14. Anne Hathaway – Knocked Up (2007)
Hathaway was let go from the role of Alison having cited the often used excuse of creative differences. Judd Apatow later clarified that Hathaway disagreed with plans to use real footage of a woman giving birth in the movie. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kate Bosworth both auditioned for the part but it ended up going to Katherine Heigl.
Hathaway did an interview with Marie Claire shortly afterwards to explain her side of the story but ended up contradicting herself on her views of nudity in movies. She said that she doesn’t actively search for roles with nudity but doesn’t avoid them either. She then followed that with “I turned down the movie because it was going to show a vagina – not mine, but somebody else’s. And I don’t believe that was absolutely necessary for the story.”
The contradictions being that Hathaway claimed she would never not do a movie because of nudity and then pointed out a time when she did just that, then also stating that using footage of a woman giving birth in a movie about a woman giving birth was somehow unessential to the story.
15. Edward Norton – Avengers (2012)
Norton assumed that after his run as Bruce Banner in the Incredible Hulk movie, he would be a shoe in for the Avengers, a huge blockbuster comic book adaptation that earned over a billion dollars at box office.
Unfortunately for Norton, director Joss Whedon had heard that he was hard to work with and it was rumoured that Marvel studios didn’t want to pay him a big sum of money.
Marvel stated that money had nothing to do with it and Norton was let go because they wanted “an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” Norton replied that it was “cheap and unnecessary representation that the decision was about things other than money.” He called Marvel’s move “low, unprofessional and very dishonest.” Mark Ruffalo took over the part of Bruce Banner instead.
Norton commented in an interview given in 2014 that he “experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it. I wanted more diversity,” going on to claim that he left the part willingly because he didn’t want to pigeon-hole himself as such a famous character.
16. Frank Sinatra – Dirty Harry (1971)
Sinatra pulled out of Dirty Harry shortly before it went into production. The most accepted explanation was given in Ty Burr’s book God’s Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame.
Burr claimed that an old broken wrist injury Sinatra incurred eight years previously whilst filming the Manchurian Candidate meant that he couldn’t hold the iconic and pretty heavy Magnum pistol comfortably.
The role was then offered to John Wayne, who turned it down because he didn’t “like being offered Sinatra’s rejections.” Eventually the part went to Clint Eastwood, kick starting his amazing career and the rest is history.
17. Samantha Morton – Her (2013)
Morton was recast when Her was in post-production and replaced with Scarlett Johansson. Director Spike Jonze stated that when he “got into editing, we realized that what Samantha and I had done together wasn’t really working for what the character needed, and so we ended up having to recast at that point in time.”
Jonze downplayed any potential controversy in the decision to recast and did his best to make the split sound completely amicable, “I love Samantha. I’ve been friends with her forever and I hope we make lots of things together in the future.”
Unfortunately it’s not the first time that Samantha Morton has been replaced with actresses who are more ‘bankable’. She was supposed to star as Diane Arbus in biopic Fur, but was replaced with Nicole Kidman and was also replaced from the movie Capote by Catherine Keener. Although Morton was replaced yet again, she did receive a associate producer credit for her work on Her.
18. James Remar – Aliens (1986)
Remar was fired and replaced by Michael Biehn only a few weeks into filming. The director James Cameron said that the move was because of creative differences and Remar claimed that he had “urgent matters at home” that he had to attend to.
For years the cast and crew of Aliens have remained silent on the subject matter of Remar being in the film, but a few years ago he gave an interview in which he explained the truthful reason behind his dismissal, “I had a terrible drug problem, but I got through it. I was initially cast as Corporal Hicks, and I was fired after a couple of weeks of filming because I got busted for possession of drugs.”
Remar said that he and Cameron have stayed in touch and buried the hatchet a long time ago. A few of Remar’s shots actually remain in Aliens.
One where the marines enter the processing station, but he is not seen in close up and another where the marines first enter the compound on LV-426 and Hicks approaches a cocooned woman, it’s actually Remar’s back not Biehn’s. In the same compound scene the production used a complicated special effects shot to replace Remar’s face with Biehn’s so that they wouldn’t have to reshoot.
19. Eric Stoltz – Back to the Future (1985)
Michael J Fox wasn’t the original actor to play Marty McFly, Stoltz portrayed the character first, shooting a substantial amount of footage as the character.
Director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale knew that something was wrong whilst watching Stoltz’s performance. He was a great dramatic actor but Back to the Future needed someone more suitable at portraying zany, screwball comedy.
The writer and director approached the studio head Sid Shienberg and asked to replace Stoltz with Fox. Shienberg agreed but wouldn’t allow the men to make the replacement immediately, so poor Stoltz was forced to continue pointlessly filming whilst a sizeable amount of the cast and crew knew he was going to be fired soon.
A single shot of Stoltz performance remains in the movie, the part where Marty punches Biff Tannen in the 50’s cafe is actually Stoltz’s fist. Bob Gale recently admitted that the Stoltz footage still exists, “We did not destroy the footage, because we expect that sometime, in some future anniversary, we may let it get out there.
They may see it sometime. I’m not going to say for sure, much less when. But I will say that we had the opportunity to destroy it. And we did not. So, it does exist in a vault somewhere.”
20. Christian Bale – American Psycho (2000)
This is a bit of a strange one. Christian Bale scored himself the role of Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s best selling book American Psycho. Harron offered him the part after an exhaustive search.
Unbeknownst to her, the studio heads of Lion’s Gate wanted to cast Leonardo DiCaprio. So when Lion’s Gate announced DiCaprio’s involvement at the Canne film festive in 1998, Bale was stunned and Harron aghast and angry.
Harron was so against DiCaprio taking the role that she refused to even meet him. She stated that “There’s something very boyish about him. He’s not credible as one of those tough wall street guys. I did not want to deal with someone who has a 13-year old fan base. They shouldn’t see the movie. It could’ve gotten us into a lot of trouble.”
Harron was then bumped off of the project as well. After that the movie hit a slump and eventually DiCaprio abandoned the film and starred in The Beach instead. Eventually Lion’s Gate gave the movie back to Harron and she re-cast Bale in the lead role. Harron later said that “Lion’s Gate wouldn’t speak to me for four months, now their apologising.”
Author Bio: Naomi Shakespeare is a freelance writer with a BA in English. Yes that is her real name, no she is not related to William Shakespeare.