A role isn’t ever secure, no matter who you are or what film or television show you are a part of. For actors in Hollywood, they know that they can be overly scrutinized for some of the dumbest reasons out there. Sometimes, though, those reasons can lead to being fired, or at least almost being fired.
There are plenty of actors who have almost lost roles for some dumb reasons. From using the wrong voice to not getting along with everyone on set to simply getting too into the character they’re portraying, actors can be fired for some of the most absurd and ridiculous reasons.
Regardless whether or not it’s a franchise film or a beloved television show, if an actor is becoming too much trouble then they can get the boot. However, when fans know and love a character to be a certain way, it’s difficult to cut ties with an actor.
The same goes for an actor who is already well known in his or her own right. So, of course, it makes firing an actor that much more difficult which is why most actors never really are ever let go of. They just come close to being fired instead.
Here are the 16 Actors Who Almost Lost Major Rolls For Dumb Reasons.
16. Gemma Whelan – Game of Thrones
Gemma Whelan is best known for portraying Yara Greyjoy on Game of Thrones. However, it was revealed that she almost lost the gig after landing the role in the first place.
Whelan accidentally revealed an extremely unimportant spoiler online without even realizing that she shouldn’t have done this in the first place. Of course, Game of Thrones producers are incredibly strict about this kind of thing, so they weren’t too happy with Whelan after that.
However, Whelan was forgiven since all she did was announce that she had landed the role. She was new to the game, so they let her off with just a warning. They let her know, though, that what she did was serious and that her doing it almost led to her being fired before she had even filmed a scene.
15. Robert Downey Jr. – Weird Sciene
Before he made it big by becoming Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was an up and coming young star with a famous dad. One of his first roles though was in the now nostalgic film, Weird Science.
Downey portrayed Ian in the film. He was costars with Renee Props, an actress who had a very minimal role in the film. However, she did have a trailer. Downey, who was known for being a little crazy back in the day, decided that he was going to defecate on a seat in Props’ trailer. He didn’t even do it in the restroom.
It was a prank that didn’t go well, and caused the executive producer to almost fire him. However, Props came to the rescue and denied that Downey actually did it. When discussing the incident about thirty years later or so, Props was able to laugh it off, saying “it was the eighties,” as though that makes it normal somehow.
14. Johnny Depp – Pirates of the Caribbean
Before he was seen in a negative light due to his relationship with Amber Heard, Johnny Depp was always held in high regard. This couldn’t be more true, especially when it comes to his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.
However, not everyone was pleased with how Johnny Depp portrayed the now-famous pirate. According to Depp himself, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner thought Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow was confusing. He supposedly questioned if Depp was trying to make Jack Sparrow appear “gay” and/or overly “drunk.”
Also according to Depp, another Disney executive reached out to him and questioned him as well about why he was making Captain Jack come off in a certain way. Depp had no idea what was wrong with his portrayal and just kept doing his thing, though he kept suspecting that he was going to be fired. Fortunately for him, that never happened.
13. Robert Pattinson – Twilight
Robert Pattinson landed the role of Edward Cullen in Twilight without a sweat. Keeping the part, however, ended up becoming a more difficult task for the actor.
Known mostly for his potrayl of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire back then, Pattinson was still coming into his own when he landed the role of Edward Cullen. In fact, he took the role super seriously. It got to the point that the actor was actually taking the role too seriously.
Producers and crew weren’t too pleased that Pattinson never smiled. Rumors began swirling that he was going to be fired and that the author Stephanie Meyer was also displeased with him.
Once Pattinson got wind of things, he realized he was taking the movie too seriously and that he needed to get over himself. To be fair, he didn’t even known what Twilight really was all about until landing the role.
12. Rachel McAdams – The Notebook
The Notebook without Rachel McAdams seems ridiculous, but that’s how Ryan Gosling wanted it to be. The actors weren’t getting along while on set, though they ended up dating later on. Before all that, however, Gosling tried to have McAdams fired.
The two actors butted heads instantly. It was probably a good indicator that they shouldn’t have dated in the first place. Things got so bad, in fact, that Gosling actually went to the director and asked for him to replace McAdams with another actress. This caused a screaming match between both Gosling and McAdams, though they ended up figuring it out.
While Gosling was hand picked for the role, McAdams wasn’t. She was hardly known in Hollywood yet, so the two were in different places in their career. Their differences ended up helping them, though, as they made their characters that much more believable.
11. Al Pacino – The Godfather
It’s impossible to image Al Pacino not being in The Godfather or any of it’s predecessors. However, that’s pretty much almost what happened.
In fact, the higher-ups at Paramount wanted Pacino out. They said him being in the role just didn’t make any sense. They didn’t just try to fire Pacino once or twice, though. In fact, they tried to have him fired on three different occasions. It also didn’t help that Pacino agreed with them about all of it.
Pacino claims that he felt the same about the role. He never really understood why he was cast in the part, though he obviously wasn’t against it. While everyone might have thought that Pacino wasn’t a good fit, it didn’t matter. Pacino did manage to keep the job, though, and it obviously worked out in the end for everyone.
10. Tammin Sursok – Pretty Little Liars
Tammin Sursok made it big on the hated, but loved, television show, Pretty Little Liars. However, Sursok was her own worst enemy, as something about her almost got her fired from the show.
Sursok has a very thick and very pronounced Australian accent. On Pretty Little Liars, though, she was supposed to play just another local, but Susok’s Australian accent kept getting in the way of that. It was merely a distraction that took something away from her character.
From then on, Sursok decided to conceal her real accent and just use an American accent instead. It not only made her feel better about things, but producers were really appreciative since they wouldn’t have to worry about recasting her after all.
9. Judd Nelson – The Breakfast Club
You’ll most likely recognize Judd Nelson from when he played bad boy John Bender in The Breakfast Club. Nelson starred opposite princess of the ’80s, Molly Ringwald herself.
It was Ringwald who almost got Nelson fired, in fact. It’s not like she sought it out, but others were noticing how badly Nelson was bullying Ringwald on set. Of course, being Hollywood royalty at the time, Ringwald was seen as precious which made cast and producers wary of Nelson. Plus, Nelson was just being a jerk towards her. It created a bad vibe on set.
John Hughes was nearly on the brink of firing Nelson until Ringwald defended Nelson. She assumed that Nelson was just getting really into his role, rather than actually being mean towards her. Ringwald convinced Hughes not to fire Nelson, and the rest is history.
8. Taylor Lautner – New Moon
Taylor Lautner was a regular working child star in Hollywood. Then suddenly one day he grew up and became Jacob in the Twilight films. However, the role wasn’t the easiest to keep.
Lautner did great in the first film, but when it came time to film New Moon, things had changed. Jacob was supposed to be coming into his own as a werewolf in New Moon which meant Lautner had to gain a lot of muscle in order to portray the character accurately.
Unfortunately, rumors started to spread that producers didn’t think that Lautner had enough muscle and that they were going to replace him. Thankfully, though, Lautner said he would be able to gain all the muscle, which he did, securing his spot in the film and avoiding being let go. Once the production had a director, he approved of Lautner, making sure the role would stay his.
7. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen – Full House
Thinking about the original Full House without the Olsen twins seems insane. The show is what gave them their big break. Without Full House, they never would have become a household name. However, they almost didn’t secure the role after the first season.
John Stamos was really against the twins in the beginning. When they first landed the job, they were still babies. Because of this, they weren’t easy to work with and any scene could be ruined due to one of them crying or squirming too much. Stamos was in favor of cutting the twins out and using different actors instead.
6. Shia LaBeouf – Transformers Franchise
Shia LaBeouf seems to hate being famous, but at the same time, he can’t stop talking about being famous. After his Disney days, LaBeouf was headed down the right track with some good movies. He then snagged the Transformers gig, which changed everything for him.
However, LaBeouf wasn’t too happy of the success of the franchise. In fact, he seemed to hate the first film. To make matters worse, LaBeouf bad mouthed director Michael Bay in an interview, saying that Bay didn’t believe in the movie.
This led to tension between Bay and LaBeouf, with considerations as to whether or not LaBeouf should stay part of the franchise. Since LaBeouf couldn’t get along with the director, they didn’t see the point of keeping him around. Of course, he stayed part of the franchise for quite awhile, so he obviously had a change of tune.
5. Ellen Barkin – Into the West
Harvey Weinstein is probably one of the biggest names in Hollywood and you sure don’t want to be the one who makes him mad. Unfortunately for actress Ellern Barkin, she didn’t seem to get on Weinstein’s good side.
When it came time to film the 1992 movie, Into the West, Barkin was already a pretty successful actress. However, even that couldn’t help her when she made an enemy of executive producer Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein claims that Barkin was the rudest person he had ever worked with on a film. He said that she was the absolute worst person to work with and that he wanted to fire her. However, before this would happen, Barkin caught wind of what was going on and changed her attitude dramatically. This pleased Weinstein and he decided to not fire her after all.
4. Jay Pharoah – Saturday Night Live
Comedian and actor Jay Pharoah made his last appearance on Saturday Night Live last year. However, he was almost fired awhile back, though that never actually ended up happening.
Pharoah knocked Lorne Michaels, along with SNL’s production crew and writers, for not including African American females in the lineup of performers. He was vocal and called them out for it, which almost caused him to get the ax at the time.
According to Pharoah, he was almost fired in 2013 for casting the show in a negative light. Back then, Leslie Jones and Lakendra Tookes were only cast as writers, not performers, and Pharoah took issue with that personally. So, it seems like he’s always been butting heads with the producers and always speaking his mind– it’s not just a recent thing.
3. Linda Larkin – Aladdin
Princess Jasmine had two voices. It used to be that voice over actors had to sing to be a Disney princess, but this was eventually changed. However, this has changed once again, with voice over actors now also being the singers again as of recently.
Aladdin was produced during the time when voice over actors didn’t have to sing. In fact, it marked the very beginning of this particular era. Two actors would be brought in to do one role, with one singing and one speaking.
Linda Larkin voiced the speaking part of Princess Jasmine. However, producers found her voice to be too high and not right for the singing part of the role. According to Larkin herself, she “didn’t sing like a princess.”
Instead of firing her right off the bat, producers decided to just have someone sing the songs for her. Thankfully they liked her speaking voice enough to keep her around. This started a pattern within Disney for awhile.
2. Nicolas Cage – Peggy Sue Got Married
Nicolas Cage was groomed for the entertainment industry. Being part of the famous Coppola family, he was able to land a role in Peggy Sue Got Married, a film directed by his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola.
The thing is, though, that Cage probably would have been fired if his uncle hadn’t been the director. Cage insisted on using a high, annoying, squeaky voice which bugged the cast and crew. No matter what anyone would tell him, he kept insisting on using it.
Producers started questioning if Cage was a right fit for the role. They essentially wanted to fire him, both for using the voice and for being a bit of a diva about it all. However, Cage’s uncle stepped in and handled things with Cage, allowing him to keep the role and not lose out on it.
1. Ernie Sabella – Lion King
While you may not recognize Ernie Sabella right off the bad, you’re sure to recognize his voice. Sabella is the voice actor who gave Pumba from The Lion King his voice in the Disney animated films.
Sabella, who is known for his comedic timing and jokes, was improvising a bit, trying to give Pumba some personality. Unfortunately, producers weren’t too fond of the types of jokes Sabella was making. According to director Rob Minkoff, Sabella’s first session wasn’t great.
“He did our first session, we cut it together, we played it and the jokes didn’t land,” said Minkoff. “It wasn’t his fault, it was completely our fault.” Thankfully, he helped Sabella a bit and they worked together to create the perfect Pumba.
Know of any other actors who almost lost their role for a dumb reason? Let us know in the comments!
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