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    23 Jaw-Dropping Events In Movie History That Actually Happened

    Hollywood isn't like anywhere else (and that's probably a good thing).

    1. Gary Busey once refused to perform a scene set in heaven because he said the set design looked nothing like the real heaven he visited during a near-death experience.

    Christopher Polk / FilmMagic, Sean Gladwell / Getty Images

    Busey became a star after playing the title role in 1978’s The Buddy Holly Story, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He later went on to co-star in the hit Lethal Weapon, but his life forever changed in 1988 when he crashed his motorcycle while not wearing a helmet and hit his head on the curb, punching a half-dollar sized hole into the side of his head. Luckily for Busey, he landed at the foot of a police officer who got him to the hospital just in time — doctors later told Busey that if he'd arrived even three minutes later he'd have died. Still, he’d suffered a traumatic brain injury, and spent over four weeks in a coma. It was during this time Busey believes he entered a spiritual realm and visited heaven.

    Fifteen years later Busey was on the set of Quigley, a critically reviled box-office bomb about a ruthless billionaire (Busey) who dies and comes back to earth as a Pomeranian. Filming of the movie was already three days behind schedule when Busey arrived to film the scene where his character goes to heaven.

    Busey’s co-star Curtis Armstrong (yes, Booger from Revenge of the Nerds), told the AVClub, “He showed up on this set made to look like heaven, and he looked around and said, 'It’s nothing like this. I’ve been to heaven and it doesn’t look like this. That sofa’s all wrong. That mirror is ridiculous. They don’t even have mirrors!' It was ridiculous. He was completely nuts about the design of heaven.”

    Things only got more absurd when another actor claimed he too had visited heaven after his own near death experience, and took issue with Busey’s description of the place.

    Armstrong said, “This guy got into an argument with Busey about the way heaven looked! The two of them wound up coming to blows and they had to send everybody home.”

    2. Mrs. Doubtfire almost had a sequel where Robin Williams again went undercover as a woman — this time to keep an eye on his daughter at college.

    Mrs Doubtfire and college students studying on a campus lawn
    20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection/Leaf / Getty

    In 2001, Robin Williams began developing a sequel, and brought on Bonnie Hunt to write it. Unfortunately, neither Hunt or the writers who followed her could crack the script. One problem? Mrs. Doubtfire was revealed to be Robin Williams’ character at the end of the first film, so he couldn’t pull the same ruse on his family in a sequel.



    Eventually, Williams began telling anyone who asked about the sequel that it most likely would never happen. But then, in 2014, came a surprise announcement: Williams and original director Chris Columbus were attached to make a sequel to be written by Elf writer David Berenbaum, who’d come up with an interesting new take.

    Tragically, Robin Williams’ death later that year ended plans for the sequel.

    3. All three films in the popular Jeepers Creepers horror franchise were written and directed by Victor Salva, a convicted child molester who spent 15 months in jail after sexually abusing the 12-year-old star of his first film Clownhouse.

    The monster thing in Jeepers Creepers chokes Justin Long
    United Artists / ©United Artists/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Salva pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14, having oral sex with a child under 14, and procuring a child for pornography (he filmed the sexual acts with boy). Despite this, Salva was able to make nine more films in Hollywood, including Powder which was produced by Disney and released just six years after the release of Clownhouse

    Powder, about an outcast teenage boy, starred Mary Steenburgen, Jeff Goldblum and Sean Patrick Flanery. Salva’s victim, Nathan Forrest Winters, picketed a Los Angeles movie theater the day the film was released holding up signs that read: "Support the Victim, Not the Victimizer" and "Victor Salva: Writer, Director, Child Molester.” Salva issued a statement at the time of the film's release saying he “deeply regretted his actions“ and “I paid for my mistakes dearly.” Powder was a box office success and lead to other opportunities for Salva like the Jeepers Creepers franchise. 

    Jeepers Creepers 3 producer Michael Ohoven told BuzzFeed News Salva’s crime was “absolutely repulsive and horrific,” but added "I think often in life you're confronted with: Do you believe in redemptionAre you willing to give second chances? And again, I'm not advocating for anybody, or trying to make anybody's decision. But I had to make the decision to say, Look, I believe he is a man who's done something absolutely horrific some 30 years agoI believe he has turned his life completely around."

    There was some controversy when Jeepers Creepers 3 was released because a screening version of the film for critics included a scene where characters discuss how the 18-year-old heroine had to go live with her grandparents at 13 because her stepfather began “making overtures at her.” 

    “Can you blame him though?” One character says to the other. “I mean look at her.” The other replies, “The heart wants what it wants, am I right?” 

    The scene was cut from the released version.

    4. I Love Trouble was co-written and produced by Nancy Meyers and starred Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte at the height of their stardom, but bombed largely because the co-stars hated each other with a red-hot passion.

    Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte looking at each other miserably in the movie
    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    Contemporaneous rumors from the set say tempers flared early between the two stars and never got better. Roberts was said to throw tantrums and Nolte was said to be overly macho. Roberts, annoyed, insulted Nolte who responded by working overtime to annoy her even more. It wasn’t long before the stars were each shooting their scenes with a stand-in instead of each other.

    In the middle of filming Roberts told the New York Times, "From the moment I met him we sort of gave each other a hard time, and naturally we get on each other's nerves." She added that while he can be "completely charming and very nice, he's also completely disgusting. He's going to hate me for saying this, but he seems go out of his way to repel people. He's a kick."

    Nolte reportedly responded by saying, “It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting.’ But she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that."

    These aren’t the kind of quotes you want from the co-stars of a romantic comedy.

    Disney, upon seeing the finished film's lack of romantic chemistry, decided to change their marketing campaign to de-emphasize the romance and play up the suspense thriller elements. As one competitor confidentially told the LA Times, “It’s gone from a Hepburn-Tracy Woman of the Year to The Pelican Brief in a very short time span.”

    The film was a financial failure. It probably should come as no surprise that Roberts and Nolte never appeared in another film together. 

    5. Pretty in Pink was originally supposed to end with Molly Ringwald's Andie ending up with Jon Cryer's Duckie, but test audiences hated it so much they re-shot a new ending where she ends up with Andrew McCarthy's Blaine.

    McCarthy, Ringwald, and Cryer looking very 80s in the movie
    Paramount

    From the beginning, writer John Hughes and director Howard Deutch intended for Molly Ringwald's Andie to end up with Duckie, her quirky friend, played by Jon Cryer, and not rich kid Blaine, played by Andrew McCarthy. However, Deutch told the HuffPost, “The girls in the test screening didn’t go for that...they wanted her to get the cute boy. And that was it. So we had to reshoot the ending.” Having Andie and Blaine end up together was hard to do, as the architecture of the whole film was leading up to Andie choosing Duckie, but they did it.

    The movie was a hit, but Hughes was so unhappy with the change that the following year he essentially re-told the same story with Some Kind of Wonderful. This time, though, the lead walked off into the sunset with their outcast friend and not the rich kid.

    6. Filmmaker Ed Solomon, who co-wrote all three Bill & Ted's films, was — very briefly — a prime suspect in the grisly Night Stalker murder spree.

    Ben Gabbe / Getty Images, Orion Pictures Corp / ©Orion Pictures Corp/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Solomon tweeted the whole wild story earlier this year, explaining that one night in August of 1985 he was awakened by a phone call asking, "Are you the Night Stalker?" He hung up, thinking it was a prank, but the calls kept coming. Soon he was talking to a reporter who explained his car had been found at the scene of a murder by the Night Stalker. Solomon then looked out his window and saw police slowly approaching his doorstep.

    Solomon, it should go without saying, wasn't the Night Stalker, and the visit by the police was largely a formality as they'd pretty much already determined Solomon wasn't the guy. The car found at the scene, it turned out, was one Solomon had co-signed on for a friend, which the friend later gave away to someone else before it was stolen by Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker.

    Interestingly, Solomon's friend (in a note Solomon added to his Twitter thread), said that prints found in the car helped lead to the capture of Ramirez, so in a roundabout way Solomon and his one-time car played a small role in catching the Night Stalker. Insert an epic Bill and Ted "Whoa!" here.

    7. The screenplay for Pretty Women was originally a gritty drama titled $3,000, and didn't end with Vivian and Edward together.

    A fake pretty woman poster with the title 3000 and a fake review calling it dark and gritty
    Disney

    In this original version, the movie was supposed to end with Vivian and Kit on a bus headed to use Vivian's earning from Edward at Disneyland, with Vivian staring out the window, sad and pensive.

    The studio (Disney) and director Gary Marshall loved J.F. Lawton's script, but wanted a happier take on it — especially after seeing the chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. So, they had Lawton — and then other screenwriters — rework the script until it was the Pretty Woman we know today.

    8. Ocean's 11 trilogy star Matt Damon actually reprised his Linus Caldwell character in Ocean's 8, the woman-lead reboot of the Ocean's 11 series, but his cameo was surprisingly left on the cutting room floor in the wake of his comments about sexual misconduct.

    Matt Damon and the oceans 8 poster
    Warner Bros.

    Director Gary Ross said they cut Damon out of the film purely for plot reasons: “There were a lot of people who were gracious to us that just for editorial and storytelling reasons didn’t make it in." But cutting an A-list star who would've intrinsically linked the new film to the first three was a very surprising move.

    According to the Mercury News, another reason Damon was cut out was because of a petition that asked for Damon to be removed because of his "thoughtless and sexist comments about Harvey Weinstein."

    Damon had condemned Weinstein and abusers in an interview with ABC News, but was criticized for saying that not all misconduct claims "belong in the same category" and that there was a "spectrum of behavior."

    Damon later apologized. “I really wish I’d listened a lot more before I weighed in on this. I don’t want to further anybody’s pain with anything that I do or say. So for that I am really sorry. A lot of those women are my dear friends and I love them and respect them and support what they’re doing and want to be a part of that change…but I should get in the back seat and close my mouth for a while.”

    9. The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic, but it was a troubled production that had an unheard of five — yes, five — different directors.

    Director Victor Fleming directing Judy Garland and other cast
    Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection / Everett Col

    Academy Award winning director Norman Taurog was the first person in the director’s chair, but he only shot a few early Technicolor tests before being reassigned and replaced by Richard Thorpe.

    Like Taurang, Thorpe was a real pro who would direct 180 films in his career, but he only lasted two weeks on The Wizard of Oz. He’s said to have had trouble capturing the needed air of fantasy, and put star Judy Garland in a blonde wig and baby doll makeup that made her look older than she was.

    Next up was George Cukor, who would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Director for My Fair Lady in 1965. Cukor only spent a week on-set and didn’t actually film any footage, but he had a significant impact: he not only got rid of Garland’s wig and makeup and encouraged her to perform the role in a natural way, but refined the looks of the Scarecrow and Wicked Witch of the West. He also suggested Jack Haley for the role of the Tin Man to replace original Tin Man Buddy Epson who had to be hospitalized after having a negative reaction to his character's aluminum powder makeup.

    Cukor soon left to direct Gone With The Wind, so Victor Fleming was brought in. Fleming ended up being the main director of the film, but even he wasn’t the final director. He left before the completion of photography because — believe it or not — Cukor was fired as the director of Gone with the Wind and they wanted Fleming to take over (meaning Fleming effectively replaced Cukor on two legendary classics within a matter of months).

    The final director, King Vidor, mainly filmed the Kansas sequences, including Garland singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

    In the end The Wizard of Oz was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, but not Best Director. That was probably fine with Fleming, who won that year’s award for Gone With the Wind.

    10. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford partied all night with the Rolling Stones and then showed up to film The Empire Strikes Back flying high.

    Fisher and Ford looking a little stoned in an Empire Strikes back scene
    20th Century Fox

    Episode 5 was filming in England when, the day before an early call time, Monty Python's Eric Idle invited Fisher over to hang out with the Rolling Stones. As she told the Daily Beast, “I called Harrison and said, ‘Get over here! This is ridiculous!’ I wonder how he remembers it. I remember that we never went to sleep, so we weren’t hungover — we were still drunk when we arrived in Cloud City the next day. We don’t really smile a lot in the movie, but there we’re smiling.”

    11. Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere have hated each other since the '70s, and once nearly came to blows at a party over Princess Diana.

    Stallone and Gere
    United Artists / Getty Images

    Before Sylvester Stallone was world-famous for Rocky and Richard Gere made it big with An Officer and a Gentleman, the two were cast in 1974's The Lords of Flatbush and did NOT get along. Stallone told Ain't It Cool News that Gere "would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table." Later, after rehearsals for a fight scene got testy, things got physical...while eating lunch.
    Stallone said he was eating a hot dog in a car when Gere got in while eating some greasy chicken. "I said, 'That thing is going to drip all over the place.' He said, 'Don’t worry about it.' I said, 'If it gets on my pants, you’re gonna know about it.' He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car." Gere was soon replaced on the film by Perry King.
    According to Elton John's autobiography Me, the hate between the two still burned red-hot two decades later. At a party at John's house, Gere and Princess Diana had hit it off and were talking closely. This made Stallone jealous (John conjectured Stallone had come in hopes of picking up Diana), and John's now-husband David Furnish soon found the two stars out back, squared off and about to fight. Furnish broke up the fight, and not long after, Stallone left in a huff when Gere and Diana rekindled their chat.

    12. When making 1992's Aladdin, Disney's animators based the title character on Tom Cruise, the world's biggest star at the time.

    A side-by-side image of Cruise and the animated Aladdin looking very similar
    MGM/Disney

    Animator Glen Keane originally envisioned Aladdin as a Michael J. Fox type, but Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested Tom Cruise would be a better model. The animators then watched Top Gun, which helped them nail the look and attitude of the character.

    13. Jerry Lewis — yes, the comedian — made a dramatic movie about an imprisoned clown who entertains Jewish children in a Nazi concentration camp, and it was so bad Lewis never let anyone see it.

    Jerry Lewis as the clown in his ill-fated movie
    Wachsberger/Lewis

    In the early '70s, comedian Jerry Lewis took a huge risk, making The Day The Clown Cried, a dramatic film about the Holocaust, and by all accounts missed the mark by quite bit. So Lewis, who had paid for much of the production himself, shelved the project. He later told Entertainment Weekly, "You will never see it. No one will ever see it, because I am embarrassed at the poor work." Fifty years later only a handful of people have seen this notorious lost film.

    Lewis may have been ahead of his time — a similarly plotted film, 1997's Life Is Beautiful, won three Academy Awards. Prior to his death, Lewis gave a copy of the film to the US Library of Congress with the stipulation it not be shown prior to 2024.

    14. Screen legend Greta Garbo was so humiliated by the poor reviews for her 1941 film Two-Faced Woman that — despite only being 36 and living another 48 years — she never appeared in another film ever again.

    A glamorous photo of Garbo
    MGM

    Garbo, after getting her start in Swedish silent films, came to Hollywood in 1925 and quickly became a worldwide star thanks to Flesh and the Devil. When sound came to the movies, many silent film stars saw their careers end, but Greta became an even bigger star, earning three Academy Award nominations for classics like 1936's Camille.

    Then came Two-Faced Woman. The box office bomb was called a "dismal jape" by The New York Times' reviewer who also wrote "Miss Garbo's current attempt to trip the light fantastic is one of the awkward exhibitions of the season."

    The insulted and hurt star was offered many more roles over the rest of her life, but turned almost all of them down immediately (and the few she accepted she quickly decided not to film). She lived reclusively the rest of her life, and became an avid art collector.

    15. A Fantastic Four movie was made in 1994 — more than a decade before 2005's Fantastic Four starring Chris Evans and Jessica Alba — but was never was released.

    The cast of the original Fantastic Four in budget costumes
    New Horizon Pictures

    In the early '90s, producer Bernd Eichinger was on the verge of losing the film rights to the Fantastic Four. The one way he could keep them contractually? By making a movie about the superheroes. So in order to keep the rights — and his dream of producing a big-budget movie about the Marvel heroes alive — he teamed with B-movie legend Roger Corman to make a low-cost version for just a million dollars.

    Fans soon got wind of the film and were excited for its release (even if it's unclear whether Eichinger ever intended to release the film since its main purpose was to fulfill his contractual obligations). Either way, when Marvel learned about it, they paid Eichinger to shelve the film as they worried a low-budget version would hurt the Marvel brand. In the end, Eichinger's gambit worked as he kept the rights and eventually produced 2005's big budget Fantastic Four with Chris Evans.

    16. Kel O'Neill spent weeks playing Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood until he was fired and replaced by Paul Dano.

    Kel O'Neill and Paul Dano
    Michael Buckner / Getty Images / Paramount

    Kel O’Neill was an up-and-coming but largely still unknown actor when he received amazing news: He’d landed the role of Eli Sunday opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. This feel-good story didn’t have happy ending, though, as he was fired from the film after a few weeks of filming.

    If you dig around the internet, you will likely see people claim O’Neill lost the job because he was intimidated acting opposite a powerhouse like Day-Lewis. But that’s a claim that has been denied by Day-Lewis, Anderson, and O’Neill himself. According to O’Neill, he could tell after a couple days of filming that something wasn’t working. “You know,” he told Vulture. “You just know.” He wasn’t jibing with Anderson, which he took responsibility for, saying, “An actor should, with every ounce of their humanity, be attempting to give the director what he or she wants.” Being fired put O’Neill off acting and he soon transitioned into a successful career as a documentarian.

    As for recasting the role of Eli Sunday, Anderson found his replacement right there on set. He asked Paul Dano, who was already playing Eli Sunday’s brother Paul, to play Eli as well. To facilitate this, slight tweaks were made to the script to make it clear the brothers were identical twins.

    17. Bill Murray was replaced by Bernie Mac in the Charlie's Angels sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle because he allegedly headbutted the director and feuded with co-star Lucy Liu.

    Bill Murray with the angels and then Bernie Mac with them
    Sony courtesy of Everett Collection

    If you had to guess, you’d probably imagine that filming the big-screen adaptation of the classic television series — with sunny and funny stars like Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Bill Murray — was a good time. Apparently, it was not.



    A lot of the drama, it seems, centered on Murray. Director McG claimed that Murray headbutted him, describing it as “square in the head. An inch lower and my nose would have been obliterated." Murray has vehemently denied this, saying, "That’s complete crap! I don’t know why he made that story up. He has a very active imagination.” 

Murray also allegedly told Liu that she couldn’t act, and she allegedly responded by throwing punches. Murray, when asked about this, said, “I will dismiss you completely if you are unprofessional and working with me. … When our relationship is professional and you’re not getting that done, forget it.”



    Whatever the exact truth is, it should come as no surprise that Murray wasn't asked back to play John Bosley in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Instead, Mac was brought on to play Jimmy Bosley, John’s adoptive brother and successor.

    18. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland — President Coriolanus Snow from The Hunger Games films himself — had sex on camera in 1973's Don't Look Now...maybe.

    Sutherland looks at Christie, turned on, in the film
    Universal

    The graphic sex scene in the supernatural thriller — featuring what appeared to be oral sex performed by Sutherland — was buzzed about even before the film's release, and director Nicolas Roeg had to edit it in a fragmented manner to enable the film to receive an R rating in the US. In England, the film got an X rating.

    For years after the film's release, rumors swirled about the scene, with some saying that Christie's then-boyfriend Warren Beatty lobbied to get the sex scene cut out of the film, and others saying that there was unedited footage of the scene floating around Hollywood that clearly showed they were having intercourse.

    Finally, in 2011, former movie executive and Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart released a memoir entitled Infamous Players, in which he says that he was on the set and saw the much-ballyhooed scene being filmed. vehemently denied Bart's claim, saying that the sex was simulated and that Bart never saw it because only four people were in the room while filming: the two actors, the director, and the cinematographer. Peter Katz, one of the film's producers, backed up Sutherland, saying, "While there was a sex scene captured on film, it was not a scene that would lead to the creation of a human being."

    You know what? Simulated or not, they must've done something right if everyone is still talking about it almost 50 years later!

    19. The United States military was originally going to supply costumes, props — and even planes — to be used in 1996's Independence Day, but they withdrew their support upon learning that Area 51 was part of the plot.

    Planes lift off from an air base to fight incoming alien ships
    20th Century Fox

    Writer/producer Dean Devlin confirmed this on his DVD commentary track, saying that the military would have kept the deal in place if they'd removed references to Area 51 (the highly classified Air Force facility in Nevada that some believe holds evidence of alien visits). Devlin decided to keep Area 51 as part of the plot, and looked elsewhere for their props, costumes, etc.

    20. Rosario Dawson had never acted when, while sitting on her apartment building's front stoop, she was discovered and soon offered her first film role.

    Dawson in her first film and today
    Shining Excalibur Films / courtesy Everett Collection / NBC

    When Rosario Dawson was a teen, she had no thoughts of becoming a movie star. After being born to a 16-year-old single mother and spending some of her childhood squatting in an abandoned, fire-damaged building with no electricity or running water, she had more practical plans. "I was going to finish high school," she told the New York Times when asked about her pre-fame plans. "I wanted to study engineering or marine biology. That was my plan."

    So, for her to end up a movie star, something extraordinary needed to happen, like Hollywood literally knocking on her front door and asking her to be in a movie. Amazingly, that is almost exactly what happened!

    The then-16-year-old Dawson was chatting with friends on the stoop outside her apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when film director Larry Clark, who was scouting locations for his new film Kids, spotted her. Since Kids was intended to be documentary-like, Clark wanted to cast non-actor New York teens as his main characters. So, he strolled over to Dawson and introduced himself...literally right in front of her home. She soon was given the role of Ruby.

    Kids was very controversial — it received an NC-17 from the MPAA, but was released unrated — and created quite a stir upon its release into art houses in 1995. Dawson soon was cast in Spike Lee's He Got Game with Denzel Washington, and was officially on her way to movie stardom.

    21. Star Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie under questionable circumstances, but the film was still released as a big summer release.

    Morrow and the twilight zone the movie poster
    Warner Bros.

    In 1982 Warner Bros. had high hopes for their big-screen remake of the classic TV series The Twilight Zone. The plan was to tell four separate stories — each directed by a different director — and they'd landed top directors Steven Spielberg and John Landis to helm two of them.

    Landis' segment was about a racist white man played by 61-year-old Vic Morrow who gets zapped through history into the lives of persecuted people of color. He finds himself being hunted by Nazis in Germany, chased by the Klan in the South, and then fleeing US soldiers in Vietnam.

    Horrifically, while shooting the Vietnam segment on the last day of production, Morrow and two child actors, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen, died when a stunt helicopter pilot, disoriented by pyrotechnics, crashed atop the actors.

    Despite the horrific tragedy, a decision was made to finish the film and put it out as a big summer release. To do this, Landis excised the scene involving the helicopter. This made the Vietnamese part of the story shorter, but still functional.

    While it was later found the production ignored child labor laws, Landis and other members of the production team were acquitted of manslaughter charges. The families of the victims later settled lawsuits against the studio and filmmakers for an undisclosed amount.

    22. A bizarre sequel to Gladiator — where Russell Crowe’s Maximus would’ve returned from the dead and traveled through time to the modern day — was developed.

    Crowe as the gladiator
    Dreamworks / ©DreamWorks/Courtesy Everett Collection

    2000’s Gladiator was a box office smash that also won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, so it should come as no surprise that there was interest in making a sequel. There was just one major problem — Russell Crowe’s gladiator, Maximus, died at the end of the film.

    To get around this problem, the film’s producers and writers explored making a sequel set 15 years later that would focus on a grown-up Lucius. This idea, however, lost its luster when it ended up being more about the corruption of Rome than, you know, gladiators.

    That’s when Russell Crowe stepped in. He was interested in playing Maximus again, and thought there might be a way to do it by exploring the Romans' beliefs about the afterlife. So, along with director Ridley Scott, he hired Nick Cave (yes, the musician turned filmmaker) to write a script. The result was pretty out there to say the least, and involved the Roman gods sending Maximus back to earth to kill Jesus (yes, really) before, as Cave told Marc Maron on his podcast, Maximus becomes “this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20-minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff and it was wild.” (You can read the script here.)

    Crowe and Scott decided not to proceed with that script, but a sequel isn’t off the table. Presently, a sequel again focusing on Lucius is in development.

    23. Bruce Willis was first offered Patrick Swayze's role in Ghost (opposite his then-wife Demi Moore), and the production originally didn't want Whoopi Goldberg in her iconic role as Oda Mae Brown.

    Whoopi as Oda May and Bruce and Demi
    Paramount / Stewart Cook / Getty Images

    Bruce called himself a "knucklehead" for turning down the role that eventually went to Patrick Swayze, but said he didn't understand how a romance with a ghost could work. Whoopi, meanwhile, was originally told they wanted an unknown for the role, but they circled back to her six months later. Good thing, too, as she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

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