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Endgame: movies finished after an actor's death

Some films have been finished in the most challenging and unhappy of circumstances…

SOME MAJOR FILMS have been finished in surprising and sad circumstances.

Following the death of an actor, sometimes a lead actor, certain films have been wrapped up using CGI and special props to meet a release date – or even finished decades later.

We take a look at some of the actors who have passed away during filming…

Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died at the while on the set of the film The Crow in 1993.

Lee died of a fatal gunshot wound after a blank bullet accidentally fired a fragment of real bullet – which had mistakenly been lodged in the barrel of the revolver in an earlier scene.

Following his death, the decision was made to complete the film, which was just eight days away from completion. Lee’s stunt-double and friend Chad Stahelski played Lee’s character in the few remaining scenes. The film became a box office hit, grossing over $50 million, and still retains a cult following to this day.


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Oliver Reed

Prolific English actor Oliver Reed died from a sudden heart attack during a break from filming Gladiator in 1999.

Several of the scenes in the film were subsequently completed using CGI and – once – a mannequin.

A Hibernophile, Reed was buried in Churchtown, County Cork, where his grave was seeded with Irish wildflowers.


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Rob Knox

English actor Robert Arthur Knox portrayed the character of Marcus Belby in the Harry Potter film franchise. He appeared in the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and was signed to appear in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when he was fatally stabbed outside a bar in London, aged just 18. Knox had intervened in a fight in order to protect his brother.

His murder attracted widespread press attention and his killer was sentenced to life in prison. The Rob Knox Film Festival has been set up in his honour.


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River Phoenix

American actor River Phoenix died of heart failure outside The Viper Room on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in 1993, aged just 23 years old. At the time of his death, he was in the middle of playing the lead in the film Dark Blood.

The film, which had lain unfinished since his death, was completed this year and shown at the 2012 Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht.


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Heath Ledger

Australian actor and director Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose in 2008, just after he finished filming The Dark Knight.

Production had begun on a new film involving Ledger, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, when he died suddenly on 22 January 2008. Director Terry Gilliam first thought the film would have to be scrapped, as Ledger involvement had been “key” in securing financing, however the film was eventually completed using computer-generated imagery and dedicated to Ledger’s memory.

Ledger’s never saw his last film – nor the enormous success of The Dark Knight or the critical acclaim his interpretation of the Joker attracted.


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