Stuart Townsend has pulled out of Marvel Comics' movie adaptation of Thor because of creative differences, according to sources close to the production.
The actor, who was born in Howth, Co Dublin, and had been cast as Fandral, an ally of Norse god Thor, was replaced by Joshua Dallas, according to the sources.
The cast change came as production was about to begin. Shooting starts today on the movie directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Townsend, 37, best known as the boyfriend of Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, starred in Queen Of The Damned and had been cast as Aragorn in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy but was replaced at the last minute by Viggo Mortensen.
Dallas, an American actor who is a relative newcomer, appears in George Lucas' upcoming Tuskagee Airmen drama Red Tails.
Thor stars Chris Hemsworth in the title role, a warrior cast down to Earth to live among mortals as punishment for his reckless actions, which rekindled an ancient war in the realm of Asgard.
The film, due to be released in May 2011, co-stars Natalie Portman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Renee Russo and Tom Hiddleston.