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8 Actors Who Were Cast In A Project But Got Replaced Because Of Backlash

Sometimes Hollywood actually cares about what we think.

Hollywood is definitely not new to poor casting choices and the public backlash that comes with it. Most of the time, they hardly care and move forward with their choices. Many other times, after a movie gets released, the poor casting choices go on to become iconic roles…

…but not these eight times. In the following examples, Hollywood decided to listen to the backlash and make changes.

1.

Scarlett Johansson had to step down from Rug and Tug due to backlash from the LGBTQ+ community.

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In 2018, Scarlett Johansson was cast to play the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man. Although casting a cis straight woman to play the role of a trans man was nothing new for Hollywood, fans expected more from Scar Jo.

After trans rights and LGBTQ+ fans protested against the decision, Scar Jo backed off from the project. She said in a statement to Out“I understand why many feel Dante ‘Tex’ Gill should be portrayed by a transgender person.”

2.

Will Ferrell was cast to play an old version of Ronald Reagan in the upcoming movie Reagan, but left because of public backlash — including from the former president’s daughter.

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A few days after the announcement to cast Will Ferrell in the movie came in 2016, the actor’s spokesperson released an announcement stating that Ferrell would not be a part of the movie. The announcement was made after public backlash, including from the former president’s daughter, Patti Davis.

In an open letter addressed to Ferrell, she wrote, “I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes — this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, ‘I don’t know where I am ,'” Davis wrote in an open letter. “There was a laughter in those years,” she continued, “but there was never humor.”

“The Reagan script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project,” Ferrell’s spokesperson clarified with Page Six.

The role will now be played by Dennis Quaid.

3.

Zendaya left Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B because of the film’s production values ​​and was replaced by Alexandra Shipp.

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In 2014, Zendaya dropped out as the lead actor in Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, because the late singer’s family was not excited about the biopic. “I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own, and I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so; therefore, I felt not really morally OK with moving forward with the project,” Zendaya explained.

The role was later played by Alexander Shipp.

4.

Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of Bohemian Rhapsody due in part to backlash from the existing members of Queen.

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Initially, when the movie was announced in 2010, Sacha Baron Cohen was roped in to play the role of Freddie Mercury in the biopic of the late Queen singer. In 2013, the film took a big hit when Cohen dropped out of the film.

According to the Borat actor, the existing members of the band wanted a more clean version of the script. “A member of the band — I won’t say who — said, ‘This is such a great movie because such an amazing thing happens in the middle of the movie.’ I go, ‘What happens in the middle of the movie?’ He goes, ‘Freddie dies […] We see how the band carries on from strength to strength.’ And I said, ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see [what happens to the band],” Cohen explained, stating the reason behind his departure from the project.

Sacha Baron Cohen was replaced by Rami Malek for the role — for which he won an Oscar.

5.

Leonardo Dicaprio left Mel Gibson’s Berserker after his infamous racist rant was leaked online.

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In 2010, Leo DiCaprio was supposed to play the lead in Mel Gibson’s Viking epic, Berserker. Leo left the project after Gibson’s infamous, career-ending racist rant was leaked online.

There has not been any update on the project yet.

6.

Ed Skrein had to back off from the Hellboy reboot due to allegations of whitewashing.

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Hollywood is definitely notorious for whitewashing Asian characters and promoting harmful stereotypes. It was nothing new when Ed Skrein was roped in to play the role of a Japanese character, Benjamin Daimio in the Hellboy reboot. As the movie was based on a Japanese comic, the fans of the original comics wouldn’t take the poor casting and Skrein had to step down from the role.

He shared a statement on Twitter in 2017 that read, “Representation of ethnic diversity is important, especially to me as I have a mixed heritage family. It is our responsibility to make moral decisions at difficult times and to give a voice to inclusivity. It is my hope that one day these discussions will become less necessary and that we can help make equal representation in the Arts a reality.”

7.

Johnny Depp was dropped from the Fantastic Beasts franchise following the domestic abuse allegation by Amber Heard.

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Johnny Depp made a cameo in the 2016 film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and was all set to play a major role in the sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. This was around the time when Amber Heard was granted a restraining order against Depp after she alleged the actor had physically and verbally abused her during the span of their marriage.

Depp was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Grindelwald.

8.

Gina Carano was fired from The Mandalorian (and effectively the entire Star Wars universe) after posting hateful comments online.

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After being a part of Deadpool and The Mandalorian, Gina Carano grabbed everyone’s attention for all the wrong reasons. In February 2021, she took to the internet to make problematic statements comparing American politics to the Holocaust. She has also made anti-trans statements publicly.

After making these statements, a LucasFilm spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that “Gina Carano is not currently employed by LucasFilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. residency, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

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