Being fired in Hollywood is often looked at as a career ender since it seems to happen when a star in question does something controversial. Once in a while, it’s simply due to not having the acting vision the creators wanted.
A surprising revelation came from Julianne Moore recently when appearing on Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen. A caller asked Moore what she thought of the film Can You Ever Forgive Me?, only to reveal Moore was apparently fired from the project.
She reportedly was going to play celebrity biographer Lee Israel until screenwriter Nicole Holofcener canned Moore. We know the reason, but it may set a new precedent for what “fired” really means in Hollywood.
What was the reason for the firing?
As Moore says during the call-in segment, she hadn’t started shooting Can You Ever Forgive Me? yet and was only in rehearsals. Holofcener reportedly didn’t like Moore’s approach to how Lee Israel should be depicted.
While this isn’t an unusual situation in the world of filmmaking, Moore wasn’t afraid to admit she was a bit hurt by this considering her A-list stature as an actress. After all, she’s had three Oscar nominations, one win in 2015 (for Still Alice), three Golden Globe wins, and she’s the winner of an Emmy Award.
It’s a bit strange to have such a high-caliber actress fired from something, especially when you hear Moore say she hasn’t been terminated from any job since working at a yogurt stand when she was 15.
Various A-list actors have been fired from movies
Despite still feeling like a slight to see Moore fired from a project, it’s not the first time this has happened with A-list stars. You can look back as far as 50+ years ago to find examples we’ve compiled.
One of the oldest and most notorious firings was Judy Garland toward the end of her life. She already straddled the line of being fired from movies back in the late 1940s due to her increasing drug use. In 1967, she was fired from the movie Valley of the Dolls because she showed up on set inebriated once too often. Just imagine how depressing it was to send a notice of termination to one of the greatest icons in movie history.
In more recent years, everyone from Ryan Gosling to Anne Hathaway have been fired from movies due to conflicts with producers, writers, or a director.
Eric Stoltz’s firing from Back to the Future is one of the most famous and ultimately helped his own career due to the oddball notoriety.
Should there be a redefining of what “firing” means?
The word “fired” has a long strange trip throughout entertainment history, especially when you apply it to Donald Trump and his The Apprentice years. Even on the latter reality show, Trump managed to redefine what being fired was like. Considering he was firing celebrities for not competing well rather than for a real job, it sort of turned being fired into a joke.
Being terminated from anything is automatically equated with a firing when there’s considerable grey areas nowadays.
In Hollywood, not seeing eye to eye on a project should just mean “creative differences” rather than a legitimate firing. When it’s applied to someone like Moore, calling it a firing just cheapens what she’s accomplished as an actress.
Being removed from a film is arguably good for the ego
We have to wonder if there was something more personal behind Moore’s removal from Can You Ever Forgive Me?, outside of her looking at it as just a life experience. Plus, she says she worships Melissa McCarthy who went on to win the lead role.
If you can find anything positive behind this, you could say it brings actors of Moore’s caliber back down to earth. After winning multiple awards, it’s possible to think you can do anything and save any movie.
In reality, the creative process is going to mean collisions more often than not. Hopefully Moore will use this to her advantage and make sure everyone’s on the same page for her next project before taking time with rehearsals.