10 Best Actor Replacements In Movies

These actors delivered the goods under trying circumstances.

Ed Harris Truman Show
Paramount Pictures

Though moviegoers often twitch at the word "reshoots," they're nevertheless a totally ordinary part of the filmmaking process, especially where bigger-budgeted fare with innumerable moving parts are concerned.

Reshoots are most commonly conducted to flesh out story or character beats which test audiences found confusing or to fix editing issues, but every so often they'll be the result of actors being dismissed from the project, whether during shooting or once principal photography is completed.

Rare though it is for actors to be replaced once cameras have started rolling, it happens for a multitude of reasons - perhaps the director simply isn't satisfied with the actor's performance, decides they're wrong for the part, or the ever-tricky "creative differences" get in the way.

Whatever the reason, the following ten movies all saw actors replaced during production, and despite the lack of prep time the new actors had to step into the role, they all absolutely knocked it out of the park.

Nobody could blame any actor for being a little off their game when joining a movie shoot last-minute, but these actors all proved themselves certifiable pros through their excellent, in some cases even award-nominated performances...

10. Paul Dano - There Will Be Blood

Ed Harris Truman Show

Paul Dano in Paul Thomas Anderson's epic period drama There Will Be Blood is an especially interesting case given that Dano was already cast in the film in the small role of Paul Sunday.

The part of Paul's preacher brother Eli was originally played by Kel O'Neill, who was fired two weeks into shooting.

Though rumours initially indicated that O'Neill was intimidated by co-star Daniel Day-Lewis' intense method acting, this was ultimately dismissed by O'Neill, Anderson, and Day-Lewis.

All the same, Anderson decided to replace O'Neill with Dano himself, in turn changing Paul and Eli Sunday into twin brothers and massively expanding Dano's presence in the movie, given how much larger Eli's role is.

And to say that Dano stands toe-to-toe with Day-Lewis - by no means an easy feat - is quite the understatement, so perfectly cast he is as the weaselly, insincere preacher who so ill-advisedly crosses Day-Lewis' oil man Daniel Plainview.

Dano should've received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance, but all the same, it remains his finest work to date - impressive for a part he jumped into with effectively zero prep time.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.