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12 Hollywood Actors Fired From The Movie Sets And Replaced With Someone Else

By Andrew Alpin, 27 November 2017


You may be surprised to know that there are several Hollywood movies which have gone on to become hits without the original actor being chosen for the role. There have been several cases, where a particular actor was chosen for a particular part only to be fired and replaced with someone else. Sometimes, it is the attitude of the actor which gets him or her fired and sometimes, they aren’t suited at all for the role. For most big productions, it is immensely satisfying for the producers and directors when an actor is finalized for the main role. However, actors have been replaced even after filming started. Here are 12 such actors fired from the set of a movie and replaced by someone else.

1Stuart Townsend and Viggo Mortensen: Lord of the Rings


Stuart Townsend, an A class actor was chosen to star in the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring as Aragorn. He had prepared for the role with a lot of training. Townsend 26 was already famous for his roles in the series XIII, and the Conspiracy streaming on Netflix. Unfortunately for Townsend, Peter Jackson, director of LOTR decided that he wasn’t suited and too young for the role. Jackson replaced him with Vigo Mortensen who was forty years old at the time. Mortensen’s great performance proved to be perfect for the role. Townsend was fired just before filming began and perhaps that was the biggest setback in his illustrious career.

That wasn’t the only blockbuster movie that Townsend was replaced from. He even dropped out of the role of Frandall in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. 

Stuart Townsend and Viggo Mortensen

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2 Eric Stoltz and Michael J Fox: Back to the Future


When director Robert Zemeckis was casting for Back to the Future in 1985, Michael .J. Fox was his first choice as Marty Mcfly but Fox wasn’t available at the time being too occupied with the sitcom, Family Ties. It was Eric Stoltz who was chosen for the film. Teen heartthrob Stoltz was famous for movies like the Mask and Some Kind of Wonderful (1987). However, after filming began, Zemeckis felt Stoltz wasn’t suited to the role and this was realized by all concerned with the film production.

The role needed a comical approach which Stoltz wasn’t able to deliver. Ultimately he was asked to leave in an amicable way and Fox was brought in that hiked up the production costs by millions because of reshooting schedules of Stoltz’s scenes. Fox became the legend for his hectic schedule shooting for both the movie and the sitcom series.

 Eric Stoltz and Michael J Fox

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3 James Remar and Michael Biehn: Aliens


James Remar, the star of 48 hours and The Warriors was chosen for James Cameron’s Aliens. It was to be a dramatic sequel to the earlier classic Alien. Remar was to play Corporal Dwayne Hicks. But! After filming for a few weeks, he was sacked and replaced by Michael Biehn No one revealed the reason why and even the cast and crew remained silent about Remar’s departure. It was Remar who opened up and revealed it was because of his bad drug addiction that led to him even getting arrested. That cost him the role. The film still has some shots of Remar although they aren’t close up and can be seen only from behind. 

James Remar and Michael Biehn

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4 Natalie Portman and Claire Danes: Romeo Juliet


Natalie Portman was all set to play Juliet alongside Leonardo Di Caprio. Just after filming began, the director observed that being just 14 and the way she looked did not suit the couple as she looked like a little girl beside Di Caprio who was 21. The scenes in the movie would have come across as child molestation, which was a remark made by Portman herself. The Director then decided to replace her with Claire Daines instead. Well, we can’t really say it was Portman’s fault here after all she was just 14. It was a clear case of miscasting. 

Natalie Portman and Claire Danes

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5 Robert Downey Jr and George Clooney: Gravity


The main role of Gravity was given to Robert Downey Junior who is well known for improvising in his roles. After filming began, the director Alfonso Cuaron felt he wasn’t suited for the role. Cuaron felt that though Downey was extremely talented, he was being obstructed by the Technological aspect of the movie that hindered his acting. It was Clooney who eventually replaced Downey. 

Robert Downey Jr and George Clooney

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6 Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Transformers, Dark Side of the Moon


It was revealed that on the set of the film, Transformers, Dark Side of the Moon, Megan Fox, and director Michael Bay had a huge row. Bay made a demand that Fox gets herself suntanned and increase her weight b 9 pounds for the role. Fox refused and even compared him to Hitler. She said, “he was the most horrible person to work with”. Bay fired Megan Fox and replaced her with Rosie Huntington Whiteley. 

Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

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7 Colin Firth and Ben Whishaw: Paddington


Paddington Bear is a much loved British cartoon character created by Author Michael Brown in 1985 and titled “A Bear called Paddington”. The character was adapted for cartoon series by the BBC. In 2014, the character was also made into a film with Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington. After almost completing the film, Producers found that Firth’s voice somehow did not suit the character as he sounded too mature and regal. It did not match the adorable innocence of the Paddington.

Firth understood and agreed to be replaced by Ben Whishaw who had acted as Q in James Bond starring Daniel Craig. When the film was released, it earned fantastic reviews and grossed $ 76 million. Whishaw’s performance especially earned critics acclaim as the strong point of the film. 

Colin Firth and Ben Whishaw

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8 Richard Gere and Perry King: Lords of Flatbush


Among actors fired from the set, this was totally justified. The 1974 drama Lords of Flatbush would have been Richard Gere’s debut movie had he not behaved badly on set. Although the first choice for the movie, Gere misbehaved just after filming and started picking fights with fellow co-actors. He even got into a fist cuff brawl with Sylvester Stallone over a piece of chicken which he dropped intentionally on Sly’s pants. The now megastar was promptly fired and replaced with Perry King. 

Richard Gere and Perry King

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9 Chloe Grace Moretz and Miley Cyrus: Bolt


This was one movie where even original director Chris Sanders was fired where he ultimately quit Disney to join DreamWorks Animation. The Film originally called American Dog was renamed Bolt and became more successful than “American Dog” would have ever been. The role of Penny was played by 11 year old Grace Moretz but Disney decided on recasting and replaced her with Miley Cyrus who had also written a song for the movie “I thought I lost You”. Disney kept Moretz voice as the younger Penny instead. 

Chloe Grace Moretz and Miley Cyrus

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10 Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kevin Peter Hall Predator


A 27 year old Van Damme was offered the role of the alien in Predator (1987) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Van Damme however left the project just after 2 days of filming because he felt it wasn’t worth playing a character wearing a mask throughout the movie and with no lines too. In 2 days he had also gotten into a fight and beat up a stuntman. Producers were only too happy to see Van Damme go because they felt he looked too short and scrawny in comparison to Schwarzenegger. Van Damme was replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kevin Peter Hall Predator

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11 Ryan Gosling and Mark Wahlberg: The Lovely Bones


Ryan Gosling was the first choice as Jack salmon for Peter Jackson’s “the lovely Bones” Gosling tried interpreting the look of the character himself and showed up on set having gained 60 pounds. When he turned up on set, Jackson was highly agitated and unimpressed. Jackson asked Gosling “What is this?” to which Gosling said “It’s great, isn’t it?” “No, it’s not—hit the treadmill,” Jackson replied.

It seemed both actor and director had different views on the look of the character. Gosling was fired and replaced by Mark Wahlberg. 

Ryan Gosling and Mark Wahlberg

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12 Lori Petty and Sandra Bullock: Demolition Man


Lori Petty was the original star to play Lt Lenina Huxley opposite Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man about a cryogenically frozen cop who wakes up in the future. Lori Petty had several differences with producer Joel Silver over the film’s direction and after just three days of filming, she was fired and replaced with Sandra Bullock. 

Lori Petty and Sandra Bullock

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