There are very few jobs in the world more appealing than being a Hollywood actor. Not only are actors paid huge sums of money to do what they love, but they also garner the reverence and adoration of legions of fans all over the world. Not to mention the 187 awards ceremonies that take place every year to celebrate their careers. (The number of awards ceremonies has been exaggerated, but only slightly.)
There is a lot more to the life of a Hollywood actor than the glitz and glamour on display in every one of those award shows though. Sure they are well-compensated for their work (sometimes outlandishly so), but some shoots can be grueling ordeals. (Just look at what Leonardo DiCaprio went through while filming The Revenant.)
Another drawback to acting is little-to-no job security. While big franchises will sometimes sign actors to multi-picture deals, most actors never know when they’re next role will come along.
In fact, many land roles in huge franchises only to vanish immediately after. Even when actors land a good part, there’s no guarantee they’ll keep it, and plenty of stupid reasons for them to lose it.
Here are the 15 Actors Who Lost Roles For Stupid Reasons.
15. Nicole Kidman
Here’s another entry where the stupidity occurred not in the current movie, but in the previous one. Back in 2001, Nicole Kidman was set to play Meg Altman in David Fincher’s Panic Room. Unfortunately, a few weeks into filming, Kidman had to give up the part because of a lingering knee injury that was too painful for such a physically demanding role.
According to Kidman, she sustained the injury during the filming of Moulin Rouge! The actress said, “It was, like, 3am, and I was thinking, ‘I’m so tired and I probably shouldn’t do another one (scene) in these heels, but yeah, OK, one more take, this will be it.'” In the ensuing take, Kidman fell and hurt her knee.
14. Will Smith
Quentin Tarantino offered Will Smith a role in 2012’s Django Unchained that Smith ultimately passed on because he wanted to be the lead. So which role was Smith offered, you may ask. Well, the role of Django of course.
That’s right, Smith was offered the role of the title character but ultimately passed because, according to Smith, “Django wasn’t the lead… The other character was the lead! I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'” Smith is referring to the fact that Dr. King Schultz (and not Django) is the one who kills Calvin Candie, but it’s a pretty dumb reason to miss out on a major part.
Django Unchained would go on to make $452 million at the worldwide box office and earn five Academy Award nominations (including two wins). Smith, meanwhile, would go on to make the abysmal After Earth.
13. Megan Fox
Megan Fox landed a few roles before starring in Transformers, but there is no denying that her role as Mikaela Barnes in the Michael Bay-directed franchise made her a star. In fact, she used her newly-found fame to land starring roles in 2009’s Jennifer’s Body and 2010’s Jonah Hex. Neither film was very well received but, hey, a role is a role.
Fox was set to return in Transformers: Dark of the Moon but was replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shortly before production began. The reason for the change was an interview that Fox had given in Wonderland Magazine in which she said Michael Bay “wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.”
In hindsight, comparing the director of one of the most financially successful franchises of all time (not to mention the person with the power to, you know, fire you) to Hitler may not have been the wisest decision.
12. Terrence Howard
Believe it or not, but before Iron Man hit theaters in 2008 Terrence Howard was one of the biggest actors in the world, and Robert Downey Jr. was far from the star that he is today. Of course ten years later this seems like a blatant lie but its entirely true.
Howard was so popular that he was allegedly paid the big bucks for his role as James Rhodes while Downey was paid significantly less to play Tony Stark. Their roles flipped, however, when the movie became a massive success thanks in large part to Downey’s performance.
When Iron Man 2 came along, Howard was (allegedly) offered one-eighth of what he was told he would be paid for the sequel. The stupidity here either lies with the producers for promising money they couldn’t deliver, or Howard for ditching a role in the MCU for years to come.
11. Charlize Theron
Landing a role in a Hollywood movie is tough, but landing one in a Hollywood musical movie is even tougher. You need to be able to dance, act, and sing, and look good doing all three. (Or at least be good enough at the first two to justify a little auto-tune to assist with the third.)
Charlize Theron proved that she could do all four when she auditioned for (and landed) the role of Roxie Hart in 2002’s Chicago.
The movie was originally set to be directed by Nicholas Hytner (who chose Theron for the role). Then Hytner was booted from the production and replaced by Rob Marshall, who in turn booted Theron and replaced her with Renée Zellweger.
10. Miles Teller
La La Land was one of the biggest movies of 2016. It earned $446 million at the worldwide box office and won six Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Actress. It would be a really stupid decision for someone to have a role in the movie and subsequently lose it. Enter Miles Teller.
Teller (who previously worked with director Damien Chazelle in 2014’s Whiplash) was originally set to play Sebastian (the role ultimately played by Ryan Gosling) but allegedly lost the role because of the pay. According to Page Six, Teller was offered $4 million for the role, but he wanted $6 million. The producers refused and moved on to Gosling.
9. Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling was the beneficiary of a lost role in La La Land, but has lost at least one of his own in the past. That role was as Jack Salmon in 2009’s The Lovely Bones.
According to Gosling, he and director Peter Jackson had a slight miscommunication on the character. Gosling, believing the character should be “210 pounds,” gained some weight between the time he was cast and when production was set to start.
Unfortunately, he didn’t let Jackson know of his decision to pack on the pounds and the director was shocked when Gosling showed up days before production began sporting a chubbier look. With no time for Gosling to drop the weight, Jackson dropped him and went with Mark Wahlberg instead.
8. Andrew Garfield
When it comes to ranking the actors who have portrayed Peter Parker/Spider-Man in movies, Andrew Garfield tends to come in a distant third behind fan favorites Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland. Garfield’s Peter Parker, meanwhile, is often criticized for being too good looking and cool compared to his comic book counterpart.
One category in which Garfield has got his fellow Spider-Men beat, however, is the stupidity surrounding his exit from the franchise. While Maguire simply faded away, Garfield left in much more epic fashion: getting fired after missing a press event.
The event was a Gala in Brazil where Sony President was set to announce that Garfield would be reprising his role as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man 3. About an hour before the event, Sony officials were told that Garfield wouldn’t be attending due to jet lag. He was promptly let go and Spidey’s journey to the MCU officially began.
7. Rachelle Lefevre
Fans of the Twilight movie franchise will recognize Rachelle Lefevre for her role as Victoria in the first two films. Lefevre was set to reprise her role in the franchise’s third entry when she was promptly fired and subsequently replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard.
According to a statement released by Summit Entertainment, Lefevre’s exit was due to scheduling issues.
Summit said Lefevre was informed of the shooting schedule for Eclipse in April, but then booked another role in June and didn’t inform Summit until July. According to Summit, Lefevre would be unavailable for ten crucial days of principal photography due to the other role and so she was promptly re-cast.
Considering how crucial her character was to the third film (especially when compared to the first two), booking another movie, thereby creating a scheduling conflict for herself, and failing to tell Summit was a pretty dumb thing for Lefevre to do.
6. Dougray Scott
Imagine what the world would be like if Dougray Scott had played Wolverine in the original X-Men as opposed to Hugh Jackman, as was originally planned. Would the franchise have been as successful and the character as popular? Would Scott have appeared in eight sequels the way Jackman did? Thanks to Mission: Impossible 2, we’ll never know.
M:I 2 was plagued with all sorts of production troubles including a delayed start date due to problems with the script, several important crew members quitting during production, and even a shoulder injury to Scott himself.
Fox did everything it could to accommodate Scott’s schedule (including delaying Wolverine’s scenes until later in the shoot), but it was all for naught as M:I 2 kept getting delayed and he was eventually replaced. Missing out on the role of a lifetime due to another film’s inability to get done is pretty stupid.
5. Christian Bale
This one may seem a bit confusing since Christian Bale did ultimately star in American Psycho, but the fact remains that the actor was given the role, and then lost it only to regain it later on.
The issue stemmed from Bale’s level of fame at the time he earned the part. Director Mary Harron thought Bale was perfect for the role of Patrick Bateman, but the film’s producers wanted someone more famous: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Bale was promptly fired as the producers aggressively pursued DiCaprio. Leo eventually passed, however, (and went on to film The Beach) so Bale (who allegedly passed on roles for months hoping Leo would walk away from American Psycho) was once again given the part.
4. Sylvester Stallone
Despite the entires on this list, Hollywood actors losing roles they’ve already landed is a pretty rare occurrence. Once an actor gets a role, they tend to keep it. Unless they do something stupid like re-write the entire script, which is precisely what Sylvester Stallone did to lose his role in Beverly Hills Cop.
Stallone took the script to the film, which had a funny, fish out of water feel, and turned it into a straightforward action film to which he was more accustomed. Unfortunately, the change in tone didn’t sit well with producers (nor did the fact that Sly’s script called for a huge budget increase) and so his script was tossed and Sly eventually replaced by Eddie Murphy.
3. Stuart Townsend
As rare as it is for a movie to change directors and for the new director to fire the cast, it’s rarer for a director to re-cast a role that he himself had already casted. (Because, you know, what would be the point in doing that?) However, that’s exactly what happened to Stuart Townsend in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
According to Townsend, Peter Jackson chose him for the role of Aragorn in the epic series. Townsend trained for two months for the role before being cut a few days into filming.
Jackson felt that Townsend was too young for the role, which is odd considering the fact that at the time of filming, Townsend was very likely the same age that he was when he first auditioned for the part (because that’s how age works). Unless he’s Benjamin Button, in which case Jackson’s decision may have been justified.
2. James Purefoy
It’s safe to assume that when an actor auditions for a role, they know a bit about the character they’ll be portraying. This had to be the case for James Purefoy when he was cast as V in V for Vendetta, which was based on the graphic novel of the same name. The script called for Purefoy to wear a Guy Fawkes mask throughout the movie, never revealing his face.
Purefoy took the role but then left the production after six weeks of filming because he grew sick of wearing the mask. The actor allegedly compared his character to Spider-Man and Batman but said the major difference is that both of those characters got to take their masks off whereas his did not. Purefoy was eventually replaced with Hugo Weaving.
1. Sean Young
The Batman franchise has seen plenty of actors come and go over the years. None quite as unceremoniously as Sean Young, who was cast as Vicki Vale in the original 1989 film but lost the role roughly five weeks into pre-production.
The original script for the movie called for horseback riding scene and so the actress scheduled a practice session. Unfortunately, she fell off of her horse and broke her arm, and since filming was set to begin soon she had to be replaced by Kim Basinger. Adding insult to injury, the horseback riding scene was eventually cut from the script entirely.
Considering just how successful the movie and the franchise would go on to become and the fact that Young lost the role due to an injury sustained while practicing for a scene that was ultimately cut from the film anyway, it’s no question she deserves the top spot on our list, and our deepest condolences.
Are there any other actors who lost roles for dumb reasons who deserve a place on our list? Let us know in the comments.
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