Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are) has written and directed a new science fiction romance entitled Her. Although the film has completed filming and is set for release on November 20th of this year, Vulture.com has reported that lead actress Samantha Morton (Minority Report, John Carter) will be replaced by Scarlett Johansson in a last-minute adjustment. As the character of ‘Her’ is a robot, only Johansson’s voice will be needed to re-film the scenes, so she will be able to record the dialogue in time to make the release date.
There’s speculation as to why Morton was replaced so late in the game. Perhaps they wanted a bigger name to feature on the poster? Jonze released a statement via email explaining the decision:
I think, unfortunately, it’s pretty normal in terms of my not-quite-painless-for-everyone-involved ‘process’ of discovering what the movie is.
Samantha was with us on set and was amazing. It was only in post production, when we started editing, that we realized that what the character/movie needed was different from what Samantha and I had created together. So we recast and since then Scarlett has taken over that role.
I love Samantha. I’ve been friends with her forever and I hope we make lots of things together in the future.
The film takes place in the not so distant future and focuses on a lonely writer who purchases a newly developed operating system designed to meet the user’s every needs. To his surprise, a romantic relationship develops between him and his operating system. The writer will be played by Joaquin Phoenix who will be backed up by a supporting cast which includes Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, and Olivia Wilde.
Fans of Spike Jonze are eagerly awaiting Her, and as with his other films this sounds like he’s once again integrating fantasy elements with a bittersweet story that resonates in the real world. Bummer for Samantha Morton, but with prominent roles in four other films being released between now and 2015, she should be just fine.