Tobey Maguire Cut From Oscar Contender 'Life of Pi'

AT THE BIG GAME: Tobey Maguire
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Insiders say the actor's performance wasn't working. He might have been too famous for the role.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Can an actor be too famous for a party? Tobey Maguire had shot a brief role in Ang Lee's Life of Pi, due in theaters Nov. 21 from Fox, as a writer who interviews the central character. But an insider says the Oscar-winning director felt the performance wasn't working -- awkward because Lee's relationship with Maguire dates to 1997's The Ice Storm.

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A source close to Maguire says the actor, who eventually will appear in Warner Bros.' postponed The Great Gatsby, was too famous among the cast of relative unknowns.

In a statement to THR, Maguire says: "I fully support Ang's decision to go a different direction for this role in Life of Pi. Ang shared a lot of the film with me, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful." Says Lee: "To be consistent with the other casting choices made for the film, I decided to go with an entirely international cast. I very much admire Tobey and look forward to working with him again in the future." Life of Pi is expected to be an awards contender.

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The writer role now is being played by Rafe Spall, who appeared in Ridley Scott's Prometheus and played William Shakespeare in Roland Emmerich's Anonymous.