It's easy to forget all the work that goes into making a movie. From script writing, to costume design and editing, a lot goes in to making your favorite films. So when one of the leading actors dies before the movie is finished, the studio starts to panic about how to proceed.
Some times movies are able to soldier on without the actor. Whether it's rewriting scripts, or using the help of digital technology, they're somehow able to make it work and the film becomes a successful tribute to the actor's final performance. However, that's not always the case. Some movies never see their release, or if they do, are a flop at the box office.
Here are 9 movies that suffered the death of a leading actor while filming was still in progress, and what the studio did about it.
How many of these movies do you remember?
Bruce Lee - The Game of Death
Lee died suddenly in 1973 after filming Enter the Dragon. Just before shooting that movie, the martial arts legend had suspended production on Game of Death.
The actor had planned to write, direct and star in the movie. He had shot 30 minutes of usable footage before production shut down.
After his death, the production company found the footage and wrote a new script based around it.
The resulting version of Game of Death was met with outrage from Lee's fans because the studio incorporated Lee's footage, as well as video from his funeral.
Paul Walker - Furious 7
While some consider his death ironic, others find it an incredibly sad coincidence. Paul Walker died in a car accident in 2013 while he was in the middle of filming Furious 7.
They continued the movie after his death, but rewrote the ending to show respect for Paul. With the help of his brothers Cody and Caleb, as well as computer-generated imagery, the film was completed without the actor.
Heath Ledger - The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Together with Heath Ledger, director Terry Gilliam put together the 2008 semi-autobiographical fantasy. Ledger played a key role in the film's production, helping to produce, finance and act in the film.
After Ledger died of a drug overdose, the film was left in limbo.
Gilliam wanted to finish the film to honor Ledger's legacy, and that's when Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law came into the picture. The 3 close friends offered their services to finish the movie and donated their salaries to Ledger's daughter, Matilda.
The script was reworked and Gilliam withdrew his name from the credit and replaced it with "A Film from Heath Ledger and his Friends."
Brandon Lee - The Crow
The son of martial arts legend, Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 during a stunt accident on the set of The Crow. His character walked through a doorway carrying a grocery bag, when another actor fired blanks at him. Lee activated a toggle switch under the grocery bag and set off a small charge to simulate the gunfire effects. He was hit in the abdomen by a projectile and later died that day at the age of 28.
Director Alex Proyas used a double and special effects to complete the movie.
Continue to the next page for Natalie Wood's unfinished work and a Gladiator actor that died before filming wrapped.