The cutting room floor has been the bane of Hollywood actors for as long as there has been a cutting room. The movie clips that have wound up down there on the floor have both literally and metaphorically been the difference between a big break and a career that could have been. You may not realize it, but some of your favorite actors have actually had parts in some of your favorite movies. The rise of DVD technology and the hunger for Bonus Features has made some of the lost scenes available, but many other instances remain a surprise waiting to be discovered. So discover if any of your fave raves were never nixed from pix you love.
Chris Cooper: This Changes Everything
Every once in awhile an actor’s scenes are cut from a movie in a way that seriously impacts the final product. In the case of Chris Cooper and “The Ring” if his scenes had not been cut, the end of the movie would have been completely different. Next time you watch “The Ring” imagine Naomi Watts heading to a prison to deliver that accursed tape to a serial killer who deserves his fate. Cooper’s character apparently both opened and closed the original concept of “The Ring” before his character was cut.
Eric Stoltz: A Big Change For His Future
The worst of all possible scenarios in which your scenes wind up on the cutting room floor came true for Eric Stoltz. Stoltz’s career was just beginning to take off when he won the coveted role in a big budget summer blockbuster produced by Steven Spielberg. The movie was “Back to the Future” and the role was Marty McFly. Stoltz actually worked on the set for six weeks before it was determined that his Marty McFly was just a little too intense when the part called for a much lighter touch. Exit Stoltz, enter Michael J. Fox and what the cutting room floor reveals here is how just one movie can make the difference between being a working actor and being a superstar.
Shailene Woodley: She’ll Be Back
The face on the cutting room floor just remained there for most of Hollywood history. Then DVD Bonus Features allowed some of them to be viewed out of context. Shailene Woodley’s situation of being cut from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is something else entirely. There just was no room for Mary Jane Watson in the romance between Spidey and Gwen Stacey, apparently. But never fear for word on the street is that Woodley and Mary Jane will both be back and on film for the third installment.
Paul Hubbard & Colin Fox: A Present Left Under the Tree
And then there are those occasions when the face on the cutting room floor is not exactly famous, but the scenes on the cutting room change the film dramatically. “A Christmas Story” is loaded with fantasy sequences that derive from the wintry fever dream of Ralphie getting that Red Ryder rifle. Red Ryder was not the only 1930s movie serial character who invades Ralphie’s fantasies, however. Both Flash Gordon (Hubbard) and Ming the Merciless (Fox) were featured in one of the fantasy sequences in the original cut of “A Christmas Story.” It’s too bad the scene was cut because a promotional photo of the scene looks like it would have pretty cool.
Andy Garcia: Romance Ain’t Everything
The case of Andy Garcia has got to be one of the rarest on record when it comes to the face on the cutting room floor. Garcia told producers that a love interest really wasn’t need for the movie. Since “Dangerous Minds” was yet another addition to what has become a pretty predictable genre–the unexpected teacher who turns around an inner city school–you can bet that Garcia came to that conclusion packed with evidence from several previous movies. Nevertheless, the predictability of Hollywood producers who insist on a male love interest for pretty much any female lead ruled the day and the part of the teacher’s husband was written for Garcia. He came, He acted. He was cut from the movie.
Melissa Leo: No Harm, No Foul
A number of high profile actors were called upon to play high profile political figures in “The Butler.” One political figure too many, apparently, kept Melissa Leo from being seen onscreen as Mamie Eisenhower. Not the worst thing to ever happen. As for the impact on “The Butler” itself, one doubts that any movie suffers much as a result of Melissa Leo being cut from it.