I only just now found out that Chris Farley recorded almost all of Shrek before Mike Myers ever signed on to the movie.
Richard Harris originated the role of Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but died before the third film could be completed.
Getty Images / Warner Bros.
Four months later, Michael Gambon was cast as the replacement Dumbledore and he continued to play him for the next six movies in the Harry Potter franchise.
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Peter O’Toole was also in talks to replace Richard, but director Christopher Columbus shared, “[Peter] eventually decided, because he was best friends with Richard, that he didn’t feel it was right to step into those shoes.”
Ross Malinger had to replace the original child actor on Sleepless in Seattle because the first kid froze in front of Tom Hanks when they tried shooting scenes.
Tom Hanks even remembered being shocked when he found out Nora Ephron was firing the original actor.
Jim Varney played Slinky in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, but he died of lung cancer in 2000.
His friend and fellow actor, Blake Clark — aka Shawn Hunter’s dad from Boy Meets World — replaced him and played the role for Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4.
When asked about the most difficult part of playing the role Blake told People, “Jim was a good friend of mine and we did a movie together…I just try not to screw anything up.”
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Nicole Kidman was originally starring in Panic Room and worked for two weeks on set before dropping out because of a “lingering” knee injury.
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Jodie Foster quickly replaced Nicole and starred in the movie instead.
Kristen Stewart reminisced with Nicole about their brief time on set together, “We spent a couple of weeks rehearsing and like — I know you. I was a little guy but — it’s an interesting time to meet somebody and have a vivid memory of it because the way that you treat kids, is so telling of you — of anyone. I just felt like I was buds with you and that says so much. You were so nice to me and I had the best time. It was a short period of time but I was always like, oh yeah, she’s one of my friends,”
Ross Butler played Reggie Mantle for the first season of Riverdale but left the series to focus on his other show, 13 Reasons Why.
Charles Melton stepped in as Reggie in Season 2 and has been playing the role since.
In Season 6, the writers created a parallel universe storyline and brought Ross Butler back so both Reggies could meet on the show.
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Paul Walker died in a car accident while filming Fast & Furious 7, but instead of recasting or rewriting, the studio spent $50 million to complete the film using a combination of CGI and Paul’s younger brothers as stand-ins for his character Brian.
Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty
The production team for FF7 also merged archival footage of Paul’s voice with his brothers’ voices to fill in the gaps in the movie.
A source told TMZ, “It will take both brothers, Caleb and Cody, to get everything to match up. Our sources say the production team tested the voice of each brother and learned that certain words sound better coming from one brother, and different ones from the other … so they will combine them to help make the dialogue work.”
Janet Hubert — who played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — decided to leave the show after she was offered a “bad deal” during Season 3. So, the show famously recast Daphne Maxwell Reid as Aunt Viv, who played the role for the rest of the series.
In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 30-year reunion on HBO Max, Janet spoke openly about her departure from the show and how “Hollywood disowned” her because of the rumors that she was difficult to work with. She said, “But you know those words, calling a Black woman difficult in Hollywood, is the kiss of death.”
Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose while he was filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 — he only had 10 days left of filming on set at the time of his passing.
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Instead of recasting, executives considered using CGI to finish recording his scenes. However, after some small rewrites, Woody Harrelson and Julianne Moore’s characters took some of his lines.
The studio did, in fact, include already-existing footage of Philip in scenes where his character would have been present.
Jake T. Austin played Jesus for two seasons of The Fosters but left the show after learning his role would be reduced in the show’s third season.
Season 2 even ended with Jake’s Jesus getting into a nearly fatal car accident and leaving viewers to wonder if the character survived. Then Season 3 began with Jesus surviving the crash and now being played by a totally new person, Noah Centineo.
Santino Fontana played Greg for two seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend before leaving the series because of scheduling conflicts.
Later on, in the show’s final season, Skylar Astin replaced Santino as the “whole new Greg,” and the show turned the recasting into a gag about Greg seeming like a whole new person after moving away in Season 2.
Lisa Robin Kelly originally played Laurie on That ’70s Show for Seasons 1, 3, and 5 but the role was recast with Christina Moore for the sixth season.
In an interview with ABC News, Lisa shared that losing a baby and abusing alcohol caused her to step back from the show.
ABC News / youtube.com
In 2013, Lisa died of multiple drug intoxication, days after voluntarily checking into a treatment facility to seek help for her addiction.
Rachelle Lefevre played Victoria — one of the franchises’ main villains — in Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, but was let go due to her 10-day long commitment on Dustin Hoffman’s film, Barney’s Version.
Rachelle had a contract to return for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and was “fully committed” to the movie having turned down other roles because of it. She was stunned to find out the studio had recast the role with Bryce Dallas Howard.
In a statement, Rachelle shared, “I was stunned by Summit’s decision to recast the role of Victoria for Eclipse. 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. My commitment to Barney’s Version is only ten days. Summit picked up my option for Eclipse. Although the production schedule for Eclipse is over three months long, Summit said they had a conflict during those ten days and would not accommodate me. Given the length of filming for Eclipse, never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10-day overlap. I was happy with my contract with Summit and was fully prepared to continue to honor it. Summit chose simply to recast the part.”
Aaliyah was originally cast as Zee in The Matrix: Reloaded and she had even filmed part of the movie before she died in a plane crash in 2001.
Steve Eichner / Getty Images
After her death, the studio held auditions for a replacement and Nona Gaye, Marvin Gaye’s daughter, was cast to play Zee in The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions.
Oliver Reed was almost finished filming his scenes in Gladiator before dying of a heart attack. Instead of replacing him, producers used CGI to digitally graft his face onto a stand-in.
He died at the pub after challenging a group of sailors to a “drinking debauch” — Oliver had even promised director Ridley Scott that he would not drink on filming days, only on weekends.
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Gladiator director Ridley Scott said, “One Sunday morning, he dropped down dead on the floor of a pub. He probably had a couple of pints and said, ‘I don’t feel good,’ laid on the carpet and died.
After filming the entire movie, Chris D’Elia was fired from Army of the Dead following sexual assault allegations that came out against him and he was replaced with comedian Tig Notaro.
Tig had to reshoot all her scenes in front of a green screen, never having met the cast. Director Zack Snyder even spent “a few million” to make the adjustment look seamless onscreen.
Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz in Frasier and even worked on the pilot for three days before being replaced by Peri Gilpin, who went on to play the role for the rest of the series.
She told Howard Stern, “I wasn’t right for the part [or] for the chemistry of the group. So that wasn’t working but I did think, ‘Oh, I am not [director James Burrows’] cup of tea.”
She even ended up auditioning again in front of James for Friends, and shared, “I had one extra audition just for James Burrows. I did it and he went, ‘No notes.’ I left going, ‘That either means she’s beyond help and helpless, just like I always knew,’ or ‘Yeah, it’s perfect. I have no notes.'”
Jenna Fisher was originally cast opposite Friends star, Matt LeBlanc, in his sitcom Man With a Plan. She even filmed the pilot episode before she was fired from the show and replaced with Liza Snyder.
On her podcast, Jenna said focus groups didn’t react well to the TV couple. “They liked me, but they said — this is a literal quote — ‘I don’t believe Pam would marry Joey.’ The chemistry doesn’t work between these two.”
Mark Webber was cast in Stumptown but ended up being replaced by Jake Johnson because he wasn’t “handsome enough for the executives.”
Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images
In a series of tweets, he shared his disdain for the film and TV industry and wondered how they’d announce the news: “Look, I’m a straight white male so I know my journey has been way less painful in this warped industry, but I’m being recast in a network television show because I’m not handsome enough for the executives. It’s important for me to share the real pain we endure in this industry.”
I’m so curious how they’re going to frame this in their upfront announcement. What the spin will be? Probably none as I’ve already been deemed insignificant by them. The way I was treated was so degrading. These “executive” decisions are why network tv is dying.
Kimberly J. Brown originated the role of Marnie Cromwell in Disney’s Halloweentown franchise and played the role for three movies before being replaced by Sara Paxton for Return to Halloweentown.
Even Kimberly wasn’t sure why she got recast and said, “Some people said that they heard that I was working on something, which was not the case at the time. I was available and ready to do it and had talked to them about possibly doing it, but Disney decided to go in a different direction and recast the role. So that’s really all I know about the situation.”
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Heath Ledger died in the middle of filming The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus and after reimagining the role, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell were all brought in to replace him.
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The script was reworked to show that as the main character traveled through different dimensions, his appearance transformed as well, which was shown through the addition of Johnny, Jude, and Colin.
Kevin Spacey filmed the entirety of All the Money in the World before he was cut from the movie following sexual misconduct allegations.
Christopher Plummer stepped in to replace him and had to refilm the entire movie, which took nine days and cost $10 million on top of the movie’s $40 million budget.
Finally, Chris Farley was originally cast as Shrek — the creators based Shrek and Donkey’s relationship on Chris and David Spade’s in Tommy Boy — and he recorded the vocals for almost the entire movie before his death in 1997.
Mike Myers went on to take over the role of Shrek and asked that the script be totally rewritten for his own style of comedy. Over the next three years, he recorded the new script in his own accent and again in the character’s signature Scottish accent.
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