Casting Replacements That Derailed The Actor’s Career

Casting is a key ingredient in the secret
sauce of great filmmaking. In the best cases, a certain performer filling
a certain character’s shoes can turn a part into a franchise-leading phenomenon. But the real magic is in synergy, when several
actors click; there’s no X-Files without David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, and what would
the original Star Wars movies have been without Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford
together? But sometimes an actor’s got to go. It’s awful for the would-be star who watches
the role end up becoming part of a massive hit while their replacement reaps the rewards
— and it’s just as bad for the actors who willfully walk away from the role of a lifetime,
never to be heard from again. The almost King of Gondor
The Lord of the Rings is a sprawling epic with no single lead character. The entire point of the film trilogy is that
it takes the combined strength and skill of many to overcome the Dark Lord Sauron. That said, there’s one character that stands
out as the film’s mightiest hero, a great warrior who also just so happens to be the
heir to the most powerful kingdom in Middle-earth: Aragorn, son of Arathorn. It’s the type of role that can turn an unknown
into a worldwide superstar — and it did just that for Viggo Mortensen. Which is all too bad for Stuart Townsend,
who will always be remembered as the man who almost played Aragorn – if he’s remembered
at all. Townsend was director Peter Jackson’s original
choice to play the man who would be King of Gondor, but he was let go only a few days
into filming. According to Jackson, Townsend was simply
too young to be playing the veteran warrior. To this day, Mortensen is synonymous with
the character. As for poor Townsend? He’s gotten parts here and there, but otherwise,
he’s just another casualty of the War of the Ring. The dragons’ other mother
It’s become one of the biggest and most influential series on television, but Game of Thrones
wasn’t always a sure thing. To try to bring the books to the screen, HBO
ordered a pilot episode before the rest of the series was shot — and it was a disaster. Fortunately, HBO chose to stick with the project. Old scenes were cut, new scenes were written,
the director was replaced, and several cast members were swapped out. Of the latter, none were more significant
than the recasting of Daenerys Targaryen, one of the most important characters in the
entire story. Tamzin Merchant played the role in the pilot. For undisclosed reasons, however, Emilia Clarke
was brought onboard to take her place. Game of Thrones has gone on to become HBO’s
most successful series, and Clarke has taken on starring roles in everything from romantic
comedies to Star Wars, even as she continues to portray the mother of dragons. Merchant, meanwhile, has continued to work
steadily, but is still waiting for her big breakout role. “I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen.” Messing with the timeline
Back to the Future was always a zany concept: a time-traveling DeLorean unites an ’80s teen
with his teenage parents in the 1950s, and shenanigans ensue. It went on to become a defining movie of the
decade, and turned lead actor Michael J. Fox into a superstar — but Fox almost wasn’t
in the timeline at all, since he wasn’t the original Marty McFly. In fact, Eric Stoltz had already shot weeks’
worth of footage in the role before being let go by the director. Fox rocketed to household name status, while
Stoltz settled into steady work on TV and in indie films. He did get a Golden Globe nomination in 1985
for Mask, but for all that talent, he never had the star power of a time-traveling DeLorean. True of us all. “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet.” Mission impossible for this mutant
X-Men launched the modern wave of superhero movies when it was released in 2000. And while there are quite a few of the titular
heroes represented in that first movie, none was more popular and more enduring than Wolverine. The cigar-chomping Canadian has always been
a comic book favorite, so it was absolutely essential that the character be cast with
the right actor. That’s why the filmmakers went with Dougray
Scott. The Scottish actor was an unknown at the time,
but since the whole X-Men film was being cast with relative newcomers, he seemed like a
great choice to bring the gruff living weapon with the adamantium skeleton to life. The only problem was the film that got him
attention in the first place — Mission: Impossible 2. The film reportedly ran over schedule, forcing
Scott to stay behind on that project. Hugh Jackman was cast instead — the start
of what would be a long and successful career in and out of superhero movies. Scott, meanwhile, has never achieved the same
level of fame. What a couple of claws might have done for
him, we’ll never know. “It’s part of my past, I never really, you
know… I never really think about it to be honest
with you.” Blown away by Arnold
When James Cameron set out to write and direct the first Terminator film, he was a nobody. His biggest directorial effort up to that
time was Piranha II, a movie he was fired from which featured actor Lance Henriksen. Cameron liked Henriksen, and envisioned him
as the titular cyborg for Terminator — but then along came an Austrian bodybuilder named
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’d just come off of playing the lead character in Conan the
Barbarian. With his sheer physical presence, he was the
obvious choice to play the Terminator. In every way, The Terminator was Schwarzenegger’s
movie, and it vaulted him into the upper echelon of the decade’s action stars. Henriksen, meanwhile, has stayed busy over
the years, albeit in the types of character actor roles that don’t spawn catchphrases
or multimillion-dollar sequels. “I’ll be back.” A Tarantino twist in casting
Quentin Tarantino is one of the most meticulous craftsmen in the business: he writes his own
scripts, and he knows exactly how he wants to shoot them. Tarantino knows that a scene must be tuned
with perfect precision, and that includes perfect casting. Michael Madsen turned in a memorable performance
as Mr. Blonde in Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs, so when he began filling out the roster
for his follow-up feature Pulp Fiction, Tarantino wanted Madsen back. Madsen was forced to turn down the role in
favor of a part in Kevin Costner’s Western Wyatt Earp. It probably made sense at the time: Costner
was an established star, whereas Tarantino was still an indie filmmaker. In Madsen’s place, John Travolta was cast
as Vincent Vega. It was exactly what Travolta needed: he earned
an Oscar nomination and a second wind for his career. Wyatt Earp, meanwhile, went nowhere. Madsen has an impressive slew of credits to
his name, but has never attracted the type of fame or acclaim Travolta enjoyed post-Pulp. Transforming lead actress
Megan Fox was still largely unknown when she was cast in the lead female role in Michael
Bay’s 2007 film Transformers. The film was a huge box office hit, and Fox
became a worldwide star. Her return in the 2009 sequel, Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen, cemented her status as one of blockbuster cinema’s hottest new
stars. There was nowhere for her to go but up. Until it all came crashing down. Fox was unceremoniously fired from the third
film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Initially intended to return, she was thrown
out for being too difficult to work with, and for her criticism of Bay. While new lead actress technically took on
a brand new character, this was still the girlfriend of Shia LaBeouf’s hero — effectively
the same role. Fox’s career has never been quite the same
since. Her most high-profile outings have been in
the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and the ill-fated Jonah Hex; otherwise,
she hasn’t seen many starring roles in films, blockbuster or otherwise. Sometimes, it isn’t just being replaced that
damages your career, it’s the reasons why. “You know, I tell it like it is.” That’s a negative, Ghost rider! Matthew Modine’s movie career was just heating
up in the early 1980s. He seemed like a great candidate to star in
a new patriotic action movie titled Top Gun, but Modine chose to walk away from the offer,
since he was uncomfortable with what he felt was an unabashedly pro-military film. Instead, the job went to Tom Cruise, who used
his performance as Maverick to help launch one of the most successful movie careers in
history. Cruise became one of the industry’s biggest
stars, and Top Gun was the turning point — the movie that changed his life forever. Modine hasn’t had the same luck. He’s carved out an impressive career in his
own right, turning in acclaimed performances in a long list of projects that includes Full
Metal Jacket and the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, but he’s kept a much lower profile
than he might have if he’d taken that fateful role. He refused Top Gun out of principle, but it
didn’t come without cost. What a very maverick thing to do. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know
you’ll love, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *