25 Times A Movie Scene Was Changed To Accommodate An Actor’s Boundaries

Published 3 weeks ago

When watching a film or TV show, if you’re like me, you might be the type to get so fully invested that even after the screening is done you find yourself curious to delve deeper. A little snooping might reveal whether the actors get along, if they are dating, their ages and even give insight into their filming process. Indeed, many of us can agree that learning about on-set conflicts and behind-the-scenes stories is always intriguing!

Unsurprisingly, even the most famous actors have personal beliefs and boundaries they won’t violate. This often translates to significant changes in how a scene unfolds because the lead may refuse to participate if not. These behind-the-scenes adjustments show the delicate balance between creative vision and respecting the actors’ limits, resulting in unique and sometimes unexpected changes to our favourite films and TV shows.

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#1 Viggo Mortensen Refused To Return Lord Of The Rings Character Aragorn In The Hobbit Films

Image source: The Digital Fix, Warner Bros. Entertainment

Viggo Mortensen declined to return Lord of the Rings character Aragorn in the Hobbit films.

In an interview with The Guardian, the actor discussed that he had conversations with a producer on the film about resuming his part in the prequels. He stated,“Before they started shooting, back in 2008, one of the producers did ask if I would be interested. I said, ‘You do know, don’t you, that Aragorn isn’t in The Hobbit? That there is a 60-year gap between the books?’”

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Hobbit Films, 2012

#2 Zendaya Refused To Have Her First Kiss While Filming

Image source: Hindustan Times, Disney Channel

Rocky Blue (Zendaya) refused her first on-camera kiss while filming the American sitcom Shake It Up. Instead, her character kissed the other character’s cheek.

“I remember going on Shake It Up and saying, ‘I’m not going to do this. “I’m going to kiss him on the cheek because I haven’t been kissed yet, and I don’t want the kiss to be caught on camera,” Zendaya said in an interview with British Vogue.

Zendaya (Rocky Blue), Shake It Up, 2010

#3 Denzel Washington Refused To Share A Kiss With Julia Roberts

Image source: Atlanta Black Star, Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Denzel Washington refused to share a kiss with Julia Roberts In the mystery-thriller “The Pelican Brief”.

Washington chose not to kiss the actress even though there was romantic spark between their on-screen personas. He made reference to the underrepresentation of Black women in romantic roles when he discussed his cautious approach to kissing his female co-stars. According to reports, he stated to Newsweek, “Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film. And they have always been my core audience.”

Denzel Washington (Gray Grantham), The Pelican Brief, 1993

#4 Glenn Close Refused To Break Down Crying On Camera

Image source: Far Out, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Glenn Close, who portrayed Kathryn Bennett, the first female Vice President of the United States Air Force One refused to cry on screen.

The actress told Vanity Fair that an emotional outburst was initially visible on the page. “One thing I remember, they had a scene around the table where she broke down crying.”

Not only did she refuse to cry on camera, but she also explained why it didn’t make sense given the context of the story: “I said, ‘I will not do that.’ I don’t think it would happen. Not my vice president,” she emphasized. “My vice president would not break down into tears. She would step up to the challenge. So they changed it.”

Glenn Close (Kathryn Bennett), Air Force One, 1997

#5 Emma Watson Refused To Shoot A Scene That Featured Cannibalism

Image source: USA Today Entertainment , Sony Pictures Entertainment

Emma Watson refused to shoot a scene in which Danny McBride is a cannibal and holds Channing Tatum by a leash, reports ‘Esquire’ magazine in This Is the End.

Watson left the set after refusing to film a scene that featured cannibalism.”The scene was not what was originally scripted, it was getting improvised, changed drastically and was not what she agreed to,” Seth Rogen shared on Twitter.

Emma Watson, This Is the End, 2013

#6 Taron Egerton Declined To Film An ‘Uncomfortable’ Intimate Scene

Image source: Independent , 20th Century Studios

Taron Egerton, who portrayed Eggsy in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, declined to film an ‘uncomfortable’ intimate scene. During an intimate encounter, Eggsy must insert a tracking device inside Cara’s (Poppy Delevingne) body.

In an interview with ScreenRant, Egerton recalled, “It was a day that I was anxious about. The shot in the first film I was so anxious before we did it and Matthew didn’t tell me that I wouldn’t actually be in the shot.” He continued saying “The way it was described in the script it was like ‘I’m going to do what?’ But it wasn’t me, it was a POV. In this one, I’m in the shot and I said to Matthew ‘I’m not comfortable doing this’. So it’s not my hand – it’s Poppy’s husband’s hand. He saved the world.”

So when the actor declined, Poppy Delevingne’s husband was brought in to film.

Taron Egerton (Eggsy), Kingsman: The Golden Circle, 2017

#7 Morgan Freeman Disagreed Filming The Shawshank Redemption’s Initially Scripted Ending Scene

Image source: Pinkvilla, Warner Bros. Entertainment

Morgan Freeman disagreed with The Shawshank Redemption’s initially scripted ending scene which director Frank Darabont had planned.

In an interview with The Daily News, Freeman discussed Frank Darabont’s original concept, which included Red playing Andy’s gifted harmonica during their reunion scene.

However, Freeman considered the scene to be a little too conventional to go for, describing it as meaningless. “Frank believed I should be playing the harmonica Andy gave me. “I refused…it was asinine, cliched, unnecessary, and overkill,” Freeman added. He highlighted his desire to keep the finale natural by praising Andy and Red’s friendly reunion.

Morgan Freeman (Ellis Boyd Redding), The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

#8 Jessica Alba Refused To Swim With A Shark

Image source: Screen Rant, MGM

In Into The Blue Jessica Alba refused to swim with the shark. She told Hot Ones, “For some reason, they caught a wild tiger shark and said, ‘It’s in this cage, so it’s docile!'” I’m like, ‘It’s a f*****g tiger shark.”

The actress then revealed how, despite director John Stockwell’s pleading, she refused to change her mind and even retreated to shore on a boat to protest. The segment ended up being filmed with a double.

Jessica Alba (Sam), Into The Blue, 2005

#9 Bruce Lee Refused To Film A Fight Scene In Which He Would Lose To Robin

Image source: Screen rant, universal studios

Bruce Lee, who played Kato in the Green Hornet television series, refused to film a fight scene in which he would lose to Robin.

Because both Batman and Green Hornet were on ABC, a crossover between the two superhero shows was planned. However, the issue that arose during the production was Bruce Lee’s first reaction to the ideas for the fight between the heroes.

In the fight, Batman was matched with Green Hornet, while Robin faced Kato. The initial script planned for Kato to be defeated by Robin, which, according to Newsweek, bothered Lee. Van Williams shared that Lee “walked off” and refused to film the sequence, arguing “there’s no way that anyone would believe I go in there and fight Robin and lose.”

Finally, the scene was rewritten and the fight ended up in a tie.

Bruce Lee (Kato), A Piece of The Action, 1967

#10 Michelle Rodriguez Refused To Film A Cheating Scene

Image source: Screen Rant, Screen Bites

Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) who is the mechanic and street racer in the Fast & Furious refused to film a cheating scene on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) with Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker).

Letty is Dominic Toretto’s proud girlfriend and eventually wife, and Rodriguez believed it would be completely out of character for her to cheat on him. The actress told The Daily Beast that she didn’t believe a Latin girl would cheat on an alpha with a pretty boy, and that she “basically cried and said, I’m going to quit” while urging the writers to drop the idea.

Michelle Rodriguez (Letty Ortiz), Fast & Furious, 2015

#11 Matthew Perry Shut Down Chandler’s Plot To Cheat On Monica Geller

Image source: People, Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions Warner Bros. Television

Matthew Perry shut down Chandler’s plot to cheat on Monica Geller (Courteney Cox).

Actress Lisa Cash, who starred in the fifth season episode “The One in Vegas: Part 1,” said that she was originally supposed to be in a storyline in which Chandler Bing cheated on Monica Geller. “Basically, the scene was Chandler and Monica were arguing in [Las] Vegas. Chandler goes up to the hotel room, orders room service and I bring it up as a hotel worker,” she told TMZ.

Lisa Cash then shared “I was told that [he] went into the writers and said that the audience would never forgive him for cheating on Monica, which he was probably right.”

Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), Friends, 1999

#12 Kane Hodder Refused To Film A Scene That Included Kicking A Dog

Image source: The Digital Fix, Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Kane Hodder, who portrayed Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, was supposed to kick a dog.

Actor Kane Hodder, who played the iconic monster movie character, declined, stating he just didn’t believe Jason would harm a little animal in that way. In a 2013 Reddit AMA, Hodder personally shared: “I filled in something about the fact that I think Jason won’t hurt animals or kids.”

Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees), Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, 1989

#13 Henry Cavill Refused To Film Intimate Scenes In Season 2 Of The Witcher

Image source: Giant freaking robot, Netflix

Henry Cavill (Geralt of Rivia) refused to film intimate scenes with co-star Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) in season 2 of the Witcher.

Cavill opposed to the sex scenes, arguing that Geralt and Yennefer did not have that kind of connection. The actor stated, “We wanted it to be emotional rather than [intimate].” “It was really, really important, and we had to lean away from what was originally on the page.”

Henry Cavill (Geralt of Rivia), The Witcher, 2021

#14 Jim Carrey Has Refused To Film A Scene In Dumb And Dumber That Would End The Film With A Happy Ending

Image source: Far Out Magazine, Movieclips

Jim Carrey has refused to film a scene in Dumb And Dumber that would end the film with Harry and Lloyd getting on the bus for a happy ending.

At the end of the movie, Harry and Lloyd walk home without money and without transportation, capping off their experience. At that moment, a bus full of bikini-clad ladies approaches the couple and asks if they would mind being their “oil boys.” In true Dumb manner, they advise them that a town is a few miles away.

It was not, however, always the plan for how the movie would end. The bikini bus concept eventually surfaced, but it appeared that the movie’s studio believed that the couple should board the bus for a happy ending. Peter commented, “They’re too dumb to get on the bus,” indicating that the Farrellys weren’t up for this.

Carrey himself supported Farrelly, knowing that concluding the film in another moment of tragedy was the best way. The actor basically said, ‘I am not stepping foot on that bus. I won’t do it.’

Jim Carrey (Lloyd Christmas), Dumb and Dumber, 1994

#15 Joaquin Phoenix Refused To Film A Scene That Included Treating A Blind Woman By Wiping Mud In Her Eyes

Image source: CNN Entertainment , Willem

Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Jesus in the film “Mary Magdalene” refused to film a scene where Jesus treats a blind woman by wiping mud in her eyes.

“I knew about that scene from the Bible, but I guess I had never really considered it,” Phoenix said CNN in an interview. “When I got there, I thought, I’m not going to get dirt in her eyes. Who the f*** would do that? It doesn’t make sense. That is a terrible start to seeing.”

So in the film, Phoenix went with his intuition, licking his mud-free thumb and softly touching the woman’s eyes.

Joaquin Phoenix (Jesus), Mary Magdalene, 2018

#16 John Krasinski Refused Filming Scene Where Jim Cheats On Pam

Image source: Business Insider, HBO Max Brasil

In the season 8 episode “After Hours” of The Office, Jim (John Krasinski) travels to Florida for work, and Pam’s (Jenna Fischer) maternity leave replacement, Cathy (Lindsey Broad), attempts to make a move on him.

“That’s the only time I remember putting my foot down. ‘Cause [Greg] was saying, ‘You’re going to actually make out with her in this scene.’ I remember saying things that I never thought I’d say before, like, ‘I’m not going to shoot it,'” Krasinski recalled in a recent interview with People. He added that during discussion with Greg he said that if they show Jim cheating to the audience, they will never come back, implying that the scene would be a bridge too far for any fan.

John Krasinski (Jim), The Office, 2011

#17 Corden Declined To Film A Scene That Included Making Fun Of Obese People

Image source: Metro, Late Night with Seth Meyers

James Corden declined to film a scene in Hollyoaks when he played school janitor Wayne that included making fun of obese people.

The scene showed the character’s bedroom covered in posters and images of fast food. He told the New Yorker Magazine, “I thought they were just being nasty about anyone who was overweight.” I remember saying to the guy, “I don’t know one person who would take a picture of a hot dog and a burger and stick them on the wall.’” He refused to start filming until the posters were taken down.

James Corden (Janitor Wayne), Hollyoaks, 1999

#18 Mike Myers Threatened To Leave The Show If “Bohemian Rhapsody” Wasn’t Featured

Image source: Ranker, Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Mike Myers (Wayne Campbell) in “Wayne’s World” threatened to leave the show if “Bohemian Rhapsody” wasn’t featured.

Myers persisted in fighting for the song during the pre-production phase. He thought it was a work of art that would go great with Wayne, Garth, and the group as they cruised the town. At some point, he threatened to leave the movie if the producers wouldn’t allow him to use “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Mike Myers (Wayne Campbell), Wayne’s World, 1992

#19 Mahershala Ali Refused To Film An Intimate Scene

Image source: yahoo movies, paramount pictures

Mahershala Ali revealed that when he took the role of Tizzy Weathers in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, he agreed not to film an intimate scene with co-star Taraji P. Henson.

“So my old agent called me and said, ‘Mahershala, you got the part.'” Ali recalled, according to Page Six. “I said, ‘There’s just one thing…'” There is an [intimate] scene when they kiss. If there is an [intimate] scene, I can’t do it. The Muslim actor emphasized that he was trying to hold a space of respect for his religion.

Mahershala Ali (Tizzy Weathers), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008

#20 Lena Headey Refused To Appear Naked At The Conclusion Of Thrones’ Fifth Season

Image source: Looper, GameofThrones

Lena Headey refused to appear naked at the conclusion of Thrones’ fifth season. Cersei, the realm’s queen mother, is punished for her multiple misdeeds, including adultery with her twin brother Jaime Lannister, by having her hair shaved and being forced to strip naked for a long, agonizing walk around King’s Landing before her followers.

However, Headey requested to be partially clothed, but because Cersei is naked in the books, filmmakers insisted on staying true to the character. Finally, producers came up with a solution. Though Headey would walk the walk personally, a naked body double would walk beside her, with Headey’s head later overlaid onto the double’s body using CGI.

Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Game of Thrones, 2015

#21 Keanu Reeves Refused To Follow Director’s Orders To Yell Insults At Winona Ryder To Make Her Cry

Image source: Business Insider, Sony Pictures Entertainment

On the “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” set, Keanu Reeves refused to follow director Francis Ford Coppola’s orders to yell insults at Winona Ryder so she would cry for a scene.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Ryder revealed that Coppola instructed his male actors to insult her in order to make her emotions seem believable. In the scene that they were filming, Ryder was lying on a bed next to Gary Oldman’s Dracula, who was going to turn into a mound of rats.

“But Keanu wouldn’t, Anthony wouldn’t … the more it happened, I was like… It just didn’t work. I was, like, really? It kind of did the opposite.”

Keanu Reeves (Jonathan Harker), Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992

#22 Emily Blunt Refused To Act In A Nude Scene

Image source: Independent , Rotten Tomatoes Coming Soon

Emily Blunt refused to act in a nude scene in the film Sicario.

Blunt portrays an FBI agent enlisted to battle the drug war at the Mexican border, and she was not impressed when her badass character was requested to undress.

“It was in there originally, but it came out because we didn’t agree with it,” the actress told Howard Stern, explaining that “we” meant “my breast”.

Emily Blunt (Kate Macer), Sicario, 2015

#23 Robert Downey Jr. Refused To Follow The Original Scrip Tand Added The Now-Famous Shawarma Joke

Image source: Independent , Marvel Entertainment

In the closing moments of The Avengers, Robert Downey Jr. plays an injured Iron Man who wakes up and asks his fellow superheroes if they have “ever tried shawarma.” However, the scene’s original script called for him to wake up and ask, “What’s next?” Entertainment Weekly reports that Downey thought the line wasn’t lively enough.

Joss Whedon, the writer, concurred and on the day of filming, wrote multiple rewrites of the sequence in a notebook, including the now-famous shawarma joke.

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), The Avengers, 2012

#24 Mink Stole Refused To Set Her Hair On Fire

Image source: Far Out Magazine, Ember Assington

Mink Stole refused to set her hair on fire in John Waters’ film “Pink Flamingos”.

During a 2020 interview with Another, Stole stated: “John wanted me to set my hair on fire in the film, and I originally agreed to do it before I realized that was absolutely insane.”

Mink Stole (Connie Marble), Pink Flamingos, 1972

#25 Anna Kendrick Turned Down A Kiss Scene

Image source: Screen Rant, Universal Pictures

In the film Pitch Perfect 3, Beca Mitchell turned down one kiss scene. Music executive Theo (Guy Burnet), with whom Beca already had a working relationship, was introduced to Kendrick as a possible romantic partner for her character.

The actress rejected the notion, telling Harper’s Bazaar UK that she thought it was “f*****g problematic.”

Anna Kendrick (Beca Mitchell), Pitch Perfect 3, 2017

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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