A fan-favorite movie or TV character begins with perfect casting: but perfect isn’t always obvious from the start. Sometimes, directors or actors find out too late that a role or performance just isn’t going to cut it – leaving studios scrambling to find replacements. They may be hard to believe, but here are 10 Actors Who Got Fired or Replaced During Production.
These days it’s hard to imagine Ryan Gosling being replaced from any movie, but when he showed up on set for this novel adaptation weighing in at 210 pounds, director Peter Jackson was shocked. Gosling figured that gaining 60 pounds was right for the role, but Jackson… didn’t. Mark Wahlberg was brought in, and Gosling headed back to the gym.
Few TV shows airing for less than one season are as loved as Joss Whedon’s space western, and the same goes for the cast. But before Morena Baccarin (“More-A-nuh BACK-errin”) landed the role of Inara Serra, the part was filled by actress Rebecca Gayheart. But when shooting began, Whedon knew the chemistry was wrong, and made sure to shoot the other characters around her for the pilot. Inara is alone in most of her intro shots, because the footage from the previous shoot was used for the other actors.
Spike Jonze posed a powerful question: could you fall in love with an operating system if it had the voice of Scarlett Johansson? But that wasn’t always the plan. Actress Samantha Morton actually voiced the A.I. character for the entire shoot opposite Joaquin Phoenix. But when it came time to record the final voice, Jonze felt something was off. Johansson was brought in, and a Best Picture nomination wasn’t far behind.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Clay Morrow than Ron Perlman, but when the pilot of Sons of Anarchy began filming, it was another grey, grizzled actor in the role of the club’s leader: Scott Glenn. The entire episode was filmed with Glenn, before Perlman was brought in to reshoot everything. But look close at the gang running from the explosion in the pilot, and you’ll spot Glenn, not Perlman, leading the pack.
When the producers of Southpaw decided it was time for a different kind of boxing movie, they knew just how to make it: by casting rapper Eminem, in a “spiritual sequel” to his critic-stunning role in the semi-autobiographical 8 Mile (Universal). Knowing the rapper’s history, he was pitched the idea of a down-and-out boxer fighting for his daughter, and Eminem signed on, kicking the project into high gear. The creator of Sons of Anarchy wrote the script, former amateur boxer Antoine Fuqua signed on to direct, and his meeting with Eminem went perfectly. But just before he was to stat his training, the rapper decided another album had to come first. Jake Gyllenhaal was brought in instead, and after gaining the muscle needed, cameras rolled.
Just because you’ve been replaced on a film, doesn’t mean you won’t still get the part. When Director Mary Herron looked to adapt the novel “American Psycho,” she knew Christian Bale was the man for the role – but the studio had doubts. No one was more surprised than Bale when Leonardo DiCaprio was announced to have signed on, pushing both its star and director out. But the duo stayed determined, with Bale even telling Ewan McGregor not to accept the studio’s offer, until they finally returned to their original picks.