Neal McDonough is a marvelous actor who elevates every role he plays, whether it's in Band of Brothers or Desperate Housewives. So when he was suddenly replaced with David James Elliott 3 days into the filming on ABC's new series Scoundrels earlier this week, there had to be a story behind the story. The move was officially explained as a casting change. But, in fact, McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen. The reason? He's a family man and a Catholic, and he's always made it clear that he won't do sex scenes.
And ABC knew that. Because he also didn't get into action with Nicolette Sheridan on the network's Desperate Housewives when he played her psycho husband during Season 5. And he also didn't do love scenes with his on-air girlfriend in his previous series, NBC's Boomtown, or that network's Medical Investigation. "It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles," a source explained to me. You can't help but admire McDonough for sticking to his beliefs, even if he's poised to lose as much as $1 million in paydays for Scoundrels, which is based on the New Zealand series Outrageous Fortune, centering on the matriarch (Madsen) of a family of criminals who decides it's time for her brood to go straight after her husband (McDonough, now Elliott) is sentenced to a long prison term. ("I thought these things only happened to women in LA!," a source mused.)
So I guess there's two ways of looking at this. According to zap2it.com, McDonough knew there were sex scenes when he signed on to the show. According to deadline.com, ABC knew what McDonough's position was on sex scenes. I guess there was either a miscommunication on who was going to budge, or some kind of contract breakdown that occurred after filming began. ABC will lose money if they need to re-film scenes... maybe they figure that enough viewers will tune in to see