20 Actor Replacements in Movies That Took Viewers Completely by Surprise
Shooting a movie, especially a sequel, is always hard work. The producers’ main task is to not only shoot a new movie that should be just as good as the first one, but also to retain the cast of characters that many viewers have fallen in love with. The same rules apply to TV series as well. But it’s not always possible to involve the same actors that people loved in the first seasons. In these cases, they have to resort to replacements and hope that it will still be a success.
Bright Side has made a list of movies and TV series where one or several actors were replaced. We will let you decide if the replacements were a good idea or not.
Evelyn O’Connell, The Mummy
The first iteration of The Mummy turned out to be a big hit which was quite unexpected for producers. One of the reasons, among other things, was Rachel Weisz who played librarian Evelyn O’Connell. The same actress also starred in the second part of the series where the main characters became a married couple.
However, Weisz dropped out of the third part saying the scenario wasn’t good enough. It was decided to replace her with another actress, Maria Bello. Neither viewers nor the critics liked her performance: they called it clumsy and the actress didn’t seem to express any charm or femininity on screen. The poor choice of actors wasn’t the only rough spot of the movie — it lost money and never paid off.
Archie’s opponent was performed by Ross Butler in the first season, but he was replaced in the second season due to his busy work on other projects. The plot was structured in such a way that Butler’s character appeared as often as possible on the screen being the antagonist who creates a certain level of tension.
According to producers, they were trying to find an actor that was just as charming and funny as Ross. And they did. Reggie is played by Charles Melton in the second season.
Doctor, Doctor Who
For the first time, the part of Doctor in the cult TV series will be performed by a woman, actress Jodie Whittaker. She'll take the place of the previous Doctor who was played by Peter Capaldi. The Doctor's gender change evoked furious emotions among fans of the TV series. The change of the main character is pretty common for Doctor Who. Traditionally, Doctor changes his appearance and temperament in almost every season.
However, over the past 50 years, Doctors have been played exclusively by men. The fact that the main character would be played by a woman was shocking news and evoked reactions that spanned the entire spectrum from happy to angry.
Catwoman, Batman Returns, Catwoman
Michelle Pfeiffer was and will always be the best Catwoman from all the Batman films. Originally it had to her starring in the spin-off, but it took so long to actually start filming the movie that she refused to take part in it.
As a result, Halle Berry took the part, and despite her talent and natural charisma, she couldn’t portray Catwoman as brilliantly as Pfeiffer did. The movie failed with critics giving it mainly negative reviews, and Berry received a Golden Raspberry award for her horrible acting.
Mason Verger, Hannibal
Michael Pitt, who played sociopath Mason Verger in the second season of the TV series Hannibal, decided to leave the project. He was replaced by Joe Anderson who is known to a wide audience as Alistair in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2.
Interestingly, the audience didn’t even see a difference. In the third season, Anderson’s character mutilated his face and the actor had to wear special makeup. His voice was also changed to match his successor.
Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, Game of Thrones
The Mountain’s part turned out to be really long-suffering. We watched Conan Stevens in the second season, but he demanded higher pay and was replaced in the third season with another actor. The new Clegane was Ian Whyte who also played Wolf in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
After some time, Whyte played the parts of the giants Wun Wun and Dongo the Doomed while The Mountain’s part was given to Hafþór Björnsson, a famous Icelandic strongman.
Victoria, The Twilight Saga
An actor was replaced in the third movie of the saga: actress Rachelle Lefevre who played Victoria in the first 2 movies was replaced with Bryce Dallas Howard. According to official sources, this decision was made due to Lefevre’s busy work in an independent movie with Dustin Hoffman. Producers said Bryce was supposed to bring new features to the character and make it complete.
Rachelle claimed that she didn’t have any schedule problems and counted on taking part in the series; it was a complete surprise for all. In fact, her role in another movie took just 10 days and she was careful to ensure that the filming schedules wouldn’t overlap. She said she turned down several big projects for the role of Victoria and was hurt by the studio’s decision to cast another actress for this part.
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter
Richard Harris played Albus Dumbledore in the first and second movie about Harry Potter. Unfortunately, the actor passed away in 2002 and the part was given to Michael Gambon, who first appeared in the third movie.
The movies fans criticized his acting: many people said the new Dumbledore turned out to be too harsh and nothing like the kind, smiling director who was portrayed in the books. However, Gambon changed his performance a bit in the following movies and this change helped to eliminate the unpleasantries.
Fox Mulder and John Doggett, The X-Files
We all used to watch David Duchovny play agent Mulder. The replacement of this main character ended up costing a lot and turned out to be a massive failure. He was replaced anyway, but the new actor didn’t take the part of Mulder and instead came in as a new character.
The new FBI agent, John Doggett, was played by Robert Patrick who we all remember by his brilliant performance as a shape-shifting Terminator T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Roxelana, The Magnificent Century
This TV series tells the story about a real historical figure, Roxelana, a wife of Sultan Süleyman. The Magnificent Century tells how Roxelana (her name was supposedly Alexandra or Anastasia) became the Sultan’s concubine and later a loving wife who had to fight other concubines for power.
The main part was given to Meryem Uzerli, but she left the TV series even before the filming ended due to a nervous breakdown connected to her breakup with Turkish businessman Can Ateş. Another reason is rumored to be financial: the actress found out that the actor who played Sultan received a huge fee for showing the series in Arab countries.
The producers ended up having to replace the actress with Vahide Gordum who played the Sultan’s wife in her old age. In general, her performance didn’t receive many pleasant reviews and her Roxelana was considered too harsh and controlling.
Rust Cohle, Raymond Velcoro, True Detective
The critically acclaimed series True Detective had Matthew McConaughey as one of the main characters, but he had to refuse to take part in the second season for unknown reasons.
The producers had to replace not only the actor but the character as well. The second season filmed with Colin Farrell tells the story about different people and investigations. The first season received 5 Emmy awards and a lot of good reviews. The second one, unfortunately, couldn’t repeat such a stunning success: critics claimed that is was too weak compared to the first one and it didn’t receive any awards.
Daario Naharis, Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones underwent many actor replacements and most of them weren’t noticed by viewers. But the replacement of Daario Naharis, the man who seduced Daenerys, had a great impact on the TV series reviews.
In the third season, the character was played by Ed Skrein, known to us by his amazing performance of the villain in Deadpool. In the fourth season, he was replaced by Michiel Huisman and many viewers were disappointed at first, but Huisman ended up giving a good performance and people finally accepted him.
Clarice Starling, The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs is a real gem of world cinematography. Agent Clarice Starling was originally performed by Jodie Foster, but she was replaced by Julianne Moore in the sequel. The reasons weren’t identified, but it was rumored that Foster refused to take part in filming due to a busy schedule and asked for an extra fee from cinema earnings.
The replacement was welcomed coldly. Although Moore did a great job and nailed the part of the older, harsh Clarice, she didn’t manage to reproduce that weirdly magical connection between her and Hannibal Lecter.
Katie Cassidy first appeared as the demon Ruby in the third season of Supernatural. However, her character dies at the end of the fourth season and appears once again in the fifth season under a new disguise, Genevieve Cortese.
According to the official version, Cassidy refused to continue filming due to a busy schedule on the Harper’s Island mini-series. People didn’t really like the new Ruby despite her beautiful looks, which the producers were counting on.
Jennifer Parker, Back to the Future
You hardly even noticed this replacement: Jennifer Parker in the first and second parts of this cult movie were played by different actresses. In the first part, it was Claudia Wells, who got a green light to Hollywood thanks to this film. However, due to her mother’s illness she refused to continue filming and was replaced by a look-alike actress named Elisabeth Shue.
Brian O’Conner, Furious 7
After Paul Walker’s tragic death Universal Studio had to face a burning question: how to finish Furious 7 without him. They decided to opt for advanced special effects and Paul’s brothers who replaced him at the movie set.
According to the studio representative, they also used archived scenes filmed for the previous parts of The Fast and the Furious franchise. They cut them out and fit them into a new film.
The Oracle, Matrix
The Oracle was played by Gloria Foster in the first and second movie of the franchise. However, she passed away before the third movie shooting started. Mary Alice became the new Oracle and the viewers couldn’t understand why the producers didn’t find an actress similar to Foster in appearance or at least acting ability.
James Rhodes, Iron Man
Terrence Howard played the part of James Rhodes, Tony Stark’s friend, in the first part of Iron Man. But in the second part, he was replaced by Don Cheadle. It’s believed that the replacement took place due to Howard’s excessive demands: he wanted his fee raised because his character appeared more often on screen.
According to the series fans, Don didn’t deliver: his character turned out to be too soft and dull and nothing like a true soldier.
Rachel Dawes, Batman
In Batman Begins, Katie Holmes played Bruce Wayne’s love, Rachel Dawes but she refused to continue filming and Maggie Gyllenhaal was cast to her place. One of the main reasons for Holmes’ refusal was her Golden Raspberry nomination for playing Rachel Dawes. And in return, Gyllenhaal performed brilliantly, proving once again that she can cope with almost any role.
Victor Creed, X-Men
Tyler Mane was replaced with Liev Schreiber in the X-Men franchise. Fans totally supported this cast twist: Schreiber lived into the character and performed naturally and perfectly.
Bonus: In Game of Thrones, Cersei’s shame was performed by a double.
There’s a bright moment in the fifth season of Game of Thrones during Cersei’s Walk of Atonement through the streets of King’s Landing. The most attentive fans noticed that Cersei looked weird and unnatural during certain moments.
There’s a simple explanation of this fact: model Rebecca Van Cleave performed certain scenes as a double. First, her walking through where the crowd was filmed and then her face was replaced with Lena Headey’s using special effects. The explanation was simple: Lena Headey was pregnant at the moment and the producers decided to use a double.
Which replacement do you think was a good one and which spoiled the whole film? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
Preview photo credit Summit Entertainment / The Twilight Saga