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Disappearing Acts: 15 Big Screen Characters Who Didn’t Make Final Cut

Disappearing Acts: 15 Big Screen Characters Who Didn’t Make Final Cut (photo)

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After beating out throngs of big name actors for the part and filming for four months in Queensland, Australia with 6am call times every day, Adrien Brody thought he was sitting pretty when he attended a press screening for Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line” in 1998. But 170 minutes later, Brody felt more like a soldier than ever as he saw his performance as Corporal Fife winnowed down to a supporting and largely silent role. As he recalled to The New York Press‘ Matt Zoller Seitz, “You spend all this time in an unfamiliar place, you experience incredible things, and then you come home, you’re wounded psychologically, and you have nothing to show for it.”

At least Brody made the cut. Here are a few from recent years who weren’t as lucky:

Jon Stewart: “The First Wives Club”

Imagine, if you will, the future host of “The Daily Show” sitting by his TV watching “Laugh-In” and wishing for the day he could play boy toy to Goldie Hawn in a big motion picture. You can’t? Neither could Hawn, who told USA Today in 1996 that “As much as I love Jon, before it was even cast I said to Scott (Rudin, the film’s producer), ‘Let’s get rid of this. It’s not pertinent to the plot. You are going to cut this.’ And sure enough it was the first to go.” So much for the vote of confidence, but the film was supposed to be Stewart’s big break into movies after his first talk show on MTV came to an end in 1995.

Kevin Costner: “The Big Chill”

Perhaps the most famous character to be left on the cutting room floor, Costner’s Alex commits suicide before “The Big Chill” begins, but appeared in a series of flashbacks throughout the film after his friends from college reunite for his funeral. Audiences had their best chance at seeing the performance in 1998 when Columbia wanted to re-release the film with the Costner scenes as a selling point, but director Lawrence Kasdan was “very adamant” about keeping the film the way it was, according to the studio’s Michael Schlesinger, who spoke to USA Today at the time. Still, there was no harm done between Costner and Kasdan, who made amends by casting Costner in his next film, “Silverado.”

01072008_cutcharacters1.jpgChris Cooper: “The Ring”

Considering “The Ring” became a sleeper hit largely thanks to teenagers, DreamWorks execs probably made the right call when they decided to open the film with a perky Amber Tamblyn than a dour Chris Cooper. Cooper, who would earn an Oscar nomination for “Adaptation” the same year, found his portrayal of an imprisoned serial killer of children left on the cutting room floor, including an opening sequence where the character attempts to persuade Naomi Watts’ journalist that’s he’s rehabilitated in his bid for parole. The kicker was that Watts would deliver the killer videotape to his cell at the end of the film as a bookend.

Janeane Garofalo: “Southland Tales”

And to think Mandy Moore was worried she might not make the final cut — after the disastrous premiere of Richard Kelly’s sophomore film at Cannes in 2006, no one was safe from the chopping block as Kelly tried to appease potential distributors with a shorter running time. Eventually, Garofalo’s militant General Teena MacArthur who operated out of a Venice Beach storefront was excised. All that remains of Garofalo’s performance is a shot of the General celebrating the end of the world at the film’s conclusion.

Michelle Monaghan: “Unfaithful,” “Syriana,” “Constantine”

Three strikes usually means you’re out, but Monaghan appears to have beat the odds. Before landing leads in “Gone Baby Gone” and the upcoming indie “Trucker,” the actress was trimmed from a bit part as Richard Gere’s secretary in “Unfaithful” before being poised for a banner year in 2005 with roles as a demon-human hybrid in “Constantine” and a beauty pageant queen who travels to the Middle East in “Syriana.” The only problem was that her subplots in both films were dropped from the final product. Fortunately for Monaghan, she still appeared in meaty roles in “North Country” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” and even her turn in “Constantine” wasn’t for naught — J.J. Abrams brought the actress on “Mission: Impossible III” after seeing her audition tape from the Keanu Reeves thriller.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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