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Top 10 Actors Who Left A Movie For Shocking Reasons

Written by Spencer Sher The reasons these actors left or were fired from the production of these movies will definitely surprise you! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Actors Who Left Movie Production for Shocking Reasons! But who will take the top spot on our list? Will it be Jame Purefoy leaving V for Vendetta, Buddy Ebsen leaving The Wizard of Oz, or Christian Bale leaving Steve Jobs? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Strider Xanthos for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Actors+Who+Quit+Movies+For+Shocking+Reasons

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As the old adage goes, “quit your day job”. Wait, that can’t be right. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actors Who Left a Movie for Shocking Reasons.

For this list, we’re looking at shocking and/or interesting reasons why actors turned down, left, quit, abandoned or got fired from a particular role. The fault can lie with them, the director, or some other member of the production; all that matters is that the story behind their departure is noteworthy.

#10: Sean Connery
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)

A staple on pretty much every list of “Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Movie Roles”, Sean Connery’s decision to turn down the role of Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is a serious head scratcher. The Academy Award winner reportedly declined Peter Jackson’s offer to play the bearded wizard because when it came to the script he “never understood it”.You know who did understand it? Ian McKellen. The worst part is that had Connery taken the role he would have been owed 15% of the trilogy’s worldwide box office receipts; a number that would have amounted to over $400 million dollars. That’s a lot of money Mr. Bond.

#9: James Remar
“Aliens” (1986)

James Remar, best known for his portrayal of Ajax in the cult classic “The Warriors” and for playing Dexter’s father Harry Morgan on “Dexter”, was director James Cameron’s first choice to play Corporal Dwayne Hicks in the sequel to 1979’s “Alien”. However, a couple of weeks into production he was replaced by Michael Biehn. For years the reason for the change was chalked up to “creative differences”, but the truth turned out to be much more shocking. Remar was dealing with a fairly serious drug problem when he was cast as Hicks, and was ultimately fired from the picture after being arrested for drug possession; although some shots of him remain in the film.

#8: Ed Skrein
“Hellboy” (2019)

In the wake of whitewashing complaints, actor Ed Skrein, who you’ll recognize as the baddie from 2016’s “Deadpool”, dropped out of the planned 2019 “Hellboy” reboot. Whitewashing is the infamous Hollywood practice that involves the casting of white actors in the roles of historically non-white characters. Skrein had been cast as Ben Daimio, who the graphic novel the film is based on describes as being of Japanese-American descent. Skrein’s decision to leave the film was widely praised, and his replacement, Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim, lauded him for the move.

#7: Ryan Gosling
“The Lovely Bones” (2009)

In yet another instance of an actor being fired only to claim he left over creative differences with the director, the truth behind Ryan Gosling’s departure from “The Lovely Bones” is far more intriguing than what was originally reported. Gosling, who’d been cast in the role of Jack Salmon, which later went to Mark Wahlberg, showed up on set bearded and 60 pounds overweight; two physical transformations he had not discussed with director Peter Jackson. Jackson was understandably perturbed by the sudden change in his lead actor’s appearance and fired him. Gosling would claim that he was too young for the part, but the truth, as it’s been known to do, eventually came out.

#6: Kel O’Neill
“There Will Be Blood” (2007)

“There Will Be Blood” is the story of a ruthless oil tycoon who clashes with a local pastor during Southern California’s turn-of-the-century oil boom. Kel O’Neill had originally been cast in the role of the pastor, but left amidst reports that lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis’ style was too much for him to handle. Day-Lewis, of course, is notorious for staying in character regardless of whether or not the cameras are rolling. While both Day-Lewis and director Paul Thomas Anderson have denied these claims, it’s not hard to imagine O’Neill being thrown off his game when he realized his co-star had decided to live as the man who relished berating the character he was portraying.

#5: Jean-Claude Van Damme
“Predator” (1987)

Before he was an internationally recognized action star, Jean-Claude Van Damme was just a young Belgian actor trying to make it in Hollywood. His career appeared to be heading in the right direction when he was cast as the titular bad guy in 1987’s “Predator”. Unfortunately, JCVD didn’t see eye-to-eye with director John McTiernan when it came to his character’s costume - among other things. Van Damme felt that the cloaking costume made him look silly, unaware that it would be edited out by the visual effects team in post-production. Two days into shooting Van Damme dropped out and was replaced by Kevin Peter Hall - who donned a significantly redesigned costume.

#4: James Purefoy
“V for Vendetta” (2005)

British actor James Purefoy was director James McTeigue’s first choice to play the mask-wearing vigilante known only as “V” in the 2005 dystopian thriller “V for Vendetta”. However, the role required him to wear a Guy Fawkes mask for the entirety of the shoot; which he claimed made it extremely difficult to act in. Six weeks into filming Purefoy decided that he had had enough. He quit the production and was replaced by Hugo Weaving. Seeing as how the character’s mask is a major part of his identity, anyone who couldn’t act beneath it clearly wasn’t a good for for the role - Weaving sure pulled it off though!

#3: Christian Bale
“Steve Jobs” (2015)

While you’d be hard pressed to argue against Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle’s 2015 biopic – he was nominated for an Oscar after all – at one point in the films development the role belonged to someone else. Christian Bale was cast as Jobs in 2014 but relinquished the role shortly after. The story goes that Steve’s widow, Laurene Jobs, called Bale and begged him not to do the film. While his official position is that he left due to “conflicted feelings” over the part, we think the pleas of Laurene Jobs had something to do with it.

#2: Buddy Ebsen
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
He probably didn’t know it at the time, but when he was cast as the Scarecrow in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” Buddy Ebsen was on the verge of becoming part of film history. Well, first, he was asked to switch roles with Ray Bolger to play the Tin Man instead. Then, unfortunately, just ten days into shooting Ebsen was gone. It turned out that Ebsen was allergic to the aluminum powder makeup necessary to complete his transformation from man to tin man. The incident was actually pretty serious, as Ebsen was brought to the hospital in critical condition. Suffice it to say he had to drop out.

#1: Kevin Spacey
“All the Money in the World” (2017)

2017 was the year of the Hollywood sex scandal, and Kevin Spacey was one of the celebrities who lost the most after he was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986. Within two weeks of Rapp coming forward, Spacey had not only been accused by others; Netflix also dropped him from both “House of Cards” and a Gore Vidal biopic he was set to star in. Perhaps even more shocking was the fact that Spacey was completely removed from “All the Money in the World” and replaced by Christopher Plummer about a month before its release. Recasting actors during production is one thing: swapping them out so close to the release date is pretty much unprecedented.

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