Jessica Chastain, arguably one of the biggest movie stars of the past 5 years, has been completely cut from her next film. Director Xavier Dolan announced the move to excise the
Molly’s Game star from The Life & Death of John F. Donovan via Instagram to kill any rumours of a disagreement or falling out.
She’s not the only big star who found their work on the cutting room floor. We just hope they were paid up front like Chastain was.
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French-Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan (the 28-year-old has directed 7 movies since 2009) has cut Chastain entirely from his first English-language feature film. The
Zero Dark Thirty star played the villain of the piece, but Dolan said her subplot “albeit funny and entertaining, didn’t feel like it belonged to the rest of the story.”
Boardwalk Empire star fell victim to the production woes of the Star Wars spin-off when he was unable to return for extensive reshoots. The film was restructured after the original directors were fired, but Williams’ schedule on another project prevented him from coming back, and so his character was replaced by Paul Bettany.
The British star was due to play a girlfriend of Johnny Depp’s mob informer Whitey Bulger, but all her scenes were cut at the last minute due to “narrative choices” that left her part redundant to the plot.
Scarlett Johannsson replaced Samantha Morton as the voice of the sexy AI that seduces Joaquin Phoenix’s lovelorn Theodore Twombly. “Samantha was really involved in giving Joaquin [Phoenix] a lot…to work from.“ director Spike Jonze explained to
Hitfix, “And then when we got into editing, we realised that what Samantha and I had done together wasn’t working for what the character needed.”
The ‘Divergent’ star was due to play Mary-Jane Watson in the second and third ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ films, but found her part cut from ‘2’ at the last minute. Director Marc Webb felt adding her at this stage in Peter’s relationship with Gwen would be disrespectful to the audience, so her part was cut.
All three were dropped by serial axe-wielder Terrence Malick for ‘To the Wonder’ despite having shot many scenes for the film. They’re not alone though, as Barry Pepper and Amanda Peet also found their scenes excised from the final cut. Weisz commented ”I had the experience of working with him [Malick] but I will not have the pleasure of seeing my work.”
By most director’s standards, this is an all-star cast in itself. But as staggering as it is, all these actors’ performances were cut from Malick’s World War II epic (him again). This may be because Malick’s first edit took seven months to complete, and it still ran to five hours. Something – or as it transpired someone – clearly had to give.
Kevin Costner was was set to play the man whose suicide draws the characters of the film, all former college friends, together. It was to be his big break. But all the flashback scenes Costner filmed were eventually dropped, leaving Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum and William Hurt get on with the business of mourning his death.
Perhaps the most extreme case here, Eric Stoltz had the world at his feet when he was gifted the role of a teenager called Marty McFly in an ambitious teen comedy about time travel. But he just didn’t nail it. His entire performance was cut, and the role was recast with Michael J. Fox as the body-warmer-wearing skateboarder.
Notoriously picky Woody Allen essentially remade his 1987 film ‘September’ with different actors after his first pass didn’t come up to snuff. The first version was finished and edited, but he decided it wasn’t good enough, so cut the whole ruddy lot, recast with Denholm Elliot, Dianne Wiest, his then-girlfriend Mia Farrow and Jack Warden and made it again. He even cut Farrow’s actress mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, who was 76 at the time. Cold.
Andy Garcia filmed scenes playing the love interest of Louanne Johnson, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, in the cornball schoolroom drama in which an ex-marine turned teacher gets through to tough pupils using unorthodox teaching methods and starts to make a difference, damnit. It was decided that Pfeiffer’s character didn’t need the distraction, and after a couple of snips, all trace of Garcia was gone. Phew.
In another case of dodging a bullet, Tony Soprano himself was canned from the roundly-panned adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel after test audiences failed to warm to the scenes in which he played 9/11 widow Sandra Bullock’s potential love interest. The scenes were cut, and Gandolfini’s reputation remained unsullied.
The singer originally featured in a toe-curling interview with Sacha Baron Cohen’s Austrian fashion journalist, in which she ate sushi off the naked body of an obese man. In the scene, which was eventually included in the DVD release, Brüno pesters her about wanting to meet her brother Michael. It was removed following the unexpected death of Jackson just before the film’s release.
Biehn played Kyle Reese in the original ‘Terminator’ in 1984, fighting against Schwarzenegger’s robotic antagonist from the future. He scored himself a scene in the follow up in 1991, in a dream sequence conjured from the mind of loopy Sarah Connor when she’s locked up in the psychiatric hospital.