6 Actors Who Almost Got Fired From Their Iconic Roles (And Why)
From dropping spoilers to being too mute on set.
Behind every iconic movie or TV character is a story of casting decisions that could have dramatically changed pop culture history.
Here are 6 actors who came close to losing iconic roles.
1. Al Pacino — The Godfather
Even A-listers such as Al Pacino can be faced with the possibility of losing their jobs. Apparently, Pacino almost lost the role of Michael Corleone because of concerns regarding how he performed in the early weeks of filming.
However, director Francis Ford Coppola's support and Pacino's decision to stick it out played a crucial role. To secure his life-changing role, the actor reviewed footage of his scenes to improve his performance, and this decision led to the actor's memorable role in the entire Godfather trilogy.
2. Robert Pattinson — Twilight Saga
In The Twilight Saga, Robert Pattinson's overly serious demeanor on set almost cost him his pivotal role as the enigmatic vampire Edward Cullen. The actor's intense portrayal of the character's relationship with Bella, played by Kristen Stewart, mirrored the actors' off-screen connection and made things awkward on the set.
Fortunately, the producers stepped in, stressing the need for a more upbeat tone, and provided Pattinson with the novel, warning the actor that he was in danger of losing the role. This wake-up call prompted Pattinson to adjust his approach and preserve his role as the beloved Edward Cullen.
3. Johnny Depp — Pirates Of The Caribbean
It may seem like a joke, but Johnny Depp almost lost his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean due to concerns about the actor's slurred speech and mumbling. Depp was open about his expectation of being fired and even made a joke about the need for subtitles for his character.
Despite the doubts, Depp's unique portrayal highlighted one of the most iconic characters on the big screen that has kept the franchise thriving for over a decade.
4. Gemma Whelan — Game Of Thrones
The British actress almost lost her role as Yara Greyjoy in one of the greatest shows of all time because she accidentally shared spoilers on her resume. Before the season with her character aired, Whelan apparently added her role as Yara to her Spotlight entry.
The studio was furious, but the actress managed to keep her role and continued for five more seasons.
5. Michelle Rodriguez — The Fast & The Furious
Apparently, due to concerns about the direction of her character, Michelle Rodriguez almost left her role as Letty Ortiz in the Fast & Furious franchise. Concerned about the portrayal of a promiscuous character, she was on the verge of quitting her iconic role.
However, Vin Diesel, Rodriguez's on-screen partner, stepped in to protect the actress' interests and her iconic role. In the end, Diesel's intervention preserved her place in the franchise and kept Michelle’s character in line with her values.
6. Tom Cruise — Mission: Impossible
Tom Cruise's dismissal from his franchise would be as fatal as Diesel's dismissal from the Fast & Furious series, but even Cruise was in danger of being fired from Mission: Impossible due to creative concerns and revenue impact.
The actor has been blamed for the perceived decline of the series after Mission: Impossible III, as his behavior and involvement with Scientology came under scrutiny. Nevertheless, Cruise fought to keep his role and continued in the franchise, appearing in a total of eight films.