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15 Famous Actors Who Were Cut From Movies

August 24, 2017
9 min read

We all love watching our favorite actors on-screen even if they have very limited screen time. But what if your favourite actor is cast in for an exciting project, shot his scenes and then cut off from the final cut? Heartbreaking, right? Yes, indeed. But it’s not uncommon in Hollywood. The reasons as to why a certain actor is being cut off from the film after working on it could vary. It might be the studio interference or dispute with regards to the various versions of the film, maybe the director felt the actor was miscast midway through the film or, as it happens most often, time constraints. So let’s take a look at the list of 15 famous actors who were cut from movies.

15. Ethan Hawke – Total Recall (2012)

Len Wiseman’s remake of the famous Paul Verhoeven sci-fi flick originally had Ethan Hawke play a small part. The actor appeared as Carl Hauser before his physical appearance was altered by the UFB that turned him into Quaid. However, his part was cut out by Wiseman as he felt it would over complicate the film and so the theatrical version did not feature Hawke but he does appear in the extended director’s cut. It wasn’t a bad decision because Hawke’s part may have further wrecked the story with more convoluted drama and so Wiseman was right here.

14. Ellen Pompeo – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Ellen Pompeo had a very interesting part to play in Charlie Kaufman’s cerebral romance drama, ‘Eternal Sunshinte of the Spotless Mind’, directed by Michel Gondry. She was cast in to play the role of Jim Carrey’s ex-girlfriend and filmed a few scenes but Gondry decided to cut her performance out from the film. But nevertheless she remained grateful to Gondry for selecting her for the part as the casting helped her with various other roles she went on to do later in her career.

13. Harvey Keitel and Jennifer Jason Leigh – Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist and he often demanded the best out of his actors, driving them to such extreme emotional edges. His final erotic masterpiece ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ holds the Guinness World Records for the longest continuous film shoot (400 days) but like in any of his other projects, troubles occurred on set and actors Harvey Keitel and Jennifer Jason Leigh couldn’t commit to the film for such a long time as their schedules were conflicting. So Keitel went for ‘Finding Graceland’ and Leigh went for ‘eXistenZ’ and both were replaced by Marrie Richardson and Sydney pollack in the film’s final cut.

12. Sienna Miller – Black Mass (2015)

This Scott Cooper directed ensemble biographical drama had the beautiful Sienna Miller in the role of James Whitey Bulger’s girlfriend. It would have been great to have her onscreen sharing space with the ever cool Johnny Depp and moreover she had a meaty role to play bu Cooper thought that Bulger’s life was “less dramatic” during the years he spent with Catherine Greig and so decided to have her scenes cut out entirely from the movie. But we can’t really complain much about the movie as it’s such a solidly constructed drama.

11. Paul Rudd – Bridesmaids (2011)

In this feminine comedy drama starring Kristen Wilg, Paul Rudd plays one of the men Wilg goes out on a date with. So the couple plan out for an ice skating date but what happens here is so awkwardly hilarious. Things go awful between the two and Rudd’s character gets incredibly angry and hurls abuses at two children. This angers Wilg but before she could stop him, the father of the kid whom he was abusing enters the scene and smacks him hard as Wilg gets off from the scene. It’s a pretty awkward scene and so it’s not surprising that the makers decided to cut it off.

10. Chris Cooper – The Ring (2002)

Back during the late 90s and early 2000s, Chris Cooper was at the very peak of his acting prowess, delivering some truly memorable performances in ‘American Beauty’ and ‘ October Sky’. He was cast in for the role of a psychopathic child murderer for Gore Verbinski’s horror flick ‘The Ring’ and appeared in the opening and final scenes of the film. So in the opening scene he is being interviewed by Naomi Watts who plays a journalist and he tries to convince her that he’s now become a changed man. However, he appears at the end when Watts gives him a copy of the videotape and during test screenings, this scene went well with the audiences as Cooper was popular at the time and seemed to have a meaty role. So instead of having him do a minor role, the makers decided to cut him off entirely.

9. Kevin Costner – The Big Chill (1983)

In Lawrence Kasdan’s comedy drama ‘The Big Chill’, Kevin Costner was cast in to play a minor but key role as Alex whose suicide would bring the characters together but Kasdan took his scenes out of the final cut. We don’t see his face but we see his corpse his visible at the beginning and that’s all Costner had for his part in the film which otherwise might have been his breakout role. However, Kasdan, a good friend of his, promised for a future project and kept his word by casting him for the role of Jake in ‘Silverado’ which eventually went on to become his breakout role.

8. Eric Stoltz – Back to the Future (1985)

Eric Stoltz was cast in by Robert Zemeckis to play the role of Marty McFly in his iconic fantasy drama ‘Back to the Future’. Stoltz had just given a great performance as Roy L. Dennis in ‘Mask’ and impressed the producers of the film. Zemeckis shot severa scenes with him before realizing that he was miscast. Zemeckis wanted someone who had the exact same personality as McFly and did want someone acting out the role which, according to Zemeckis, is exactly what Stoltz was doing. Despite knowing the fact that their budget would go up, Spielberg and Zemeckis decided to recast and well, the rest is history!

7. Andy Garcia – Dangerous Minds (1995)

Woah! It would have been great to watch Andy Garcia and Michelle Pfeiffer romance onscreen but sadly that did not happen here. Pfeiffer played the lead role of LouAnne Johnson in John N. Smith’s ‘Dangerous Minds’ and Garcia filmed scenes as Johnson’s love interest but the really would never really have done anything to the film as it wasn’t even part of the script. However, Garcia’s inherent charm and charisma may have probably elevated this ordinary flick into something more than watchable at least for a brief period of time.

6. Uma Thurman – Savages (2012)

Uma Thurman was cast to play Paqu Sage, the mother of “O” in Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’ and Stone shot many scenes of her but sadly they were removed from the final cut due to time constraints. It would have been amazing to have her onscreen as it was a meaty role with her character having a very interesting backstory that would have shaped up the story a little more. Moreover, Thurman is a wonderful actress and she has proved her mettle in several films and so it was a great opportunity for her to explore a really fascinating character.

5. Tobey Maguire – Life of Pi (2012)

Who wouldn’t want to have someone as charming and popular as Tobey Maguire in their movie? Well apparently Ang Lee didn’t! Yes, the great filmmaker cut Maguire entirely out from the movie after casting him for the role of the book’s actual author because he felt the star’s presence would be, “too jarringly recognizable”. He wanted someone less popular and someone who would fit in better with the rest of the cast and so he decided to go with Rafe Spall for the role. It’s not really a bad decision as having someone as popular as Maguire may probably have distracted the film on some level.

4. Mickey Rourke – The Thin Red Life (1998)

While many actors have often openly expressed their desire to work with the great Terrence Malick, some have complained about their parts being ended up on the cutting room floor. Mickey Rourke had one such experience when he filmed a few scenes for Malick’s first post hiatus film ‘The Thin Red Line’ but didn’t end up making it on to the final cut because of time constraints. Rourke is a phenomenal actor and we all know that Malick’s cinema is a playground for any actor and so it would have been great to watch him on screen. Nevertheless, the film remains a flat out masterpiece.

3. Ashley Judd – Natural Born Killers (1994)

Oliver Stone’s controversial satirical crime drama had the gorgeous Ashley Judd in a key role. She performed as a waitress who testifies against the couple after they murder all her friends at a slumber party. But Mickey then, acting as his own counsel, walks around before stabbing her right through with a pencil. The scene was part of the original script written by Tarantino and Stone, despite making several changes to it, shot the scene anyway but could never make it to the film cut because of time constraints.

2. Rachel Weisz – To the Wonder (2012)

Well, looks like we’ve got another Terrence Malick “victim” here. In his experimental romance drama, ‘To the Wonder’, Malick cast Rachel Weisz as a friend of Ben Affleck’s character. Weisz is a wonderful actress and it’s a shame that her performance ended up on the cutting room floor here. However, her part wasn’t expected to be a major one in the film and she present on the set only for a few days and it’s also great to hear that she was pretty cool about what eventually happened to her performance in the film.

1. Harrison Ford – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford created magic with the exhilarating ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, one year prior to ‘E.T’ and so it would have been really exciting to see them collaborating on another project. Ford was to play the role of Elliot’s school principal and he filmed scenes where he reprimands Elliot for his misbehavior in class and warn him about the harmful effects of underage drinking. But an endearingly comic moment occurs when Elliot’s chair rises from the floor. However, Spielberg decided to cut the film during post-production due to time constraints.

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