One of the revelations that came out during the Johnny Depp and Amber Hear legal battle was that Warner Brothers were seriously considering replacing the actress in the upcoming Aquaman sequel. Heard, however, was retained thanks to Jason Mamoa and director James Wan. While the news may come as a surprise to many, replacing actors in the middle of production is nothing new for big banner production companies in Hollywood. Today, we’re taking a look at some of the instances where the movie could have had very different actors: 

9) James Purefoy In V For Vendetta

While already being an established actor before the movie, V For Vendetta pushed Hugo Weaving’s popularity into the stratosphere. But surprisingly, Weaving wasn’t the first choice for this role. 

During the first six weeks of filming, the iconic mask was donned by James Purefoy, known for his TV roles as Mark Antony in Rome and Joe Caroll in The Following. However, during production it was felt that Purefoy couldn’t make the character work, citing that he couldn’t emote properly.  

8) Harvey Keitel In Apocalypse Now

It is difficult to imagine someone else other than Martin Sheen playing the role of a tortured soldier on the hunt for one of his peers. Things could have been extremely different.The now-iconic role of Captain Benjamin L. Willard was played by Harvey Keitel, who had previously worked with Coppola on Mean Streets

However, apart from the many many issues that plagued the production of the movie, Coppola decided to recast the role as he felt the actor’s performance didn’t fit the role. Thankfully, Martin Sheen—who was the first choice for the role but couldn’t commit to it due to scheduling issues—agreed to come on board. 

7) Samantha Morton In Her

Scarlett Johanson’s performance as an AI in Spike Jonze’s Her is one for the highlight reel. But the role of Samantha was initially taken on my Samantha Morton, who we’ve seen in Minority Report and 2016’s Fantastic Beasts movie. 

In fact, the director shot the whole movie with Morton’s narration. However, in post-production, Jonez’s felt that her voice didn’t suit the role. Hence, Johansson was then brought in to re-record the entire movie. 

6) Dougray Scott In The X-Men

We might’ve just gotten the best possible version of live-action Wolverine with Hugh Jackman. The role which spanned for more than a decade saw Jackson’s career being launched in the A-lister category. However, the Australian wasn’t always Bryan Singer’s first choice. The role was supposed to go to Dougray Scott, who had signed on to star in X-Men and Mission: Impossible. Sadly though, the production of Mission: Impossible went on for too long and the role of Logan had to be re-cast. 

5) Ryan Gosling In The Lovely Bones

This is perhaps one of the most unintentionally hilarious re-cast on our list. Back in 2007, Peter Jackson had approached Ryan Gosling to play the role of a father who sees his daughter getting abducted. 

For this, Gosling reportedly put on 30kg of weight to “look the part”. The only problem was that Jackson had never asked Gosling to do this. The actor felt that this was the right look for a man whose child was missing. The director didn’t sense in this and and promptly fired Gosling, eventually recasting the role with Mark Wahlberg. 

4) Anne Hathaway In Knocked Up

Despite Katherine Heigl’s comments about the movie after it was released, Knocked Up was possibly the last hit in the actor’s career. But it almost didn’t happen. Judd Apatow initially cast Anne Hathaway to play the role of Alison. However, during the filming, Hathaway learned that footage of a real birth will be used in the film’s climax, with added nudity. This was too much for our former Catwoman, who then backed out of the movie. 

3) Kevin Spacey In All The Money In The World

Back in 2017, the sex scandal involving Kevin Spacey had just come to light. Coming on the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, everyone from Netflix to other major production houses dropped the actor like a hot potato. 

This put Ridley Scott’s movie All The Money In The World in a difficult conundrum. However, instead of shelving or doing a reshoot, the director decided to digitally replace the actor with Christopher Plummer, a few months before release. While it did look jarring at first, Plummer’s performance was universally praised, while the movie saw less than moderate success. 

2) Eric Stoltz In Back To The Future

Marty McFly is perhaps one of the most iconic characters in movie history. But did you know that it wasn’t always played by Michael J. Fox? The production of this classic sci-fi movie started with Eric Stoltz in the lead. However, after almost five weeks of filming, director Robert Zemeckis realised that he’s made a huge mistake with Stoltz, who wasn’t as charming as the movie needed him to be. Hence he was then promptly replaced by Fox.

1) Stuart Townsend In Lord Of The Rings

It’d be heresy to consider anyone else other than Viggo Mortenson to play the role of Aragon in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But the casting wasn’t without its own trial and error. Jackson had initially cast 27-year-old newcomer Stuart Townsend to play the part of Aragon. However, Jackson soon realised that Townsend was far too young for the role. He was then replaced by Mortenson, who is 14 years older than the actor. 

( Image credits: Warner Brothers )