Melissa McCarthy secured critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of lesbian author Lee Israel in 2018's Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but McCarthy was not the original actress intended to play the literary con artist.
On a recent episode of Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, Moore recounted the tale of her hiring -- and firing -- from an earlier version of the film directed by Nicole Holofcener. Moore was fired just six days before shooting was due to begin.
"I didn't leave that movie, I was fired," Moore told Cohen. "Nicole fired me ... I think she didn't like what I was doing [in rehearsal]. I think that her idea of where the character was was different from my idea of where the character was, and so she fired me." Moore also admitted that the experience was "still kind of painful."
But according to Richard E. Grant, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Israel's partner in crime Jack Hock in the film, what Moore was "doing" was trying to wear a fat suit to play the writer.
"Julianne Moore wanted to wear a fat suit and a false nose to play Lee Israel," Grant said during a discussion with Empire editor-in-chief Terri White at Advertising Week Europe, "and Nicole Holofcener said, 'You're not going to do that."' Grant also revealed that Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Rockwell would have been in Holofcener's version of the film before Marielle Heller took over the project.
Thankfully Moore was not allowed to Shallow Hal her way to an Oscar, leaving the role open for Melissa McCarthy, who gave one of last year's best performances without pulling any Tyra Banks' stunts.