Just like jobs in private sectors, bagging a role in a movie or tv series does not necessarily guarantee that you will not be fired. Sure, the contract may bind you to a limited period but there have always been exceptions.
If your acting does not come out well or if you’re caught creating mishaps, you’re sure to get fired. Oh, not to forget – never talk back to your boss. There have been numerous actors and actresses who have been fired from projects that became blockbuster hits later, only because they forgot to behave themselves.
Here’s a list of thirty such celebrities who were fired, replaced, and even sacked from projects. A few of them even managed to sabotage their careers by digging their own graves, and we’re here to spill some juicy gossip. Hold your cup upright, we’re here to give you some tea!
PROJECT: IRON MAN 2
Terrence Howard was supposed to be ‘War Machine’, acting alongside Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. However, he was kicked off from the role due to monetary issues. Howard always bore a reputation of being a ‘hothead’ and ‘difficult to work with’, and as usual, things didn’t quite work out well with Marvel either.
He signed a three-picture deal before the first Iron Man was released. He was given a set salary for his roles, but when the time came for him to receive his second installment, the actor was told that he’d only be paid one-eighth of the amount that he was promised.
Seeing the decreased pay, Howard was adamant to not work with them until his pay scale was restored. Marvel mentioned to him clearly that they could very well work without him, and so, he left the gig. He was replaced by his crash co-star, Don Cheadle in 2010.
PROJECT: CRIMINAL MINDS
In the wake of an on-set altercation, Thomas Gibson was fired from the tv series “Criminal Minds” after 11 seasons. He was an integral part of the show, playing the character “Aaron Hotchner”, popularly known as “Hotch”.
His dismissal happened after an internal review of an incident took place during filming two weeks before that. He was accused of having kicked Virgil Williams, who was a producer on the show.
The actor was also accused of having a volatile presence on the sets of Criminal Minds and was verbally abusive to his fellow cast and crew members. The crew of the show recalled an incident from 2010 when he shoved as assistant director and regretted not having let him go then.
However, he did release a statement expressing his love and appreciation for the show, after he was fired. It read, “I love ‘Criminal Minds’ and have put my heart and soul into it for the last twelve years. I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.”
PROJECT: GOSSIP GIRL
Much akin to her reel life character Jenny Humphrey in the popular drama series Gossip Girl, Taylor Momsen got kicked off the sets too. The crew reported that she hardly showed up for the scenes, and even though she did, she wasn’t very level-headed or dedicated enough.
She was accused of bad behavior, thanks to her inappropriate comments about Gossip Girl and her series of high profile flashing incidents. Just like Jenny Humphrey who was a good girl gone bad, it was ironic how Momsen followed the exact footprints.
Her character arc was cut short and she wasn’t given much screen time in season 5 or after. However, she did make a few guest appearances later in the show. She is now focusing on her music career as the lead singer on the band Pretty Reckless.
Dr. Lawrence Kutner was shockingly killed in season 5, episode 20 of ‘House’. It was because Kal Penn left the sets to pursue his career at the White House. He recalled that his co-star Olivia Wilde has invited him to an event of Barack Obama’s book release, which he decided to attend even though he hadn’t read the book and wasn’t interested in politics.
However, he changed his mind once the event ended.
He got offered the job of an associate director in the White House office of public engagement in early 2009, and he decided to take it up. It was quite hard to communicate the sem with the crew and the producer of House, according to Penn.
However, after serving two years at the White House, he left the job in 2011 and performed recurring roles in How I Met Your Mother.
PROJECT: THE LOVELY BONES
Ryan Gosling bloated himself up for Peter Jackson’s take on Alice Sebold’s bestseller, The Lovely Bones. Gosling said that whenever they went through pre-production discussions, he envisioned the lead character to be overweight.
He confessed that he practically melted Haagen Dazs and drank it whenever he was thirsty, just to gain weight. He said he was 150 pounds when he was hired for the role, but shot up to about 210 pounds when he met Patrick on the set.
Gosling said that they failed to communicate much during the pre-production discussion stage. As the movie was huge, he understood that it was hard for Patrick to focus on individual actors alone. By the time he appeared on the set with those extra pounds he realized that he had gotten it all wrong.
So he was fired. He jokingly added he was “fat and unemployed” for a while after that.
PROJECT: THREE’S COMPANY
Back in the 1980s, Somers was arguably the most popular actress among all. She played the role of Chrissy Snow in Three’s Company, the “blonde headed bimbo” who shared a room with her other two roommates in the show, Janet and Jack Tipper.
She was so versatile in her acting, that her character gained immense recognition and became a popular household name. However, in season 4 and 5, her appearance was greatly reduced, which puzzled a lot of fans.
When Somer’s contract had to be renegotiated in season 4 and 5, she noticed that even though Chrissy was attracting more and more viewers to the show, Ritters was being paid a lot more than she was. She thought of rectifying the situation and henceforth demanded a raise. The cocky authoritative personalities of ABC refused to do so, and in turn, reduced her screen time.
It was Somer’s character Chrissy’s popularity that can be indirectly blamed for her downfall. But hey, she took a stand and she was right, that’s what matters.
PROJECT: GREY’S ANATOMY
Isaiah did have a major stint at Grey’s Anatomy for the first three seasons, however, he was reported to have used a homophobic slur about his co-star T.R. Knight while arguing with Patrick Dempsey on the sets. Post this incident he was fired, however, Washington denies having used that about T.R to this day.
The Washington Post reported that Isaiah apologized later, but went onto using the same slur again at Golden Globe Awards in front of the reporters. Soon after this incident, an ABC executive told The New York Times that Isaiah’s behavior could be “considered grounds for dismissal under the anti-discrimination policy.” He was fired post this incident.
He did have a comeback to the show in 2014, which sparked up major controversies among fans.
PROJECT: THE AVENGERS
Norton’s controlling nature on the set and his insistence on controlling the production was stated as one of the main reasons why Marvel decided to fire him from the role of “The Incredible Hulk” in The Avengers.
Norton was reported as extremely difficult to work with, and he always insisted upon rewriting the script. In a roast of Bruce Williams, he directly said, “I tried to be like you. I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. Do you know what went wrong? I wanted a better script.”
In 2010 after the announcement of The Avengers in San Diego, Fiege released a statement saying that their decision was not based on monetary factors, but rather rooted in the need for an actor who was capable of collaborating and supporting his other fellow actors.
When Norton got to know about the comment made upon him, he labeled Fiege’s statement as “mean-spirited, unprofessional, disingenuous and defamatory.” Ouch!
PROJECT: ANGER MANAGEMENT
Lionsgate Television confirmed that the actress Selma Blair would not be returning to the show Anger Management due to a massive feud with her co-star, Sheen. The whole drama began when Blair commented on Sheen’s bad work ethic.
When Sheen got to know about Blair saying that, he was adamant that either Blair be fired or he would quit the show. Surprisingly, Sheen got his way and even sent a text to Selma which was ‘strongly worded’, conveying that he dismissed her from the show. He even abused her in the text.
To all this uproar and drama, Selma just dropped a simple tweet saying “I thank you for your love and support.”
Now, this is how you handle matters like a boss. We can’t deny, her calm nature was commendable!
ABC decided to fire Stana Katic post-finale of Season 8 of the show, making the ninth season commence with the lead role of one half of the main couple gone. Stana Katic’s departure from the show is still one of the most controversial exits that the film and media industry ever experienced.
Katic’s character had already gotten the happy ending that she deserved in the finale of season 8, and ABC confessed that they did not need Katic for the plot of season 9. However, a month later, the whole show got canceled.
However, Katic later said that she was grateful to be a part of the journey regardless of how things ended.
She said, “I was confused by the entire experience. I was hurt. But look, the time has passed and I am so thankful to have been a part of that project, for it to have affected as many people as it did. People loved that couple and loved the story we told, loved all of those characters. It would be a disservice to the work that I did, which I feel partly contributed to the success of the show if I looked back on it and was anything but grateful for the awesome run.”
PROJECT: BEVERLY HILLS 90210
Actress and daughter of the show’s producer, Tori Spelling spilled some tea on Celebrity Lie Detector and told them that she was the reason why Shannon was booted from the show due to various reasons. A major reason was that Shannon got into a huge physical fight during a heated argument with Jennie Garth, who played Kelly Taylor.
Spelling went to her father Aaron Spelling multiple times and explained why it would be wise to remove Doherty out from the show. After much deliberation, Aaron Spelling finally took a call and fired her, and just like that, Brenda Walsh was a character that existed no more.
However, Tori said that she had no personal differences with Shannon and that they were more like best friends. She also confessed that she understands that she cost someone their livelihood, but that there was no other way out of it.
Although, Shannon slammed the rumors that said that she faced friction with her co-stars. She said, “Being a part of tv history is an honor but it also comes with some massive backlash. There have been many stories floating around about this show and me. One of the reasons I hesitated to say yes was for this crap.”
Well, who knows?
PROJECT: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
Megan Fox, who rose to tremendous popularity after being cast in Transformers, was fired from Transformers: Dark of the Moon after she blurted out some derogatory comments in anger about the director of the movie, Michael Bay to a British magazine.
She was fired and replaced by Rosie Huntington Whiteley after she disclosed to a British Magazine called Wonderland that the director Michael Bay wants to be like “Hitler on the sets” and “working with him is a nightmare”.
In an interview with GQ, Bay explained that it was Steven Spielberg who ordered to cast her out. He said, “And you know, the Hitler thing. Steven said, ‘Fire her right now.’ ”
Megan Fox confessed that it was the absolute low point of her career. The mother of three later said in an interview, “It hurt me and a lot of other people, however, that darkness that descended caused enormous and brisk spiritual growth. Once I realized I brought it on myself, it was an invaluable learning experience, looking back on it.”
All’s well as long as you get to learn something from it, after all.
PROJECT: AMERICAN PSYCHO
This project witnessed two people dropping out of it, first being Christian Bale and next being its filmmaker Mary Harron. Christian Bale was the initial choice of Mary who she wanted to star as the lead role of Patrick Bateman.
But soon, Leonardo DiCaprio expressed his interest in the movie, and just as that things changed. They preferred DiCaprio over Bale, and Bale was dropped out from the project altogether.
“I didn’t agree with that partly because he was such a big star but also because he had a teenage girl fanbase. I just didn’t think he was right for it, so I was fired from the movie for a while,” Mary Harron confessed in an interview.
However, Bale’s dedication towards his physical expression was something that took everyone by surprise. Bale even talked about his persistence in the Wall Street Journal.
He said, “I’m English, so I never go to a gym, but for that role, it was part of the whole deal that I had to go. I still kept going down to the gym every day because I was going, ‘Oh, I’m making the film”.
The film did not take off well, so here’s a plus one to Bale fans.
PROJECT: TWO AND A HALF MEN
Around 7th March 2011, news of actor Charlie Sheen being fired surfaced the internet and made headlines. He was the highest-paid actor who had previously appeared in movies like Wall Street and Platoon.
Warner Bros mentioned in a statement, “After careful consideration, Warner Bros Television has terminated Charlie Sheen’s services on Two and a Half Men effective immediately.”
The reason behind him being fired was his “dangerously self-destructive conduct”, difficulty at work, and inflammatory comments to TV executors, producers, and other crew members of the set.
He was missing rehearsals, turning up late, making inappropriate comments that had the potential to destroy key relationships, and was prone to forgetting lines. The tv executives thought that drug and alcohol abuse was the reason that was endangering his life.
He was found involved in a series of drug abuse events that occurred in 2010 and even pleaded guilty to an assault to his now ex-wife back in August. Sheen even refused to enter a rehab facility for treatment.
PROJECT: KNOCKED UP
The Knocked Up cast received tons of appreciation from critics all over the world. However, it was meant to look something different than what it was. Anne Hathaway was going to be cast as Alison, the lead actress.
Judd Apatow told The New York Times, “Hathaway dropped out of the film because she didn’t want to allow us to use real footage of a woman giving birth to create the illusion that she is giving birth”.
However, upon being asked Anne about her justification for the statement, in an interview with Allure, she said, “I thought about that, Judd was right to include the shot. I didn’t disagree with the shot. My issue with it was that having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn’t know how I was gonna feel on the other side about giving birth.”
Well, at least the movie turned out so well. Who knows how it may have turned out to be had Anne Hathaway been cast?
PROJECT: VALLEY OF DOLLS
Judy Garland was fired from the show because she refused to come out of her dressing room, and was pathetically drunk. Not only that, but the crew and cast members also reported that she was ‘nerve-wrecking’ to work with as well.
Her co-star Barbara Parkins reportedly said in an interview that she was always nervous to work with Judy because Judy always managed to chew up the scene, and Barbara was scared that she might lose her control over the scene.
She was fired only two days after Barbara Parkins joined the cast.
PROJECT: KEVIN CAN WAIT
When Erinn heard the news that her character Donna James (Kevin’s wife) would be killed after season 1, and Hayes was caught off guard. She was, however, sad to leave the show. She was replaced by Leah Remini, who joined the cast as a regular.
She did mention in one of her tweets that she was disheartened to let the show go and that it was a great experience working with them. She thanked all of her fans for the love and support she received.
PROJECT: BLUE’S CLUES
Blue’s Clues was one of the most popular kids’ television show that aired on Nickelodeon. Burns bagged major popularity among the younger masses, but, just when the show was at the peak of its glory, Steve decided to leave it all and go for college.
There were rumors afloat that it was because he was a drug addict and had died in a drug overdose or was killed in a car crash. However, later Burns revealed that one of the main reasons why he left the show was that he was going bald, and he did not want that to happen on national television.
When people started to carefully notice it, Burns indeed had a full head of hair in the beginning but his hairline started to recede over the days. He said that it was happening fast, and it just felt like the right thing to do.
PROJECT: BEVERLY HILL COPS
The reason why Sylvester Stallone’s Beverly Hill Cops assignment never saw the light of day was Stallone sabotaging his career. Stallone wanted to change the script and make his character more action-oriented with a wry sense of humor.
However, Ron Meyer did not like the idea of it all and begged Stallone not to change the script. He forcefully changed it nonetheless, but no one was on board with him regarding the new character. Stallone simply surrendered and said he would not be able to pull it off, and left the project altogether.
The movie was a blockbuster hit, earning a whopping $234 million. We can’t help but think that Stallone dug his own grave out for this one.
PROJECT: LORD OF THE RINGS
Stuart Townsend was cast as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy but was sacked by the movie’s director, Peter Jackson. Townsend said that he was at the sets rehearsing and training for almost two months, but was fired when the filming began.
He was also refused payment as according to them he was in breach of contract for not working long enough. He said that he was having a tough time with them, and was relieved when they said they’d sack him until they disclosed that they were unwilling to pay him.
He also said that he had no good feelings whatsoever with the people in charge of the movie. He just could not wrap his mind around the fact that they made him practice for two months and then suddenly decided to replace him with someone twenty years older and completely different than him.
The role was later given to Viggo Mortensen.
PROJECT: THE TALK
The gorgeous ex-scientologist was fired from CBS’ The Talk because she got into a major feud with her co-star Sharon Osbourne. Soon after, she started posting on Twitter about how Sharon was responsible for her getting fired.
Her then co-star even refuted to Twitter that she had no involvement whatsoever in getting Remini fired and was utterly confused why she went around spreading such ‘false gossip’ about her. She also wished her well and said that she hoped Leah gets past her ‘childish behavior’, ‘unprofessionalism’, and ‘negativity’.
However, a few years later Remini stepped forward and said that her getting fired had nothing to do with Sharon. She wasn’t her best self back then, and if there was someone to blame it was herself. She said that she needs to learn to “shut her mouth” and to do whatever is being asked by her bosses.
We all know that in James Cameron’s sci-fi juggernaut ‘Aliens’, Remar was to play Corporal Dwayne Hicks. However, he was fired after one week of filming. Remar kept shut about this incident for years to come, only to reveal that it happened due to his drug problem.
Remar said that he had a ‘terrible drug problem’, but he got through with it. He said that he had a remarkable career and personal life but messed it all up due to his uncontrollable addiction to drugs. He confessed that he was fired from the sets of Alien because he was caught with drugs on set.
PROJECT: BACK TO THE FUTURE
Most film buffs knew that Eric Stoltz was supposed to be Marty McFly in Back to the Future. He had already shot his scenes for five weeks with the crew but was fired soon after.
According to the cast and crew of the movie, they said that Stoltz approached the character ‘Marty’ in a way that his acting style lacked comedic lightness that Zemeckis and Bob Gale wanted.
They even said that they ‘almost called him Marty’ to get him into his character, as they thought it to be harmless, but to no avail. They planned to fire him and replace him with Fox, but because it could not happen right away, they continued to make Stoltz work for them for four weeks.
PROJECT: THE COSBY SHOW
The director of the show had to let Bonet go due to the occurrence of creative differences between them. She played the character of Denise Huxtable, who was the oldest daughter of Cliff and Claire (Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad respectively).
More precise rumors set afloat in the air that the relationship between Cosby and Lisa was tense, and that they ended on bad terms. Lisa confessed, “There was just energy. And that type of sinister, shadow energy cannot be concealed. And if I had anything more to reveal then it would have happened a long time ago. That’s my nature. The truth will set you free.”
She did stay silent after being fired for a long period before blurting out the truth, to avoid any major backlash. There are also rumors that Lisa got pregnant and Cosby did not like “working with pregnant women” which resulted in her getting fired altogether.
JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME
The action movie icon was originally starred as the creature in the movie Predator but was fired later due to his obsession with kickboxing and being accused of breaking an expensive prop.
There were many rumors afloat as to why he was fired from this blockbuster movie. His height and stature weren’t thought to be well-suited for his role. He couldn’t handle the creature’s role and kept passing out due to the heat and weight of the creature’s suit as well.
He was obsessed with kickboxing and wanted his character to be a kickboxer which was shunned by the producers. There were also rumors of him breaking the $20,000 predator head.
Whatever the real reason might be, he was finally let go and replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.
PROJECT: CHICKEN LITTLE
The character of Chicken Little was envisioned to be a girl for years, and Hunter spent months recording for it. However, after it was done and dusted, the producers and filmmakers realized that it didn’t fit well, and decided to rewrite the whole script as Chicken Little being a boy. And just like that, Holly was cast out and replaced by the Scrubs star, Zach Braff.
The filmmaker of Her, Spike Jonze realized only post-production that Morton wasn’t the best fit for the character. Samantha had filmed the whole role and the movie was good to go, but the producers and filmmakers realized that the character portrayed by Samantha wasn’t exactly what they had in mind.
Jonze explained in a statement, “Samantha was with us on set and was amazing. It was only in post-production, when we started editing, that we realized that what the character/movie needed was different from what Samantha and I had created together. So we recast and since then Scarlett has taken over that role.”
At least this one wasn’t the result of any altercation or friction caused on the sets!
Columbus Short was fired from his supporting role in Scandal due to the issues that gave him a terrible reputation back then. He was actively involved in cocaine abuse, domestic violence, and legal allegations.
He was hit with a restraining order from his then-wife who claimed that he threatened to kill her during a fight and almost placed a knife to her throat. She filed for a divorce and also sought custody of their two-year-old daughter.
Short later said, “I was doing cocaine and drinking a lot, and trying to balance a 16-hour work schedule a day, and a family, and I just lost myself back then.”
He later released a statement confirming his departure from the show. He considered the show to have been his ‘home for three years’ and that it had ‘the most talented ensemble in television today.’
After Firth finished recording the lines for Paddington, he was replaced by Ben Whishaw as the producers thought that his voice was not mature enough to be cast as that of the Peruvian bear’s.
Paul King, the film’s director said, “We love the voice and we love the bear, but as our young bear came into being, we agreed that the two didn’t seem to fit. So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways.”
Firth confessed that not having his voice as that of the bear’s was a bittersweet moment, stating, “It’s been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn’t have my voice,” to Entertainment Weekly.
CHLOE GRACE MORETZ
The human owner of Bolt known as Penny was fully recorded by Chloe Grace Moretz when she was just eleven years old. However, Disney decided to recast the role with one of their former star teen talent, Miley Cyrus who also wrote a song for the movie called “I Thought I Lost You.” Moretz was partially allowed to play Penny’s younger self and was also credited for that.
Moretz credits remain in the film as “Young Penny”. Chloe Grace Moretz is one of the most popular actresses in demand today and has starred in movies such as Kick-Ass and Carrie.
This shows that it’s not only us humans, but also big-time celebrities who go through bad days. Humans aren’t machines who can work 24/7 and not have a bad night. But it’s also important to recognize one’s mistakes and own up to it, and change for the better.
You could work in a corporation, or you might be a freelancer, or whatever it is that you profess, you have to learn to be friendly and co-operative. If not, you can either get fired like the above-mentioned celebrities, or who knows, maybe end up sabotaging your career.
The point isn’t that these celebrities fumbled because at the end of the day we are humans and we’re bound to. The point is that they came out as better, bigger, and completely changed (in a positive way) personalities. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.