ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Have you ever wondered just how different your favorite movies would have looked had another actor played one of the leading roles? Had, say, Dougray Scott actually played Wolverine instead of Hugh Jackman, or Bette Midler played the lead in Sister Act rather than Whoopi Goldberg?

Well, with some of those potential castings, you can - as it turns out - do a whole lot more than wonder: You can see them for yourself.

After all, not every piece of casting was changed in pre-production, before shooting had even begun. Some of them happened when the shoot's were well underway - and that means we can see just how they would have turned out.

The perfect example of that?

James Remar Originally Played Hicks in Aliens

That's right - Michael Biehn almost didn't play his most iconic role - with the part instead originally having been given to accomplished character actor James Remar, otherwise known as 'that guy you recognize from that movie, y'know the one'...

Yup, him.
Yup, him.

The only reason Biehn ended up donning Hicks' body armor? According to Remar:

"I was initially cast as Corporal Hicks, and I was fired after a couple weeks of filming because I got busted for possession of drugs, and Michael Biehn replaced me...I had a terrible drug problem, but I got through it. I had a great career and personal life, and messed it up with a terrible drug habit."

If he hadn't, though, Hicks would have looked a whole lot more like this:

Which would've been weird...

That's not the only instance of mid-production recasting, though...

Eric Stoltz Originally Played Marty McFly in Back to the Future

Yup - for the first five weeks of filming, Eric Stoltz was Marty McFly. However, director Robert Zemeckis was never convinced that the actor was right for the part, and when original first choice Michael J. Fox became available, he and producer Steven Spielberg came to what they described as a "heartbreaking" decision to recast the role.

All told, the reshoots ended up costing $3 million - and launched Michael J. Fox on the path to mega-stardom.

Eric Stoltz, though, not so much.

Stuart Townsend Originally Played Aragorn in Lord of the Rings

After Daniel Day-Lewis and Russell Crowe passed on the role of Aragorn, director Peter Jackson handed the role to the Irish actor Stuart Townsend.

However, it only took four days of filming for the director to realize that he had, in fact, cast Aragorn far too young - which the images above seem to support. Townsend promptly lost his part - and Viggo Mortensen stepped into the breach, and became a modern movie icon in the process.

Townsend, on the other hand, ended up in Queen of the Damned - just like the next piece of re-casting.

Aaliyah Originally Played Zee in The Matrix: Reloaded

This one's a much more tragic tale, sadly - actress/singer Aaliyah was originally cast in The Matrix: Reloaded as Zee, before her tragic death in 2001 led to the role being recast. She was replaced by Nona Gaye, with whom they re-shot several key scenes.

You can, though, see how she would have appeared in the movie right here:

And finally, as a special bonus...

Tom Selleck Was Nearly Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Now, Selleck was never actually cast in the role - his filming obligations on Magnum, P.I. saw to that - but as it turns out, we can still get a glimpse of how it would have looked, in the form of a screen test he gave (opposite the also talented Sean Young, no less...):

And...y'know what? I'm actually kind of relieved they gave it to Harrison Ford...

What do you guys think, though?


Are there any of the original casting choices you'd have rather seen?

via ComicBookMovie


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