There’s little that couldn’t be improved by having a little more Julianne Moore, whether it’s a red carpet, Marisa Tomei’s family tree, or a film remake—even when the film’s being remade by the same director, as in Sebastian Lelio’s upcoming Gloria Bell. So it might come as a shock to the system to learn the Academy Award-winning actress wasn’t welcomed wholeheartedly onto one particular project: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Back in 2015, Variety reported that Moore had stepped down from a starring role in the film, then slated to be directed by Nicole Holofcener, “due to creative differences.” She went on to make Wonderstruck, a Hunger Games sequel, and Suburbicon, and now, on the press tour for Gloria Bell, she’s getting candid about what really happened to Can You Ever Forgive Me?—that is, Holofcener gave her the boot.
“I didn’t want to leave, I was fired,” she told IndieWire. “She fired me.”
“I think she didn’t like what I was doing,” she further explained in an interview on Watch What Happens Live. “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.”
That whole version of the movie quickly fell apart; Moore was fired just six days before shooting was supposed to begin, and Holofcener departed the production shortly after. (In a subsequent interview with The Playlist, she described the whole thing as “traumatic” and “terrible.”) That’s when director Marielle Heller stepped in and actor Melissa McCarthy was cast in the role that would have been Moore’s.
Holofcener gave Heller her blessing to continue the film—“If anyone is going to make this movie, I’m glad it’s you. It’s yours, go for it,” Heller recalled Holofcener telling her in the same Playlist interview—but Moore has kept her distance from the resulting movie. She hasn’t seen it yet. “It’s still kind of painful,” she told host Andy Cohen. “I love Melissa McCarthy. I worship her; I think she’s fantastic.” But, no, she hasn’t seen Can You Ever Forgive Me?
To put it in perspective: High achiever Julianne Moore had only been fired from one previous job—at a yogurt stand, when she was 15. No word on why her yogurt-stand boss fired her, though.