8 Famous Characters That Were Originally Played by Other Actors

  • March 05, 2014
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Movie roles are recast pretty frequently. It’s just part of the business, with someone not pulling their weight on the set, or the director deciding they aren’t right for the part, or even the actor just deciding the project isn’t something they’re really passionate about. But it’s pretty rare that iconic roles wind up being recast, with a few notable exceptions. Here are some of those incredibly noteworthy exceptions.


Eric Stoltz was Marty McFly

We all love Michael J. Fox for so many reasons, but maybe none more than for his iconic portrayal of time traveling guitar player Marty McFly, who drove the DeLorean back to 1955, rode a hoverboard in the distant future of 2015, and finally went back to the Old West. But amazingly, he was so close to not playing Marty that there actually exists footage of the original choice, Eric Stoltz, playing the role. However, after four weeks of filming, it was determined that Stoltz was playing the role in a far too serious, dramatic manner, and replaced him with a guy who had better comedic chops. Worked out pretty well for them, don’t you think?


Dougray Scott was Wolverine

At this point in time, Hugh Jackman is so ingrained in pop culture as Wolverine that it’s hard to imagine him playing any other characters. Even watching a movie like Les Miserables, you could only wonder when he was going to unleash those claws and just stick Russell Crowe in the gut. That’s why it’s kind of weird to consider the fact that, originally, the character was set to be played by Dougray Scott. Who? Yeah, he’s a dude who was in the movie Ever After, and he was cast to play Wolverine until the production schedule for Mission: Impossible II went long, and he was forced to withdraw. His bad luck is our good luck, as it happens.Jackman has recently said he doesn’t plan on wearing the claws again, so hey, Dougray, maybe you’ll finally get your shot!


Barry Nelson was the First James Bond

James Bond has obviously been played by numerous people over the years, most famously by Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton. A lot of people even know that a guy named George Lazenby played the role, and even David Niven portrayed 007 once. But the original Bond? That was some guy named Barry Nelson, who played 007 in an hour-long TV special based on Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale. It aired as part of the show Climax! Mystery Theatre, and featured the great Peter Lorre as the villainous Le Chiffre.


Stuart Townend was Aragorn

Viggo Mortensen had been kicking around Hollywood for years before landing one of the three leads in the epic Lord of the Rings series. However, starting with Fellowship of the Ring, Mortensen became a legitimate movie star. Of course, as you can probably guess, that very nearly didn’t happen. Stuart Townsend, who perhaps most famously appeared in movies like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Queen of the Damned, was originally cast and actually trained for a couple months for the role, only to be fired literally the day before filming began. Mortensen was convinced to take the role, and the rest is history.