Lights, Camera, Mismatch: 15 Big Actors in Roles That Missed the Mark

Casting can make or break a movie; sometimes, even the biggest names in Hollywood can end up in roles that don't quite fit. These are 15 instances where famous actors were truly miscast in their roles, leaving audiences scratching their heads and wondering what could have been.

1. Steven Seagal in Anything

Steven Seagal and Anthony Anderson in Exit Wounds (2001)
Image Credit: Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures.

No offense, but some question any casting director's choice to cast Steven Seagal in, well, pretty much any movie he's ever been in. He became known for his martial arts skills and action movies in the 80s and 90s, but his acting abilities have been heavily criticized.

He's often considered a lousy actor due to his wooden and monotone delivery, lack of emotional range, and overall unconvincing performances. On top of this, numerous reports allege he's difficult to work with on set. My rule is: you can be challenging to work with on set if you're Daniel Day-Lewis; otherwise, grow up.2. Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones

2. Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones

Image from the movie The World is Not Enough
Image Credit: MGM, Inc/Twentieth Century Fox.

There are many things that Denise Richards can convincingly play, but a nuclear scientist in the James Bond universe (or any universe) is not one of them. Richards' performance as Dr. Jones in the 1999 Bond film The World Is Not Enough was torn into by fans and critics because she was not believable as a nuclear scientist.

Richards had limited roles that typecast her as the sexy bombshell. The Bond film was no different; she played the desirable scientist dressed in sexy clothing. Hey, some people love it, and some people hate it. It's a Bond film, after all. It's not that serious.

3. Mark Wahlberg in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz Beckham, and Jack Reynor in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Image Credit: Andrew Cooper, Paramount Pictures.

Wahlberg's casting as Cade Yeager in the Transformers franchise's fourth installment met disapproval for several reasons. His character was meant to be portrayed as an underdog. However, Wahlberg's physical appearance and persona didn't fit the part, making it hard for audiences to suspend their disbelief. Wahlberg's acting style is also overly dramatic and out of place in the sci-fi action genre. His performance also lacked the charisma and chemistry with other cast members that the franchise had previously enjoyed.

4. Mickey Rooney as Yunioshi

Image from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Controversially, Mick Rooney was cast as Yunioshi in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Rooney, a white man cast to play an Asian character, was accused of committing “yellow face.” The film was ripped apart for contributing to racist stereotypes. In the film, Rooney wore makeup to appear Asian, exaggerated his accent, and played the character for laughs. The character was not convincing, and it was very clearly a white man pretending to be Asian. 

5. The Entire Cast of Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey
Image Credit: Charles Ziotnick, Universal Pictures.

When Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan were cast as Anastasia Steele and Christian Gray in the 50 Shades of Grey film adaptation, the film faced a lot of backlash. The characters had no chemistry, making the relationship less believable. Some of the actors didn't match the physical descriptions of the book, such as Dornan as Gray. The franchise was heavily criticized for many reasons, but the casting was one of its most significant downfalls.

6. Cameron Diaz as Jenny in Gangs of New York

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Image Credit: Miramax

Martin Scorsese admitted he cast Diaz as Jenny in the film because the studio sought a more bankable star. However, this was a huge mistake for an otherwise revered movie. Diaz was not believable as an Irish woman in the film's time period, nor was she appropriate for the film's dramatic tone.

Her performance lacked depth and complexity for a character in such a historical and intense setting. Her modern mannerisms and accent clashed with the time period and setting of the film, taking away from the immersion and realism of the story, and her romantic subplot with Di Capiro detracted from the overall narrative and theme of the film.

7. George Clooney as Batman

Batman & Robin - George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell 1997
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Let me caveat this with the disclaimer that everyone has their preferences regarding Batman. We all have a Batman we love and a Batman we hate. A considerable amount of people can't stand Clooney's portrayal of the iconic superhero in 1997's Batman and Robin.

Many fans and critics felt that Clooney's performance was lacking in the intensity and brooding nature that the character is known for and that his portrayal of Bruce Wayne was too light-hearted and comedic. Clooney himself has also expressed regret over his portrayal of the character, acknowledging that the film was not well-received and apologizing to fans for his performance.

8. Kristen Stewart as Snow White

Snow White and the Huntsmen - Kristen Stewart
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Stewart has since redeemed herself as a serious actress, earning herself an Oscar nomination, but years back, people struggled to take Stewart seriously post-Twilight. Perhaps her representation as a Twilight star partially put people off, but she lacked the strength and charisma necessary for the role, at least at the time.

There was also lacking chemistry between herself and Chris Hemsworth, who played her love interest in Snow White and the Huntsman. Some argue that the real problem isn't that Stewart did a poor job. Rather, Charlize Theron, who played the queen, outshone her. Theron makes it difficult to accept the premise that Snow White threatens the evil stepmother.

9. Jared Leto as Joker

Suicide Squad Jared Leto Joker
Image Credit: Gocha Makharadze

Leto was attacked for his portrayal of the Joker in Suicide Squad. His Joker was overly flashy and lacked the dark, menacing nature that the character is known for. His performance was seen as heavily influenced by previous portrayals, and the character's limited screen time and lack of development made it hard to invest in Leto's performance fully.

10. Tom Hanks in Elvis

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Image Credit: Warner Bros.

It may be shocking to see the legendary Tom Hanks on a list about miscasting, but alas, it has happened. Hanks has met a role that just wasn't his match. While Austin Butler was praised for his portrayal of the title role of Elvis, Hanks' portrayal of Col. Tom Parker was riddled with goofiness. He did a dodgy accent and came off as a cartoon character rather than a genuine person. 

11. Russell Crowe as Javert

Image from the movie Les Miserables
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Crowe has proven himself as one of the most talented actors in the business. However, what he's not is one of the best singers in the industry. When he was cast as Javert in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables, many were questioning his singing ability considering he was playing in a musical. Worse than that, his performance felt restrained and lacked the passion necessary for the character. People were even critical of his physical appearance, such as his modern haircut not fitting with the period.

12. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

According to the source material, Jack Reacher is supposed to be 6'5″, so it's quite funny that they cast Tom Cruise, an actor who is only 5'7″. The character of Reacher is supposed to be tall and physically imposing, so the physicality of Cruise wasn't a good matchup. While the previous actors I mentioned on this list lacked charisma, Cruise had the opposite problem. He was too charismatic and charming for a character who was supposed to be stoic and reserved. 

13. Sofia Coppola in The Godfather Part III

Image from the movie The Godfather Part III
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Fans of The Godfather hate Sofia Coppola's performance in the franchise's third film so much that numerous video essays online make the case that she ruined the film entirely. One central point of contention was her inexperience as an actress at the time of filming, which was seen as a factor in her lackluster performance.

Her character, Mary Corleone, was seen as underdeveloped and poorly written, which further detracted from the quality of her performance. Some also felt that her casting was an example of nepotism, as she is the daughter of the film's director, Francis Ford Coppola

14. Hayden Christensen & Natalie Portman as Lovers in Star Wars

padme attack of the clones
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker, and Natalie Portman, who played Padmé Amidala, were criticized for their Star Wars franchise portrayals. However, people were particularly unconvinced by their forbidden romance in Episode II – Attack of the Clones. The two lacked onscreen chemistry, making the romance feel forced and unconvincing. Some fans felt that their dialogue and character development were poorly written, which further detracted from the believability of their relationship.

15. Chris Pratt as Mario

super mario characters
Image Credit: Universal

The most recent casting misstep in cinema would be the choice of Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Mario, who is depicted as flamboyantly Italian in the video games, lacks that same onscreen persona in the film adaptation thanks to Pratt's casting. The voice and accent were mismatched and lacked Mario's distinct cheerfulness.

This thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.