13 Famous Casting Swaps: From ’Fifty Shades’ to ‘Batman’
‘Sons of Anarchy’ star Charlie Hunnam was originally hired to play erotica-enthusiast Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ Alas, he dropped out due to good ol’ fashioned “scheduling conflicts,” and ‘The Fall’s’ Jamie Dornan took his place. Here are some other movies that recast key roles.
Recasting superhero movies is now commonplace, but it all began when Sean Young, playing Vicki Vale, broke her arm during rehearsals and was replaced by Kim Basinger. (Young’s loopy bid to play Catwoman in the sequel did not go over well.)
Batman Forever (1995)
The Dark Knight started a trend of playing “casting musical chairs” with this hit sequel. After original Batman Michael Keaton and director Tim Burton bailed on ‘Forever,’ director Joel Schumacher enlisted Val Kilmer to don the cowl. George Clooney infamously replaced Kilmer as Bats in the even more infamous ‘Batman & Robin.’
Patriot Games (1992)
Jack Ryan’s first big-screen outing, ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ starred Alec Baldwin as the intrepid CIA analyst. Baldwin vacated the role for a mix of reasons – a role in a Broadway show and poor negotiation tactics on behalf of his agent – and in stepped Harrison Ford.
The Untouchables (1987)
Bob Hoskins was a dead ringer for Al Capone, so Brian De Palma offered him the part, thinking Robert De Niro wasn’t available. When De Niro eventually came through, Hoskins received a payoff somewhere between $30,000 and $300,000 (accounts vary).
Demolition Man (1993)
It was the movie that gave Sandra Bullock her big break, but her part was first given to Lori Petty, hot off of 1992’s ‘A League of Their Own.’ Petty was let go a few days into production due to those pesky old “creative differences.”
Bullock benefits again: During this film’s long gestation period, original star Angelina Jolie moved on to other projects. Meanwhile, Robert Downey, Jr. was afraid he’d be stifled by the film’s many technical constraints, so George Clooney took the role.
As the faceless computer system that romances Joaquin Phoenix, Samantha Morton had recorded all her lines when writer/director Spike Jonze decided Scarlett Johansson’s voice was a better fit. (Her character retained the name Samantha.)
Panic Room (2002)
After aggravating a knee injury she suffered on the set of ‘Moulin Rouge!’, Nicole Kidman vacated the role of Meg Altman – and Jodie Foster took her place in David Fincher’s hit thriller. Fans of the film can still hear Kidman’s voice, however – she provides the voice for the girlfriend of Meg’s ex-husband.
Life of Pi (2012)
Rafe Spall (left) plays the writer who interviews Pi about his adventures on the lifeboat. Tobey Maguire was first cast as the writer, and even filmed all his scenes, until director Ang Lee realized that Maguire’s famous face distracted from Pi’s story.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Speaking of sexy Nicole Kidman movies, Harvey Keitel had shot most of his ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ scenes when Stanley Kubrick rebooted the film and replaced Keitel with Sydney Pollack (left). A similar thing happened to Keitel on 1979’s ‘Apocalypse Now.’
Back to the Future (1985)
It’s probably cinema’s best-known case of emergency recasting: Eric Stoltz was sacked after nearly a month of work as Marty McFly. The sci-fi comedy simply needed the expert timing and wry humor that only Michael J. Fox could provide.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Terrance Howard originally played Tony Stark’s right-hand man, Rhodey, in the first ‘Iron Man’ movie. A salary dispute forced Howard to exit the hit franchise, allowing Don Cheadle to don the War Machine armor.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Fans almost had a Viggo Mortensen-less trip to Middle-earth. Peter Jackson originally cast Stuart Townsend to play the heroic Aragorn, with the actor having shot a few scenes before Mortensen took over the role.