Actors Who Quit Or Were Fired And Ultimately Replaced In 25 Major Films

It’s hard to imagine Catwoman played by anyone besides Michelle Pfeiffer or Harrison Ford not in the iconic role of Indiana Jones. But it almost happened on several occasions. Whether the actor was fired from set or just pulled out last minute due to the always convenient “scheduling conflicts” excuse, the person never made it to the big screen in these films.

1. Aliens

Original Star: James Remar
Replacement: Michael Biehn

James Remar left the film a week into filming when his creative differences with James Cameron couldn’t be resolved.

2. American Psycho

Original Star: Christian Bale
Replacement: Christian Bale

This one is a bit bizarre. Christian Bale was originally offered the role of Bateman but then the studio decided to go in a different direction. They hired Leonardo DiCaprio the role but he dropped out after the success of Titanic. The part was then offered to Ewan McGregor, but he turned it down after Bale asked him to. Finally the studio returned to Bale.

3. Apocalypse Now

Original Star: Harvey Keitel
Replacement: Martin Sheen

Even though Martin Sheen was originally offered the role of Willard, he turned it down due to scheduling conflicts and Harvey Keitel landed the part. But a week into shooting, Francis Ford Coppola replaced Keitel with Sheen.

4. Back To The Future

Original Star: Eric Stoltz
Replacement: Michael J. Fox

Four weeks into filming, director Robert Zemeckis determined that Stoltz has been miscast. Zemeckis and Spielberg decided to reshoot the film with Michael J. Fox once his schedule opened back up.

5. Batman

Original Star: Sean Young
Replacement: Kim Basinger

Sean Young broke her arm after falling from a horse during rehearsal. Tim Burton scrapped the scene and continued filming the movie with replacement Kim Basinger.

6. Batman Returns

Original Star: Annette Bening
Replacement: Michelle Pfeiffer

Annette Bening was set to play Catwoman aka Selenia Kyle but had to drop out when she became pregnant.

7. Beverly Hills Cop

Original Star: Sylvester Stallone
Replacement: Eddie Murphy

Sylvester Stallone was originally cast as Alex Foley in a version of the film that was a straightforward action film. When he dropped out two weeks prior to filming, the script underwent massive rewrites to include more comedy for Eddie Murphy.

8. Demolition Man

Original Star: Lori Petty
Replacement: Sandra Bullock

It’s unclear who she upset but Lori Petty was fired from the film a few days into filming.

9. Dirty Harry

Original Star: Frank Sinatra
Replacement: Clint Eastwood

The title role originally went to the blue-eyed crooner but he had to drop out because of a hand injury. John Wayne was then offered the part but he refused to take on Sinatra’s rejects. Instead it went to Clint Eastwood.

10. Eyes Wide Shut

Original Star: Harvey Keitel
Replacement: Sydney Pollack

Harvey Keitel reportedly film 90 percent of the role but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with reshoots. Note this was his second time being replaced.

Original Star: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Replacement: Marie Richardson

In a similar situation, Jennifer Jason Leigh left the film and a near-identical Marie Richardson took over the small role.

11. Knocked Up

Original Star: Anne Hathaway
Replacement: Katherine Heigl

Long before her Les Miz days, Anne Hathaway was cast in the lead female role. However, she dropped out due to a disagreement over the filming of the birth scene. Meanwhile, Katherine Heigl waited until filming was over to complain about the movie.

12. Mortal Kombat

Original Star: Cameron Diaz
Replacement: Bridgette Wilson

In what would have been her second film, Cameron Diaz was originally set to play Sonya Blade. The actress had to pull out because she broke her wrist.

13. Panic Room

Original Star: Nicole Kidman
Replacement: Jodie Foster

Nicole Kidman was on set revealing a hairline fracture in her knee, which was the result of filming Moulin Rouge! While David Fincher originally planned to shut down production but the studio quickly recast the part with Jodie Foster.

14. Precious

Original Star: Helen Mirren
Replacement: Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey was cast in Lee Daniels film after Helen Mirren left the part for a bigger project. Not sure what convinced the director to go with the Glitter star but Carey managed to impress critics.

15. Predator

Original Star: Jean-Claude Van Damme
Replacement: Kevin Peter Hall

After complaining about the monster costume, Jean-Claude Van Damme was replaced by Kevin Peter Hall. Hardly a loss for Van Damme who would have been covered with a mask the entire film.

16. Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Original Star: Tom Selleck
Replacement: Harrison Ford

Tom Selleck originally landed the part as Indy but had to back out after Magnum P.I. wouldn’t let him out of his contract to film the movie.

17. The Departed

Original Star: Gerard McSorley
Replacement: Martin Sheen

The Irish actor was forced to pull out of the film for undisclosed reasons. The was the second time Martin Sheen had to step in for an abandoned role.

18. The Lord Of The Rings

Original Star: Stuart Townsend
Replacement: Viggo Mortensen

Four days into shooting, Peter Jackson determined that Stuart Townsend was too young to play Aragorn. Viggo Mortensen stepped in for the rest of the franchise. This was the first of two films Jackson changed the lead actor.

19. The Lovely Bones

Original Star: Ryan Gosling
Replacement: Mark Wahlberg

Ryan Gosling notoriously gained weight and sported a beard for several months prior to the filming of the book adaptation. However, Gosling and Peter Jackson determined was the right fit for the part and he left a month before filming began.

20. The Paperboy

Original Star: Sofia Vergara
Replacement: Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman starred in the sexually-charged drama after Sofia Vergara dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Though, Vergara was reportedly relieved she didn’t have to pee on Zac Efron.

21. The Wizard Of Oz

Original Star: Gale Sondergaard
Replacement: Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton was originally cast as the Wicked Witch but left the part after the character changed into an “ugly hag.” She left three days before filming.

Original Star: Buddy Ebsen
Replacement: Jack Haley

Jack Haley replaced Buddy Ebsen after the actor nearly died because of the aluminum dust makeup. The makeup was switched as was the actor.

22. There Will Be Blood

Original Star: Kel O’Neill
Replacement: Paul Dano

Paul Dano took on the role of Eli Sunday two weeks into filming on the 60-day shoot.  Kel O’Neill was apparently intimidated by Daniel Day-Lewis’ knack for staying in character on and off the set.

23. Titanic

Original Star: Reba McEntire
Replacement: Kathy Bates

James Cameron initially offered the part of Molly Brown to the country singer but Reba McEntire had to turn down the part due to scheduling conflicts. Kathy Bates landed the role in the iceberg epic.

24. V For Vendetta

Original Star: James Purefoy
Replacement: Hugo Weaving

James Purefoy left six weeks into filming due to creative differences. Some of his original footage remained in the film while his voice dubbed over by Hugo Weaving.

25. X-Men

Original Star: Dougray Scott
Replacement: Hugh Jackman

Bryan Singer settled on Dougray Scott after negotiations fell through with Russell Crowe. But then Scott backed out due to scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible II. Hugh Jackman was cast three weeks into filming and ended up being the breakout star of the series.

[Photo Credit: Getty]