As stated by Screen Actors Guild (SAG), an actor has to be paid for the day/week of shooting. It is necessary and doesn’t matter if he or she is included in the final film or not. The rule is non-negotiable. This leads to a very odd occurrence where if an actor gets replaced or removed for some reason, he can be paid for some time because of contractual agreements or SAG payment rules. This is rare in the cinema world. But it is true that this ‘has’ happened for certain reasons.
1. Nicolas Cage for Superman Lives
Tim Burton decided to make Superman Lives after getting success with Batman movies in 1990. But it was canceled before production began. Nicolas Cage was going to appear as the man of steel. It went through some test shoots with a long-haired Cage in the popular red and blue costume. But Cage was paid 20 million dollars for the film before the shooting even started.
2. Mick Jagger for Fitzcarraldo
Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo is considered a masterpiece in terms of filmmaking. The original plan was to cast Jason Robards in the lead role. But Robards got sick and was replaced by Klaus Kinski. Robards got amoebic dysentery that put him out of action for a long time. The film had to be rewritten. The footage of Robards in the lead even exists today. He was still paid for his time.
3. Jack Whitehall for Frozen
British comedian Jack Whitehall will be seen in the upcoming Disney film Jungle Cruise. But he was set to appear in a Disney movie before. He voiced the character of Gothi The Troll in Frozen but the line was not featured in the final film. Whitehall was paid by Disney for his role but the role remains uncredited. The role was changed to a non-speaking part.
4. Michael Biehn for Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Michael Biehn was seen as Kyle Reese, the hero of the resistance fighting against Schwarzenegger in the original The Terminator. But he saw a one-time appearance on the sequel years after the film’s original release since his scene was chopped from the theatrical cut. The film had a scene where Sarah Connor dreams of Reese to strengthen herself and escape from the psychiatric hospital. The scene was cut because of pacing reasons. Also, Cameron felt the dream sequence and an earlier one got the same point across the audience, that of nuclear decimation.
5. Harrison Ford for E.T.
Harrison Ford had a small cameo as the headteacher of Elliot’s school in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. But in the final cut, only Ford’s voice was heard. The scene was cut because Spielberg feared that his cameo might take away from E.T. and Elliot as Ford was a very popular actor of that time. The deleted sequence was never officially released and the scene was still left out in the film’s 20th Anniversary Edition.
6. Johnny Depp for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3
Johnny Depp has been involved in some controversy for the last few months because of the stories of domestic violence between him and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp lost the trial with The Sun’s publisher and paper’s executive editor Dan Wootton who labeled him a ‘wife-beater’. Depp was then asked to resign from the third film of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Because of contractual agreements, Depp was paid 10 million dollars for his one day of shooting.
7. Billy Dee Williams for Batman Forever
Tim Burton featured a number of famous villains in the sequel of 1989’s Batman. But the appearance of Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face was cut from the film. Williams was seen in the first Batman film. But in terms of the sequel, Burton decided to separate it from the original movie. So, the role of Two-Face was removed before filming. But Williams had a contract that guaranteed him to play the role in a future Batman installment. So, he still got paid for the role.
8. Sammy Davis Jr for Diamonds Are Forever
Among all the cameos seen in the James Bond franchise, Sammy Davis Jr’s small role in Diamonds Are Forever could have been the best one. But his role was removed from the theatrical cut. The reason has not been revealed but it might have been for time purposes or maybe his star power could have distracted Sean Connery’s presence.
9. Tobey Maguire for Life Of Pi
2012’s Life Of Pi was directed by Ang Lee and had actor Suraj Sharma in the lead. The film did not have any star power in terms of the main cast. This is a reason why Tobey Maguire’s role was removed in the final cut. The Spider-Man actor had a part done and filmed in the movie but he was deemed too big of a star in the ambitious movie. But when Lee watched the film during post-production, he felt that Maguire’s star power was dwarfing the emotions of the scene.
10. Marlon Brando for Scary Movie 2
Scary Movie 2 had a planned cameo by Hollywood legend Marlon Brando. He was to appear as exorcists in the opening parody. But when filming began, Brando dropped out of the project because of health issues. He was paid 2 million dollars for the one day he was on the set. He was replaced by James Woods and Woods added a lot of memorable comedy to that small role.