A few years ago, before Can You Ever Forgive Me? became an awards-season hit en route to three Academy Award nominations at last month’s ceremony, the film was shaping up to look quite a bit different than it wound up being. Nicole Holofcener, who shared a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for the film with Jeff Whitty, was also attached to direct. (Marielle Heller would eventually take over the project.) And in the role that earned Melissa McCarthy her second Oscar nod, Julianne Moore was originally cast to play Lee Israel.
Yet as Moore suggested on a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live, her departure from the film just days before Holofcener planned to go into production was less an issue of her leaving than her being fired. In response to host Andy Cohen’s question about why she left the film, Moore insisted that “I didn’t leave that movie, I was fired. Nicole fired me! … I think she didn’t like what I was doing. We’d just been rehearsing and doing pre-production, and I think her idea of the character was different than my idea of where the character was, so she fired me.”
Moore went on to mention that she harbors no ill will against those who eventually finished Can You Ever Forgive Me?, she hasn’t yet seen the film herself. Later in the interview, she also suggested that it wasn’t the first time she’d been fired from a film.
Holofcener has not yet replied publicly to Moore’s claims, although the director suggested in earlier interviews that Moore left the project, leading to major production delays.
You can see the interview segment here, and catch Moore in theaters in the recently released Gloria Bell.