main Oscar winners in 2003: Chris Cooper, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman and Adrien Brody.

The four main Oscar winners in 2003: Chris Cooper, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman and Adrien Brody.

OSCARS PERFORMANCE

"Chicago" went on to win six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Best Art Direction.

The movie was also nominated for Best Original Song for "I Move On" which is performed in the film by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger.

The two actresses were asked to perform the song at the Oscars but Zellweger passed, telling Entertainment Weekly at the time that she wouldn’t be comfortable singing live in front of such a large audience.

Queen Latifah, who plays Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago, saved the day though and performed the song at the Academy Awards with a heavily pregnant Zeta-Jones who gave birth 10 days later.

This article originally appeared on news.com.au.