The Replacements

As I was reading the sad news about Sydney Pollack's death, I was remarking to myself (because no one else would listen) that as much as I enjoyed his work as a director, I also enjoyed his work as an actor. I was thinking about his role in EYES WIDE SHUT and how Stanley Kubrick had originally cast Harvey Keitel in that part. Of course that got me thinking to other roles that were previously cast with another actor. For example, the famous recasting of Marty McFly in BACK TO THE FUTURE (Eric Stoltz was recast after producers decided they needed a more comedic take on the material).

I decided to compile a list of some recent replacements that are interesting in retrospect. I've only included situations where one actor was in advanced negotiations before being replaced. I didn't want to list all the people who were "attached" because sometimes actors are unaware they're even attached to projects. There's also a source afterwards so you can see the official casting announcement for yourself. If you come up with your own, feel free to Strike Back below!

Stuart Townsend in LORD OF THE RINGS - Originally cast as Aragorn, Townsend was replaced by Viggo Mortensen after director Peter Jackson felt he needed an older actor for the part. (Source)

Anne Hathaway in KNOCKED UP - It was the film that launched Judd Apatow into comedy superstardom and could've done the same for Anne Hathaway. The actress was originally cast as the mother to Seth Rogen's baby before dropping out due to concerns about the raunchy script. (Source)

Scarlett Johansson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Kenneth Branagh in MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE 3 - This trio of actors were all hand-picked to star in Paramount's big 2005 action flick. But director Joe Carnahan left the project two months before shooting. JJ Abrams was brought in to take over but recast many of the key roles replacing Johansson, Moss and Branagh with Keri Russell, Maggie Q and Philip Seymour Hoffman respectively. (Source)

Thomas Sturridge and Teresa Palmer in JUMPER - The two leads were replaced by Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson after the studio wanted to age the main characters from teens to 20-somethings. Jamie Bell survived the original casting and went on to star with Christensen and Bilson. (Source)

Sophia Bush in TERMINATOR 3 - Bush filmed about two weeks on the long-awaited third TERMINATOR movie before director Jonathan Mostow felt the need to replace her with an older actress. Claire Danes was cast and reshot the scenes Bush had already filmed despite the fact that Danes is only three years older than Bush. (Source)

Kirsten Dunst in BE KIND REWIND - Director Michel Gondry wanted to reteam with Dunst on BE KIND REWIND after working with her on ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. She was in negotiations to star and Dunst simply dropped out for reasons that were never fully explained. (Source)

Colin Farrell in I'M NOT THERE - Farrell had been cast by Todd Haynes to play one of many Bob Dylan's in I'M NOT THERE but was battling a substance abuse problem after a difficult MIAMI VICE shoot. Enter Heath Ledger (who was battling his own demons), who stepped in to replace Farrell. (Sidenote: Farrell later helped replace Ledger in THE IMAGINATION OF DR. PARNASSUS, the role Ledger was filming when he died.) (Source)

Ashton Kutcher in ELIZABETHTOWN - Many wondered if Ashton Kutcher had the acting chops when it was announced he would be starring in Cameron Crowe's ELIZABETHTOWN. Turns out Crowe had been wondering the same thing. Though "scheduling issues" were the official explanation word leaked out that Kutcher's table read disappointed the creative team. Ironically many critics of the film pointed to Kutcher's replacement Orlando Bloom as one of the major problems with the film. (Source)

Mark Ruffalo in SIGNS - Mark Ruffalo was a hot commodity after his turn in YOU CAN COUNT ON ME and Disney and M. Night Shyamalan quickly signed him to star in their eagerly awaited thriller SIGNS. About two months before filming was scheduled to begin, Ruffalo was forced to drop out after an inner-ear infection required surgery. Joaquin Phoenix was quickly cast as Mel Gibson's brother and began a relationship that Shyamalan that would spawn at least one other film. (Source)

Kirsten Dunst and Ashton Kutcher in THE VILLAGE - Speaking of another Joaquin Phoenix/Shyamalan film, both Dunst and Kutcher were replaced in THE VILLAGE. Dunst was forced to choose between VILLAGE and ELIZABETHTOWN, which also would have had her starring with Kutcher. As it turns out Kutcher left both projects and Dunst never got the opportunity. Kutcher had signed to play a retarded man (ahem...) but for unknown reasons left the project to be replaced by Adrien Brody. (Source)

Dougray Scott in X-MEN - After Russell Crowe turned down the role of Wolverine in X-MEN, director Bryan Singer looked to cast an unknown actor in the role. There was sufficient buzz surrounding Scott's turn as the bad guy in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 and he was cast, with sequel option, to star as the X lead. John Woo needed to shoot some extra flying dove scenes and MI:2 went four months over schedule forcing Fox to recast. Thus a Hugh Jackman was born. (Source)

Kel O'Neill in THERE WILL BE BLOOD - The unknown actor was cast in the demanding role of Eli Sunday in Paul Thomas Anderson's epic THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Two weeks into filming Anderson was forced to replace O'Neill, reportedly because the actor was intimidated by Daniel Day-Lewis' method acting (both Anderson and Day-Lewis deny this). Day-Lewis recommended BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE co-star Paul Dano, who was cast in the smaller role of Paul Sunday, take the Eli role and Anderson agreed. (Source)

Ryan Gosling in THE LOVELY BONES - Gosling crew a shaggy beard and about 30 pounds to play the role of grieving father Jack Salmon in Peter Jackson's THE LOVELY BONES. Almost immediately there was creative tension between Gosling and Jackson and the actor was let go just days before filming was scheduled to begin. Jackson had previously talked to Mark Wahlberg about the role and his deal to replace Gosling was closed in an afternoon. (Source)

Brad Pitt in THE FOUNTAIN - Speaking of shaggy beards, Brad Pitt grew the mother of shaggy beards to star in Darren Aronofsky's THE FOUNTAIN. Last minute script changes forced Pitt to reconsider and he shaved his bush to star team with Wolfgang Petersen on TROY (which forced the dissolution of BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, which Petersen had been developing). Looking to avoid wearing a giant beard around town, replacement Hugh Jackman simply wore a prosthetic muff. (Source)

Chris Farley in SHREK - Farley was cast and recorded vocals for the DreamWorks animated film SHREK but died during the animation stage of production. Farley's lack of availability for redubbing led to DreamWorks having to recast the role. They brought in Mike Myers to quickly record Shrek's dialogue. (Source)

Ben Affleck in GLORY ROAD - After the dud that was GIGLI, Ben Affleck was looking to revitalize his career. Who better to turn to than uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer who helped launch him into superstardom with ARMAGEDDON. The two were set to team on GLORY ROAD. The party line was "scheduling conflicts" but Variety reported Affleck was asking more than Disney wanted to pay an actor who just made GIGLI. Josh Lucas was more than happy to come in and fill the role. (Source)

Nicole Kidman in THE PRODUCERS - Mel Brooks and company were looking for an A-list actress to star in the film adaptation of the hit Broadway play THE PRODUCERS. Their first offer went to Nicole Kidman who happily signed on to star as Ulla. But filming on BEWITCHED was running long and Kidman wasn't going to have enough time to rehearse the complicated song and dance routines. Well thank God we have BEWITCHED to fall back on. (Source)

Nicole Kidman in MR. AND MRS. SMITH - Throughout the many years MR. AND MRS. SMITH was in development, Kidman was set to co-star with Brad Pitt. Just a few short weeks before filming was scheduled to begin, Kidman's STEPFORD WIVES shoot was running long and was forced to drop out. Though Catherine Zeta-Jones was considered as a replacement Angelina Jolie eventually got the word and Brangelina was unleashed on the world. (Source)

Nicole Kidman in PANIC ROOM - OK what is with Nicole Kidman? She was forced to drop out of the David Fincher thriller when she injured her knee two weeks into filming. Jodie Foster was brought in to replace Kidman and the role of her daughter was also recast. The original young actress? A pre-"Heroes" Hayden Paniettere. (Source)

Source: JoBlo.com



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