12 stars that got fired from huge movies

Hollywood is a fickle business, actors and actresses audition for films on a daily basis only to be refused for a variety of reasons.

Occasionally, actors are cast on films, but when the wheels start turning, it's discovered that they are far from the best person for the role and are sent packing, actors like...

12. Edward Norton - The Avengers

Ed Norton is well-known for re-writing films that he's starred in, including re-editing American History X to make sure he had more screen time, much to the anger of director Paul Kaye

Norton was cast in 2008's The Incredible Hulk and with his passion for the source material, extensively rewrote the script that was turned in by screenwriter Zak Penn, with Norton's changes being praised by director Louis Letterier.

Then, when it came to putting The Hulk among Marvel's other superheroes for Avengers Assemble, Marvel decided to cast Mark Ruffalo instead, with many claiming that Ed Norton had demanded to have the option for rewrites which turned Marvel off the idea of his casting.

Marvel head of production Kevin Feige explained: "Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members."

Norton has since come out saying that it was his decision and he wanted to focus on other projects.

The Fight Club star revealed: "I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films but then especially putting them out."

11. Ryan Gosling - The Lovely Bones

When Peter Jackson cast Ryan Gosling in the fantasy drama about murdered young girl who watches over her family and her killer, he initially thought he was too young to play the grieving father.

Jackson's wife and collaborator, Fran Walsh, explained to the star that they could age him to appear older which convinced the Drive star to stay on board.

Still thinking he needed to add something to his look to play the character, he decided to put on some weight (without discussing it with the director first) and drank melted Haagen Dazs ice cream to put on over four stone.

When Gosling rolled up on set - bearded and overweight, Peter Jackson saw him and didn't like what the star had done, so dropped him from the project.

Mark Wahlberg was called in to replace Gosling, who then had a load of weight to lose and no job.

10. Anne Hathaway - Knocked Up

Talk is divided on this one whether the Les Misérables star was sacked or quit the comedy about a stoner who gets a one night stand pregnant.

Hathaway objected to the gross-out comedy's graphic birthing scene, the star explained: "it was going to show a vagina – not mine, but somebody else’s – and I didn’t believe that it was necessary to the story."

Either Hathaway left the project, or was dropped by director Judd Apatow, both sides seem certain it was their decision, and replaced with Katherine Heigl.

Hathaway's replacement didn't go without a hitch either, as Heigl told Vanity Fair after seeing the film: "it's a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.

"I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?"

9. Eric Stoltz - Back to the Future

Most BTTF fans are well aware of this ‘what could have been’ situation, Eric Stoltz, famous for playing the deformed kid in Mask (the one with Cher, not the one with Jim Carrey) was cast as Marty McFly.

Stoltz filmed scenes as Marty McFly for five weeks before director Robert Zemeckis thought that while Stoltz did a good job, he didn't have the comedy chops that were required for the role.

Zemeckis decided to replace Stoltz with Michael J. Fox for the role of Marty and the rest is history.

Much less known is Melora Hardin, who played Jennifer Parker, was dropped for being too tall to play Michael J. Fox's girlfriend and replaced with Claudia Wells, without even having filmed a scene - Hollywood is brutal.

8. Megan Fox in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

When Michael Bay cast Megan Fox in her breakthrough role for the first Transformers film, Fox was catapulted to stardom.

Fox teamed up with Bay again for the sequel, but as she was about to start shooting the third Transformers movie, she made some comments about working with the director to British magazine Wonderland:

"He's like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous madman reputation," she said.

"He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he's a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set, and he's not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he's so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He's vulnerable and fragile in real life and then on set he's a tyrant."

Michael Bay wasn't fazed by the comments, he explained: "her crazy quips are part of her crazy charm. The fact of the matter is I still love working with her, and I know we still get along."

But it was Transformers executive producer Steven Spielberg who took objection to the Hitler comment and demanded she be sacked. Bay duly obliged and replaced her with Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley.

7. Christian Bale - American Psycho

"But Christian Bale was in American Psycho?" you're probably thinking, and you'd be thinking right, Bale was actually sacked, and then rehired.

When Bale was initially cast as Patrick Bateman, studio heads at Lionsgate decided to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in role of the serial-killing yuppie.

DiCaprio, lined up with a $20m payday, wanted his version of Patrick Bateman to be more humane than the novel's remorseless, blood-thirsty killer, as after his off the back of Titanic success, he thought his teenage girl fan base wouldn't be keen on him playing a violent, soulless murderer.

All of this resulted in DiCaprio walking away from the project, and Lionsgate when for their next choice, Ewan McGregor.

Bale, who still had his eyes on the role, called McGregor to request he not take the performance.

"I phoned a few people and let them know my commitment, let me tell you!" Bale revealed to GQ magazine, "I called them all and told them it was my role. Don't touch. Step away. Or if you're not going to step away, understand what you're up against."

A probably freaked-out McGregor decided the role wasn't for him, and seemingly out of options, Bale was cast to deliver a masterful performance as Patrick Bateman

6. Stuart Townsend - Lord of the Rings

Irish actor Stuart Townsend, who has previously appeared in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, was cast as Aragorn by Peter Townsend for his Lord of the Rings adaptations.

Shortly before shooting began, serial sacker Peter Jackson decided that he wanted someone older than Townsend to play Aragorn, so called up Viggo Mortensen to play Middle Earth's human warrior.

Townsend revealed: "I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then was fired the day before filming began.

"After that I was told they wouldn't pay me because I was in breach of contract due to not having worked long enough. I had been having a rough time with them, so I was almost relieved to be leaving until they told me I wouldn't be paid. I have no good feelings for those people in charge, I really don't.

"The director wanted me and then apparently thought better of it because he really wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different."

After losing the Aragorn role, Townsend went on to star in such middling films as Æon Flux and Chaos Theory.

5. James Purefoy in V for Vendetta

The English actor was cast in the adaptation of Alan Moore's politically-charged graphic novel as the mysterious masked freedom fighter V.

After a few weeks, it was reported that Purefoy found wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask too difficult, but producer Joel Silver claimed Purefoy's voice didn't sound menacing enough.

In an interview with Purefoy, the actor stated: "It was genuine creative differences. It was genuinely about the way to approach that character, which is what creative differences are all about – and sometimes they become intolerable."

Purefoy was replaced with The Matrix's Agent Smith, Hugo Weaving, whose voice was dubbed over Purefoy's performance instead of having Weaving put on the 'difficult mask'.

4. Samantha Morton - Her

Spike Jonze's romantic, sci-fi, comedy drama (covering all of the genres) starred Joaquin Phoenix as a writer who develops a relationship with his computer's operating system (think Siri or Cortana, but sexier).

Playing the female assistant 'Samantha' was British actress Samantha Morton, who was on set throughout the filming, despite only her voice featuring in the film.

When Spike Jonze came to edit the film, he decided that something wasn't right, he explained: "It was only when we started editing, that we realized that what the character needed was different from what Samantha and I had created together. So we recast and since then Scarlett has taken over that role."

According to the Jonze, Morton gracefully accepted her sacking and, with her blessing, Scarlett Johansson was cast and re-recorded all of the dialogue.

3. Jean- Claude Van Damme - Predator

The reasons are many and varied, depending on who you ask, about Jean-Claude Van Damme's inclusion and subsequent departure from the jungle while filming Predator.

The Belgian would don the costume to play the steathy slayer, but in his first Hollywood role the martial arts expert had to stick on a red rubber suit so it could be removed by the FX guys, giving us that memorable cloaking effect.

Originally, the Predator was more lobster-like and athletic, and Van Damme was seething when he was told that he would be in the costume the whole time and wouldn't be able to show off his martial arts skills, director John McTiernan said that Jean-Claude quit after a couple of days of running around the jungle in a red suit.

Meanwhile, according to Van Damme, producer Joel Silver wanted him to perform a stunt that would have been unsafe while wearing the cumbersome predator suit, so he walked away from the project.

Another common belief is that Van Damme was let go after the 5ft 9 martial artist would be going up against the team of Arnie, Carl Weathers and the rest of the 6ft 2 and taller team of bodybuilders, and so the costume being redesigned for 7ft 2 actor Kevin Peter Hall to make it a more believable battle.

2. Harvey Keitel - Apocalypse Now

Impressed with Tarantino fave Harvey Keitel's performance in Mean Streets, Francis Ford Coppola cast Keitel as the lead role in his war epic Apocalypse Now.

After a few weeks of filming, Coppola grew frustrated with Keitel as the lead role of Willard and decided to give him the chop.

According to Coppola, the actor “found it difficult to play him [Willard] as a passive onlooker” and replaced him with Martin Sheen, his original choice for Willard.

Famously, Keitel dodged a bullet as shooting the Vietnam War epic was so demanding that Sheen had a heart attack during filming as the scheduled six weeks of shooting turned into a gruelling 16 month-long marathon.

1. Sylvester Stallone - Beverly Hills Cop

We've discussed before about how Sly was almost cast as Axel Foley in the action comedy which made Eddie Murphy a household name.

Initially, the script was written as a straight action film but was then rewritten with comedy elements and offered to Mickey Rourke, but as the kinks were being taken so long to iron out, Rourke let his contract expire and left the project.

The script was then given to Stallone - fresh from winning an earning a Best Original Screenplay nomination for Rocky - who turned it back into a serious action film, with his character named Axel Corbretti.

Stallone explained that his design on the film "looked like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan on the beaches of Normandy. Believe it or not, the finale was me in a stolen Lamborghini playing chicken with an oncoming freight train being driven by the ultra-slimy bad guy."

Producers deemed Stallone's ideas "too expensive" to film and two weeks before filming Stallone was let go and Eddie Murphy was convinced to star, with massive rewrites taking place over the next fortnight.

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