Movie productions rarely go exactly as planned in the world of Hollywood. Very many things can go wrong during a movie or television shoot, and starting a production with one actor doesn’t guarantee that that actor is going to finish the project. Sometimes even the biggest stars in Hollywood have to leave television shows and movies after they have started.
Leaving a project often causes a lot of trouble for the project, and a replacement must be found quickly because each day production isn’t up and running money is being lost. Some actors quit because of differences between them and the production team, while others simply aren’t happy with the paycheck they are receiving and act like divas. Of course, some have much more credible reasons for quitting – such as a risk to their health.
In some case these actors leaving were amicable, but in other cases there was a lot of animosity. Here’s a look at ten actors and actresses who quit filming TV shows and movies – many of them left right in the middle of production or even later. Do you think it was a good idea for any of these actors to quit? Would you rather have seen them continue with these roles or did you like their replacements?
10. Harry Shearer quits the Simpsons
The voices of Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns and Smithers might sound a little different in about a year’s time. It seems as if Harry Shearer really isn’t coming back to the Simpsons and the shows producers will have to find a replacement to do the voices of the famous characters he voiced.
Shearer says he wanted the freedom to do other work, but many suspect money was the real reason he quit. He was the most vocal cast member a few years ago when the voice actors on the Simpsons were forced to take a pay cut from $440,000 per episode to $250,000 per episode. He also wanted a share of the show’s merchandising rights, but Fox was not willing to give up any part of that cash cow.
9. Chevy Chase quits Community
Since practically day one Chevy Chase and Community creator Dan Harmon didn’t get along on the set of Community. Chase was not a fan of the show, and by most reports he never really wanted to be there at all. Things reached their worst when Chase walked off the set and refused to finish shooting an episode during season three.
This resulted in Dan Harmon calling Chase out, and Chase leaving a profanity-laced voicemail on Harmon’s phone. Harmon played the angry voicemail during a live recording of his podcast, which was a contributing factor in Harmon being fired from Community by NBC.
Chase returned for some of season 4, but ended up quitting before finishing all his scenes for the season. His character Pierce Hawthorne was then killed off. Chase famously said of working on Community: “It’s sitcom television, which is basically the lowest form of television.”
8. James Remar quits Aliens
James Remar was supposed to be the lead in James Cameron’s Aliens. The seminal science fiction classic was a follow-up to Ridley Scott’s Alien, and many consider the sequel to even be better than the original. Who you imagine James Remar playing the role of Corporal Dwayne Hicks instead of Michael Biehn?
Remar was apparently not happy with the script of the movie and did not get along with James Cameron. Likewise, James Cameron wasn’t happy with Remar. Other reports say that Remar had a drug problem, which forced him out of the production of the film. This resulted in Remar leaving the film just a few weeks into filming.
Remar leaving Aliens might not have been a good idea since Aliens went on to become one of the highest grossing movies of the 80s and one of the most popular science fiction films of all time. It also launched James Cameron’s career into the stratosphere.
7. Chevy Chase Quits SNL
Long before he quit community, Chevy Chase quit not only a much more popular show, but an institution. After only slightly longer than a year, Chase left Saturday Night Live to pursue a movie career and to reportedly be with his girlfriend at the time who did not want to live in New York.
Chase was originally supposed to appear in the second season of Saturday Night Live, but he ended up appearing in only a few episodes. During the second season of SNL, Chevy Chase was replaced in the cast of Saturday Night Live by the legendary Bill Murray.
At first, fans and critics alike looked down on Murray, and few expected him to be a worthy replacement for Chase. It turns out everyone was wrong about Murray, and he became perhaps the most successful and respected comedy star in Hollywood thanks to his stellar work on Saturday Night Live for three seasons.
6. James Purefoy quits V for Vendetta
Despite leaving the film six weeks into filming, James Purefoy is still actually a part of the film V for Vendetta. He reportedly left the production because he had creative differences with the production team, but there are rumors that he may have left so he would have a chance at playing James Bond in Casino Royale – a role that was eventually given to current Bond Daniel Craig.
Purefoy still has many scenes in the film, but Hugo Weaving, who replaced Purefoy in the film, dubbed his performance. The replacement of the character V was seamless because of the iconic Guy Fawkes like mask the character wears.
Most fans of the film didn’t even realize that it wasn’t Hugo Weaving under the mask on many occasions. There were even reports that Purefoy left the film because he didn’t want to wear the mask, but he has denied the rumours.
5. Harvey Keitel quits Eyes Wide Shut
Harvey Keitel quit Stanley Kubrick’s final film Eyes Wide Shut due to scheduling conflicts with another film he was working on. Keitel ended up being replaced by Sydney Pollack when Keitel left to honor commitments with the film Finding Graceland.
Keitel had to finish reshoots for finding Graceland, so he couldn’t finish shooting Eyes Wide Shut. Keitel apparently filmed quite a few scenes for Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut before he was forced to leave the film. Coincidentally, Keitel wasn’t the only actor replaced in Eyes Wide Shut – Marie Richardson replaced Jennifer Jason Leigh in Eyes Wide Shut, too.
There was an urban legend circulating for many years that Keitel left the films for another reason entirely, but it’s so unbelievable it’s any wonder the rumor gained any ground whatsoever: The myth was that the method actor was going to take his realist approach too far in the movie’s riskier scenes.
4. Jean Claude van Damme quits Predator
Long before they appeared together in the Expendables 2, Jean Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger were set to appear together in the classic science fiction action film Predator. Of course, if Jean Claude van Damme had stayed on the film you might not have even known he was in the movie. That’s because he was originally cast at the Predator. Van Damme was supposed to make the Predator agile and nimble thanks to his martial arts skills.
When van Damme was attached to the project the creature costume looked quite a bit different than what eventually showed up in the film, but van Damme was not pleased at all with the fact he would be under heavy makeup and a costume for the film.
The actor didn’t want to spend the film inside the hot and muggy Predator costume where his face wouldn’t be seen. So, he left the film and was replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.
3. Buddy Ebsen quits the Wizard of Oz
Buddy Ebsen, who became famous for the TV shows Barnaby Jones and the Beverly Hillbillies, was originally supposed to play the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Then it was determined that he would be a better fit for the Tin Man instead.
Unfortunately for Ebsen he was allergic to the aluminum dust used in the makeup to create the look for the Tin Man. After just a few days of shooting, Ebsen had to quit the film because he became violently ill from the make up. He was experiencing cramps and shortness of breath, and had to be hospitalized.
As far as reasons for quitting go, they don’t get any more valid or serious than this, but producers at first didn’t even believe he was sick. They even attempted to force him back onto set despite warnings from medical professionals. Jack Haley replaced Ebsen in the film.
2. Kel O’Neill quits There Will be Blood
Kel O’Neill was originally supposed to play the character Eli Sunday in P.T. Anderson’s film There Will be Blood. However, he ended up being replaced by Paul Dano. Dano was already cast as the character Paul Sunday, but after O’Neill left Dano was awarded the second role and the characters became twin brothers.
According to the New York Times, O’Neill left was because he was intimidated by Daniel Day-Lewis’ method acting. Lewis insisted on staying in character as Daniel Plainview through the entire shot of the film.
Nobody knows the full story behind why O’Neill left, but Day-Lewis denied the rumours and said: “I absolutely don’t believe that it was because he was intimidated by me. I happen to believe that—and I hope I’m right.”
1. Extras quit Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six
More than a dozen extras on the set of Adam Sandler’s first Netflix movie the Ridiculous Six recently caused quite a stir in the media when they walked off set of the film. The Native American actors were offended by the childish and what they saw as downright offensive portrayal of Native Americans in Sandler’s movie.
They refused to work on a movie that portrayed the plight of Native Americans in such a stereotypical and offensive way, so they stormed off the set in protest. A petition demanding changes to the script managed to garner over 20,000 signatures after script leaks confirmed some the jokes the extras took umbrage to.