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12 Actors Who Were Replaced in Major Movie Roles

There are a few reasons why an actor might be replaced once a movie production has already gotten off the ground. An actor might suffer an injury or a crisis in their personal life that renders them unable to start shooting on the agreed-upon date. Shooting might begin and the director or producers might decide the actor isn’t as good a fit for the role as they’d hoped. Or — as we’ve seen more and more in recent years — an actor could suddenly find themselves in the midst of a legal scandal in which their upcoming project wants no part.

In 2021, Armie Hammer found himself at the center of such a scandal. Led by the Instagram account House of Effie, several women in a row came forward with allegations of rape, sexual abuse, manipulation, and violent behavior, the details of which disgusted and horrified his fans and colleagues. In the months that followed, Hammer was dropped by his agent and publicist and pulled out of a number of projects to which he’d previously been committed — including Shotgun Wedding, in which he was slated to star alongside Jennifer Lopez. He was replaced by Josh Duhamel (who says he reached out to Hammer with a message of support after entering negotiations for the part), and he’s not the only Hollywood actor who has forced major movie productions to scramble and recast after a round of disturbing allegations in recent years.

As we look back on actors who were replaced in major movie roles, don’t panic: Not every name on this list is an actor in the center of a sexual misconduct allegations. That, of course, became much more common after the #MeToo movement, when victims finally felt some confidence that they could tell their stories without fear of retaliation, and with some hope that they would be taken seriously. In the decades before that, major movie roles were more often recast because of artistic differences or schedule changes, but it’s fascinating to specifically track the projects in which the actor didn’t choose to leave the role — the production decided for them. Read on for famous instances of actors being dropped from major movies once production was already underway.

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