Christian Bale American Psycho (2000)
The Original Star: Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Replacement: Christian Bale.
What’s The Story? After a revolving door of stars were approached about and turned down the role of Patrick Bateman (Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Johnny Depp), director Mary Harron settled on Christian Bale.
The only problem was that Lionsgate had already issued a statement that Leo DiCaprio had landed the role. That problem was solved when Titanic struck box office gold and DiCaprio backed out.
Not giving up, Lionsgate then offered the role to Ewan McGregor, who was convinced not to take it by none other than Christian Bale…
Ian McDiarmid Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Original Star: Elaine Baker.
The Replacement: Ian McDiarmid.
What’s The Story? Believe it or not, Emperor Palpatine was originally a girl. In the first Star Wars film, make-up designer Rick Baker’s wife Elaine played the part, albeit under quite a few layers of prosthetics.
By the time Empire Strikes Back rolled around, George Lucas had discovered Ian McDiarmid, and he’s played him ever since.
Julianne Moore Hannibal (2001)
The Original Star: Jodie Foster.
The Replacement: Julianne Moore.
What’s The Story? “Everybody wants to do it,” enthused Jodie Foster about Hannibal in 1997. Everybody, that is, except her and Silence Of The Lambs director Jonathan Demme.
She changed her mind, apparently, when her movie Flora Plum found a lead in Claire Danes.
But Foster told us in 2005 that making Hannibal would have involved “trampling” on Clarice Starling, hinting that she didn’t like the direction the book took the character. Julianne Moore didn’t mind, though, signing on to play the FBI agent instead.
Michael J. Fox Back To The Future (1985)
The Original Star: Eric Stoltz.
The Replacement: Michael J. Fox.
What’s The Story? One of the most famous incidents of movie cast replacements. With first-choice Michael J. Fox busy working on sitcom Family Ties , director Robert Zemeckis cast Eric Stoltz in Back To The Future instead.
Partway through filming, though, Zemeckis knew that Stoltz wasn’t right for the role. After five weeks of shooting, he replaced him with Fox, who was forced to work late nights and weekends in order to make the film while also working on Family Ties .
Now that’s dedication.
Jack Haley The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
The Original Star: Buddy Ebsen.
The Replacement: Jack Haley.
What’s The Story? It was all looking good for Ebsen, on board to play the Tin Man in this adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book. He’d pre-recorded the songs, tapped into his inner tin and was all ready to roll.
Except then he had an allergic reaction to the aluminium in his Tin Man make-up (“One night I woke up in bed screaming”) and wound up hospitalised.
When it became clear he’d need over a month to recover, MGM fired him and hired Jack Haley in his place…
Mark Ruffalo Avengers Assemble (2012)
The Original Star: Eric Bana.
The Replacement: Edward Norton.
The Other Replacement: Mark Ruffalo.
What’s The Story? Really, we’re still trying to figure this one out ourselves. In an interesting game of musical casting chairs, Edward Norton wanted to play Hulk in Ang Lee’s 2003 film, but when he took issue with the script, Eric Bana nabbed the part.
One critical mauling later, Marvel bolstered a reboot in the form of The Incredible Hulk , casting Norton in the role, despite director Louis Leterrier wanting Mark Ruffalo for the green giant.
Ruffalo got his chance with Avengers Assemble , though. When negotiations between Marvel and Norton hit the skids, Ruffalo finally became Hulk, and this time it’s stuck.
Angelina Jolie Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)
The Original Star: Nicole Kidman.
The Replacement: Angelina Jolie.
What’s The Story? During pre-production on Doug Liman’s action flick, the titular couple were set to be played by Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman.
With Pitt reportedly concerned over his lack of chemistry with the Aussie, Kidman ended up dropping out of the film in order to head up The Stepford Wives instead, leaving the role free for Jolie.
And the rest is gossip rag history…
Eddie Murphy Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
The Original Star: Mickey Rourke.
The Replacement: Eddie Murphy.
What’s The Story? Mickey Rourke originally signed a $400,000 holding contract for the role of Axel Foley, but revisions on the film’s script took so long that the contract expired before Rourke got anywhere near a camera.
Sylvester Stallone then jumped in, envisioning the film as “harder” than originally conceived.
But two weeks before shooting, Murphy replaced him, which prompted a flurry of rewrites.
Maggie Gyllenhaal The Dark Knight (2008)
The Original Star: Katie Holmes.
The Replacement: Maggie Gyllenhaal.
What’s The Story? Perhaps aware of the criticism directed her way after appearing in Batman Begins , Holmes decided not to reprise the role of Rachel Dawson in The Dark Knight , ceding it to Gyllenhaal instead.
Did the former Mrs Cruise regret the decision? “Not at all. I had a great experience working with Chris Nolan [ and ] I'm sure it's going to be a great movie. [ But ] I chose to do this movie [Mad Money], and I'm really proud of it.”
Don Cheadle Iron Man 2 (2010)
The Original Star: Terrence Howard.
The Replacement: Don Cheadle.
What’s The Story? According to recent comments made by Howard, the actor was frozen out of appearing in any of the Iron Man sequels by his co-star buddy, Robert Downey Jr.
Howard said: “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.
“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.’
“And I called my friend – that I helped get the first job – and he didn’t call me back for three months.”
Sandra Bullock Gravity (2013)
The Original Stars: Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Jr.
The Replacements: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
What’s The Story? Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Jr were both originally in line to star in Alfonso Cuaron’s space epic, but Jolie dropped out when the studio balked at the thought of her $20m fee.
Later in 2010, Sandra Bullock was signed instead, and Downey Jr dropped out to make How To Talk To Girls , giving George Clooney the all clear to star opposite Bullock.
Viggo Mortensen Lord Of The Rings (2001-2003)
The Original Star: Stuart Townsend.
The Replacement: Viggo Mortensen.
What’s The Story? Townsend spent two months training in preparation for the role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s ambitious adap, only for the director to realise that he’d cast the role too young.
Which prompted the director to turn to Viggo Mortensen instead – 14 years Townsend’s senior, he was drafted in without even testing for the role…
Hugh Jackman X-Men (2000)
The Original Star: Russell Crowe/Dougray Scott.
The Replacement: Hugh Jackman.
What’s The Story? Director Bryan Singer’s numero uno choice for Wolverine was Russell Crowe. When Crowe backed out over pay issues, Dougray Scott landed the role.
When Scott discovered shooting of X-Men conflicted with Mission: Impossible II, he was forced to drop out, with unknown actor Hugh Jackman stepping in three weeks into filming.
We can’t help wondering if Scott or Crowe would have hung around for quite as many X-outings as Jackman has…
Harrison Ford Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The Original Star: Tom Selleck.
The Replacement: Harrison Ford.
What’s The Story? Yep, you read that right. Tom Selleck was George Lucas’s original choice for the whip-cracking raider.
Though Spielberg was keen on Harrison Ford, Lucas was concerned about casting Ford in the film after working with him on Star Wars . Selleck, however, ended up being unavailable for the film after signing a contract for TV series Magnum PI.
Which meant Spielberg got his way and an icon was born.
Everybody September (1987)
The Original Stars: Maureen O’Sullivan, Mia Farrow, Sam Shepherd, Charles Durning and Dianne Wiest.
The Replacements: Elaine Stritch, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston, Denholm Elliot and Dianne Wiest.
What’s The Story? Having shot the entirety of September , Woody Allen took a look at an early edit and decided he wasn’t happy with it. The solution? A massive rewrite and reshoot.
According to reports, most of the cast were no longer available by the time Allen took his new script in front of cameras, forcing him to recast. Massively.
''I usually reshoot tons of material,'' Allen shrugged at the time. ''The fact is, I'd like to shoot September a third time.'' There’s no pleasing some people.