Mark Pilkington take a look at the jilted set of actors who filmed scenes for movies, only to end up on the cutting room floor. For some actors, being a big name alone isn’t enough to guarantee screen time…
Film: Dragonfly (2002)
Imagine being so committed to a role as a leukemia patient you agree to shave off your shoulder-length hair and eyebrows, only to find your recorded scenes left out of the film’s final release… Imagine then the indignity of being forced to wear a wig during the production of your next role (White Oleander) whilst waiting for your natural hair to grow back… Welcome to Alison Lohman’s world. This was the horror scenario the Drag Me To Hell star faced when director Tom Shadyac decided to give her the chop from the final cut of his supernatural thriller, Dragonfly.
Film: Dangerous Minds (1995)
As Michelle Pfeiffer’s love interest, Andy Garcia filmed several scenes which were left out of the final release of 1995’s Dangerous Minds. However, it was eventually decided that the ultimate school of hard knocks movie didn’t require any romantic subplot, so Garcia’s scenes were duly expelled from this Jerry Bruckheimer produced feature. A lesson in bad taste, Garcia was cut and yet, bizarrely, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (aka Coolio) left in. Soundtrack contribution or not, there truly is no justice in the world.
Film: Natural Born Killers (1994)
When Oliver Stone cast the then relatively-unknown Ashley Judd in Natural Born Killers, on paper it seemed like the big breakthrough the 27 year-old’s fledgling acting career had been waiting for. Instead, despite giving her all in a nine minute courtroom scene in which she ended up stabbed to death with a pencil by Woody Harrelson, her performance ended up on the theatrical scrapheap. The fabled scene eventually resurfaced in the director’s cut.
Film: The Informers (2008)
The Superman Returns star had his role as a vampire dropped completely from The Informers – the 2008 cinematic adaption of Bret Easton Ellis’ short story collection of the same name. The producers scrapped his entire storyline, changing the plot dynamics of the film and leaving fans of the original book scratching their heads in bewilderment. A critical and box office failure upon its release, the final movie, by all accounts, sucked.
Film: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
Another cinematic love interest given the cold shoulder before a film was released was James Gandolfini in the 9/11-themed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Despite having his name mentioned in both an early preview trailer and poster, Gandolfini’s scenes with Sandra Bullock just didn’t strike the right cord with test audiences. They complained their chemistry wasn’t quite right, and faced with a host of negative comments the decision was taken to remove The Sopranos actor from the picture completely.
Film: To the Wonder (2012)
Despite having already appeared in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, it seems that Jessica Chastain wasn’t granted any favours when she found her albeit small role didn’t make it in the final release of 2012’s To the Wonder. Still, she kept good company as the director is renowned for removing actors he works with if their scenes lack the artistic merit he is looking for. The moral of this story? If you happen to be cast in a Terrence Malick production, don’t count your acting chickens before the film has hatched.
Film: Any Given Sunday (1999)
Jim Caviezel is another casualty of Oliver Stone’s cutting room, when he found all of his scenes missing from the final release of this gritty American football classic. Cast as Al Pacino’s disillusioned son, whose father seems to spend more time with the team he coaches than with his family, they shot a number of moving scenes together. Whilst the director was impressed, he just couldn’t find room in the edit suite for the young actor who at the time had just survived the cutting room epic that was The Thin Red Line.
The Jackass prankster didn’t see the funny side of things when he was cut out of the barely released Killshot. Playing a sociopathic stalker, test audiences found him a little too disturbing and his acting ability left wanting. As a result every single one of his scenes was left out of the final release. The only problem was, by doing this the producers created a whopping great big plot-hole that meant the ending didn’t actually make any sense. Oh dear.
Film: The Big Chill (1983)
This one has gone down in cinematic folklore as one of the cutting room’s most famous victims. To be fair, you do actually see Kevin Costner in this film, albeit as the wrist of a dead corpse featured at the start of the movie. Later on in the film, he was supposed to feature in a number of flashback scenes, explaining how he ended up in this sorry state, but it wasn’t to be. Still, this being one of his first roles we all have to start somewhere, and director Lawrence Kasdan made amends by casting him as a lead in the 1985 Western Silverado.
Film:The Hangover Part II (2011)
The Taken star was, erm… taken out of The Hangover Part II. Unable to reshoot his cameo appearance as a tattoo artist due to scheduling commitments in Wrath of the Titans, he was instead replaced by Nick Cassavetes. This wasn’t the first time the role had to be recast. Mel Gibson was originally due to appear in the movie but after a mini-revolt by other cast members who refused to work with the controversial Aussie, he was dropped in favour of Neeson. A good tattoo artist is obviously hard to find…
Film: Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
You could say that musical talent is in Liv Tyler’s blood, so it would be no surprise to hear she was cast to appear in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. The 1996 musical was a match made in heaven for Tyler, even though her brief role didn’t call for her to sing. After spending a few days on set filming her scenes as a ‘sexy Republican’, she was disappointed to find she didn’t make it into the final release. The director did write her a nice letter though, apologising for leaving her part out and promising to work with her again one day. Now nearly twenty years later, she is still waiting for that promise to materialise.
Film: Constantine (2005)
Based upon the Hellblazer comic book, 2005’s Constantine failed to live up to its early hype. Starring Keanu Reeves as the supernatural hunter John Constantine, the film was heavy on special effects, but lacking in direction. Signed up to play a demonic love interest, Michelle Monaghan filmed a number of scenes with Reeves. She was later dropped because director Francis Lawrence decided that she was just too attractive to be with John Constantine’s lonely, embittered character. No wonder the poor guy smokes so much.
Film:The Thin Red Line (1998)
Terrence Malick’s Second World War epic, The Thin Red Line, isn’t exactly troubled when it comes to star names. Boosting the likes of Sean Penn, John Cusack and John Travolta, it is a veritable Hollywood Who’s Who. One actor whose name isn’t in the line-up, however, is Mickey Rouke. Malick is renowned for shooting hours of footage that is never used in the final edit, and it was during this process that Mickey Rouke had his role cut. Another casualty of war, or rather in this case, Terrence Malick.
Kristin Wiig had a hard time cutting Paul Rudd out of her 2011 comedy, citing his performance as a real scene stealing, but one which had to go after careful deliberation in the editing suite. With hours of gags and humorous scenes to trawl through, Rudd’s role as Dave – a character who goes out on a blind date with Wigg’s Annie – was left out of the theatrical release due to time constraints. Keep an eye out for him on the extended DVD edition.
Film: To the Wonder (2012)
Terrence Malick strikes again, this time it was Rachel Weiz’s performance in To the Wonder which saw the sharp end of his editing sword. Turns out we then saw the sharp end of her tongue. When questioned about her exclusion from the romantic drama, she commented, “I had the experience of working with him, but I will not have the pleasure of seeing my work.” Ouch.
Film:Vanity Fair (2004)
Long before he turned into a sparkling vampire, Robert Patterson was given the axe from 2004’s adaption of the William Makepeace Thackeray novel Vanity Fair. Playing the role of Reese Witherspoon’s son, his performance was deemed surplice to requirements. In a bizarre and rather perverse twist of Hollywood fate, Patterson who is ten years Witherspoon’s junior, ended up as her love interest in 2011’s Water for Elephants. Turns out she was old enough to be his mother.
Film:Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Alice (1990)
Woody Allen really doesn’t have anything against Sean Young, honestly. Despite cutting her filmed scenes from his 1989 comedy Crimes and Misdemeanors, and pulling the same trick on her again when she appeared in his 1990 romantic drama Alice, he wrote her a nice letter apologizing for his editing room cuts. Funnily enough he wrote a very similar letter to Liv Tyler (when he dropped her from Everyone Says I Love You) when promising to work with her again too.
Film: Empire Records (1995)
Long before he was bitten by a radioactive spider, Tobey Maguire landed a part on this low budget affair, appearing alongside the likes of Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger. His time there wasn’t a happy one, however, and he quit the production halfway through after a heart to heart with director Allan Moyle. Apparently he felt like an ‘outsider’ on set. Nothing to do with the fact he went skinny dipping one night and proceeded to vomit into the ocean in plain view of many of the leading cast. Of course not.
Tobey Maguire (again)
Film: Life of Pi (2012)
The cutting room floor strikes twice for the hapless Spiderman star, as he was deemed ‘too famous’ to make it to the final edit for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. A back-handed compliment if ever there was one. The director deemed he would be too much of a distraction by appearing in a film with other relatively unknown cast members. His role was recast with another actor – Rafe Spall – being called upon to reshoot his scenes. Rafe Spall had previously played William Shakespeare in Anonymous (2011).
Film: Savages (2012)
Uma Thurman’s scenes in Oliver Stone’s Savages didn’t make it out of the editing room. Playing the role of Ophelia’s wayward mother, a multiple divorcee who could do with some lesson in parenting, Thurman’s role was left out of the film because of time restrictions. Oliver Stone isn’t exactly a stranger to removing actors from his productions, having already flexed his cutting room muscle in the likes of in Any Given Sunday and Natural Born Killers.
And finally, a special mention to…
Sarah Jessica Parker
Film: LoveLace (2013)
It may not have been released yet, but there are already reports circulating of a cutting room casualty in Sarah Jessica Parker. With the movie now ending in 1980, as opposed to the original planned 1984, her character of Gloria Steinem doesn’t get to make an appearance in the true to life biopic of Linda Lovelace. Let’s hope she took it on her chin when she heard the news.