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Deleted Role
It can be nearly impossible to tell exactly what will happen between script and screen. Between casting, rewrites, various production quibbles and the like, the final product could easily be completely different than what the people involved thought they were working on. Editing can have a particularly dramatic impact, with the director and editor being able to shape the footage at their own whim. Occastionally, whole characters fall victim to cutting. This trope is what happens when a Deleted Scene also removes an entire actor from the product.

See also Demoted to Extra, when a character's screentime is simply cut to the point of insignificance.


Examples:

Film
  • In Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland, the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon wound up having no further presence than storyboards, a Cut Song, and a Jello commercial featuring characters from that film.
  • Shailene Woodley's role as Mary Jane Watson was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, instead being saved for the third installment in the series.
  • Taylor Schilling's role as Tony Mendez's wife was cut almost completely out of Argo, leaving her instead with a brief appearance near the end.
  • Austin Powers had a Running Gag cut from the first filmnote , which had several scenes showing the family and friends of Faceless Mooks upon learning of their deaths: including Rob Lowe in this cameo. Rob was given an on-screen role in the sequel.
  • Be Cool had a scene where Linda was interviewed by Patti LaBelle for her radio show. However, the music legend's scene had to be cut for time.
  • In The Big Chill, the friend who committed suicide, putting the entire plot in motion, was originally meant to be played in flashback by Kevin Costner. Writer/Director Lawrence Kasdan eventually decided his character didn't need to be seen, and all of Costner's scenes were edited out. The role isn't 100% deleted, though. The body being dressed at the beginning of the film? We never see the face, but it is Kevin Costner, all right.
  • The script for Bruce Almighty had the character of Bobby, who worked at the news station, selling snacks. He annoyed Bruce, who then proceeded to damn him, causing him to become demoniacally-possessed. Fortunately, Bruce eventually reversed it.
  • Summer Glau revealed that she had been cast in a supporting role for Black Swan. However, before shooting began, the character was cut from the story while the screenwriters were still working on final drafts.
  • La Toya Jackson had a scene in Brüno in which the titular character invites her to eat sushi off an obese naked man and practically begs her to call her brother Michael to join them. Unfortunately, hours before the movie's red carpet premiere in Los Angeles, Michael died, and the scene was immediately cut.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seth Green had a supporting role as Pike's friend who would later be turned into a vampire (he would've been the only cast member to have been in both the movie and the show), all of his scenes were cut but he can still be seen very briefly near the end among the vampires at the gym.
  • Woody Allen cut all of Vanessa Redgrave's scenes from his film Celebrity.
  • A scene from A Christmas Story where Ralphie has a fantasy about being in the Flash Gordon universe was cut, however the credits still list the actors for Flash Gordon and Ming The Merciless.
  • Michelle Monaghan had a role as a half-breed demon who had a relationship with the title character in Constantine, but her role was cut because they wanted to greater emphasize his loneliness, and her role conflicted with that.
  • Wes Craven's werewolf movie Cursed was very much a Troubled Production, and as a result of Executive Meddling, re-writes, and re-casting, many actors filmed scenes that were never shown. Among those who fell victim to the Cursed curse were Skeet Ulrich (whose character was originally a central figure), Illeana Douglas, Heather Langenkamp, Scott Foley, Omar Epps, Robert Forster, Corey Feldman, and James Brolin.
  • Andy Garcia's role as Michelle Pfeiffer's love interest in Dangerous Minds was left on the cutting room floor, thereby preventing a Romantic Plot Tumor.
  • The perceived laziness in the plot of Thomas and the Magic Railroad stems from the fact that a major character was removed from the film thanks to Executive Meddling. The main villain of the movie was a human character named P.T. Boomer (played by Canadian actor Doug Lennox), who was the main driving factor to the concern felt by Burnett Stone in the movie. Thanks to the removal of Boomer, plots driven by him went unexplained. The reason for his removal was allegedly due to him being too 'scary for children' during the US test audience screenings, which is odd given that the secondary antagonist was an evil diesel with a claw! This cut was so close to the release of the movie that trailers and promotional material still alluded to him.
  • Daredevil originally had a subplot involving the titular hero having to prove the innocence of a client played by Coolio, which was removed due to Executive Meddling. It was later restored for the Director's Cut.
  • Tracey Ullman was cast as a bartender named Toni in Death Becomes Her, with her character intended to be the eventual love interest to Bruce Willis' character Ernest. Due to lackluster test audience reception and the studio wanting the film retooled to be a pure black comedy, all of her scenes were cut (although she still appears in the theatrical trailer) and the ending was entirely reworked. note 
  • Harrison Ford originally had a scene in ET The Extra Terrestrial where he played the school principal, but Steven Spielberg decided to cut it, not wanting to be accused of Stunt Casting (even though Ford's face was never shown).
  • Ellen Pompeo had a scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where she played an ex-girlfriend of Joel that was deleted from the final cut.
  • Both Liam Hemsworth and Brittany Murphy were cut from The Expendables following script rewrites; Sylvester Stallone later gave Hemsworth a part in the first sequel (Murphy, who would have appeared as Mickey Rourke's girlfriend, passed away before the first film's release).
  • James Gandolfini shot scenes as a man who meets Sandra Bullock at grief counselling in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but they were cut after negative reactions at test screenings.
  • Nicolas Cage had one of his first roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, as "Brad's Bud" but nearly every one of his scenes were cut. You can still see him for a couple seconds working the grill at the American Burger.
  • Lara Flynn Boyle's first film part was a small role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but none of her scenes made it into the final movie.
  • Mick Jagger was supposed to appear in Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, but various troubles with the production (along with Jagger's commitment to The Rolling Stones) led to his character being removed.
  • Farrah Fawcett's character was cut entirely out of the Gene Wilder movie Funny About Love. Roger Ebert described this as "One of the biggest breaks in Farrah Fawcett's career."
  • The original five-hour cut of Gods and Generals (now available on Blu-Ray) featured a subplot following the life and career of John Wilkes Booth. It was cut due to Executive Meddling.
  • The Harry Potter films:
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Rik Mayall filmed scenes as Peeves the Poltergeist. They were cut from the film and for some reason or another have never been released.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix's film, Susie Shiner was set to appear as Harry's mother in Snape's Worst Memory, telling James to let Snape go and stop being a jerk. Not only was she cut, but the scene itself was butchered, and none of it appeared on the DVD. This was a problem as it becomes a plot point in the final book.
  • Jonathan Brandis had a role as Private Lewis P. Wakely in the 2002 film Harts War. His frustration over its deletion, which he hoped would be his comeback role, was thought to have been a contributing factor behind his suicide in 2003.
  • Harold Ramis originally had a scene as John Cusack's father in High Fidelity, but it was cut.
  • Ice Age originally had a character named Sylvia, voiced by Kristen Johnston (Sally on 3rd Rock from the Sun), a Clingy Jealous Girl sloth whom Sid was trying to get rid of. She was cut for various reasons, mainly because she made Sid come off as a Jerkass.
  • Brandon Routh was cast as a vampire in Gregor Jordan's film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ short-story collection The Informers, but all of his scenes were removed before the film's release.
  • Maggie Cheung was cast as the former owner of Shoshanna's movie theatre in Inglourious Basterds, but all of her scenes were cut from the final release.
    • Cloris Leachman was in a flashback scene as The Bear Jew's grandmother that got cut. Her scene would have explained how The Bear Jew got his bat.
  • Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan was supposed to have a cameo in Iron Man, but his sequence was cut from the final film.
  • Sam Rockwell had a Deleted Scene in Jarhead where he played Jake Gyllenhaal's uncle.
  • LA Story: Both John Lithgow and Scott Bakula filmed scenes that were later cut during the editing process. Lithgow's character Harry Zell is mentioned by other characters in a couple of scenes.
  • Melissa Leo's role as Mamie Eisenhower was cut out of Lee Daniels' The Butler.
    • Orlando Eric Street was cast as Barack Obama, but his scene never made it into the final cut.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker's role as feminist crusader Gloria Steinem was cut out of the biopic Lovelace.
  • In Magnolia, Orlando Jones's role, as "The Worm"—the father of the rapping boy and also the murderer of the man in the closet—was left on the cutting room floor. This makes Dead Guy In Closet's Murder an Unreveal and makes the boy's presence in the film more or less random. In the final cut Jones appears only as the mysterious hooded pedestrian that Officer Jim chases before losing his gun.
  • Averted in The Man Who Would be King. John Huston considered cutting out the Rudyard Kipling character (played by Christopher Plummer) and probably would have, had star Sean Connery not decided to Wag the Director.
  • Jennifer Ehle was cast as George Clooney's love interest in Michael Clayton, but all of her scenes were cut (save for a brief, out-of-focus appearance in the background of one shot). Clooney personally apologized to her for the exclusion.
  • George Harrison originally had a larger role in Monty Python's Life of Brian, but it got cut to him just being introduced as the manager of the Mount and saying "Hello." Pilate's wife, only mentioned in the final cut, was to have been played by Burt Case, a very tall actor who had another bit part that remained in the film.
    • Also, a scene setting up Otto and the Judean People's Front was deleted, so their Big Damn Heroes (Subverted) moment at the end comes out of nowhere.
  • Estella Warren planned to make a big comeback with a supporting role in the spy comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but her part - she and Adam Brody play a husband and wife who get wrapped up in the film's plot - was deleted from the final print (although Brody remains in the movie).
    • Keith David & Angela Bassett were cast as the bosses of the title characters, but only their voices remained in the final movie.
    • Terence Stamp and Jacqueline Bisset also appeared in a subplot as terrorists that got cut.
  • The Muppets originally had cameos by Steve Carell, Billy Crystal, Wanda Sykes and Danny Trejo. Sykes and Trejo's scenes appeared on one of the trailers. (Trejo does appear in Muppets Most Wanted.)
  • Famous bodybuilding siblings David and Peter Paul had a scene in Natural Born Killers where they were interviewed by the Robert Downey, Jr. character because despite having their legs hacked off by the main characters, they can't help but be impressed by their charisma. Director Oliver Stone, despite praising their scene as the best-written one in the movie (whose screenplay was written by Quentin Tarantino), couldn't fit it into the final cut.
    • Ashley Judd also had a part that was cut, where she had a 9-minute scene as a courtroom witness. Denis Leary appeared in a cameo as a conspiracy theory-obsessed prisoner that was cut.
  • Sam Waterston played CIA director Richard Helms in Oliver Stone's Nixon, but after public outcry from Helms's children over how his character was portrayed, his scene was cut from the film. It was later reinstated for the home video Director's Cut.
  • Jared Leto had a cameo as an actor in Phone Booth that was cut as it didn't fit the film's tone. However, the cable version adds this scene back in to pad the film's run time.
  • In his only work for Disney (if you don't count Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Mel Blanc originally recorded dialogue for Gideon the cat in Pinocchio. He was cut out not because the character was taken out but because they decided to keep him silent. A single hiccup is all that remains of Blanc's performance in the film.
  • The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was originally envisioned as a three-hour movie composed of four semiconnected stories. However, the studio pressured Billy Wilder into removing the first and third segments, completely cutting Inspector Lestrade (played by George Benson) and other characters played by the likes of Noel Johnson, Nicole Shelby, and David Kossoff from the movie.
  • This trope explains why the end credits for Problem Child include several characters who don't appear in the film.
  • Bruce Campbell had a cameo in The Quick and the Dead that was cut out in the final edit. His name still appears in the final credits.
  • In Rat Race, Owen caught a ride on a moving house only to discover it was not quite empty when he walked in on Kimberly Page in her underwear, causing her to scream. This leads to Diamond Dallas Page showing up and beating up the former referee. The scene was cut from the final film for time purposes.
  • Chris Cooper originally had a role in The Ring where he played a serial killer who tried to convince Naomi Watts to petition for his early release. Had his scene remained in the movie, she would have delivered the killer tape to his cell at the film's end.
  • Anthony LaPagila filmed a single scene as Al Capone for Road to Perdition and it was cut out. However, like Jared Leto in Phone Booth, his scene is thrown into TV showings. Interestingly, Alfred Molina was the producers' first choice to play Capone but couldn't due to schedule conflicts.
  • Uma Thurman filmed scenes as Blake Lively's mother for Oliver Stone's Savages, but they were cut from the final film.
  • Isla Fischer, Minnie Driver, Erin Brockovich, and Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob recorded dialogue for The Simpsons Movie their scenes were cut and have yet to be released to the public, although the filmmakers state that they may include them in a special edition dvd.
  • Sofia Vergara reprised her role as Odile in a scene filmed for The Smurfs 2, but was eventually dropped from the theatrical release.
  • But for a single shot in the montage that closes the movie, this is Jeaneane Garofalo's fate in Southland Tales. Brian O'Halloran (Dante Hicks from Clerks) was also rumored to have been cut.
  • Spice World originally had cameos from Jason Isaacs and Gary Glitter that were eventually cut. The latter case is very well justified, as the singer was arrested for possession of child pornography shortly before the film's release.
  • Michael Dorn (best known for playing Worf in Star Trek: The Next Generation) was offered a cameo role in Star Trek Into Darkness, but it was eventually cut because the filmmakers didn't want "to mix the old with the new".
  • Star Trek: Nemesis was supposed to have a scene with Wil Wheaton as Wesley at Troi and Riker's wedding, but it was cut, leaving him with only a brief, dialogue-free appearance in the film.
  • James Van Der Beek was cut out of Todd Solondz's Storytelling. It's not known exactly who he was playing, but rumors say that he played a gay football player whose part included an explicit sex scene.
  • Surf's Up originally had an interview scene with Big Z's former girlfriends, voiced by Jane Krakowski and Mindy Sterling. The girlfriends still appear in the background, but nearly all of their dialogue scenes were cut. The scenes did later appear in a "documentary" in the DVD's special features.
  • Tim Burton decided to drop the Crowd Songs partway through filming Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, feeling they were uncinematic. This resulted in performers Christopher Lee and Anthony Stewart Head being cut from the movie (even though the latter has a single line cameo following "The Contest").
  • Michael Biehn was supposed to reprise his role as Kyle Reese in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but his scene was cut. It was, however, reinstated for the Director's Cut.
  • Terrence Malick is notorious for this, due to the fact that he shapes his films as he is making them. The most famous case was his 1998 war epic The Thin Red Line, where of the All-Star Cast, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Sheen, Gary Oldman, Bill Pullman, Lukas Haas, Viggo Mortensen, and Mickey Rourke were cut out completely, and others such as George Clooney and Adrien Brody (who was originally supposed to be the lead) had their screen time drastically reduced to one or two scenes each.
  • Adriana Barraza had a role as the owner of a diner in Thor that was cut for time, though she is still listed in the end credits.
  • Turbo A Power Rangers Movie was originally three hours long, and featured many characters who were either cut out or removed from the script through rewrites. Former rangers Billy, Trini, and Zack were all supposed to appear, but David Yost quit, and Thuy Trang and Walter Jones turned the film down. Also removed was a mermaid, Mandika, an ally of Zordon's who would help the Rangers find the Ghost Galleon ship and later prevent Kimberly from drowning. All of her scenes were shot, but were later cut from the movie, and have never been seen since.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's Non-Actor Vehicle UHF, had at least two characters who were removed via editing in the final product.
  • Before Twilight and Harry Potter, Robert Pattinson was cast as Becky Sharp's son in Vanity Fair in which he reconciles with his mother. Perhaps because this was wildly Out of Character for Becky, it was cut.
  • In W, Michael Shannon had a scene as the preacher who converted Dubya to evangelical Christianity. For some reason or another, it was cut out of the final product.
    • Rob Corddry and Ioan Gruffudd also had their roles cut to almost nothing (Corddry has a one-line role at the end, Gruffudd has one scene in the middle).
  • Max von Sydow plays the character than gives his silver-pointed cane to Lawrence Talbott in The Wolfman (2010), but his one scene was cut from the theatrical release. It survives in the director's cut of the DVD.
  • In the 1939 film version of The Women, Margaret Dumont was cast as Mrs. Wagstaff, but got edited out entirely.
  • The X-Men films have multiple examples of this:
    • X2: X-Men United was meant to feature brief cameos from Beast and Gambit during the brainwashed Professor X's telepathic attack on the mutants, which would have caused their powers to flare involuntarily, but the sequence was cut. The characters would later appear in X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, respectively.
    • A cameo was planned for the fan-favorite character Jubliee, and in all three of the main X-Men films, the character was cut.
    • The actor who played Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) was intended to have a much larger presence in X-Men: The Last Stand (including a fight scene with both Juggernaut and Magneto, who throws Colossus away when he armors up). Almost the entirety of his role is deleted, and he appears in a non-speaking background role for the entirety of the film.
    • Anna Paquin's role as Rogue was cut out of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • A variant happens in the movie Sucker Punch. While Jon Hamm does make an appearance at the end as the doctor who performs a lobotomy on Baby Doll, a deleted scene also had him appear in the bordello fantasy, as the High Roller. In the scene, it would have been revealed that the High Roller had no intention of raping her, and asks for love between a man and a woman, in exchange for setting her free. Baby Doll consenting leads to her seeing the lobotomy as her freedom in the real world. Apparently the scene was cut because Executive Meddling kept whittling it down, until it began to look like Baby Doll wasn't entirely consenting to the sex. Since that ruined the entire point of the scene, it was cut and the High Roller remained an unseen character.
  • Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle originally ended with Harold meeting Maria's brother, played by Luis Guzman, who Harold initially mistakes for her boyfriend, and learns from him that Maria has gone to Amsterdam. As humorous as it was, Word of God decided it'd be better having Harold actually see Maria one last time before she goes to Amsterdam.

Live-Action TV
  • The pilot for Chuck featured Natalie Martinez as the protagonist's other love interest and neighbor Kayla Hart, who was going to be a main character but was instead cut from the pilot (and series) entirely before it aired.
  • Liam Burke shot scenes as "The Mad King" (Aerys II Targaryen) for flashbacks in Game of Thrones, but they were all cut.
  • The Highlander series had a variant of this - Christopher Lambert did appear in the pilot, but when footage shot for the pilot was used in a flashback in a later ep, Lambert was edited out because they couldn't afford to pay for a second appearance.
  • On The X-Files, Scully was originally supposed to have a boyfriend at the start of the series, named Ethan. He was eventually cut, but the deleted scenes with him can be seen on Youtube. Ethan also tends to crop up in fanfiction.

Theatre
  • The original production of the musical Show Boat cast a well-known actress as Hetty Chilson, though Edna Ferber's character had already been practically Demoted to Extra before being cut out of the show entirely. The actress, Dagmar Oakland, remained in the cast as Dolly, a small part in a filler scene.

Video Games
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2 a character named Chinaman was originally meant as one of the Dead Cell, but before release he was cut for reasons unknown and Vamp had his initial role merged with Chinaman's, which explains why he has water-related abilities, which were originally meant as Chinaman's, besides his knife mastery and immortality.
  • All of the Duke Nukem Forever trailers up till Gearbox took over featured The Prospector. He was dropped by Gearbox as a character.

Western Animation
  • The Joker was meant to cameo in the Justice League episode "This Little Piggy", where after Diana had been turned into a pig, Batman would be walking down the street with her and would pass the Joker preparing to commit a crime with his gang. The Joker, in the middle of preparing a heist and laying out his convoluted plan to deal with Batman, would see Batman holding and consoling a pig and would stare at it in Dull Surprise, then throw his hands in the air and abandon the entire scheme. For various reasons, the scene was dropped.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Luna Eclipsed" originally had a scene where Twilight Sparkle took Princess Luna to see Rarity to help improve her image with a new dress. As a result of the scene being cut, Rarity had an absent episode.

Cut SceneScenesDeleted Scene
Decomposite CharacterCharacters and CastingDisabled Character, Disabled Actor
DefictionalizationTriviaDeleted Scene

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