Copley Replaced By Olyphant in 'I Am Number Four' [Updated]

[Update: We have new details about the sudden casting switch!]

Casting has been moving swiftly ahead for the teen alien film, I Am Number Four. Recent casing additions including Kevin Durand (Robin Hood) and Dianna Agron (Glee). But today it's being reported that a major cast member has been replaced.

Variety reports that District 9's Sharlto Copley has been replaced by The Crazies star, Timothy Olyphant, in I Am Number Four. The reason for this sudden switch-up is scheduling conflicts with Copley's promotional tour for The A-Team, in which he stars as 'Howling Mad' Murdock.

Apart from his steady rise in the world of movies (with movies like The Crazies, Hitman and Live Free or Die Hard), Olyphant is currently doing well on the FX series Justified. He will shoot I Am Number Four during Justified's hiatus, taking up Copley's role as a mentor and guardian to an alien hiding out on Earth disguised as a teenager. Here's the official plot as Variety has it:

Story revolves around a group of nine earthbound aliens who escaped their planet just before it was annihilated by a rival species. Hiding out on Earth, disguised as a human teenager, the title character discovers that he is being hunted by the enemy that destroyed his planet.

Co-starring with Olyphant will be Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker) as the lead teenager Number Four, Teresa Palmer as Number Six and the aforementioned Durand and Agron. The project has some major players attached, namely producer Michael Bay and director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye).

Sharlto Copley replaced I Am Number Four

Although Olyphant isn't exactly a bad choice to replace Copley, I still was looking forward to I Am Number Four carrying on Copley's breakout in Hollywood. He gave a fantastic debut performance in District 9 and he looks like the best character in the upcoming A-Team (in my early opinion). I'm sure he will get more big roles in Hollywood as time goes on, but I would have liked to have seen him in this mentor role.

Update: Our good friends over at Film Drunk have shared some inside details about why Copley is being replaced in I Am Number Four. Read for yourselves:

Sharlto Copley wanted wear a prosthetic nose and fake ears like Spock and look like an alien in the movie, while director DJ Caruso was adamant that the aliens were supposed to look just like regular humans, hence why they’re able to fit in.  This was apparently such a sticking point that neither would budge, and Copley left the project.

Wow, that is an odd dispute to say the least. Maybe after his transformation from human to alien in District 9 Copley simply feels like he's an alien trapped in a human's body? (Insert sex-change jokes here.)

What do you think of Copley being replaced by Olyphant? Which of the two would you rather see in the role?

I Am Number Four is currently in pre-production and will hit theaters on February 18th, 2011.

Source: Variety (via /Film)

Update Source: Film Drunk

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