What do Colin Firth’s voice, Bruce Willis’ hairline (Allegedly), most of Oliver Reed and all of Kevin Spacey have in common? They’ve all been altered or replaced in a film, after the film was completed. There are plenty of examples of an actor being replaced prior to filming, but it’s much rarer to change the cast after filming has finished. It happens for various reasons; Colin Firth was the first voice of Paddington when both he and director Paul King decided the bear needed a younger voice, Ben Wishaw stepped in and the rest is history. There is a famous (And sadly unproven) rumour that Bruce Willis saw an early cut of his 1991 film, Hudson Hawk, and demanded that CGI be used to touch up his receding hair. His hairline may have been improved, but the film didn’t, and bombed. British legend Oliver Reed was part way through filming Gladiator when he died, the film’s visual effects team searched through unused footage for lines and scenes that could be digitally manipulated. They also used CGI to superimpose Reed’s face onto a body double, a technique also used after Paul Walker died during the filming of Fast & Furious 7.
Gladiator director Ridley Scott must have felt lightning had struck twice after he finished his latest film, All The Money In The World, the acclaimed true life story of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Getty’s grandfather was originally played by Kevin Spacey, filming was completed and the performance was being pushed for an Oscar nomination. Spacey was then hit by a wave of sexual harassment allegations and Scott decided to re-shoot his scenes with Christopher Plummer taking over the role. In an unusual twist, Plummer had been the director’s original choice for the role and has been Oscar nominated for his performance. See if you think he deserves it when the film comes to Oswestry in March.
by Michael Hudson
From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 20th February 2018.