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22 Famous Actors Who Were Fired, Quit, Or Died While Filming And Had To Be Replaced ASAP

I only just now found out that Chris Farley recorded almost all of Shrek before Mike Myers ever signed on to the movie.

1. 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.

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.

2. 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.

an arrow pointing to the new kid on the movie, sitting next to Tom Hanks as they both have a corded phone to their ears

Tom Hanks even remembered being shocked when he found out Nora Ephron was firing the original actor.

Tom Hanks in an interview saying that he asked Nora, "You're gonna fire the kid?"

3. 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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4. Nicole Kidman was originally starring in Panic Room and worked for two weeks on set before dropping out because of a "lingering" knee injury.

close up of Nicole Kidman

Jodie Foster quickly replaced Nicole and starred in the movie instead.

an arrow points to Jodie Foster as she stands with costar Kristin Stewart

5. Ross Butler played Reggie Mantle for the first season of Riverdale but left the series to focus on his other show, 13 Reasons Why.

Reggie in a football uniform during a scene

Charles Melton stepped in as Reggie in Season 2 and has been playing the role since.

Charles in a scene wearing a letterman jacket

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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6. 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.

close up of Paul Walker and a photo of his brothers posing on the red carpet

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.

an arrow pointing to the character that says "Actually a stand in"

7. 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.

side by side close ups of both actors in their parts

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."

Janet in an interview saying that she was no longer having a good time because there were things going on that no one knew about

8. 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.

close up of Philip wearing a suit a thick rimmed glasses

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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

a scene in the show where the girls are talking about how different Greg is and then Greg walks into a crowded room with an arrow pointing saying it's a complete different person

11. 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.

the two Lauries side by side

In an interview with ABC News, Lisa shared that losing a baby and abusing alcohol caused her to step back from the show.

in an intervie Lisa says she lost a baby and then lost everything because of alcohol

12. 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.

three vampires stand in a clearing with an arrow pointing to Rachelle

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.

the two actors side by side

13. 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.

close up of Aaliyah

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.

an arrow points to Nona in a scene of the film

14. 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.

an arrow points to the 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.

Oliver sitting on a bar stool holding up a pint of beer

15. 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.

side by side of the actors

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.

16. 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.

side by side of the actors

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."

Lisa as Phoebe in Friends playing the guitar

17. 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."

Pam and Joey

18. Mark Webber was cast in Stumptown but ended up being replaced by Jake Johnson because he wasn't "handsome enough for the executives."

side by side of the actors

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.

Twitter: @likemark

19. 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.

side by side of the actors

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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20. 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.

close up of Heath Ledger

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.

all four actors in the role

21. Kevin Spacey filmed the entirety of All the Money in the World before he was cut from the movie following sexual misconduct allegations.

an arrow pointing to Kevin Spacey's face still in the movie trailer

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.

side by side of the actors

22. 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.

close up of Chris in a suit holding sunglasses in his hands

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.

Mike Myers and Shrek