Tips and AdviceHow-To Guides for ActorsHow Matt Damon Replaced Johnny Depp in 'The Brothers Grimm'

How Matt Damon Replaced Johnny Depp in ‘The Brothers Grimm’


Key Takeaways:
– Terry Gilliam’s initial choice for ‘The Brothers Grimm was Johnny Depp and not Matt Damon.
– Gilliam’s dream project with Depp, ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’, got delayed, pushing him to take on ‘The Brothers Grimm’.
– Depp was considered not commercial enough for the $105M movie, leading to Damon’s casting.
– Depp’s dramatic rise to fame happened too late to change this casting decision.
– Source: [FandomWire](

Acclaimed director Terry Gilliam set his sights on ‘The Brothers Grimm’, an atmospheric dark fairytale, after his dream project, ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’, suffered delays. Matt Damon ended up as the lead in this Gothic Hollywood classic, but according to reports, he was far from Gilliam’s first choice.

Turning to ‘The Brothers Grimm’ after Project Delays

Gilliam, known for hits like ‘The Fisher King’ and ‘Twelve Monkeys’, longed to bring his dream project ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ to life, with Johnny Depp playing a pivotal role. Unfortunately, vast delays caused Gilliam to move his creative focus to ‘The Brothers Grimm’. The movie told the dark, edgy tale of two trickster brothers, Jake and Will Grimm, who made a living by duping people into believing in cursed creatures and magical exorcisms.

Matt Damon: a Surprising Casting Choice

When Gilliam started casting for ‘The Brothers Grimm’, he had Johnny Depp in mind for the character of Will Grimm. Even Matt Damon, who was finally cast in the role, was taken aback by this decision. Damon shared his surprise in an interview saying, “I was the last one. Heath was already in and Terry was already doing it. By the time it came to me, I just couldn’t believe it. This role in a Terry Gilliam movie is available? … The first thing I said to Terry was, ‘Why isn’t Johnny Depp doing this movie?'”

The Commercial Draw of Depp vs Damon

Contrary to popular belief, Johnny Depp was deemed not commercial enough for the big-budget high-stakes movie at the time. This judgment came from producer Bob Weinstein, who felt that Damon had a better market pull than Depp.

However, as fate would have it, as production continued on ‘The Brothers Grimm’, Depp’s star power dramatically increased with the release of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. Although this newfound fame thrust Depp into major commercial success, it happened too late to change the casting decision for ‘The Brothers Grimm’, leaving Damon secure in his role.

The Unexpected Success of ‘The Brothers Grimm’

Despite Depp’s sudden rise to fame, it was Matt Damon, along with Heath Ledger, who secured the success of ‘The Brothers Grimm’. Although the movie faced initial challenges at the box office, it eventually became a beloved staple of gothic Hollywood fantasy, grossing over $105M according to The Numbers.

The 2005 film, ‘The Brothers Grimm’, featuring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, is a testament to the fact that initial challenges do not define a movie’s success, but rather the tenacity and dedication of its team. Available for streaming on Prime Video, it stands as a beloved dark fairytale that continues to delight audiences even today.

Megan Diane
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.


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