Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World is not only a darkly gripping story of hubris and greed. It's also proof that Scott is one of Hollywood's most tenacious and fast-working filmmakers.
As has been widely reported, he replaced disgraced actor Kevin Spacey in the role of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty with Christopher Plummer at the very last minute. Conducted in nine days at the cost of $10 million, the reshoots have been hailed as one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent movie history, Plummer receiving both Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations in the process.
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time an actor has been fired from the lead role and replaced with somebody else...
1. Eric Stoltz
The movie Back to the Future
The Pulp Fiction actor was originally earmarked to play skateboarding time-traveller Marty McFly, and actually got a chunk of footage in the can. However, director Robert Zemeckis wasn't happy with the performance and replaced him five weeks into the shoot with Michael J. Fox, whose exuberant performance subsequently went down in movie history.
2. Stuart Townsend
The movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Just one day into the shoot on Peter Jackson's fantasy epic, the original choice for Aragorn was sacked. Irish actor Stuart Townsend was originally down to play the character but the director decided very quickly that the performance wasn't gelling. Viggo Mortensen was then enlisted to replace him. What makes it worse is Townsend committed two months' worth of training to the part. Ouch.
3. Samantha Morton
The movie Her
Scarlett Johansson ultimately provided the distinctively husky vocals of Joaquin Phoenix's operating system in this acclaimed drama from Spike Jonze. But only after British actress Samantha Morton had originally recorded the role of 'Samantha' in its entirety. "When we got into editing, we realized that what Samantha and I had done together wasn’t working for what the character needed, and so we ended up having to recast at that point in time", he explained.
4. James Purefoy
The movie V for Vendetta
This dystopian sci-fi thriller was produced by Matrix filmmakers the Wachowskis and originally lined up High-Rise actor James Purefoy for the central role. Masked vigilante V would present a challenge for any actor, given their face is never shown and the role is almost entirely reliant on vocal delivery. Even so Purefoy was replaced midway through production with Hugo Weaving whose sonorous voice gives the movie much of its power. (Allegedly, certain shots of the costumed Purefoy made their way into the final edit.)
5. Colin Firth
The movie Paddington
Ben Whishaw's lilting tones invest Michael Bond's ursine hero with dignity and gentle humour. But it's easy to forget he wasn't the first choice for the role. Originally earmarked for Colin Firth, in mid-2014 he left the role, admitting: "It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realisation that he simply doesn't have my voice." Looking at the end result of both delightful Paddington movies, this clearly worked out for the best.
6. Harvey Keitel
The movie Apocalypse Now
The Martin Scorsese regular was down to play anguished soldier Willard in Francis Ford Coppola's surrealist war masterpiece. As if the movie's infamous catalogue of production woes wasn't enough (the shoot swelled from six to sixteen weeks and a typhoon destroyed the sets), Keitel found himself replaced with Martin Sheen after just three days of filming.