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Actors Who Suddenly Left Highly Anticipated Projects

For the most part, when an actor gets signed on to a movie, it's basically a contract. They don't leave until the job is finished. And really, why would they? From the outside looking in, being a Hollywood actor seems like the best job ever. You get paid tons of money to play pretend, and that's awesome. Despite that, sometimes an actor can't or won't finish a project, so they just leave and we're all left to wonder what the heck happened.

One Dozen Native Actors Walk Out Of An Adam Sandler Movie

In recent years, Adam Sandler movies have served to do little more than get torn apart by critics. Each new film seems to be more hated than the last, but Sandler's most recent effort The Ridiculous Six was so bad some of the actors had to walk out before the movie had even finished production. A dozen Native American actors and actresses left the set of the film in protest over the way their culture was being portrayed. The film had gone out of its way to hire Native consultants and then proceeded to ignore them by naming female characters things like "No Bra" and "Beaver's Breath" while other scenes depicted women squatting in the dirt to pee while smoking peace pipes.

Anne Hathaway Quit Knocked Up

Knocked Up was Judd Apatow's directorial follow up to the hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin. As such, everyone wanted to see if Apatow could make lightning strike twice. The film ended up featuring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl as strangers who have a one night stand that results in a pregnancy. But before Heigl signed on, the role was originally cast with Anne Hathaway. Hathaway ended up walking out on the role, however, due to the graphic nudity of the birth scene, which is ironic not just because Hathaway has done nudity in other films, but also because the scene in question, which showed the baby's head actually coming out, was filmed using an obvious prosthetic.

James Caan Quit Nailed

James Caan has always seemed like a kind of no-nonsense guy and it really comes through in the characters he plays. Caan was cast in Nailed, a film by the notoriously difficult director David O. Russell. The movie was released as Accidental Love in 2015, seven years after production started. The actor ended up walking off set never to return after an argument with the director over how his character should die. According to reports, Caan's character was supposed to die eating a cookie. Russell is said to have instructed Caan to cough and choke at the same time, a direction Caan felt was physically impossible to do. And he kind of has a point. Nonetheless, Russell wouldn't relent and, rather than deal with an impossible direction, Caan simply walked out on the movie.

Al Pacino Quit Despicable Me 2

Six weeks before the movie was set to premiere, Al Pacino walked out on Despicable Me 2 and his role as El Macho. At this point, the movie was all but finished and all the animation was done. Most importantly, the animation that matched dialogue to each character was done. No reason was ever given for Pacino's departure, especially since his job was effectively finished at that point. Eventually Benjamin Bratt came in to re-record all the dialogue and the movie was a success.

Kel O'Neill Quit There Will be Blood

Method acting, where an actor fully immerses his or herself in a role and lives as their character even off-camera, can be pretty intense, and not many actors do it more intensely than Daniel Day-Lewis. For his role as oilman Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood, he was so into the character that Kel O'Neill, originally cast as Paul Sunday, quit the film after two weeks because he couldn't handle Day-Lewis. Though few specifics are given about just what made O'Neill so uncomfortable, his replacement Paul Dano had to endure Day-Lewis throwing actually bowling balls at him on set. Day-Lewis denies he intimidated the actor but, again, he did throw bowling balls at a man while in-character, so he may not be the best judge.

Gale Sondergaard Quit Wizard Of Oz

Back when the Wizard of Oz was in production, legendary actress Gale Sondergaard was on board to play the Wicked Witch of the West. At the time, the film was leaning a little towards a more sexy witch somewhat inspired by Snow White's Evil Queen. The producer of the film felt her screen tests were too beautiful which, as criticisms go, isn't all that bad. Unfortunately for Sondergaard, that meant uglying her up some for the role. It's unclear whether they felt they simply couldn't make the actress ugly enough, or if she refused to be portrayed in such a way. But what is clear is that only three days before filming began, Sondergaard left production.

Jean Claude Van Damme left Predator

Back before he was a big action star and well before he was a washed-up action star, Jean Claude van Damme was just trying to make it in the business like anyone else. And one of his first roles was in the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic, Predator. If you can't picture where van Damme would have fit into the movie, don't worry, even if he'd made the final cut you still never would have seen him—he was cast as the Predator. Of course, while he was filming, the Predator was actually a giant bug/lobster. Van Damme absolutely hated the suit and the role because he thought he'd be in an action movie fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger, not a glorified stuntman who spends half the film cloaked in a forest. Eventually the monster design was scrapped and Van Damme went with it.

James Remar Quit Aliens

Michael Biehn played the role of Hicks in the awesome sequel to Alien, cleverly titled Aliens, but it wasn't always planned that way. Originally James Remar was cast in the role and there are a number of fun stories surrounding his departure. To begin with, the actor who played Apone was meant to train the other Marine actors in proper weapon handling—basically never point your gun at another person and keep your finger off the trigger. The weapons were loaded with blanks, but accidents can happen. And one did when Remar somehow blew a hole through a wall with a shotgun, clear through to the set of Frank Oz's Little Shop of Horrors.

It's said that later Remar was caught with drugs and let go while the cast was never told. Instead, they showed up for work and Michael Biehn was there instead and no one mentioned Remar again. For his part, Remar said he signed on for a four month commitment but a family emergency forced him to drop out. Though little footage exists of Remar in the movie, the scene when the Marines enter the alien Hive does feature him from behind ,since it was too expensive to reshoot with Biehn in the role.

Mickey Rourke Quit Beverly Hills Cop

Back in the early 1980s, Mickey Rourke was a pretty big star, so the studio behind what would become Beverly Hills Cop paid him an incredible $400,000 as part of holding contract so that he wouldn't accept any other work for the duration of the contract. So basically nearly half a million to do nothing. Not a bad gig if you can get it. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, revisions and rewrites and various other issues built up long enough that Rourke's contract ran out, freeing him up to walk away from the project, which he did. Had they fast tracked it, Eddie Murphy would never have gotten the role and we'd all be remembering Mickey Rourke sticking bananas in tail pipes today.