It isn't uncommon for an actor to drop completely out of a movie, but how often does it happen that an actor drops out and then is later re-cast in a different role? That seems to be what is going on with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and the Chinese epic The Battle of Red Cliff. Leung left the project a month ago claiming he didn't have time to prepare for his role (though there were other rumors), but now he's returned to the John Woo film, which has already begun shooting. Because his original part ended up going to another actor, Takeshi Kaneshiro, he is now likely attached to a different character than the one he abandoned.

The most simple speculation is that Leung is taking over for Chow Yun-Fat, who this week suddenly departed from the project, similarly claiming an inability to sufficiently prepare. For some reason Red Cliff producer Terence Chang won't specify which character Leung will play nor will he confirm that the actor is replacing Chow. The only things he will say is that all these casting changes are not affecting the shoot and that Chow's absence is not affecting the financing of the film. Hopefully more will be revealed about Leung's involvement when he arrives on set next week -- unless, of course, he drops back out. Maybe the next thing we hear will be that Ken Watanabe is back on the film, too, as a replacement for the replacement.