The producers on American Horror Story: Cult made significant changes to the start of their most recent season which opened with a public shooting. Following the massacre in Las Vegas, you can understand why they wanted to be cautious. But as you’ll read, that’s far from the only time a Hollywood project has undergone alterations at, what many times, seems like the last minute.
Such as Stuart Townsend, Ryan Gosling, and John Lithgow all who put in significant amounts of time preparing for roles that ended up getting passed off to someone else. To make the sting all the sharper, some of the roles and movies that you’re about to read (such as Lord of The Rings, Iron Man and Back to the Future) were influential in helping the career of those who did end up on the final movie poster. Actors aren’t immune to being replaced though, as we all learned with directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord’s departure from the Han Solo film. We assure you that regardless of if you’re happy with the finished version of the film, that reading this list will forever change how you view these roles.
Hollywood can be a fickle place, something that may never become more apparent than with the cases you’re about to read.
15. Anne Hathaway Didn’t Want To Get Knocked Up
Katherine Heigl probably wishes she had never worked on the movie Knocked Up. Interviews following the filming in which she complained about the overall script and the fact that women were portrayed as uptight led to a significant amount of backlash towards her overall public image. It didn’t help that some people also felt she was difficult to work with on Grey’s Anatomy.
But she could have saved herself a lot of trouble if the role had gone to Anne Hathaway like it had originally been planned. Hathaway turned down the role saying,
“My issue with it was that having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn’t know how I was gonna feel on the other side about giving birth. And by the way, I could pop a kid out and think, ‘Oh, well, I really should have done that movie.”
14. Han Solo Movie Cuts Two Lead Directors
There aren’t many franchises that would be more exciting to work on than Star Wars. But for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, their dream job of directing the upcoming Han Solo film came to a premature end.
The two were removed from the project in June 2017 and replaced with Ron Howard. When you consider they lost the job partially due to creative differences, it definitely makes people a little bit worried about the final product might look like. Regardless of how the film does with critics though, we’re sure it’ll still manage to make hundreds of millions at the box office. Especially considering the film is bringing in several talented actors including Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke.
13. Stuart Townsend Gets Replaced In Lord Of The Rings
One of the biggest franchises of all-time is the Lord Of The Rings. But could you imagine the franchise if it didn’t have Viggo Mortensen in one of the leading roles as Aragorn? While it’s impossible to picture someone else in that role, it was very nearly going to be Stuart Townsend.
Townsend was not only hired, but he spent months training for the role only to be told once he started on-set that he looked too young for the role and Mortenson was subsequently cast. While Mortenson’s career has gone on to tremendous things, including outside of Mordor, Townsend has not had quite the same success. Which means that he may be less of a fan of seeing Frodo go on his epic quest.
12. Spider-Man Alters Scene Following 9/11
Peter Parker is no stranger to using the city of New York to his advantage when taking down baddies. So perhaps it makes sense that when they were making the first Spider-Man movie, that there was a scene involving the Two Towers. Only when the towers were later destroyed in an act of terrorism, the scene needed to be cut from the movie.
The scene was actually included in one of the first trailers for the film, making the situation all the more awkward to try and alter. Though it does mean you get this great photo of how the scene was supposed to finish. Thankfully for the filmmakers, there is no shortage of ways that Parker can dispose of his enemies for them to use instead!
11. Terrence Howard Hates RDJ For Taking His Iron Man 2 Money
There are millions of people around the world who absolutely love Robert Downey Jr‘s rendition of Tony Stark. But one person who might not be such a fan is Terrence Howard who played War Machine in the first Iron Man franchise but was given the boot before the series really took off.
Howard blames his departure on financial difficulties, saying in an interview
“It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man … when it was time to re-up for the second one, (he) took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”
10. John Lithgow Gets Cut As Hades After All Dialogue Recorded (Hercules)
There are many Disney movies that may have been a large part of your childhood. One of the best may be Hercules that stars James Woods in the role of the antagonist Hades. Woods’ loves the role so much that’ll he reprise it whenever asked by Disney, but the role was very nearly not his.
John Lithgow, who you may best recognize from Third Rock from The Sun was originally cast in the role and literally recorded all of his dialogue. The people involved with the film, however, thought Woods’ interpretation of the role was more appropriate for the film and gave him the nod. Jack Nicholson and Willem Dafoe were also both heavily considered for the role but unlike Lithgow, had not recorded the dialogue.
9. Megan Fox Describes Bay As Hitler, Gets Fired From Transformers
Megan Fox could have continued establishing herself as one of the biggest actresses in Hollywood if she had managed to keep her name attached to the Transformers label. But controversy behind the set led to her dismissal in exchange for Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to take over the role. It was reported that Megan Fox allegedly compared Michael Bay’s directional style to that of Adolf Hitler.
Fox was also insulted by producer Steven Spielberg, who in an interview stated “She was in a different world, on her Blackberry. You gotta stay focused.”
8. American Horror Story Alters Cult Opening Scene After Las Vegas Shooting
We know, this list is about movies, but given that this is also one of the most recent incidences of TV/movie sets needing to make a change, we had to include it anyway.
The show’s recent season entitled American Horror Story: Cult opens up with a mass shooting, but what you ended up seeing during the opening was massively altered from what the original was.
The creators have come out and said the overall length of the scene was cut by more than half, as well as several of the people being killed getting cut from the episode.
Considering the upsetting nature of the Las Vegas shootings, we can understand why they made those changes. If you would like to see the unedited version, the creators have made available in Video On Demand.
7. Edward Norton Removed From Avengers Franchise
There are many great parts of The Avengers franchise, but one of your favorites might be the role of Mark Ruffalo who takes on the role of Bruce Banner (aka The Hulk). But prior to Ruffalo getting the nod, many people were thinking it would be Edward Norton in the role. His previous rendition of The Hulk had been well-received, but that clearly wasn’t the opinion of the people involved at Marvel.
When announcing the boot of Norton, Marvel stated
“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts.”
6. Ryan Gosling Too Big For The Lovely Bones
There are several actors that you might be able to think of that have transformed their body for a role. But one transformation that you never got to see on screen was Ryan Gosling putting on some significant weight for his potential role in The Lovely Bones.
The only problem? Director Peter Jackson thought he put on too much weight (close to 60 pounds) and ended up giving the part to Mark Wahlberg instead. Though if we are being fair, Gosling never told anyone he was going to gain the weight and also grew out a beard for the role. We’re sure all that time it took to lose the weight was definitely not nearly as fun as him trying to put it on thinking it’d be a great look. The real question is, why didn’t Gosling reach out to Jackson prior to doing such a radical transition?
5. Eric Stolz Gets The Boot From Back To The Future After A Few Weeks
This list is chock-full of franchises that we’re sure were a huge part of your life. Such as the Back To The Future series that stars Eric Stolz and Christopher Glover. Oh, sorry, we mean Michael J. Fox! While it’s arguably one of the most iconic roles of any actors career, much less Fox, it was first going to be Eric Stolz in the role after Fox had scheduling issues due to his series Family Ties.
But after six weeks of working together, everyone involved (including Stolz) was realizing that the movie wasn’t the best fit. He was later replaced by Fox to the tune of roughly $3 million to re-film the scenes that Stoltz had already worked on.
4. Colin Firth Leaves Lead On Paddington
One of the most anticipated movies of the holiday season is Paddington 2. But perhaps people wouldn’t be nearly as excited about the upcoming sequel if the first one didn’t do incredibly well.
One of the best parts of the first one was Ben Whishaw who voiced the iconic bear. But prior to the role being given to Whishaw, it was Colin Firth who had been tapped to play the role. Thankfully there was no bad blood as Firth dropped out of the project voluntarily. We’re sure after seeing the success of the first one that was credited in part to Whishaw’s performance that he was able to say without a shadow of a doubt that he had made the right decision.
3. Nicolas Cage Gets The Nod To Play Aragorn
This list will take a moment to talk about Stuart Townsend and the fact that he got replaced by Viggo Mortenson in the lead role of the Lord of the Rings franchise. But Townsend wasn’t the only actor that nearly got put into the role. Peter Jackson’s first choice for the film was Nicolas Cage who had actually accepted the role. We’re sure you’re incredibly thankful that he later left the project stating that he thought it would cut too much into his family time.
That’s a completely reasonable reason to turn away a project and we commend Cage for doing the right thing for his family. We also commend the studio for casting Mortenson who if we’re being upfront, was probably significantly more suited for the role than Cage.
2. Rick Moranis’ Russian Accent Gets Him Kicked From The Breakfast Club
There aren’t many movies that define the 80s more than The Breakfast Club. But while the movie may be known for the performances of people like Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald, the incredibly talented (and hilarious) Rick Moranis very nearly gave his own spin on the classic.
Originally cast as the janitor, Moranis was let go from the project after he tried to convince the producers that the character should have a thick Russian accent. While you can imagine this must have been startling to director John Hughes, we would have given Moranis the benefit of the doubt and let him run with it. That being said, John Kapelos still did a strong job with the role.
1. Stallone Gets Gere Fired Following Fights On The Lords of Flatbush
Sylvester Stallone has several iconic roles that probably come to mind when you think of him. But one of his most difficult roles, at least to film, might not be one that immediately comes to your mind. Stallone was supposed to star alongside Richard Gere in the movie The Lords of Flatbush. But fights behind the set led to the director giving Gere the boot.
Stallone elaborated further, saying
“We never hit it off. He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table. One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with.”
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