Originally the cast featured Jason Robards as Fitzcarraldo and Mick Jagger as his sidekick. Five weeks after filming had begun and with 40% of the film completed, Jason Robards came down with a bad case of dysentery - he flew home to recover, but then was forbidden to return to the set by his doctors. While Herzog was looking for his new lead Mick Jagger dropped out, as he didn’t have enough time to spare for a reshoot, due to his commitments for a new Rolling Stones album and an an upcoming tour. Jaggers character was then dropped from the script completely. For the new lead, Herzog then considered casting Jack Nicholson, and even playing Fitzcarraldo himself. In the end Klaus Kinski agreed to play the part.
As Herzog never keeps the outtakes and unused footage, only the scenes above remain available from the original footage.