People get fired from jobs all the time. Their work might not be up to snuff or they have a bad attitude that rubs the other employees the wrong way, or something more sinister, like stealing or embezzlement or harassment. Fortunately for us regular folks, any mishaps that happen in our workplace don’t make the papers or go viral (unless we REALLY mess up). Too bad for the rich and the famous, they’re not afforded that luxury, and so when they get kicked off the set, we know about it almost immediately.
Loads of celebs will go out for different roles, only to be told that someone else beat them out for it. It sucks, but it’s life. What’s way worse is being picked for a part only to be dropped once you’ve started! There are tons of reasons why actors and actresses get axed from projects, some that match up with what would get the rest of us booted from a business. Other times, it’s a little stranger, darker, or crazier than we could ever have expected. TV and movie sets can be a hectic place, and if you can’t keep up, get along with everyone, and play nice, then, sorry buddy, you’re outta here!
15 Ryan Gosling: Fired For Gaining Weight
It’s almost always a good thing when actors get really into their roles and want to be part of the creative vision of a project. It leads to collaboration and true immersion into a character, but perhaps Ryan Gosling should’ve checked with his director before taking things into his own hands.
For the 2009 film The Lovely Bones, Gosling was cast to play the grieving father of a daughter who has been r*ped and murdered. Gosling thought that gaining weight for the role would physically symbolize his character’s grief and vulnerability, but unfortunately for him, director Peter Jackson disagreed. Of his own volition, the Canadian heartthrob packed on sixty pounds – and then was fired for it a few weeks before filming was supposed to begin! Since he had to slim back down in order to nab more roles, he couldn’t even turn to comfort food to console himself! Mark Wahlberg ended up getting cast instead, and Gosling stated later that he was too young to play the father of a 14-year-old. Sure, Ryan.
14 Lindsay Lohan: Fired For Being A Mess
Poor Lindsay Lohan. Rather than get dropped from one movie or TV project for a strange reason, the notoriously troubled actress was axed from THREE separate sets over the years! Beginning in 2010, Lohan was fired from the comedy-drama The Other Side, which went to Katie Holmes and Brittany Murphy before asking Lohan. In the end, the redhead was ditched for not being “bankable enough”. That same year, she seemed like a lock for the role of adult film actress Linda Lovelace, but it was revealed that the director found it impossible to insure her, and the spot went to Amanda Seyfried instead.
You’d think then that a TV series detailing Lohan’s rise from the ashes of her career should be a given, right? Nope! Despite much help from Oprah herself, Lohan wasn’t able to secure a second season for her self-titled reality show Lindsay, which was supposed to document her journey towards sobriety and reclaiming of her career. Hard to do that when you’re, you know, NOT sober or working at being an actress!
13 Taylor Momsen: Fired For Being a Diva
Tales from the set of Gossip Girl are rife with all the drama that one would expect of a soapy TV show starring beautiful people with too much wealth. Behind-the-scenes antics involving cast members loving and fighting happened every day, but no one actor earned quite the diva reputation as Taylor Momsen.
You might remember Momsen as the cute and innocent Jenny Humphrey, a girl with a talent for fashion design and a taste for the Upper East Side. Unfortunately for the show’s creators, Momsen in real life was as different from Jenny Humphrey as she could get! Called “unreliable and erratic”, Momsen’s part was trimmed down before she was axed entirely, appearing only one more time in the series finale. Even guest star and Project Runway star Tim Gunn said of Momsen, “What a diva! She was pathetic, she couldn’t remember her lines and she didn’t even have that many. I thought to myself, ‘Why are we all being held hostage by this brat?’” Yikes!
12 Chloë-Grace Moretz: Fired For Not Being Famous Enough
Hollywood is a tough game. It’s extremely difficult to break into the world of acting, and even more so when you’re up against actors who are more talented or famous than little old you. Such was the case for a young Chloë-Grace Moretz. Back in 2008, Moretz was a couple years away from her breakout hit 'Kick-Ass' and only had been in a handful of film and TV credits. Despite this, she was considered for the voice of Penny in the Disney animated film Bolt. Too bad she wasn’t famous enough to lock it down! That was the reason she was given for not nabbing the role, which ended up going to Miley Cyrus instead, who was riding high on her Hannah Montana fame. Considering that the animated feature was targeted towards youngsters, we can understand that this was more of a strategic marketing move on production’s part and less of a reflection of Moretz’s talent and abilities.
11 Anne Hathaway: Fired For Unwillingness to Get Up Close & Personal
Technically, this was a mutual parting of the ways, but, like a breakup, the crew behind the film has claimed that they ditched the Oscar-winning Anne Hathaway first, while the actress says it was her own decision to walk away, so let’s unpack this!
Back in 2007 when Judd Apatow wasn’t yet a household name for his frat-boy style films, he was casting for his breakthrough, Knocked Up. In doing so, he was searching for the perfect actress to play the female lead opposite Seth Rogen. Hathaway was tapped, but she expressed discomfort in the graphic, full-frontal birthing scene and demanded that they change it to something less invasive. The people behind the movie wouldn’t budge, so Hathaway walked. In the end, they did eliminate the scene when they cast Katherine Heigl, who later bashed the film for being sexist, describing her character as “humourless and uptight”, “a b****”, and a “killjoy”. Sounds like everybody got burned here!
10 Isaiah Washington: Fired For Opening His Big Mouth
There are a lot of bizarre reasons celebs get fired from work, but this one is definitely something we totally agree with! While on the mega-hit show Grey’s Anatomy, actor Isaiah Washington decided to air his personal issues with costar T.R. Knight in 2007. While on the set, Washington got into an argument with star Patrick Dempsey, who plays the famous McDreamy, and assaulted him, grabbing him by the throat. While holding him, Washington told Dempsey that he wasn’t his “little f****t” like Knight, who has publicly come out as gay.
Washington was fired from the set a little while afterwards by series creator Shonda Rhimes, and forced to issue an apology. However, it didn’t seem like he really learned his lesson because, backstage following Rhimes’ Golden Globe win, Washington seized the microphone and declared that he hadn’t used an anti-gay slur. He was kicked off the show, returned for one episode, and didn’t appear again.
9 Erinn Hayes: Fire For Ratings
It’s one thing to want to reunite with a former costar on your new show, but do you really have to kill off your TV wife to do it? Apparently so, if you’re Kevin James! ON his new show Kevin Can Wait, James unceremoniously dumped his on-screen wife played by Erinn Hayes in favour of bringing back his King of Queens costar Leah Remini! The sudden abandonment of Hayes – and reveal that her character had died – left audiences wondering WTF happened. According to James, the show needed to kill off Hayes’ character in order for it to “drive forward”. Considering that no pivotal plot points were surrounding Hayes’ character, we think something stinks about this excuse.
Hayes, for her part, is pretty hurt by the whole thing, and has been subtly “liking” tweets from fans who say that they’ll be boycotting the show following her departure. Critics have said that James’ decision reads like a King of Queens reboot, but hey, anything for ratings, right?
8 Cheryl Cole: Fired For Being British
Depending on who you talk to, you might be told that English accents are by and large the sexiest of the accents to have, on men or women. Apparently, however, the people behind The X Factor didn’t agree when they canned Cheryl Cole after promising her a new gig on the American version of the hit British TV show!
In 2011, Cole, famous across the pond for being a judge on the UK show (where she met future baby daddy Liam Payne when he was just a wee thing) and a pop star, was asked by none other than Simon Cowell – a Brit himself – to join the judging panel on the American X Factor. Two weeks into filming, however, Cole was axed via text message by Cowell himself. The reason? He and producers were worried that U.S. audiences wouldn’t be able to understand her accent! Considering that Cole was British when they first hired her, this smells like a load of BS to us!
7 Mama June: Fired For Her Dating Habits
It seems like it would be pretty impossible to get fired from a reality show, especially since the cameras want to capture you at your messiest most of the time, but that’s what happened to Mama June of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo fame – and for good reason!
In 2014, news broke that Mama June was dating Mark McDaniel, a man who is a registered s*x offender who even allegedly assaulted one of Mama June’s own daughters, her eldest, Anna. This charge took place in 2004, and McDaniel was imprisoned for “forcing o**l s*x on an eight-year-old child” (the child being Anna), and that Anna’s younger sister, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, who was only three at the time, had been forced to watch. Once the reports and photos came out of McDaniel and Mama June touring houses and getting cozy together, TLC pulled the plug on Honey Boo-Boo. Mama June managed to score another reality show with WeTV, detailing her weight loss, called From Not To Hot, proving that some people will do anything for a little cash.
6 Charlie Sheen: Fired For Insulting His Boss
If you don’t like your job but you’re making a decent salary, you might want to consider sticking it out before you badmouth your boss all over the place. Unfortunately for Charlie Sheen, who had a very public and very prolonged meltdown a few years ago, he simply couldn’t help himself!
Thanks to a lot of drugs and mental instability, Sheen talked his way out of his high-paying gig in 2011, when he decided to insult the creator of the show Two and a Half Men, calling Chuck Lorre “a stupid, stupid little man” and “a p***y punk that I’d never want to be like.” And, according to him, that was him being polite! As a result of his remarks, CBS suspended the show the very next day, but Sheen wasn’t done yet. He travelled to different media outlets where his bizarre behaviour led the network to fire him entirely. The show eventually went on without him, lasting four more seasons with Ashton Kutcher brought in as Sheen’s replacement.
5 Damon Wayans: Fired For “Playing It Gay”
Saturday Night Live is a difficult gig for even the most seasoned of comedians. It’s had its fair share of people who didn’t last on the sketch show but went on to become bigger and better things. (Some of those names include Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Robert Downey Jr., and Sarah Silverman). Usually, they get let go at the end of a season, but one cast member was fired in the middle of a live broadcast!
Damon Wayans was playing a cop in a sketch and everything was supposed to go as normal, until Wayans decided to improvise and play the character as extremely effeminate and flamboyant, leaving the audience wondering if they were missing some sort of joke. He also gave himself more lines, despite being scripted only one. Creator Lorne Michaels waited until the show went to commercial before ripping into Wayans backstage and firing him right then and there!
4 Megan Fox: Fired For Calling Michael Bay “Hitler”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, you probably shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you in Hollywood, because that hand will bite back! Such was the case for Megan Fox, who made headlines everywhere for her feud with Transformers director Michael Bay. Fox had filmed two Transformers movies with Bay, and she clearly was having none of his directorial methods. In an interview in 2009, Fox was quoted as saying, “He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So, he’s a nightmare to work for.”
Not surprisingly, once the interview was published, Fox was fired from any future Transformers films and replaced with model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. For his part, Bay said that he wasn’t hurt by her remarks, but that criticism is one thing, while name-calling is another. Plus, renowned director Steven Spielberg even told him that firing Fox wasn’t just the right move, it was the only move.
3 Stuart Townsend: Fired For Being Too Young
Considering the fact that Hollywood has a bit of an obsession with looking forever young, it’s interesting to hear that youth was not a desired quality in this casting choice! For his massive trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson again had a change of heart after casting Stuart Townsend in the role of Aragorn, the Man in Middle-Earth who helps the Hobbits on their journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. He also waited to the last minute – this time four days into filming!
Townsend was 29 at the time, but Jackson decided that he looked too young to play the part, and immediately cast Viggo Mortensen instead. Apparently, Townsend was pretty relieved at the decision at first, stating that he had been having a rough time with the crew, until he was told he wouldn’t be paid for his work! Despite working out, training, and rehearsing for two months prior to filming, Townsend was told her hadn’t worked long enough to merit any cash! Talk about rubbing salt in the wound!
2 Robert Downey Jr.: Fired For His Addictions
Before he was Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was a mess. An actor who struggled with addictions and found himself in mugshots and courtrooms more than a few times, his comeback has been nothing short of a resurrection story. To climb to the heights he has, though, he had to get knocked down quite a few pegs.
In 2001, Downey Jr. was arrested once again, this time for a suspicion of being under the influence of illegal substances. At the time, he was a regular on the hit TV show Ally McBeal, until this newest incident, which saw him written off the show with no plans to revive his character. The producer of the show, David E. Kelley, made a statement saying that they would wrap up the season without him, but declined to give a reason for the actor’s sudden departure. Actions speak louder than words, though, and it would be seven years before Iron Man happened and Downey Jr. got his act – and his career – back together.
1 Janet Hubert: Fired For Not Liking Will Smith
Making enemies with your director is one thing, but how about making an enemy with the star of your show and the creator of the series? That was the reality for Janet Hubert, who played the original Aunt Viv on Will Smith’s mega-hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!
For three whole season, Hubert played the role of Aunt Vivian until she was suddenly and unceremoniously recast as the show entered its fourth season. Daphne Reid took over the role for the remainder of the show (which never addressed the brand new Aunt Viv) and rumours abounded as to what the hell happened. Apparently, Hubert and Smith butted heads repeatedly, with Hubert claiming that the star was a total diva, arrogant, constantly disagreed with her, and was annoyed that she wouldn’t suck up to him. Smith, for his part, argued that Hubert was incredibly difficult to work with and that her firing was her own fault.