15 famous actors who were replaced during a movie shoot

Making a movie can cost millions of dollars, which means everything has to work like clockwork once the cameras start rolling.  And that includes the cast - they're also being paid hefty amounts to be on time, learn their lines and give it their very best shot!

Here are 15 actors and actresses who were, for one reason or another, fired during filming.

1. Natalie Portman was replaced by Claire Danes

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Natalie Portman was the first choice for Juliette in Romeo + Juliet, but right from the start directors realized that at a mere 14 years old, the actress was too young to be presented as 21 year-old Leonardo DiCaprio's love interest. Portman also complained that some scenes made her feel uneasy and seemed inappropriate for a young teenager, at which point the directors decided to replace her with the older Claire Danes.. 

2. George Clooney replaced Robert Downey Jr.

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The male lead in Gravity was offered to the talented Robert Downey Jr., who's known to be great at improvising. However, once filming started, the carefully choreographed scenes stifled the actor and he was swiftly dropped in favor of George Clooney. 

3. Megan Fox was fired and replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

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It was during the filming of Transformers: Dark of the Moon that Megan Fox had a big falling out with the director, Michael Bay. Why? Because Bay wanted her to have a darker tan and put on several pounds in order to resemble her character's physical profile.  Megan Fox wasn't happy and even compared the director to Hitler. Things got so bad that one day she stormed off set, claiming that Bay was the worst person with whom she'd ever worked. When Bay heard that she'd bad-mouthed him, he fired her and instead cast Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

4. Nicole Kidman was replaced by Jodie Foster

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18 days after the Panic Room shoot began, Nicole Kidman was forced to quit due to a nasty knee injury. She'd hurt herself whilst shooting Moulin Rouge and was still in terrible pain. Jodie Foster was brought in to replace Kidman.

5. Ryan Gosling and Mark Wahlberg

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Ryan Gosling was chosen for the lead in The Lovely Bones.  He threw himself into the role and even put on weight so he could play the story's hero. Despite all his efforts, Peter Jackson, the director, wasn't happy with his choice of lead and, in the knowledge that Hollywood is brimming with talented actors, he fired Ryan Gosling and asked Mark Wahlberg to accept the role. 

6. Samantha Morton was replaced by Scarlett Johansson

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To begin with Spike Jonze was happy with his choice of leads for Her, but as the shoot progressed, he realized that Morton's voice didn't fit the bill.  He felt that Joaquin Phoenix's character would never fall in love with such a voice and Scarlett Johansson took over the robot's persona. Samantha's only contribution was the use of her name for the OS featured in the movie.

7. "Bye bye Richard Gere" and "Hello Perry King"

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The Lords of Flatbush was set to be 25 year-old Richard Gere's first defining role, but the production team were unaware of how difficult Gere could be. Within a few weeks of filming, Gere had not only fallen out with most of the production team, but also his fellow actors.  Apparently he and Sylvester Stallone came to blows when an already overly-cocky Gere dripped chicken juice over the former's trousers, who in turn asked the directors to get rid of Gere ASAP. Perry King stepped in, although this unfortunate experience didn't stop Gere from becoming a Hollywood megastar a few years' later. 

8. Michael Biehn replaced James Remar  

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Apparently it was 'creative differences' that saw James Remar and James Cameron part ways whilst Alien was being filmed, but later on the actor did admit that was arrested for drug possession during the shoot. Cameron immediately replaced him, but showed how wise he was by not divulging the truth when this particular drama unfolded.

9. Hugo Weaving had a more suitable voice than James Purefoy  

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After having donned his 'Guy Fawkes' mask for 6 weeks whilst shooting V for Vendetta, the screenplay/directing Wachowski sisters felt that Purefoy's voice wasn't aggressive or menacing enough for the character. Having worked with Huge Weaving during The Matrix, they felt he was better for the role, meaning they had to reshoot all of the scenes where Purefoy appeared. 

10. Stuart Townsend and Viggo Mortensen

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Four days into the Lord of the Rings shoot, Peter Jackson decided that Stuart Townsend was too young to play Aragorn and he swiftly replaced him with Viggo Mortensen - who in turn was propelled to fame and fortune!

11. Katherine Heigl replaced Anne Hathaway 

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Anne Hathaway was cast for the lead in Knocked Up, but during the shoot Hathaway learned she would have to film a birthing scene - something she'd always refused to do.  This led to an argument with the director and she was promptly fired, with Katherine Heigl stepping into the role.

12. Jean-Claude Van Damme quit and Salle Kevin Peter took over

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In 1987, a 27 year-old Jean-Claude Van Damme was due to play the alien in Predator opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. 2 days after filming began JCVD resigned citing personal reasons. He later said he found the character uninteresting and hated the heavy mask and costume he had to wear.  But rather than being disappointed, the directors were relieved - they felt that Van Damme was too short and lacked presence in comparison to Schwarzenegger. It was Kevin Peter Hall who took over the role, but if you'd like to see what the 'Muscles from Brussels' looked like when dressed up as the predator, then click here!

13. "Ciao Kevin Spacey" and "Welcome Christopher Plummer"

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As we all know, Kevin Spacey was one of the first Hollywood stars to be accused of sexual offences and Netflix were quick to state that Spacey would no longer be part of the hugely successful House of Cards. Ridley Scott followed suit by cutting all scenes that featured Spacey from his latest film, All the Money in the World. Filming is still underway, but with Christopher Plummer instead and, as its release is set for December 22nd, the pressure is on!

14. Eric Stoltz - Michael J. Fox

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Marty McFly wasn't due to be played by Michael J. Fox, but rather by Eric Stoltz who spent 5 weeks on the Back to the Future set. The directors felt that something was missing - Marty needed to be funnier and more memorable. Michael J. Fox was put forward and, after his audition, even producer Steven Spielberg knew they'd got the right man. Shooting had to start all over again, but no matter - Marty McFly and the franchise when on to enjoy stellar success! 

15.  Christian Bale vs Leonardo DiCaprio 

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In 2000, little-known Christian Bale was cast to play the serial killer in American Psycho, but the more famous Leonardo DiCaprio learned about the project and suddenly Bale was sidelined along with Mary Harron, the director, who objected to this sudden change of lead. Pressure from fans eventually made the Titanic star quit, as they wanted DiCaprio to stick with his romantic sex-symbol image. Once DiCaprio was out, Bale and the movie's original director came back on board.