Many of us have taken jobs that turned out to be something other than what we expected. Whether it was because we misunderstood the job description or because we were blatantly lied to by the employer, it has happened. Well, this happens to actors as well. Sometimes, everything changes late for them too.
We tend to ignore the post production process of a film. It’s not very exciting. It’s more convenient to think that actors just come in and shoot scenes chronologically until they have a full movie. Slap it together seamlessly in editing and, boom, the movie’s complete. But that’s not the way it works. Scenes are typically shot in a way that makes the most sense logistically. Actors are not often involved in everything going on behind the scenes. On most films, actors are only involved in the processes and scenes that have an impact on their roles.
With that in mind, we now have to think about films that have changing scripts during the filmmaking process. This is actually much more common than most people think. Some films change quite dramatically while filming. Then there’s the post production process where editing can alter a film in ways you never thought possible. SO, considering all that, it really is not that big of a stretch to hear about actors not liking the final products of their films. Hell, some actors don’t even recognize the film they watch in the end. We wanted to explore this phenomenon. Here are 15 Actors Who Thought They Were Making a Different Film Than What Came Out.
15. Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbit
Evangeline Lilly was a great add for The Hobbit cast. She looks like an elf in her everyday life and she’s mind-shatteringly beautiful. It made sense. But, as you may know, making The Hobbit was a bit of a nightmare for almost everyone involved. There were several major delays, director changes, and both money and time issues. In the end, Peter Jackson had to come in and try to salvage the films. The end result was not what he wanted. For Lilly, all these issues meant her story was changed several times, changing so much that it became something altogether different than what she signed on for.
“For the record, when I took this job in 2011,” she said. “I made one stipulation: ‘I will not do this film if you will not guarantee me one thing. You have to guarantee me there will be no love triangle.’ And there wasn’t. For the whole time I shot. For a year of shooting there was no love triangle… And then, I came back for re-shoots in 2012 and they were like, ‘Well, we made a couple of alterations to some scenes and we added a couple more scenes.’ And all of a sudden manifested a love triangle before my very eyes and the film was shot, and I’m in and there’s no getting out and there was no escaping it.”
14. Mickey Rourke – Iron Man 2
When Mickey Rourke got around to viewing Iron Man 2, he felt it wasn’t the same film they were trying to make. For this, he blames Marvel Studios. Rourke said of his experience, “When I did Ivan Vanko in Iron Man, I fought … You know, I explained to Justin Theroux, to the writer, and to [Jon] Favreau that I wanted to bring some other layers and colors, not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy. And they allowed me to do that. Unfortunately, the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.”
That wasn’t all Rourke had to say. He would add, “Well, you know, it is f**king too bad, but it’s their loss. If they want to make mindless comic book movies, then I don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t want to have to care so much and work so hard, and then fight them for intelligent reasoning, and just because they’re calling the shots they … You know, I didn’t work for three months on the accent and all the adjustments and go to Russia just so I could end up on the floor. Because that can make somebody say at the end of the day, oh f**k ’em, I’m just going to mail it in. But I’m not that kind of guy. I’m never going to mail it in.”
13. Rik Mayall – Harry Potter & the Philosophers Stone
When Rik Mayall was cast as Peeves for the first Harry Potter film, he was ecstatic. This was a massive opportunity. Even before the film came out, everyone knew it was going to be huge. So Mayall got on set and started filming. Unfortunately for him, the shoot didn’t go well. Mayall said, “I got sent off the set because every time I tried to do a bit of acting, all the lads who were playing the school kids kept getting the giggles, they kept corpsing, so they threw me off.”
Still, he completed his part and went home. It wasn’t until post production that he was informed that he wouldn’t be in the final film. When asked if he liked the final cut, a not-bitter-at-all Mayall said, “The film, with respect … no, with no respect at all… the film was sh*t.”
12. Peter Dinklage – Tiptoes
Tiptoes is one of those movies that is only known because of how embarrassing it is. When you watch it, you feel like you’re seeing something you’re not supposed to. It just feels wrong. But that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Sure, Gary Oldman was always going to be on his knees playing a little person, but, according to Peter Dinklage, one of the stars in the film, it was supposed to progressive. “It was sort of an amazing idea for a movie, but the result was what we were fighting against—the cutesiness of little people,” Dinklage said. The craziest part about this film is that the original cut that was created by the director, Matthew Bright, was said to be quite good. But then, as Dinklage recalls, the director was fired and “The people who fired him ruined the movie… They made it into a weird little quirky rom-com, but with dwarves.”
11. Bill Murray – Scrooged
We’re huge fans of Scrooged, so we are quite happy with the way the film turned out. But, to hear it from the film’s star, Bill Murray, the movie they had in mind at the start was much different than the one they made. According to Murray, he and the director, Richard Donner, had “a few [disagreements]… Every single minute of the day.” Despite how much of a cult classic the film is today, Murray is not the biggest fan. “That could have been a really, really great movie,” he said. “The script was so good. There’s maybe one take in the final cut movie that is mine. We made it so fast, it was like doing a movie live. He kept telling me to do things louder, louder, louder. I think he was deaf.”
10. Marlon Brando – The Island of Doctor Moreau
The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of those films that the story of the making of it is better than the film itself. Every step of the making of this film was a disaster. After the cast had signed on, including Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando, the director, Richard Stanley was fired. Then the script changes started rolling in. Now, Brando is known for acting each scene in different ways to get the best take. Most filmmakers collaborated with the legend to create the best scene, but The Island of Doctor Moreau was different. As Kilmer would later say of the shoot, “[Brando] was not really respected… and the film suffered greatly by not taking his suggestions. He always took major chances and that true daring always makes people nervous… He would improv, which I love, but they wouldn’t film it or use [it].” In the end, the final cut was a mishmash of scenes and a heartless pile of garbage.
9. Michael Fassbender – Assassins Creed
When Michael Fassbender was asked about his time making Assassins Creed, he didn’t seem too enthralled with the process. Even though we like to imagine that Fassbender took the part because he was dying to make a film based on the popular video game, it’s almost guaranteed he did it for the money. Still, motivations aside, we expect that Fassbender intended to make a good movie. The end result was far, far from that. But Fassbender seemed to be in the dark during the shoot. It wasn’t until the film came out that he realized how bad it was. When asked what he would do differently if he was in charge, Fassbender said, “I would make it more entertaining.” Simple! He did get into more detail, stating, “The feeling of the film, I think it took itself too seriously and I would get to the action a lot quicker. I think there’s three beginnings of the film, which is a mistake.”
8. Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
When things go wrong with a movie, people usually blame the filmmaker. That’s just the way it goes. After all, good actors don’t just suddenly become bad actors. Well, what if they do? Not permanently of course, but actors can have rough patches. This is what happened with Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Even he admits it, saying, “In every movie up to the sixth one, you can see a big step forward in my acting, and then it stopped, or went backward maybe, in the sixth film.”
According to Radcliffe, his lackluster performance was mostly because he got caught on a character concept that sounded good and felt good performing it but didn’t look great in the end. Radcliffe said, “On the sixth, I remember watching it and thinking, Wow, there’s been no growth. You’re watching a mistake you made every day for 11 months — that’s the way I saw it. I had the idea that Harry was like a soldier traumatized by war, and as a result of that, he shuts down emotionally. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s not the most interesting thing to watch for two and a half hours.”
7. Samantha Morton – Her
Most of the entries on this list are actors who shot a film that they were happy with but were then disappointed in the film’s final cut. In a way, that happened with Samantha Morton in Her as well, but her situation is different. Morton was the original voice of Samantha in Her, the operating system that the protagonist falls in love with. Morton completed her shoots and went home, awaiting the final cut to be released. When it was, Morton wasn’t the voice anymore. It was Scarlett Johansson. Now, in reality, the director, Spike Jonze, would have informed Morton that she wasn’t in the film before the premiere. Otherwise, the film premiere would have been pretty awkward. Still, it wasn’t until post production that Morton was cut from the film and her role recast.
6. Shia LaBeouf – Transformers 2
We rarely get to see what was left on the cutting room floor, but, when it comes to Michael Bay films, we can only imagine that the floor is covered with scenes involving dialogue and actual acting. This is because Bay has to make room for explosions and, in Transformers specifically, robots fighting. We know that we’re probably close to the truth because even Shia LaBeouf was a bit bewildered when he saw the final cut of Transformers 2. This is what he had to say about it: “When I saw the second movie, I wasn’t impressed with what we did…There were some really wild stunts in it, but the heart was gone…we got lost. We tried to get bigger…Mike went so big that it became too big, and I think you lost the anchor of the movie…You lost a bit of the relationships. Unless you have those relationships, then the movie doesn’t matter. Then it’s just a bunch of robots fighting each other.”
5. Nicole Kidman – Australia
When Nicole Kidman completed shooting Australia, she was satisfied with her work. Even though Kidman is known to be critical of her own performances, her reaction to seeing the final cut of this particular film was different than usual. She recalls watching the film and squirming in her seat. She went on to say, “I can’t look at this movie and be proud of what I’ve done.” And, by “can’t look,” she actually means that she found it difficult to watch herself in the film. She says that the whole time she just “looked at Keith (Urban, her husband) and went ‘Am I any good in this movie?'” While she did compliment the young actor, Brandon Walters, and Hugh Jackman for their performances, Kidman said of the film and her role, “It’s just impossible for me to connect to it emotionally at all.”
4. Mark Wahlberg – The Happening
While people like to mock M. Night Shyamalan for making The Happening, the film’s failure is due to a miscommunicated film genre and failure to meet expectations of fans. Since Shyamalan had built a reputation for creating twist endings, fans expected more of the same with this film. It appears that Mark Wahlberg, too, expected this. So when the film turned out to be a paranoia film in the vein of 50’s B horror flicks, Wahlberg was not impressed. When speaking of The Happening, Wahlberg said, “F**k it. It is what it is. F**king trees, man. The plants. F**k it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.” Surprisingly, even though it seems that Wahlberg didn’t understand what he was doing out there, he played the B-movie star to perfection.
3. Christopher Lee – Return of the King
Now, this entry is a little different than the others because it’s talking about the theatrical cuts of The Lord of the Rings films when the extended versions are the universally accepted versions. If you have only ever watched or, god forbid, continue to watch the theatrical versions, shame on you. Either way, when the late Christopher Lee, the legendary actor who played Saruman, was asked about the things he would have liked to see included in the films that were left out, he basically said “me.” This is because, in the theatrical versions of The Return of the King, much of Saruman’s part was cut. It was later added in the extended versions, but Lee had not yet seen this. So he said, “When the third film came out, I couldn’t believe what I saw – I wasn’t in it!”
2. Adrien Brody – Thin Red Line
Terrence Malick is known as a director who cuts actors from films in post production. He tends to cast an extensive list of stars, shoot a high number of scenes and then stitch it all together in the way he sees most fitting. Sometimes, his huge post production projects eliminate entire roles. Many great actors have got their feather’s ruffled by this process, but maybe none as much as Adrien Brody. Brody described a brutal shoot for Thin Red Line.
For six months, he wore, “a filthy costume which they wouldn’t wash,” and he gave it his all. Then, when he saw the film, it was something alien to him. “Terry obviously changed the entire concept of the film. I had never experienced anything like that,” he said. Worse still, Brody was barely in the final cut. “I was so focused and professional, I gave everything to it, and then to not receive everything…in terms of witnessing my own work. It was extremely unpleasant,” he said. To add insult to injury, Brody had “already begun the press for a film that I wasn’t really in.” Of Malick, Brody was extremely critical, telling others not to believe the hype.
1. Jared Leto – Suicide Squad
To say that Jared Leto was disappointed with the way that The Suicide Squad came out would be an enormous understatement. Leading up to making the film, Leto was totally invested in his character and the promotional campaign for the movie. He was all over it and seemed genuinely excited. But, when the final cut was released, Leto was barely in it. The parts he was in seemed disjointed and out of place. When asked whether a portion of his role was cut, he asked the interviewer, “Were there any that didn’t get cut? I’m asking you, were there any that didn’t get cut? There were so many scenes that got cut from the movie, I couldn’t even start,” he said. “If I die anytime soon, it’s probably likely that it’ll surface somewhere. That’s the good news about the death of an actor is all that stuff seems to come out.”
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