The trailer of Soumitra Chatterjee’s autobiography Abhijaan recently dropped. The film is going to be a posthumous release. So, today we take a look at some of the prolific actors whose movies were released after their death and how the filmmakers managed to adapt to the unfortunate circumstances.
Uttam Kumar ruled the Bengali cinemas in his time. His first few films didn’t manage to rank at the box office but that didn’t stop him from being the ‘Mahanayak’ of the film industry. Between 1945 and 1980, he gave remarkable and memorable performances in more than 200 films. But the actor left too soon at the age of 53. Before his death, he was shooting for what would be his last film- Ogo Bodhu Sundari. After his unfortunate demise, his lookalike, Prabir Kumar filled in for him during the final scenes, and Uttam Kumar’s younger brother Tarun Kumar gave his voice for the film. He also had another posthumous release in Plot No. 5.
Before Heath Ledger immortalised the character of Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, he made a splash with his roles in 10 Things I Hate About You, Candy, Casanova and A Knight’s Tale. At the time of his death in 2008, he was still shooting for Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. So when he passed away, the production had shut down for a while. But the film was ultimately released with some rewrites and it was dedicated to Heath Ledger. Actors and Ledger’s close friends Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell helped the filmmakers finish the film, with the end credits saying, “A Film from Heath Ledger and Friends”.
When Paul Walker died in a car accident in 2013, he was still shooting for Furious 7. The production did not get cancelled as the makers decided they would make Walker’s character Brian O’Conner retire in order to continue the franchise in his absence. To finish Walker’s incomplete scenes, the filmmakers superimposed his face over his brother and actor John Brotherton’s body, owing to their strong resemblance to each other.
Apart from The Fast and Furious franchise, Walker is also known for his roles in Flags of Our Fathers, Pleasantville, Brick Mansions, and The Death and Life of Bobby Z.
Natalie Wood’s death in 1981 gave rise to a lot of suspicion and controversies as the circumstances of her death were mysterious. She was 43 at that time and was shooting for Brainstorm when she drowned. The producers had gone ahead with the film but the dynamic actress’s absence failed to attract the audience. The production team took the help of stand-ins and different camera angles to fill in for Wood. This film also turned out to be director Douglas Trumbull’s last film.
Lee’s one of the most successful film that managed to earn way more than its estimated budget was released after his death. The actor passed away in August 1973 at the age of 32 while shooting for the martial arts action film Enter the Dragon. He had also shot some scenes for The Game of Death. To make up for the loss, the production team used body doubles, cardboard cutouts and additional voiceovers. The film also featured footages from his actual funeral.