Who's Missing From This Picture?
Their friend Alex, of course—but not just because he's dead. Although Kevin Costner played Alex in flashback scenes in 1983's "The Big Chill," his performance was completely eliminated. Click through for more on that and other big stars who were edited out of major motion pictures.
Kevin Costner — "The Big Chill"
Costner was a 28-year-old unknown when he got a break that any actor would kill for—the role of Alex Marshall, whose suicide brings about a reunion of his college friends. He certainly hung out with the "A" crowd: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and JoBeth Williams. Costner's scenes were flashbacks, which director Lawrence Kasdan chillingly cut. Flash-forward: Kasdan gave Costner a leading role in his next film, "Silverado." The Western made him a star.
Uma Thurman — "Savages"
She played Blake Lively's mother in the 2012 crime thriller about marijuana growers. But when the film adaptation of Don Winslow's novel came out, Lively was motherless. Said director Oliver Stone: "We ended up cutting characters from the book, like the mother. She was a good character—Uma Thurman played her beautifully—and the scenes were good, but you don't have time, you know? We have one goal in the movie, and you go out that gate and it's like a horse race." In this case, Uma lost.
James Gandolfini — "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
The "Sopranos" star was well-known to audiences in 2005 when this film about a boy who loses his father in the World Trade Center attack was made. The late Gandolfini played a man that the boy's mother, Sandra Bullock, meets at a support group for those who lost loved ones on 9/11. Gandolfini's scene was removed after test audiences didn't respond to him. Let's hope Dr. Melfi helped Tony get over any feelings of rejection.
Ashley Judd — "Natural Born Killers"
Oliver Stone strikes again. Judd was 24 and a relative newcomer when she played a courtroom witness in this 1994 black comedy written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Stone. Her character testifies in court against the murderous duo (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) who butchered her friends in a sleepover. Conducting their defense, Harrelson wanders freely about the courtroom cross-examining her before he stabs her in the heart. Citing time restraints, Stone cut the scene.
Harrison Ford — "E.T the Extra-Terrestrial"
The actor had already done "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when Steven Spielberg cast him in the 1982 sci-fi fairy tale. He played Henry Thomas' school principal, who scolds him for refusing to dissect frogs in science class. Spielberg cut the scene because it came late in the picture, and at that point he wanted the emphasis to be on kids, not grown-ups.
Meryl Streep — "Julia"
She wasn't 100 percent cut from the Oscar-winning 1978 film starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. More like 99 percent: Director Fred Zinneman reduced Streep's part to a few seconds. Guess he didn't realize she would become Hollywood's most honored star. As Streep recalled years later, "I thought, I've made a terrible mistake. No more movies. I hate this business."
Mickey Rourke — "The Thin Red Line"
If you want to see great acting, check out the YouTube video of Rourke's heartbreaking performance in Terrance Malik's 1998 World War II epic. Rourke was completely cut out of the final version, as were Bill Pullman and Lukas Haas. Adrian Brody, billed as the star of the 170-minute movie, felt ambushed when he saw—at the premiere—that his role had been reduced to two lines and five minutes of screen time. George Clooney's part got cut to just one scene. War is hell.
Rachel Weisz — "To the Wonder"
The Oscar-winning actor ("The Constant Gardener") played Rachel McAdams' close friend in Terrance Malik's 2012 romantic drama, but her part didn't make the final cut. Being British, Weisz was reserved in her reaction: "I had the experience of working with [Malik], but I will not have the pleasure of seeing my work." Neither will co-stars Jessica Chastain, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper or Michael Sheen. They too got left on the cutting room floor.
Mick Jagger — "Fitzcarraldo"
Director Werner Herzog cast Jagger as Wilbur, the mentally challenged sidekick of the rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (aka Fitzcarraldo). The 1982 film started out with Jason Robards in the title role. But six weeks into filming, Robards got ill and had to quit the project. Then Klaus Kinski stepped in, which led to Jagger's scenes being cut. Even so, the rock star says he enjoyed his time in the Peruvian Amazon, where he could go to bars at 2 a.m. and not be recognized.
Ellen Pompeo — "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
The "Grey's Anatomy" star played Naomi, an ex-girlfriend of Jim Carrey's who tries to convince him to break up with Kate Winslet, the girlfriend he's had erased from his memory. Director Michel Gondry felt her role altered the central relationship between Carrey and Winslet, so he erased her from the film.
Paul Rudd — "Bridesmaids"
Director Paul Feig said it killed him to cut Paul Rudd's scene out of this 2011 comedy. "It's one of the funniest things I've ever been witness to," he said. Rudd played Kristen Wiig's blind date, who takes her ice-skating. When a child runs over his finger, he turns into a crazed looney. Feig cut the scene because the film was too long. And, he explained, it didn't really make sense for Wiig to go on a blind date when she was balancing affairs with Jon Hamm and Chris O'Dowd.
Angela Bassett — "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
As the boss in this 2005 action-comedy—about a married couple who make their living as contract assassins—Bassett orders Brad Pitt to kill his wife (Angelina Jolie). But there's no bloodshed; Pitt and Jolie have make-up sex instead. In the end, it was Bassett's character who didn't survive director Doug Liman's editing. Her body was found on the cutting room floor.
Andy Garcia — "Dangerous Minds"
Michelle Pfeiffer is LouAnne Johnson, a real-life former Marine who became a teacher at a California high school in a low-income community. She ends up teaching the students, many of them involved in gangs and drug pushing, the meaning of tough love. As for her boyfriend (played by Andy Garcia), his scenes were deemed "unnecessary." Now that's tough love, Hollywood-style.
Sienna Miller — "Black Mass"
Johnny Depp played the notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in this 2015 biopic, and Miller was cast as his girlfriend. Although director Scott Cooper told the Boston Globe that Miller was terrific in the role, he deleted her scenes "to narrow the scope of the story." A wicked pissah, as she had spent months perfecting her Boston accent.
Chris Cooper — "The Ring"
This 2002 horror film about a videotape and an urban legend is creepy enough. But it must have been even more so before director Gore Verbinski cut Chris Cooper's role as a serial rapist and murderer. Maybe the filmmakers felt the Oscar winner should stick to raising orchids.
Jamie Dornan — "Burnt"
The "50 Shades of Grey" star had a small role in the 2015 Bradley Cooper drama "Burnt," about a restaurant chef whose self-destructive behavior nearly ruins his career. At the time, Dornan's career was cooking with gas. So, why was he edited out of the picture? Director John Wells said adjustments in the plot were needed. Maybe he didn't want the movie to become "50 Shades of Grey Poupon."
Liv Tyler — "Everyone Says I Love You"
But not everyone loved Tyler. Woody Allen, the writer and director of this 1996 all-star musical, apparently had reservations. As Tyler told the London Times, he "wrote me a letter, which I keep on my desk and look at occasionally, saying he was really sorry, and it was nice to work with me, and we would work again." Hope she didn't hold her breath.
Robert Pattison — "Vanity Fair"
In his 2005 film debut, he played Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." So say his bios. But a year before "Harry Potter" came along, Pattison was Reese Witherspoon's son in "Vanity Fair," appearing in the last scene. That is, he appeared—and then disappeared when director Mira Nair decided to go with a different ending. Pattison, a teenager at the time, said no one told him about the change, which he only found out about at a screening.
Jena Malone — "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice"
Holy box office! The first-time, on-screen teaming of these two superheroes resulted in one of the highest-grossing openings ever: $166 million. And look at the stellar cast: Ben Affleck (Caped Crusader), Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Amy Adams (Lois Lane) and Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luther), for starters. But don't look for Malone. She got kicked out of Metropolis. As director Zack Synder tells it, cuts were required because the 2016 film was too long. Pow!
Josh Brolin — "Suburbicon"
George Clooney directed this 2017 crime comedy, set in 1959, and starring Matt Damon and Juliana Moore. Josh Brolin was in the film, too. "We shot a couple of scenes with Josh playing a baseball coach that are really, really funny," said Clooney. But after test screenings, it was clear that those scenes let the air out of the film's tension. Clooney said he felt terrible telling Brolin he was cutting him. But Brolin needn't sulk. The film was panned by critics and bombed at the box office.
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