Casting is a tricky business. For all the effort that goes into writing, financing, directing, editing or scoring a movie, what’s the primary thing a general audience sees? Faces, projected on a thirty foot screen. (Or on your laptop at home. Yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. and Mrs. Destroying-The-Theater-Business-With-My-Much-More-Convenient-Technology!) Get the right faces up on that screen, and you’re home free; get the wrong ones…and you have a disaster on your hands. Hence the importance of casting.
The problem is compounded by the fact that casting is a funny, alchemical thing. It’s not as simple as finding a good actor; you have to find the right actor who will fit the part, yes, but who will also mix well with the rest of the ensemble, have chemistry with the leading man/lady, be cheap enough for the budget to afford (or a big enough star to be worth the expenditure), and actually have the time in their schedule to come do the movie. Just getting somebody into the role is in itself a hellish process, which probably explains why recasting while a movie is shooting doesn’t happen that often — it’s an extra set of headaches nobody wants to deal with — and why when it does happen, it’s sort of a big deal. Just look at the whirlwind that occurred when people believe that Shailene Woodley had been replaced as Mary Jane Watson in the new Spider-Man franchise; that rumor turned out not to be true (for the moment, at least), but still, for a brief stretch of time a lot of people were sent reeling.
The following list of ten characters who were recast in the middle of shooting — and ten actors who found themselves without a job — is not necessarily a list of ten actors (or ten casts…you’ll see when you get there…) who were “bad”, or “wrong” for their roles. Some of them were perfectly talented actors who had a different vision of the character than the director; a number of them had the rather unpleasant experience of life stepping in the way, briefly hobbling them with illness or accident. But for whatever reason, they weren’t quite the right person at the right place and time for that particular version of that particular movie. Sometimes it works out that way. Although that’s probably small consolation to folks like…
This article was first posted on June 29, 2013