James Cameron was a couple of weeks into filming his superb sequel Aliens when he had to make a significant casting change. James Remar had originally been cast as Corporal Dwayne Hicks, but he was replaced by Michael Biehn, and his scenes re-shot.
The story at the time was creative differences, but since then the actor confirmed to Sidebar that “I had a terrible drug problem, but I got through it… I was initially cast as Corporal Hicks, and I was fired after a couple weeks of filming because I got busted for possession of drugs, and Michael Biehn replaced me.”
Out of nowhere, it seems, a bunch of photos have now popped up online, that show James Remar as Hicks, before he got the boot from the production. Here’s how he looked…
We chatted to Michael Biehn about his last minute casting in the film a couple of years back. He recalled that “I got called by [producter] Gale Hurd on the Friday night checking my passport was in order. I said yes, and I was shooting Monday morning. Which meant that I didn’t have to do that three weeks of rehearsal period, before the movie started, where they did the round table reading, and they would take all the soldiers out and march them over and over again, and have all the dinners.”
Biehn added that “the one thing I didn’t like about it was they made me wear Remar’s vest, his chest plate – every actor got to create his own chest plate, and James Remar created his and he painted [it]. Everybody painted theirs, and he painted his with a heart with a lock on it, and the painted heart was right where his heart was, and I thought, ‘Fuck me, I’m not wearing that – that looks exactly like a target to me!'”
Our full Michael Biehn interview is here.