Tobey Maguire Out as Lee Recasts ‘Life of Pi’

by | September 5, 2012 at 8:37 PM | General, Movies

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

It appeared for a moment that 2012 might be the Second Coming of Tobey Maguire.

But now — as the summer is winding down, and Andrew Garfield has inherited the Spider-man suit, and the clout, that once helped rocket Maguire to Hollywood’s A-list — it looks like that plan has hit a significant snag.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Maguire’s part in Ang Lee’s highly-anticipated “Life of Pi” — considered a strong contender in this fall’s Oscar race — has been recast, and the scenes that the 37-year-old actor filmed will not appear in the final version of the movie.

It may have been a case of someone who was just too famous for the role, a source close to the actor said, noting that Maguire was the most prominent American star among a cast of mostly lesser-known European and Asian actors.

But an insider on the film said the Academy Award-winning director felt Maguire’s performance wasn’t working.

“To be consistent with the other casting choices made for the film, I decided to go with an entirely international cast,” Lee said in a statement to THR.com. “I very much admire Tobey and look forward to working with him again in the future.”

Maguire was slated to play the role of  ”The Writer,” a stand-in for the book’s author Yann Martell, in scenes that would serve as a framing device for the film, reports The Huffington Post.

Those scenes have now been recast with Rafe Spall, a British newcomer best known to U.S. audiences for his role in Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” this past summer.

The actor, whose relationship with director Lee dates back to 1997′s “The Ice Storm,” appeared to bow out gracefully.

“I fully support Ang’s decision to go a different direction for this role in ‘Life of Pi,’” Maguire said in his own statement.  “Ang shared a lot of the film with me, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful.”

This is not the first time the actor’s hopes have been dashed for a comeback this year. He is part of the all-star cast of Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” which was originally slated for a Christmas 2012 opening,  but that film has since been pushed back to the summer of 2013.

At least Maguire is in good company — sort of. The Huffington Post notes that this year, at least, there are several prominent stars wondering where their own screen time went. Uma Thurman’s part was dropped  from this summer’s “The Savages,” while the famously eccentric director Terrence Malick cut Rachel Weisz, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen and Jessica Chastain from his upcoming “To the Wonder.”

“It seems that my part has been cut,” Weisz told the Italian publication La Stampa. “So I had the experience of working with [Terrence Malick] but I will not have the pleasure of seeing my work.”

Still, it’s rare for an actor of Maguire’s stature to have a part recast entirely, especially after filming has wrapped.

“Life of Pi” is due to be released to theaters on November 21.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.