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Parts They Pinched: Surprising Casting Switches

Actors leave movies for all sorts of reasons: a better project, a bigger pay cheque, scheduling conflicts, "creative differences" and circumstances even more messy and mysterious. Sometimes actors drop roles. Sometimes they have them snatched away. But one star's exit is another's entrance. When big roles change hands, there are always winners and losers.
COSMOPOLIS: Colin Farrell out, Robert Pattinson in

Consider dat a divorce! When Colin Farrell quit David Cronenberg's upcoming thriller "Cosmopolis" to help remake "Total Recall" instead, "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson jumped into his old role. And what a role: a billionaire who cheats on new wife Marion Cotillard, gets stalked, assaulted and goes bust in 24 hours.

LORD OF THE RINGS: Stuart Townsend out, Viggo Mortensen in

Stuart who? Exactly. Cast as Aragorn in "Lord Of The Rings," Townsend trained for two months in New Zealand -- only to be fired just before filming began, allowing Viggo Mortensen to make history. "The director apparently wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different," said the understandably miffed actor.

X-MEN: Dougray Scott out, Hugh Jackman in

Snikt! Snikt! Hard to believe it, but the star of the "X-Men" saga was supposed to have been Dougray Scott. But, having been signed as Wolverine, Scott was forced to leave to work on "Mission: Impossible II." Enter unknown (but impressively hairy) Aussie actor Hugh Jackman, who was only cast three weeks into filming.


According to William Goldman, his screenplay was originally titled "The Sundance Kid And Butch Cassidy." Steve McQueen (Sundance) and Paul Newman (Butch) agreed to sign on. But when McQueen dropped out, the names flipped in the title, since Newman was now the star. Blond bombshell Robert Redford stepped in as Sundance and, oddly, later founder of the Sundance film festival.

TWILIGHT ECLIPSE: Rachelle Lefevre out, Bryce Dallas Howard in

Having played evil vampire Victoria in the first two massively successful "Twilight" movies, Rachelle Lefevre was understandably "stunned" and "greatly saddened" when she was told by studio Summit Entertainment that they were replacing her with Bryce Dallas Howard for the threequel. Summit claimed "scheduling conflicts". Truth is, they'd wanted the bigger-name Howard from the start.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Eric Stoltz out, Michael J. Fox in

Impressed by his performance in "Mask," Robert Zemeckis cast Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in "Back To The Future." Just four weeks into filming, they both realized it was a mistake. Stoltz wasn't funny and couldn't skateboard. Michael J Fox -- Zemeckis' original choice -- jumped into the DeLorean, despite having to work nights while shooting TV series "Family Ties" in the day.

W.: Christian Bale out, Josh Brolin in

After spending months attempting to transform himself into George W. Bush for Oliver Stone's biopic, Brit chameleon Christian Bale pulled out at the last minute, deciding that the hair and makeup just weren't convincing. Stone immediately signed on Californian cowboy Josh Brolin, who proved an uncanny likeness for the "misunderestimated" U.S. prez.

PREDATOR: Jean-Claude Van Damme out, Kevin Peter Hall in

The idea was that Jean-Claude Van Damme's Predator would be an agile, ninja-skilled opponent for muscle-mountains Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura. On set, they towered embarrassingly over JCVD -- who hated being in the suit. He was replaced by 7' 2" Kevin Peter Hall, who had little problem standing up to Ah-nuld.

AMERICAN PSYCHO: Leonardo Di Caprio out, Christian Bale in

No one had heard of Christian Bale back in 2000, which is why studio LionsGate vetoed him to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as "American Psycho" Patrick Bateman. When U.S.journalist/activist Gloria Steinem lobbied DiCaprio not to make the film because of his "Titanic" teen fanbase, he dropped out to make "The Beach." Bale returned. Steinem became Bale's stepmother.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: Tom Selleck out, Harrison Ford in

When George Lucas objected to using Harrison Ford again ("American Graffiti," "Star Wars"), he cast moustachioed cheeseball Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones. But Selleck backed down, thinking he had commitments to "Magnum P.I." In fact, the TV show didn't start shooting until "Raiders" had wrapped. By this time, Ford had created another iconic hero.

IRON MAN 2: Terrence Howard out, Don Cheadle in

Remarkably, Terrence Howard was the highest-paid actor in "Iron Man." That's right -- even more than star Robert Downey Jr. But when director Jon Favreau handed him less screen time and dollars in the sequel, Howard balked and found himself watching Don Cheadle sign on as War Machine for "Iron Man 2".

PANIC ROOM: Nicole Kidman out, Jodie Foster in

While rehearsing a dance in "Moulin Rouge!," Nicole Kidman fractured two ribs and injured her knee -- forcing her to drop out of her running-up-and-down-stairs role in David Fincher's "Panic Room." Replacing her with Jodie Foster, claimed Fincher, changed the movie ("It's more about what happens in her eyes. It's more political."). But listen for Kidman's voice on the phone as the mistress of Foster's husband.

DIRTY HARRY: Frank Sinatra out, Clint Eastwood in

Studio Warner Bros bought the "Dirty Harry" script specifically to cast Frank Sinatra as the bad-ass cop with a big-ass gun. But eight years previously, Sinatra had broken his wrist while filming "The Manchurian Candidate" and found said handgun just too much to handle. Spaghetti Western gunslinger Clint Eastwood proved anything but limp-wristed.

THE HANGOVER 2: Mel Gibson out, Liam Neeson in

Mel Gibson was furious when he discovered that, having been confirmed for a hilarious comeback cameo as a tattoo artist in hugely anticipated comedy sequel "The Hangover 2," he was being replaced by Liam Neeson. Apparently, the cast and crew had turned anti-Gibbo after hearing recordings of his violent rants at ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

INFERNO: Lindsay Lohan out, Malin Akerman in

Long touted as the big comeback for Disney-princess turned party-monster Lindsay Lohan, the biopic of tragic '70s porn legend Linda Lovelace finally changed the sheets when Lohan failed to stay out of rehab. "Watchmen" stunner Malin Akerman comes off the bench to star and Lohan goes back to the drawing board.

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