Paul Walker, Fast and the Furious, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hunger Games, Heath Ledger, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Universal; Lionsgate; Parnassus Productions

Earlier this week, a source told E! News Philip Seymour Hoffman had seven days remaining to shoot The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 prior to his tragic death, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the iconic actor had one major scene left to film.

The source added that Hoffman's role as Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 was "substantially complete" at the time of his passing, and his untimely death "will not affect" the film's scheduled release dates of November 21, 2014, and November 20, 2015, respectively.

While the studio had no comment when asked how the filmmakers plan to proceed without Hoffman, this isn't the first time an actor has passed away while a film was still in production.

Here are three films (and two franchises) that continued on after the loss of a pivotal actor.

Richard Harris, Harry Potter

Warner Bros.

1. Harry Potter: Fans of the famous franchise were hit hard by Richard Harris' death after the actor, who played Professor Albus Dumbledore, passed away in 2002 after a brief bout with Hodgkin's disease. Just 10 days prior to his passing, his agent said he "would be released from the clinic soon" in order to reprise his role as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was slated to begin shooting in March. Harris was later replaced by Michael Gambon and the franchise's third film went on to gross nearly $800 million worldwide.

Brandon Lee, The Crow

Miramax Films

2. The Crow: Bruce Lee's son Brandon Lee tragically died at just 28 years old while filming his last movie in March 1993. The accidental shooting occurred during a scene in which Lee's costar was supposed to fire blank bullets at the actor, but instead a fragment of a real bullet was shot. After Lee's tragic passing, producers were faced with a tough decision as to whether to continue with the film. Paramount opted out of distribution, although Miramax picked it up and put another $8 million into the movie in order to complete production, using CGI technology to finish Lee's final scenes.

Heath Ledger, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Warner Bros.

3. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus: Production on the film was undoubtedly disrupted by the untimely death of Heath Ledger, when the Oscar winner died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008. While production was initial suspended, director Terry Gilliam decided he wanted to dedicate to movie to Ledger. He saved the project by rewriting the fantasy script so that Ledger's character Tony could magically change his appearance, and he called upon Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law to replace Heath, as they all appeared as different versions of the Ledger's character.

Fast and Furious 7, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Paul Walker

Universal Pictures

4. Fast and Furious 7: While production was initially shutdown after Paul Walker's sudden death in a fiery car crash in November, Universal Pictures has since confirmed the actor will appear in the latest installment of the film franchise, which is set to hit theaters on April 10, 2015. Fast & Furious 7 was in production at the time of Walker's tragic death and over 60 percent of the film had already been shot. "Continuing the global exploits in the franchise built on speed, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead the returning cast of FAST & FURIOUS 7, which will be released by Universal Pictures on April 10, 2015," the studio said in a statement. "James Wan directs this chapter of the hugely successful series, and Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel return as producers." No further information in regards to how production will proceed without Walker has been released.

Oliver Reed, Gladiator


5. Gladiator: English actor Oliver Reed died of a heart attack in 1999 during the filming of Gladiator, leaving several final scenes of the film incomplete. The script was partially rewritten and CGI was used to place the actor's face on a body double's head—an impressive feat 15 years ago. "When he died we had to make sense of the whole end of the film," Rob Harvey, the visual effects supervisor for the film told the BBC. "It's a very weird thing to have to do—particularly then, when the technology wasn't really there at all."

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.