Choosing the right actor for a film role is an incredibly difficult, but very important task. Chances are if the casting team makes the wrong choice, the film will go bust. And if they make the right choice, the film will go on to become extremely successful and could possibly even turn into a franchise.
However, sometimes after initial casting choices are made the filmmakers’ have no choice but to fire a lead actor. Sometimes it is only during shooting that the director and the studio executives realize that the actor who was chosen originally is not actually capable of playing the role.
Other times, the actors become too fussy and demanding. In these instances, the director sometimes feels that it is better to let the actor go and find someone else who is far less demanding and is easier to work with.
And then, of course, there are various other factors that lead the director and the casting team to change their minds. And sometimes, this change of mind is for the better.
15. Stuart Townsend Was Fired Because He Was Too Young To Play Aragorn In LOTR
The Irish actor Stuart Townsend has appeared in many films but he’s not as well known as some of the other actors in Hollywood. But he could have been! Years ago Townsend was preparing to play the role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Townsend trained hard and prepared his lines for the role of Aragorn.
And then, just as filming was starting, Townsend was fired. Apparently, the director Peter Jackson decided that Townsend, who was 26 years old at the time, was too young for the role. Jackson then got the actor Viggo Mortensen, who was 40 years old at the time, to play Aragorn instead.
14. Pierce Brosnan Was Fired From The James Bond Franchise Because Of His Age
The Irish-American actor Pierce Brosnan is best known for his role as James Bond. He starred as Secret Agent 007 in four James Bond films and nailed his role in each and every one of them. So it came as a shock, both to Brosnan and James Bond fans worldwide, when the actor was fired from the franchise right as the filming for the fifth James Bond film was about to begin.
Brosnan was naturally upset by the way things turned out – “I was utterly shocked and just kicked to the curb with the way it went down.”
Various reasons for firing Brosnan from the franchise have been given, such as that he wanted too much money. However, Brosnan suspects that the decision to replace him with Daniel Craig, who is 15 years younger than him, had something to do with age.
13. Melora Hardin Was Fired Because She Was Too Tall In Back To The Future
The actress Melora Hardin is best known for her roles in The Office, Transparent and 17 Again. But she could have also been known for her role in Back to the Future. Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out for her and she never got the chance to star in the movie franchise.
Why not? Well, when the actor Eric Stoltz was fired from the movie (he was just too difficult to work with apparently), they replaced him with the actor Michael J. Fox. And apparently Hardin was just too tall for Fox – “I just remember getting a phone call in my parents’ kitchen, Bob Gale and Zemeckis both called me. They said, ‘Unfortunately we had to let Eric go and we think you’re too tall for the new guy we cast. His name is Michael J. Fox, but you’ll be towering over him. This has nothing to do with you, we think you’re lovely.’ I burst into tears.”
12. Tim Curry Was Fired From The Batman Animated Series Because His Voice Was Too Scary
The actor Mark Hamill, best known for his role in the Star Wars series, lent his voice to The Joker character in Batman: The Animated Series. He was so successful that he went on to win universal acclaim and has since lent his voice to numerous Batman games.
However, Hamill was not actually the first choice for Joker’s voice. It was actually the actor Tim Curry who was supposed to “play” the voice of Joker in the Batman animated series, and not Hamill. However, Curry’s voice was apparently too scary for a show whose target audience was children and thus he was fired.
11. Terrence Howard Was Fired From Iron Man 2 Over Pay
The actor Terrence Howard wasn’t exactly fired from the Iron Man 2 film but if you look at what was going on behind the scenes you’ll realize that, in a way, he kind of was.
Before filming started, Howard signed a contract that said he’d be paid a certain amount for each film – “We did a three-picture deal, so that means that you did the deal ahead of time. It was going to be a certain amount for the first one, a certain amount for the second one, a certain amount for the third one.”
However, according to Howard, the filmmakers did not honor the contract – “They came to me with the second and said, ‘Look, we will pay you one-eighth of what we contractually had for you, because we think the second one will be successful with or without you.’”
10. Megan Fox Was Fired From Transformers For Saying The Director Was Like Hitler
It was her role in the Transformers series that launched the actress Megan Fox into stardom. However, Fox never got to finish the Transformers series. She starred only in the first two films – Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – because she was fired from the third Transformer movie, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.
Apparently, in an interview, the stunning actress said that director Michael Bay “wants to be like Hitler on his sets” and that he is “a nightmare to work for.”
As you can imagine, Bay did not take Fox’s comment well and fired her – “She was in a different world, on her BlackBerry. You gotta stay focused. And you know, the Hitler thing. Steven [Spielberg] said, ‘Fire her right now.’”
9. Andrew Garfield Was Fired From Spiderman Because He Didn’t Attend A Gala
The actor Andrew Garfield made a great Spiderman. He starred in the first two Spiderman films, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But he was fired from the third movie because he didn’t bother showing up to a Sony Gala in 2015.
The chief of Sony, Kaz Hirai, was planning on introducing Garfield as the actor who was going to play Spiderman in the 2016 Spiderman film in a speech during the Gala.
However, since Garfield never showed up, the speech had to be changed. Hirai was so upset with Garfield failing to show up that he decided to fire him from the franchise. Garfield was replaced by the actor Tom Holland.
8. Sienna Miller Was Fired From Robin Hood Because She Was Too Skinny
When the actress Siena Miller got the role of Lady Marion, Robin Hood’s love interest in the 2010 Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood film, she was ecstatic since she thought the role was “as good as it gets. I could not have a better part.”
And you can understand why she was so happy – after all, Robin Hood has been made into countless TV shows and films.
However, unfortunately for Miller, she was fired from the film because the director thought she’d look strange alongside Russell Crowe, who was cast as Robin Hood since he was still overweight from his previous role in State of Play. As a result, Miller was replaced by the actress Cate Blanchett.
7. Edward Norton Didn’t Play Hulk In The Avengers Because He’s Too Difficult To Work With
The Fight Club actor Edward Norton played the Hulk in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk and he nailed the role. However, to his dismay, he was essentially fired from the role of Hulk in The Avengers. Norton said to his Facebook followers – “It seems it won’t work out for me. I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped.”
Apparently, the reason the director Joss Whedon decided to cast the actor Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk instead was because he had heard that Norton was very difficult to work with and that he often threw tantrums during the filming of The Incredible Hulk.
6. Eric Stoltz Was Fired From Back To The Future Because He Was Too Serious
The actor Michael J. Fox wasn’t originally supposed to play the role of Marty McFly in the 1985 film Back to the Future. At the beginning, the role belonged to the actor Eric Stoltz but after five weeks of shooting the director decided to replace him with Fox (who was the director’s first choice anyway but initially he couldn’t take the role due to conflicting schedules).
Apparently, Stoltz was just too serious for the role. According to the actress Lea Thompson, Stoltz’s seriousness was unnecessary – “Eric is such a different actor, and he could be very difficult. It was a time when we were emerging from the ‘70s. All the young actors wanted to be like De Niro and Pacino, which was good in a lot of ways… But it was not the right movie to behave like that. Eric had such an intensity. He saw drama in things. He wasn’t really a comedian, and they needed a comedian.”
5. Rachelle LeFevre Was Fired From The Twilight Saga Due To Conflicting Schedules
The actress Rachelle LeFevre was cast as the antagonist Victoria in the first and second Twilight films. However, to her dismay, the actress never went on to star in the third Twilight film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
So why was LeFevre fired from the role? According to Summit Entertainment, LeFevre was fired and replaced by the actress Bryce Dallas Howard due to conflicting filming schedules.
However, according to LeFevre, that wasn’t true – “I was fully committed to the ‘Twilight’ saga, and to the portrayal of Victoria. I turned down several other film opportunities and, in accordance with my contractual rights, accepted only roles that would involve very short shooting schedules.”
4. Richard Kiel Was Fired From The Incredible Hulk Because He Wasn’t Muscular Enough
The actor Lou Ferrigno played the role of the Hulk in the 1990 film The Death of the Incredible Hulk. However, he wasn’t the filmmaker’s first choice. Initially, the film’s producers chose the actor Richard Kiel for the role of Hulk.
However, after the pilot was shot it was decided that it was best to fire Kiel. He just wasn’t muscular enough to play Hulk. Kiel was replaced with the actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno.
3. Harvey Keitel Was Fired From Apocalypse Now Because He Couldn’t Be Passive
The actor Harvey Keitel and not Martin Sheen was supposed to initially play Captain Benjamin Willard in Apocalypse Now. The director of the film, Francis Ford Coppola, decided to cast Keitel after seeing him in Mean Streets.
However, only three days after shooting, Keitel was fired from the role because according to Coppola, Keitel “found it difficult to play him a passive onlooker” and was replaced with Martin Sheen.
But Keitel is still in the film, you just have to look really closely to see him – “If you look at the shot, it’s from a helicopter looking at the boat as it’s taking off from the dock at the beginning of the trip. The boat leaves the dock and circles and heads out in the ocean. The person sitting on the front of the boat is Harvey Keitel. It’s such a long shot you can’t tell, but he is in the film!”
2. James Remar Was Fired From Aliens Because He Got Busted For Drug Possession
It was the legendary actor James Remar, and not the actor Michael Biehn, who was supposed to play the role of Hicks in Aliens. However, after only a few days of filming Remar was fired and replaced by Biehn due to “creative differences” that arose between him and the director James Cameron, although initially, the actor claimed that he left the film due to “urgent matters at home.”
However, recently Remar has confessed that the reason he was fired from Aliens was neither creative differences nor urgent matters at home, but drugs – “I had a terrible drug problem, but I got through it. I had a great career and personal life and messed it up with a terrible drug habit… I was initially cast as Corporal Hicks, and I was fired after a couple weeks of filming because I got busted for possession of drugs, and Michael Biehn replaced me.”
1. Kimberley J. Brown Was Fired From The Fourth Halloweentown Movie For Unknown Reasons
It’s no surprise that the Disney Channel film Halloweentown went on to become so successful that it eventually turned into a franchise. However, it is surprising that filmmakers decided to replace the actress Kimberley J. Brown, who played the protagonist Marnie Piper, with Sara Paxton.
Brown played Marnie Piper in three Halloweentown movies and has no idea why the change in casting occurred in the fourth movie.
As you can imagine, Brown was incredibly disappointed with the filmmakers’ decision to fire her – “Nothing makes me happier than playing Marnie. Disney decided not to use me for the fourth one, I don’t know why. I was definitely disappointed not to do it.”