It’s not uncommon for actors to be left out of a film. For a variety of reasons, there could be factors that led to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars not showing up in the final cut. From a film’s run time to the scene just not working in the overall plot of the picture to scrapping a character’s role altogether after being deemed unnecessary, some actors just aren’t in the movie when all is said and done.
The funny part is, most fans don’t even realize the famous celeb was ever part of the film in the first place. Studios don’t promote that actors have been cut and the actors themselves often don’t talk about it, so unless you really looked, as a fan, you might never know that one of your favorite actors was left out for whatever reason.
Now that we’ve got you thinking, have you ever wondered who some of those actors might be? We’ve listed 15 different Hollywood celebrities who were scheduled to be in a film but, in the end, didn’t show up. Some of these actors weren’t big names when these movies came out but ended up being huge stars. Others were stars and stayed stars. It’s possible, in some cases, that the scenes being cut of some actors led to a downward slide of their careers, but we just can’t really prove it.
Did you know that the following actors were supposed to be in the following movies but didn’t wind up in the final cut? In some cases, neither did we.
15. Paul Rudd – Bridesmaids
Sometimes, you get typecast as an actor. Paul Rudd has the whole lovable but sarcastic good guy vibe that you can’t apparently shake. He was cast to play the angry other half of a blind date in the film Bridesmaids but the minute he popped up on screen, everyone loved him despite how big of a jerk he tried to be. He was so lovable, his character simply didn’t work. You didn’t hate him at all.
Star of the film Kristen Wiig, said that cutting him from the movie was about the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She truly loved working with him and wanted badly to keep him in the film but just couldn’t figure out how to do it and have the role be believable. She’s gone on to suggest that editing and cutting scenes is the worst part of her job. She hates it, especially when it’s someone you like so much.
14. Harrison Ford – E.T.
By the time E.T. had rolled around, Harrison Ford was becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He’d go on to make Han Solo and Indiana Jones household names. You’d think that having a guy like that in your movie would create a lot of positive buzz. But when Ford was cast in the movie about an alien who befriends a young boy named Elliot, none of Ford’s scenes were kept in the film.
Ford was supposed to play the role of a school principal that was handing out trouble to Elliott who was creating all sorts of havoc with his new extraterrestrial friend, but his scenes were all cut. It wouldn’t have probably mattered since it appears that you never saw Ford’s face in any of the shots anyway.
13. Tobey Maguire – Life Of Pi
How would you take it if you found out that the only reason you were cut out of a film is because you were too famous? That’s what happened to Tobey Maguire who was supposed to be in Ang Lee‘s 2012 movie Life of Pi. He only had a small role but Lee said he didn’t take into account how much having a recognizable movie star would affect the story he was trying to tell. He claimed Maguire was too big for the small scenes he needed to shoot. As a result, Lee replaced Maguire’s part with an actor that no one recognized.
It’s hard to say if Maguire was cut because he was too famous and recognized as too good or too bad. After he did his last Spider-Man film, there really is no way to tell. Maybe Lee saw the footage of Maguire strolling down the street as the on-start of the Venom character and said, “Ya, we need to cut that guy immediately.”
12. Jamie Dornan – Burnt
Jamie Dornan has gone on to become a huge star, thanks to his role in 50 Shades of Grey. But before he was even a superstar, he was cut from Bradley Cooper‘s cooking drama Burnt. Dornan was cast to play the ex of Sienna Miller‘s character, and in a very well-acted but troubling scene, he tells her he’s leaving her and their child for Belfast.
In the end, all Dornan shot was a cameo and it wasn’t needed to effectively tell the story so it was cut from the film. It’s too bad because the scene was quite good even though it wasn’t very long. In only a couple short minutes, his appearance explained a lot of Miller’s character’s troubles. He seems to be doing just fine. Good actors usually have a way of getting found even if their stuff is cut.
11. Kevin Costner – The Big Chill
Kevin Costner was one of the biggest movie stars ever. He took a bit of a hiatus after some poor choices in roles but has made a resurgence over the past few years and back in the saddle. It all could have been different if he’d gotten his big break in 1983 in the film The Big Chill.
His role was that of Alex Marshall, and his appearances would have been part of a series of flashbacks. All were cut out of the movie with the exception of the start of the film in which he can be seen as a corpse. The film’s entire premise is about a group of friends who get together over Costner’s death. Costner became one of the more notable actors removed from a film when his character was absolutely essential to the movie.
10. Shailene Woodley – Amazing Spider-Man 2
You probably know her better as the star of the Divergent movies but Shailene Woodley was supposed to play Mary Jane Watson in the sequel to Amazing Spider-Man. In Amazing Spider-Man 2, she was supposed to show up after Emma Stone‘s character, Gwen Stacey, died but the director decided to go another way, opting to use her in the third installment. She even filmed a bunch of scenes. The only problem was the third installment got canned.
The third movie never saw the light of day and every actor, including Woodley, got booted and replaced by the versions of the film Marvel is putting out now. Removing her was a tough decision but the filmmakers believed people were too invested in Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey to introduce someone new so soon.
9. Ashley Judd – Natural Born Killers
A very young Ashley Judd gave one of the best performances of her career in a small part in Quentin Tarantino‘s and Oliver Stone‘s film Natural Born Killers. She played a witness testifying against Mickey Knox and while he was cross-examining her (he played his own counsel for the media attention), he stabbed her in the chest with a pencil (which, of course, brought him more attention).
The scene was much more important to Tarantino’s original script than it was to Stone’s finished version of the film which was shot much differently than Tarantino likely intended. Stone still shot all of the scenes he wound up cutting, and Judd wasn’t the only one left out. Dennis Leary was also removed from the film by the time all was said and done.
8. Liam Neeson – Hangover Part II
Liam Neeson is about the coolest dude in Hollywood. If he’s in your movie, it adds an extra layer of swagger that your film didn’t otherwise have. And if you put him in a movie like The Hangover, it is sure to be hilarious. Strangely, though, Neeson got shafted twice when it came to that film.
First, he wasn’t the original choice when it came to the small cameo that was supposed to see a crazy tattoo artist in The Hangover Part II, that was Mel Gibson. But, when people refused to work with Gibson, Neeson was hired instead. He shot all his scenes in one day only to find out that they’d be edited out of the film. Why? Because the director decided to reshoot the scenes and Neeson wasn’t available. Nick Cassavetes was brought in and acted all of Neeson’s scenes over again. So, The Hangover Part II went from Gibson to Neeson to the director of The Notebook.
7. Uma Thurman – Savages
We’ve already included one Oliver Stone film when Natural Born Killers was added to this list. Another movie, Savages, saw a very famous actor shoot a lot of scenes and get cut for time—that being Uma Thurman.
Thurman has done a ton of movies, perhaps most famously known for her scenes in Pulp Fiction and the lead role in the Kill Bill films. It’s no surprise that an actor of her caliber would be slotted to play a pivotal role in Savages as Blake Lively‘s (Ophelia Sage) mother. Stone explained that he loved the scenes Thurman shot and that he has major chops as an actor. He even loved the character, but there just simply wasn’t time to keep it all and get to the finish line of the movie in a good time.
6. Sienna Miller – Black Mass
Fans have seen her in films like Burnt, American Sniper, Foxcatcher, G.I. Joe, and she’s on her way to being a huge star. But, her career also includes being cut from the film Black Mass. She was to play the love interest of Johnny Depp‘s character, Whitey Bulger, but due to a narrative choice made by the director, her scenes were cut.
Miller was a big part of the film but Scott Cooper decided that her role as the woman who helped Bulger evade arrest for 16 years took too much away from the story they were trying to tell. She was almost too big a deal. She spent a lot of time perfecting her Boston accent and was disappointed to learn she’d be cut. She’ll do just fine in her career despite the unlucky news, though.
5. Sara Michelle Gellar – Funny Farm
She’s one of the most popular television actresses in history, especially in the 15-30 demographic, thanks to her portrayal as Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her movie career was okay, starring in films like Scooby Doo and I Know What You Did Last Summer but that role as Buffy made her a star. It all could have worked out differently had she stayed part of the film Funny Farm when she was only 11 years old.
The 1988 film starring Chevy Chase would have been her first real big part but she was cut from the movie. Not sure what character she was supposed to play or why she was left out but she seemed to have rebounded pretty well. People tend to like her a whole lot more than they like Chevy Chase.
4. Angela Bassett – Mr. And Mrs. Smith
Angela Bassett is pretty famous for having a lot of smaller roles in a lot of really good films. Proof of that is she was slated to be in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s Mr. and Mrs. Smith as Brad Pitt’s boss. Her role was to manage and assist her man in Pitt, navigate the battle between his character, John Smith, and his wife, Jane Smith. But in the end, the scenes weren’t necessary for the film to make sense. They were edited out.
It’s probably not the first or last time an actor like Bassett will be cut from a film. When you make a living having supporting roles in bigger films, there is a chance that your stuff doesn’t make the final version of the film. Probably not what you want but Bassett is so established as an actor, it likely doesn’t matter.
3. Chris Cooper – The Ring
When you’re not in much of the film but your scenes are too distracting to keep, you tend to get cut. That’s what happened to Chris Cooper, an award-winning actor, who was in a couple scenes in the film The Ring. He was cast to play a child murderer being interviewed by the main character, and he was to show up at the start and end of the film.
When audiences were screen-tested, everyone recognized him and felt it was a bit distracting that he was in a film that really didn’t have a ton of huge name actors. They felt someone as important as Cooper should have been in the movie more than he was, so the filmmakers cut him out completely to eliminate the problem.
2. Harvey Keitel And Jennifer Jason Leigh – Eyes Wide Shut
There’s one thing people know about Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. It’s one of the stranger movies ever made and for a number of reasons. Outside of a very twisted plot, Kubrick was infamous for shooting the film without ever taking a break (the shoot lasting 400 days). It’s in the Guinness Book Of Records as the longest continuous shoot. That can be taxing on the actors.
Originally, Harvey Keitel and Jennifer Jason Leigh were part of the supporting cast and scheduling conflicts, and these created issues for Keitel while Leigh was asked to reshoot a bunch of scenes after filming all her parts over a gruellingly long shoot. She refused and both she and Keitel were recast. This is one of those times where you can’t really blame them. There are other rumors that Keitel was removed for some much more disturbing reasons but none of that has been proven.
1. Eric Stoltz – Back To The Future
Eric Stoltz was cast to play the lead role of Marty McFly in Back to the Future. He shot a bunch of scenes, but the filmmakers felt he wasn’t quite right for the part so Michael J. Fox was recast as the character and the rest was history. Back to the Future was one of the most successful films of the 1980’s, and it made Fox’s career. Meanwhile, Stoltz didn’t do much noteworthy work after that.
This entry is probably the biggest example of how being cut from a film can drastically change one’s career path. Stoltz was never the same after this, and Fox went on to become a massive star, including two more Back to the Future movies. Clearly, the director made the right call.
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