Back in 2018, Manny Jacinto was one of the many actors announced to join the cast of Top Gun: Maverick. He’d be playing a pilot named Fritz, but when the movie came out, Manny’s character didn’t have a single line and can only be seen in the background behind the other actors.
Director Joseph Kosinski explained that Manny did have lines and an arc, but it just didn’t make it into the movie. “When we shot the film, everybody had lines, everybody had scenes, so it was all there in the script and in shooting it,” he said. “And there are great scenes that are on the cutting-room floor. … It has nothing to do with their performance or their abilities at all; it only has to do with the story of the film and trying to make the best version.”
Tobey Maguire was deemed too famous for Life of Pi, even though he’d already filmed scenes for the movie.
Director Ang Lee said, “I misjudged the situation. I underestimated the power of stars. I love Tobey. But it’s a small part. So, when it’s a movie star sitting there, it captures attention. It didn’t really work out.” Tobey was then replaced with Rafe Spall.
Katherine Langford originally appeared in Avengers: Endgame as an older version of Tony Stark’s daughter, but the scene was cut because the Russo brothers didn’t think it made sense with the ending of the movie.
However, Katherine was in good spirits about it and said, “At the end of the day, I’d rather have had the experience of being in a really good film than be in a film for the sake of being in it if it doesn’t work. You don’t want to be in something and then be the sore thumb that sticks out. And I didn’t feel that way at all, and the Russo brothers didn’t feel that way at all.”
Harry Shum Jr. played Charlie Wu in Crazy Rich Asians — he’s even sixth billed in the credits — but he only appears during a mid-credits scene.
Ultimately, Harry’s character was cut from the movie because director John M. Chu felt like there wasn’t enough room to expand on his arc. “What we put in the movie was great — they actually dance together — and it was so awesome, and Harry’s so charming and so lovable,” said Chu. “But the problem was, it made Astrid feel like she was leaving Michael for Charlie, and we didn’t have enough room to expand on the idea. We just had to stay focused. Ultimately, it’s about her independence, so that scene was in there all the way until the very end. When we took it out, Astrid’s journey became stronger. It was about her, not about her finding love.
While Kiki Layne’s Don’t Worry Darling character was the catalyst for Florence Pugh’s character’s suspicions, she shared on Instagram that almost all of her scenes were cut from the movie.
Kiki said that she and her onscreen husband (and offscreen significant other) Ari’el Stachel were cut “from most of the movie” but are “thriving in real life.”
Ana de Armas was originally cast as Roxanne in the movie Yesterday, and she even appears in one of the movie’s trailers, but by the time the movie came out, her character was entirely cut.
Timothée Chalamet was cast as Matthew McConaughey’s son in Interstellar, but most of his scenes were cut, and an older version of the character (played by Casey Affleck) was a bigger focus.
Timothée said he “wept for an hour” after seeing the movie because he didn’t expect his part to be as small as it ended up being.
Amy Poehler originally played a small role in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but was cut out of the final movie.
She said she wasn’t even surprised about being cut: “I was a young gal, hadn’t even gotten my teeth fixed, and I played a bank teller that Maya Rudolph and her gang robbed. Even back then, I was like, ‘This movie is so long, I’m never going to make it in this.'”
Robert Pattinson played the son of Reese Witherspoon’s character in Vanity Fair, but he didn’t find out until a screening of the movie that his role had been cut entirely.
“The casting director…felt so guilty…that she gave me first run at the part in Harry Potter, so I was quite glad I got cut, in the end,” he said.
Harrison Ford originally made a cameo in E.T. where he played Elliott’s principal. At the time, he was dating one of the movie’s screenwriters and had just wrapped Indiana Jones with Steven Spielberg a year prior, so it felt like a perfect fit.
However, the scene was cut because it didn’t go along with the rest of the movie, and Harrison was a bit of a distraction from everything else going on.
Andy García was brought in to play Michelle Pfeiffer’s love interest in Dangerous Minds, and even he didn’t feel like his character was necessary, so he wasn’t surprised when his role was edited out of the movie.
“They wrote up a whole arc for this relationship, and we played it out; I had a great time,” he said. “We shot the whole relationship, and then it was determined later on that it was really unnecessary in the storyline, which is what I said to begin with. But I did cash the check!”
Paul Rudd was originally in Bridesmaids and played one of Kristen Wiig’s blind dates. But due to time constraints, director Paul Feig didn’t want to introduce another love interest for her character.
“There is always that terrible moment when you have to kill your babies,” he said.
Ellen Pompeo was cast in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as Jim Carrey’s character’s ex-girlfriend. She ended up filming all her scenes for the movie but was cut entirely and only mentioned by the other actors.
Director Michel Gondry and editor Valdís Óskarsdóttir explained that they removed Ellen’s character because her inclusion changed how the audience would perceive Jim’s character.
Kristen Wiig originally had a few scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall but ended up being cut out of the movie.
She played a yoga instructor who falls for Russell Brand’s character.
Dax Shepard was supposed to be in the movie Knocked Up. He said that his character was on a red carpet getting interviewed, but his scenes didn’t make it into the final movie
On his podcast Armchair Expert, he explained that he does, in fact, still get residuals from the movie, though.
And finally, Uma Thurman was cast to play Blake Lively’s character’s mom in the movie Savages, but she ended up being cut from the film entirely.
“It was so intense, in fact, that we ended up cutting characters from the book, like the mother,” director Oliver Stone explained. “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.”