The actress was thrilled when she was cast as Queen Dulcea in the movie, inspired by the popular TV series, and she was in the process of trying on costumes and prosthetics for the role ahead of the Australian shoot.
"I was so excited because I was going to Australia to play this queen," Hargitay told U.S. late-night host Seth Meyers. "I get there, hair, makeup, prosthetics pieces, walking around like that, feeling pretty good."
But Hargitay was forced to give up the role when she opted to visit family over the holidays, as she waited to learn what her filming dates would be.
"I was there from November and then December, and then we were getting close to Christmas and they had me on hold a lot," Hargitay said. "And finally, around December 21st, I said, 'Hey, guys, this is great, but you kept me on hold too long. I gotta go. It's Christmas. I think that's only fair.' "
"So I fly home in December, and on January 3rd I call them. I'm like, 'OK, I'm ready'. And they're like, 'Sweetie, you're good. Don't worry about it'... and they fired me... because I wanted to go home for Christmas and be with my family."
Actress Gabrielle Fitzpatrick was ultimately cast in the role.
Mariska admits the experience taught her the value of clear communication with producers.
"I watch my Ps and Qs on (hit TV show) 'SVU' now and when they say, 'We need you', I'm like, 'I'm there and I'm ready,' " she explained. "So far, so good."