As morbid as it may sound, death is not a well-enough reason to cancel the movie. Even when an actor dies right in the midst of the filming process, producers and directors always find a way to continue the production. They do it both for the sake of the movie and the last work done by an actor whose life suddenly ended. We know quite a few examples of such shows and movies. They all miraculously went to big screens and were warmly accepted by the viewers. Here are 7 deaths that dramatically changed famous movies and TV shows.
Heath Ledger (The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus)
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a surreal dream-like movie directed by Terry Gilliam. Heath Ledger, who played the main character, died of accidental drug overdose in 2008, when the filming was still not finished. What did the filmmakers do? They let Jude Law, Collin Farrell, and Johnny Depp play the leading role instead. Terry Gilliam wanted the script left unchanged, so they just worked like that. Nobody knew whether it all would work out, but it did in the end. The four-actor gimmick made the movie even more exciting to watch!
Paul Walker (Furious 7)
A tragic car accident took the life of Paul Walker in 2014, right when he was taking part in filming the Furious 7, the seventh movie from the Fast and the Furious franchise. Filmmakers where at a loss as to how to finish the movie without the main lead, but ended up using a bunch of doubles, including Caleb and Cody, Paul Walker’s brothers. They also invited CGI specialists that helped make The Lord of the Rings and they did some ‘magic’ as well. Directors managed to continue the production and flawlessly finished the movie!
Cory Monteith (Glee)
Cory Monteith’s death shocked both fans and the directors of Glee, a musical-comedy TV show on Fox. They have already shot several episodes of season five, which did not involve Cory’s character Finn, but the following episodes heavily revolved around him. Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, decided to start the next episode with Finn’s funeral and the script was fully rewritten, erasing Finn’s character from the show. While that sounds really sad, it was the only sane thing to do under those circumstances. He also deliberately decided not to reveal the reason of Finn’s death.
Chris Farley (Shrek)
Can you imagine Shrek having a different voice? Originally, Chris Farley from Saturday Night Live was cast to voice the role of green ogre Shrek in the popular animated movie series, but he tragically died in 1997, leaving half of the movie un-voiced. Directors had no other choice but to cast another famous SNL alum. Thus, Mike Myers became the voice of Shrek we all know and love so much.
John Ritter (8 Simple Rules)
8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter lost one of its main leads right when they just started filming the third season. Actor John Ritter died having filmed three episodes of the new season, leaving the show’s directors at a loss as to what to do next. Eventually, he was written out of the show’s script and James Garner was brought in to play Katy Sagal’s character’s father. It was the final season for the show.
Nancy Marchand (The Sopranos)
The Sopranos third season was to feature Nancy Marchand in a major role that involved Tony (played by James Gandolfini) attempting to prevent Marchand’s character from testifying in court. It was quite a significant arc for both characters and involved a few important plot twists. Alas, with Nancy Marchand’s death, the producers had to re-write the whole season and shift the plot’s focus on Tony’s family and their ordeals. With the help of some CGI, Livia (Nancy Marchand) was brought one last time for a final scene in season three.
Andy Whitfield (Spartacus)
Starz Entertainment was burdened with an impossible task to re-cast the title character of the popular show Spartacus after Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Various actors portrayed his character in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, while Andy Whitfield was undergoing treatment, but when he couldn’t return to film the second season of the show, he was replaced by Liam McIntyre. Whitfield was only 39 when he passed away on Sept. 11, 2011.