10 Iconic Roles That Were Recast


This weekend Mad Max: Fury Road opens, and for the first time someone else other than Mel Gibson will be playing the iconic role of Max Rockatansky. Tom Hardy takes over the titular role, with Mel Gibson’s blessing, and if it does well there may be more movies in the franchise. Recasting roles is nothing new (after all there have been several James Bond’s, not to mention two Albus Dumbledores), but sometimes the movies doesn’t even get finished before someone else steps into the character’s shoes. We take a look at some of the most famous.

When we think of Back To The Future, we think of Michael J. Fox in the lead role as Marty McFly. Eric Stoltz was cast because Michael J. Fox was unavailable, and he even filmed for four weeks before director Robert Zemeckis decided they had to recast the role. Thankfully by that time Fox was free to shoot with them, and the rest is history.

Michael J. Fox wasn’t the only recast character in Back To The Future. John Lithgow was originally set to play Doc Brown, and when he became unavailable Christopher Lloyd stepped into the role. Eric Stoltz and John Lithgow would have made a completely different film, that may not have been as successful as the trilogy ended up being.

Harrison Ford has made a career out of playing iconic characters. From Han Solo to Jack Ryan, Ford is well known for being an action hero. He almost missed out on playing Indiana Jones however. Originally the role in Raider’s Of The Lost Ark was to be played by Magnum P.I. star Tom Selleck, but he’d all ready signed a contract with CBS and couldn’t get out of it to play Indy, so the door was opened for Ford.

Hugh Jackman’s career was given a huge boost when Dougray Scott suddenly became unavailable to play Wolverine in X-Men. Scott was delayed in filming Mission Impossible 2, and had to bow out, and Jackman hasn’t let his, ahem, claws out of the character yet.

Another super-hero that was recast was War Machine in the Iron Man movies. Terrance Howard played the character of James Rhodes in the first movie, but before he could don the War Machine armor in the sequel, he was given the boot for cheaper option Don Cheadle. Rumor has it Howard was the first to sign on for the first film, and ended up making more than the star Robert Downey Jr.. When asked to take a pay cut for the sequel he balked, and was let go.

It was a shame that Viggo Mortensen never won (or was even nominated) for an Oscar for his role as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it would have been an even bigger shame if he’d never played the role in the first place.  Stuart Townsend has signed on for the role, but fired days before filming began and replaced by Mortensen. The reasons behind the firing have never come out, although rumors persist that director Peter Jackson didn’t think he was right for the role, or old enough.

Go ahead, make Frank Sinatra’s Day. Can you imagine anyone other that Clint Eastwood playing Dirty Harry? We sure can’t, but it almost happened. Ol’ Blue Eye had signed on, but had to give up the role after injuring his hand. Eastwood wasn’t even the second choice, that was Paul Newman who also had to bow out. Talk about a long road to getting it right.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had yet to make a big name for himself in Hollywood when The Terminator was casting the title role, but the muscle bound actor ended up impressing James Cameron so much while auditioning for the role of the hero of the movie that the role went to him, instead of Cameron’s good friend Lance Henriksen.

Christian Bale has had a long history of playing edgy characters, but he almost didn’t get to play Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He was wanted for the role by the director, but the studio wanted Leonardo DiCaprio instead. He was hired, but eventually backed away from the controversial role after protests with feminist groups and problems with the script.

Annette Bening as Catwoman? It almost happened for Batman Returns, but the actress had to back out shortly before filming began because she was pregnant. Michelle Pfeiffer gladly took to wearing the leather catsuit instead.

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