Sometimes famous people do weird things, but sometimes directors, writers, and producers do too! Here is a list of 15 Weird Reasons Actors Were Fired From Major Roles. Sure, there are legit reasons why an actor or actress would be canned from their TV or film role. For instance, some celebs have had to enter treatment for eating disorders, addiction, substance or alcohol abuse. Others suffer from other mental illnesses like severe chronic depression. Yet there are also instances in which celebs were fired for purely stupid reasons, like dropping their food or making reasonable requests. We are going to go through fifteen examples of actors and actresses being written off of some prominent shows and movies for almost comically bad reasons. You’ll even learn about the actor who gained 60 pounds for the role, only to be told he wasn’t right for the part anymore.
You may actually be surprised to learn that some of the movies or shows that you remember fondly were originally supposed to star completely different celebrities. Do you know who was originally going to be in American Psycho? It definitely would have changed things up!
If you have ever wondered why certain characters were killed off of certain shows for almost no reason at all, then this list here might help to clear some of your speculations up. It turns out that Hollywood can be a very competitive and cutthroat place. You never know when someone with influence might take your joke the wrong way or be offended by something you wear or say. Sounds petty, but it happens to average folks, too!
We hope that you will enjoy this list, and maybe it will even provide some insight into your favorite TV shows or films. If anything, it will something to tell your friends about.
15. Lisa Bonet – The Cosby Show
Actress Lisa Bonet starred on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1991 as the gorgeous daughter Denise Huxtable-Kendall. A natural beauty, Bonet had entered beauty pageants during her younger years, and she was cast as the oldest daughter of Cliff and Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Lisa even starred in a Cosby Show spinoff series called A Different World, in which her character, Denise, was off at college. When she was 19 years old, she started to expand her acting repertoire and appeared in Angel Heart, which was rated R for some explicit sexual content. Shortly afterward the movie, Bonet was in a nude photo shoot for Interview magazine. The public and media attention she received was enough for the director of The Cosby Show to let her go, citing “creative differences.” In reality, she really was fired for doing a nude cover shoot. Don’t worry about Bonet though, as she starred in a Will Smith movie not long after.
14. Maggie Roswell – The Simpsons
Poor Maude Flanders. She was the straight-laced and ever-loyal wife of Ned, as well as the neighbor of the Simpson family. Maggie Roswell voiced Maude Flanders, but now this character only makes appearances on the famed long-running TV show if she is in ghost form. That’s because Maude was killed off the show back in 2000. Her cause of death was taking a T-shirt cannonball to the face, which caused her to fall backwards and off of the stands at the Springfield Speedway. Of course, it was Homer Simpson who should have been hit because he was the one who wanted the T-shirt. Yet Maude was destined to die, as the writers were firing Maggie Roswell from her role on The Simpsons. Apparently, Roswell wanted her salary to cover the expenses she had to pay to fly from her home in another state to the studio in Los Angeles. When she asked for a boost to her salary, she was canned.
13. Kal Penn – House
This is what happens when you are an actor and decide to become a civil servant and globally-aware citizen. Kal Penn was starring in House as the character Lawrence Kutner. House ended up being a super popular TV show and achieved high ratings and audience viewership. You would think that an actor on that show would want to cling to their role as tightly as possible. Well, what ended up happening for Penn was that he started working for the Obama Administration in 2009 as an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement. Wow. Turns out going from Washington, D.C. to the set of House was taking a major toll on poor Penn. It was just too much, and given the choice, would you turn away a job in the White House? We didn’t think so! Penn gave up the jet-setting and was removed from House to pursue his political and civic position, where he worked for a year.
12. Santiago Herrera – Friday Night Lights
In 2006, Santiago Herrera played the character of Benny Ciaramello on the TV series Friday Night Lights. However, during this time, the Writer’s Guild strike was going on, and producers and directors were really feeling the burn. They knew that they had to cut down on some things in Friday Night Lights, and Herrera ended up being one of those things. At first, his character’s arc started to be whittled down. Yet it was downsized so much that the director just decided to cut Herrera from the show entirely. Granted, it was probably easier to get rid of Herrera’s character than some of the other ones. Benny Ciaramello was a young dude who had served time in juvenile detention and becomes friends with one of the cheerleader characters. The directors and producers could just say that Benny got himself into trouble again and that would be that.
11. Michael O’Hare – Babylon 5
He passed away in 2012, but Michael O’Hare became a household name for his role in a sci-fi television series called Babylon 5. He had played the character of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, even if it was just for one season. O’Hare started acting really weird on the set, and it turned out that he was dealing with mental health issues, mainly hallucinations and paranoia. The creator of Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski became increasingly aware that something was seriously wrong, and he was left with a dilemma. He wanted O’Hare to continue playing Commander Sinclair, but the actor clearly needed some professional help, especially since he was lashing out at his co-stars. O’Hare did end up seeking help, and Straczynski even said he would halt production of the series in order for O’Hare to take a break. Yet the actor insisted that the show must go on without him.
10. Steve Burns – Blue’s Clues
Whether you watched it yourself or plopped your kids in front of the television set to watch it, Blue’s Clues was a seriously popular kids’ show. Everyone loved that adorable blue animated puppy, as well as her human owner, simply known as Steve. He was played by Steve Burns, and he became a household name for anyone who had Nick Jr. playing on their TV. And then one day Steve was no longer on Blue’s Clues. The show tried to ease the transition by working it into the script that he was going off to college. They even had an entire episode dedicated to Steve’s farewell and departure. Then they brought his “cousin,” Joe in. Still, people wondered why Steve was off the show, especially since Blue’s Clues was continuing on. It wasn’t drugs or that he was starting a brand new career. Rather, Steve was fired from Blue’s Clues for going prematurely bald.
9. Richard Gere – The Lords of Flatbush
Do not mix Richard Gere and Svlester Stallone, ever. The two actors were working together on the film The Lords of Flatbush when their relationship took a turn for the worst. We sort of think this is really immature, but it’s also extremely humorous. Stallone was chilling in his car during a lunch break, just noshing on a hot dog. Gere came into the car to join Stallone for lunch, and he was holding a big chicken sandwich. Stallone threatened Gere, saying that if any of the sauce in the sandwich fell in his car or on his clothes, all hell would break loose. Well, guess what happened? Gere spilled some mustard on Sylvester Stallone’s pants and all hell broke loose. Stallone flipped out and Gere ended up being knocked out of the movie entirely. There was no way Stallone was going to be able to play nice with Gere as a co-star after that mustard incident.
8. Frank Sinatra – Dirty Harry
Good ol’ Frank Sinatra; who hasn’t heard of this legend? He was known for his great achievements in both music and film and he was even supposed to be in the movie Dirty Harry, so what happened? Why did they cast Clint Eastwood in Sinatra’s role instead? It turned out that Sinatra had injured his hand while working on another production – The Manchurian Candidate – and he was left with some physical restrictions afterwards. When he was trying out his part in Dirty Harry, his character had to handle a gun, but ol’ Blue Eyes was too injured to lift it. To his credit, his injury was legit as he was suffering from Dupuytren’s contracture, also known as palmar fibromatosis. He was bagged from the film and Clint Eastwood was brought in instead. It wasn’t all sad news though as Frank Sinatra said that starring in The Manchurian Candidate was one of the best moments of his film career.
7. James Purefoy – V For Vendetta
The 2005 thriller movie V for Vendetta was a hit in theaters and James Purefoy could’ve had a role in it. He was even cast as the main character, yet he complained about the mask he had to wear during the entire movie. Hey, we can’t blame him because that mask covered his whole face and looked pretty restraining. Plus it was really creepy (it would have kept us up at night!) and because James Purefoy wouldn’t wear it the whole time, the director decided to fire him and go with Hugo Weaving instead. Weaving had actually worked with the Wachowski brothers before (besides writing the script for V for Vendetta, they also wrote The Matrix, which Weaving starred in.) It may sound like a bit of favoritism went into Weaving getting the part, but hey, he did keep that mask on the entire time. Looks like there’s no crying in cinema.
6. Megan Fox – Transformers 3
These days, it seems that actress Megan Fox is one of those celebrities who is just plain weird. It seems that there is always some bizarre news going around surrounding Megan and her lifestyle choices, but whatever; a girl can do what she wants. Unless Michael Bay is involved. We know that Megan Fox was in the Transformers movie and its sequel. Yet when it came time to make Transformers 3, she was written off the script entirely and fired by the film’s director Michael Bay. The reason? She had compared the director to Hitler behind his back. Steven Spielberg ended up getting wind of it, and being a fellow friend of Michael’s, he told the director what Megan Fox had said. Hah! Well, yeah, comparing your “boss” to a historically evil dictator will definitely get ya fired! Thankfully the two were able to mend the disagreement though and you can imagine both of their careers are still on an upward swing.
5. Samantha Morton – Her
Many people remember the film Her fondly. Yet did you know that actress Samantha Morton was supposed to be the female protagonist? She ended up being canned from the job…for no reason whatsoever, really. She was involved in the entire filming of the movie, but during post-production, the director didn’t feel “right” about her part in the film. So he completely dumped Morton from the entire film and used Scarlett Johansson instead. Um, totally rude, by the way. Maybe the director felt a bit off about Morton’s performance in the film, but we wonder if he asked other crew and cast members, or if he just took it upon himself to bag her right then and there. Either way, it sounds kind of unprofessional, but big-bucks directors can do whatever they want, we suppose…That being said, we can’t get mad at him for casting Scarlett Johansson, as she ended up doing an outstanding job in the role.
4. Christian Bale – Christian Bale
Most people know about Christian Bale thanks to the Batman movies of years past, but the actor achieved perhaps even greater fame in American Psycho. Yet he almost didn’t get the part. The director, Mary Harron, thought that he just was not famous enough to play the role of the deranged killer. Instead Harron decided to ask Leo DiCaprio, because who wouldn’t want Leonardo DiCaprio in their film? Well, Leo turned it down, so the movie ended up going to Ewan McGregor to see if he wanted the role in American Psycho. Ewan McGregor was more famous than Christian Bale? Back then, apparently. Well, Ewan’s answer was nope, it didn’t work out with him either. The director and producers must have been feeling pretty salty to come back to Christian Bale. Especially when you consider that they probably had their tails between their legs!
3. Lynn Redgrave – House Calls
Back in the fall of 1981, Universal Studios reported that actress Lynn Redgrave was canned from the show House Calls over salary demands. Yet the actress claimed that she was really fired for breastfeeding her newborn baby while on set. The result of the she-said, they-said debacle was a court case that was closely followed by the media and the public. One of the things that came out of the trial was an audio recording of Lynn Redgrave’s husband (and manager) John Clark and one of the head honchos of Universal Studios – Pete Terranova. In the transcript, it was revealed that Terranova had told Clark that Lynn’s breastfeeding was a huge problem on the set and it would be impossible for her to breastfeed her daughter while filming the CBS sitcom. Busted! So it just ended up being that Universal Studios was totally sexist and suggested that Lynn Redgrave was being indecent.
2. Ryan Gosling – The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones was a 2009 drama movie that was based off of a young adult novel by the same name. Ryan Gosling was originally all set to be the father of the main protagonist, and the actor even gained some 60 pounds to play the role. Sources say that the prominent actor downed numerous milkshakes made of Häagen-Dazs ice cream every day. Dedication. However, Gosling showed up to set looking heavier than the director was expecting and we guess he was just turned off by the image of a chunky (not hunky) Ryan Gosling. The actor was bagged from the script entirely and his role was replaced with Mark Walhberg, who is bulky, but in a buff and tough way. Still, The Lovely Bones was a drama sad-sack movie and it would have worked just fine with a fluffy teddy-bear dad body like Ryan Gosling’s. Talk about weight discrimination!
1. Charlie Sheen – Two And A Half Men
Duh, he was crazy as ****. Charlie Sheen was a star on the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men, but then he started going downright insane. From his raving antics and spiels to his declaration that he had “tiger blood” and was “#winning,” the director and producers knew that enough was enough. It didn’t take long for nearly the entire world to realize that there was very little hope for Charlie Sheen. If he continued acting on Two and a Half Men, who knows what would have happened? Rather than cancel the entire show, the producers instead had Charlie Sheen fired and replaced with Ashton Kutcher. This worked out for a time, but the sitcom ended in 2015 after a 12-year run on TV, which is at least a respectable amount of time to be on-air. Two and a Half Men went out with a bang, with a two-part series finale about Charlie Harper’s demise.