James Franco as Oz in “Oz the Great and Powerful”
The iconic man behind the curtain from “The Wizard of Oz” received his own prequel movie with James Franco as the wizard, but the casting proved to be a misstep. Picture a powerful wizard, even one who doesn’t actually have magic powers, and you’re unlikely to come up with Franco.
Franco has the acting chops, and the movie wasn’t terrible, but he seems more like a hipster playing a magician ironically than someone who really believes in himself. It would be like Michael Cera playing chocolatier Willy Wonka.
Justin Timberlake as Mickey Rubin in “Wonder Wheel”
From “The New Mickey Mouse Club” to ‘Nsync and beyond, Justin Timberlake has done it all, including dating Britney Spears. He’s been in several high-profile movies and delivered a few great performances, but “Wonder Wheel” wasn’t his best.
As a Coney Island lifeguard who falls in love with a middle-aged waitress and her daughter, Timberlake was torn in too many directions to deliver a performance that could match up to director Woody Allen’s standards. The dramatic film was fraught with problems, getting a mere thirty-one percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and Timberlake was one of the reasons it failed.
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes in “Batman Begins”
Katie Holmes got big by playing a cute teen in “Dawson’s Creek,” but making the transition to love-interest for DC’s biggest hero, Batman, didn’t work out. Many people found her role in the first of three Christopher Nolan “Batman” films to be lacking and forgettable.
When Maggie Gyllenhaal took her place as the character for “The Dark Knight,” people either didn’t notice or agreed with the choice. Many think that Nolan had her replaced, but it seems even Holmes thought she wasn’t right – she was reportedly offered the role a second time and ended up turning it down.
Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze in “Ghost Rider”
It’s not perfect, but “Ghost Rider” certainly isn’t the worst superhero movie ever, or even on this list. It’s not even the worst thing Nicolas Cage has been in, but there’s no denying he was the wrong man for the part.
It’s certainly one of his more uninspiring performances, and as far as tortured souls go, Cage doesn’t really fit the bill. One critic leveled at Cage: “Cage needs to produce something special next to make up for crimes against cinema.” Ghost Rider’s most famous feature is his flaming skull, and this Ghost Rider just got burned big time.
Madonna as Gloria Tatlock in “Shanghai Surprise”
In 1986 Madonna was at the height of her powers. She was also married to Sean Penn, and the two decided to appear in a movie together, “Shanghai Surprise.” Penn is an acting legend, but Madonna is not. She’s had numerous roles that have failed to impress movie-goers, but this one might have been her worst.
Despite the male lead being her real-life husband, their character had zero chemistry, and critical fingers pointed at Madonna. She won Worst Actress at the Razzies, and the movie as a whole was nominated for five more, as well as a Stinkers Bad Movie Awards.
Katherine Hepburn as Jade in “Dragon Seed”
In the 1940s, Hollywood mishandled racial issues very often. One of the most famous examples of this problem was the 1944 war drama “Dragon Seed,” which starred Katherine Hepburn as a Jade. Thanks to some makeup magic, Hepburn was actually pretty convincing, and her performance was good.
However, it’s still another black mark on the long and difficult history of Hollywood getting things wrong. The movie ended up losing the studio money, but it wasn’t all bad – Aline MacMahon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. For a movie set in China, however, there were far too few Chinese actors.
Ted Danson as Captain Fred Hamill in “Saving Private Ryan”
Few movies captured the harrowing nature of war, quite like “Saving Private Ryan.” The men who stormed the beaches on D-Day became known as the greatest generation thanks to their force of will, their courage, and their unwavering spirit. Among the principal actors, most excelled, but Ted Danson had a hard time getting past his history as a comedic actor, such as in the famous sitcom “Cheers.”
Being a tough guy is one thing, but it takes a special actor to be a hard-nosed captain in World War II, and despite Danson’s acting skill, he just didn’t have the right stuff.
Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut in “X-Men: The Last Stand”
The “X-Men” movies were a big thing for comic book movies. Alongside “Spider-Man,” they proved that superheroes could draw a crowd, setting the stage for the Avengers. Well, the first two movies in the X-trilogy did, at least, but “The Last Stand” threw it all away.
One of the worst parts was Vinnie Jones as the unstoppable villain Juggernaut. Despite being a big character in the comics, he had only a few appearances. But his appearances were still too many, and you can probably still picture him yelling, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” in the middle of a mess of an action sequence.
Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod in “Highlander”
“Highlander” is a good watch (the first movie, at least), but there’s something about Lambert’s performance that drags the movie down from what could have been greatest to just “okay-ness.” He’s a French man, playing a Scottish man, who is now in America, so we can understand why he might have a hard time.
The fact that Sean Connery plays an Egyptian immortal is another strange choice, especially since Connery is actually Scottish. Lambert did his best, and the movie is still fun regardless, but even the most stalwart fans consider Lambert’s performance lackluster.
Elijah Wood as Matt Buckner in “Green Street”
Picture Elijah Wood, and you’ll likely imagine Frodo, the little Hobbit that saves the world of Middle-Earth. You might picture a small, mild-mannered actor, but you definitely won’t picture a violent, addicted thug who goes around with soccer hooligans terrorizing people. Wood was thrilled in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but his casting in this gritty movie didn’t check the right boxes.
His attempt at a cockney accent might have been the worst thing in the movie, though he might have to co-hold the award with co-star Charlie Hunnam’s accent. To call the performance unconvincing is an understatement.
Kelsey Grammer as Bonaparte in “Expendables 3”
Look at this list of names: Stallone. Statham, Banderas, Li. Snipes. Lundgren, Couture, Crews, Ford. SCHWARZENEGGER. Who else could you possibly add to this list to complete the collection? How about that guy from “Frasier,” Kelsey Grammer?
They actually did it, and despite the fact that Grammer’s acting was great – as always – pitting him against tough guys, muscle men, and action stars like the list above was an odd choice. The movie requires us to suspend our disbelief in reality, but Frasier beating up bad guys is a step too far for most.
Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross in “The Bourne Legacy”
A Bourne movie without Jason Bourne is going to be a tough sell. “The Bourne Legacy” might have been better without having Bourne’s name in the title, since Matt Damon never even appears in the movie.
The film studio behind the series decided not having the title character in the movie was no big deal, switching to Jeremy Renner as a black ops agent named Aaron Cross. Renner might have done well as the least-utilized Avenger, Hawkeye, but having him as the focus of a movie that shouldn’t even be starring him was a misstep.
Seth MacFarlane as Ted in “Ted”
While this is just the character’s voice, that’s the problem. Seth MacFarlane is the voice of everyone’s least-favorite cartoon dad, Peter Griffin, and when he loaned his voice to the foul-mouthed Ted – a movie he himself wrote and directed – it was impossible not to hear Peter.
The movie had plenty of great laughs, and getting to see Mark Wahlberg as a Boston schlub was enjoyable. Still, any time Ted – the main character of the film – opened his mouth, pretty much everybody could only picture the cartoon dad from Quahog. They tried to make a meta-joke in the middle of the movie, which just drew more attention to it.
Ronda Rousey as Kara in “Furious 7”
In 2015, Rousey was the most famous female athlete in the world, and it-girl in the entertainment world, and had the blonde California surfer girl looks that every action film producer wanted on their movie – we can’t fault the producers of “Furious 7” from throwing her into their latest high-octane film.
As the head of an Abu Dhabi billionaire, however, Rousey did little more than wearing an evening gown and look grumpy. She gets a fight scene against one of the main characters, and then she’s gone. It was stunt casting to the highest degree, with enough film of her to slap into trailers and get more butts in seats.
Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”
We don’t want to make too much fun of Lloyd here, but you can’t deny him as the very young Darth Vader just didn’t work out. Putting all the focus of the first “Star Wars” film in fifteen years on an eight-year-old kid is a poor choice from the get-go, but Lloyd’s wooden performance, exacerbated by the poor dialogue, turned this performance into a stinker.
Of course, even the most talented child actors would get cringes speaking some of the dialogue in the film. The fallout from the film convinced Lloyd to quit acting, but it’s impossible to ignore he was unsuitable for the role.
Matthew McConaughey as Man in Black in “The Dark Tower”
As one of the most disappointing movies of 2017, “The Dark Tower” tried to distill seven Stephen King books down to one and a half hours, and that’s not all. A lot of the blame falls on Akiva Goldman’s terrible script; McConaughey goes full ham as his character of the movie’s main antagonist, even though the character is supposed to be a mysterious, enigmatic, and dangerous character every time he appears.
The terrible dialogue from the Man in Black weighs the performance down even more, and while Idris Elba was able to rise above the writing, McConaughey wasn’t.
Ben Foster as Medivh in “Warcraft”
Not much went well in the movie adaptation of the ultra-popular MMORPG “World of Warcraft,” but Ben Foster is probably one of the worst casting choices, however, and that’s saying something if you’ve seen this movie. He was so obviously miscast in the role; it was hard to focus on much else while he was in the scene.
The film’s script gave him tons of nonsensical lines to spout off, which did nothing for the pacing of the film and the viewers’ enjoyment. He looks very out of place as a wizard, and his scenes got people laughing unintentionally. Not good in a fantasy action movie.
Anthony Hopkins as Coleman Silk in “The Human Stain”
Philip Roth’s novel of the same name, “The Human Stain,” stars Coleman Silk, a Jewish English professor who is a light-skinned African-American. So, of course, Hollywood cast Anthony Hopkins, a white Englishman, as Silk.
What makes matters worse is Wentworth Miller was cast as a younger version of the character, and while Miller makes more sense as Silk, the two actors look nothing alike. Thankfully, both actors are good enough that the movie didn’t suffer, but there are so many actors, established or just starting out, that would have been better fitted.
Sean Connery as Marko Aleksandrovich in “The Hunt for Red October”
Don’t get us wrong: the dearly departed Sean Connery was great in the film adaptation of Tom Clancy’s first novel. The movie would have been half as good if not for this Scot, but therein lies the problem.
Connery is Scottish through-and-through, and his accent stuck out like a sore thumb among other actors who could do much better Russian. Of course, he’s Sean Connery, so he gets a little bit of a pass, and his acting in the movie and the movie as a whole are both incredible, but Connery’s brogue is unmistakable.
Everyone in “21”
Movies inspired by real-life events always take a few liberties in order to make filming, writing, and casting easier, but “21” had a problem. You see, the team of real-life MIT blackjack players who took Vegas for a ride with their new card-counting techniques was mainly Asian-Americans.
But that’s a no-go for Hollywood for some reason, which means that all of those roles that could have gone to Asian-Americans instead went to established white actors. The film’s producer, Dana Brunetti, implied that because of the lack of diversity, Hollywood opted for more established actors. Also, the movie wasn’t good as a baseline, so who cares?
Laurence Olivier as Othello in “Othello”
Laurence Olivier is one of the most powerful and legendary actors that has ever appeared on stage or screen. He made a huge name for himself, appearing as some of the bard’s most famous characters, such as Hamlet, Macbeth, or King Lear. Othello, on the other hand, struck up a lot of controversies.
He took to the gym to become the general and even took voice lessons to lower his voice, but took preparation for the role a step too far.
Josh Hartnett as Brian Allen in “Blow Dry”
“Blow Dry” is one of those movies that wouldn’t have been very good no matter who was cast, but Josh Hartnett was one of the worst choices the movie made. Hartnett plays a Yorkshire barber with an accent that causes real, physical pain to everybody who speaks or has ever heard an accent from the United Kingdom.
With some combination of Yorkshire, Irish, and California beach bum, Hartnett needed way more time to get the voice right. Poor departed Alan Rickman had to play this character’s father and was probably going mad trying to deal with the accent.
Tom Cruise as Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg in “Valkyrie”
Nobody will ever say Tom Cruise is a bad actor, but with that many movies under his belt, there are bound to be some that could have used more thought as to the actor. One of them is “Valkyrie,” Bryan Singer’s 2008 World War II thriller about a group of German nobles trying to assassinate Hitler.
Von Stauffenberg was a real person, so casting the much shorter Cruise was seen as a little bit of an insult, and there’s also the fact that Cruise didn’t even try to put on a German accent. Cruise is best playing a variation of himself, and this real person wasn’t the right fit.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody in “Godzilla”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson has put together some great roles – you will likely remember him as Quicksilver in the “Avengers” movies – but “Godzilla” wasn’t one of them. The movie is good, but the king of monsters didn’t get as much screen time compared to the human characters, and ATJ just couldn’t hold the movie up when the camera was on him.
He’s likable enough and didn’t do a bad job, but he’s a little too milquetoast to handle the dramatic weight of being the principal actor in a dramatic film. However, that might have been the intention in order to keep viewers clamoring for more Godzilla.
Christian Bale as Moses in “Exodus: Gods and Kings”
Well, blow us down. We’d entirely forgotten about this stinker. There were problems abound during the writing, filming, and production of this “Biblical” movie. One of the major ones to critics was casting predominantly white actors and actresses for a movie set in Africa – Egypt, specifically.
While Joel Edgerton at least made his character, Ramesses II, fun, Bale as a grim and gruff Moses impressed no one. You’d think the man who led the Israelites to freedom and was Yahweh’s chosen arbiter on Earth for almost forty years would have a little more charisma.
Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse in “X-Men: Apocalypse”
Thanks to acting as Poe Dameron in the new Star Wars and several other high-profile and well-regarded performances, Isaac’s star is on the rise. Acting as the titular villain in one of the latest “X-Men” movies did nothing to further his career, however. Isaac has acted as both chilling villains and energetic good guys, but a superpowered world-ender just didn’t seem to be within his range.
You might not have even known it was Isaac underneath all that makeup, which leads to another problem – Apocalypse, while powerful and important, was not the best villain. The writing was poor, something that the “X-Men” films have had to deal with for a while.
Jai Courtney in Everything
We don’t want to blast this guy – he seems nice. But no project he’s been in has done well, and part of it has been his fault. His forgettable appearances in “A Good Day to Die Hard” and “Terminator: Genisys” kept his star stuck on the ground, and appearing in the massive pile that was “Suicide Squad” didn’t help.
His acting skills are moderate if nothing special, and most of the time, any other handsome white guy could have stepped in to take his place in almost any of his roles, and the filming wouldn’t have missed a beat. There’s still a chance for him, but he has a long way to go.
David Thewlis as Ares in “Wonder Woman”
“Wonder Woman” is by far the best movie in the DC Cinematic Universe, though that’s not very tough to do. However, it’s a genuinely good film (the first one, at least) with its fair share of issues. One of them is distinguished British actor David Thewlis as Ares, the God of War.
While the point was to obscure Thewlis’s true identity, it still looks strange watching a woman in peak physical fitness and wearing CGI armor battle a fifty-year-old man. Thewlis did well in the role, and the movie didn’t suffer too much, but it’s one of those things that should have been given more thought before filming began.
Abbie Cornish as Anne Willoughby in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Despite this film being a 2017 Best Picture nominee, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” isn’t without its flaws. One thing viewers raised their eyebrows at was Abbie Cornish playing the wife to Woody Harrelson, who is twenty-one years older than her.
While there’s nothing wrong with her performance, the socioeconomic details of the characters make the big age range a bit tough to swallow. It would have made a lot more sense to cast an older actress, but we know how much Hollywood hates old actresses. Still, Cornish at least showed up to act.
Liv Tyler as Arwen in “The Lord of the Rings”
Peter Jackson’s trilogy is one of the greatest things to happen to movies since sound. Most of the casting is perfect beyond the wildest dream, but Liv Tyler as Arwen sticks out. She certainly isn’t the worst choice possible and does well as the elf maiden, but the fact that the movies had to add scenes to keep her on the viewer’s minds is a bit of a sticking point.
The love story between Arwen and Aragorn is the otherwise flawless trilogy’s weakest plotline. Tyler is a capable actress and looks like the beautiful elf maiden, but she’s still the weak link, especially alongside Viggo Mortenson and Hugo Weaving.
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in the Star Wars Sequel Series
Who’s responsible for this? Tell us, because that person had better start preparing explanations. The experiment is over: Disney Star Wars has failed. Aside from a reasonable Episode 7 and the best Star Wars movie, Rogue One, the new movies have done little to get people excited. Adam Driver falters as one of the sequel trilogy’s main villains – though he has the dramatic acting chops, every time he takes his helmet off, which happens more and more as the trilogy progresses, you’re reminded it’s Driver under that mask.
Despite the filmmaking and writing quality lacking, the casting for the sequel trilogy has mostly been good – but this one stands out as a huge misstep since so many hinges on Kylo Ren’s emotions and performance.
Kristen Stewart as Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman
Stewart has gotten a bad rap as a blank slate actress, but she’s still been able to deliver some fun performances if you ignore the Twilight series, which sucked the fun out of everybody. However, that list of good performances doesn’t include “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which seemed to limit Stewart to one confused expression.
The film calls for Snow White to get into battles, defeat her enemies, and win the day, but she seems more worried about who will take her to prom, especially when faced with co-stars Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth.
Jessica Alba as Sue Storm in Fantastic Four
Superhero movies have a pretty tough history when it comes to casting. Instead of finding actors who have the right physical and emotional attributes, they often try to pick up the hottest names to help get people in seats, which ends up doing a disservice to the movie. Case in point with Jessica Alba in the first attempt at C-list superhero team “Fantastic Four.”
She didn’t deliver a great performance (Which she blamed on the director), but fans found her unsuitable with blonde hair and blue contacts and would have liked a different actress in the role.
Ezra Miller as The Flash in Justice League
Ezra Miller has made waves as a dramatic actor in films such as “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” but his turn as the Scarlet Speedster left a lot of people wishing they had picked someone else. He made his first real appearance in “Justice League,” but as the witty, fast-acting DC Comics character, he didn’t impress.
In fact, plenty of viewers found he came across as annoying and lacking in charisma. He has a chance to redeem himself in “The Flash,” a solo movie that may allow him to bring more of his dramatic experience to the role.
Jack Black as Carl Denham in King Kong
When you think of Jack Black, you probably don’t picture a failed, frustrated filmmaker. Instead, you probably imagine “Shallow Hal,” “School of Rock,” or “Tenacious D.,” Some people think he was able to pull off his King Kong role, but a lot of viewers found him to be out of his element with a dramatic role that had been cast and re-cast for almost a hundred years.
The film’s quality as a whole, while not awful, is still middling, and despite Black’s previous successes, he was unable to drag this film to anything better than average.
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher
If you’ve ever read one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, you know that Reacher is a hulking figure. Standing 6′ 5″ and weighing in at 250 pounds of muscle, he needs a big actor to fill his shoes. Instead, Tom Cruise is here. Despite being a lauded action star, and someone who certainly exudes Reacher’s prowess, Cruise is comparatively tiny, even being somewhat of a running joke in Hollywood for being someone of short stature.
People are still wondering why this physically tiny actor got the job, though with a new Jack Reacher series in the works, hopefully, an actor of the right size will get the job.
Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy
Talk about an Achilles heel. Brad Pitt provides plenty of eye candy for the viewers – maybe a little bit too much for some people – and he’s an accomplished actor, but being the mythical hero and unstoppable warrior from Homer’s Iliad just wasn’t the right fit. This is the man who takes down a whole battalion by himself, leads an army against the greatest city in the entire known world, and becomes a legend thanks to his actions.
Pitt wowed in films like “Se7en” and “Fight Club,” but as a powerful commander and Classic Literature character, he simply didn’t have the nerve, despite the movie’s otherwise fine casting.
Cara Delevingne as Laureline
Few things went well in this movie, and almost anyone could tell just thanks to the trailer that it was one to avoid. Cara Delevingne’s casting did nothing to help. Looks just don’t pay the bills when it comes to acting sometimes, and despite Cara’s charm, her wooden dialogue and stiff acting made it a chore to watch her and her interactions with co-star Dane DeHaan, who no one has ever heard of before, had zero chemistry.
Oh, look, Rihanna is in this movie too. Bless her heart; she’s still trying.
Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys
I’m gonna say it – Emilia Clarke isn’t a good actress. Boo if you want, but the facts are there – her Daenerys Targaryen is boring as salted bread, and her chance as Sarah Connor didn’t impress anyone. It’s true that no one can measure up to Lina Hamilton’s star-making role, and Clarke simply wasn’t a good choice to portray the tough, physical, and unwavering woman.
Genisys was a letdown, and despite the veil Game of Thrones pulled over their eyes, viewers just didn’t find Clarke with enough grit or emotion to be this famous action movie heroine.
Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in Superman Returns
Nothing beats a Superman movie, except for a Batman movie or a Marvel movie. “Superman Returns” was an attempt to bring the series back into vogue after it petered out in the nineties, but it isn’t remembered as a fantastic film, though it has its moments. However, some people had an issue with Kate Bosworth’s turn as an intrepid reporter and main romantic lead, Lois Lane. While her acting was fine and she seems very Lane, it was her age that got people asking questions since Bosworth was only twenty-two when cast.
The movie has to do with her child with Superman, who is five years old during the film – meaning she would have been seventeen when the deed was done. While Lane was acted older, it’s still a bit close for comfort.
Rihanna as Cora “Weps” Raikes in Battleship
Nothing Rihanna did or didn’t do ruined Battleship, a movie that reportedly makes Top Gun look like Orson Wells directed it. But this recording artist’s first foray into acting was a pretty bad choice since it was just another poor casting choice in a movie full of poor choices, such as the idea itself.
Rihanna portrayed no kind of acting skill and even earned herself a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. While Rihanna has gone on to act in better films, such as “Ocean’s 8,” she might be better off sticking to her music.
Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano in Joy
Jennifer Lawrence does pretty well for herself, but Joy was a mistake. We’ve talked plenty about how Hollywood will cast white actors and actresses where other races would do better. Another big problem is casting younger women instead of older women, such as in Alexander.
Lawrence was only twenty-five when she made this film, which starts with Joy in her mid-thirties and continues until she’s in her forties. Lawrence has the acting chops to pull it off, but an older actress might have made for a better look since Lawrence in no way looks like a beaten-down single mom.
Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock in Daredevil
We promise, and we deliver, unlike Ben Affleck in his first attempt at a superhero. Daredevil is the best superhero ever, but the movie that came out in 2003 was a tough watch even for big fans. Affleck had a big problem displaying heroic qualities, and while his character does have other ways of seeing, Murdock is blind – a fact almost lost on Affleck.
He was a whiny and overly-emotional character who had the chance to be tough. The Netflix live-action show brought this character back big time, but this early attempt is best left in the bargain bin.
Paul Schneider as Mark Brendanawicz in Parks and Recreation
Using the same style as “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” has become one of the most well-liked and funniest shows in recent years, featuring plenty of funny characters. Paul Schneider was also in it. He was a bad fit from the get-go, and his character was trying to be the straight man in an office full of cads.
Schneider himself even looks back with a raised eyebrow: “That experience was very strange for me.” Schneider went on to other things at the end of the second season, and the show suddenly took off, proving the casting or character was a mistake.
Jessica Henwick, Keisha Castle-Hughes, and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as The Sand Snakes in Game of Thrones
In the books, these three characters are written with tons of energy, style, and unique qualities, but when these three actresses appeared on screen in the HBO adaptation of the story, they ended up turning into The Bland Snakes. They fail to deliver, becoming little more than background characters when in the books they drove segments of the plot forward.
They ended up being so annoying that fan-favorite Lady Olenna Tyrell told them to shut it in the season 6 finale, and fans everywhere rejoiced for the last time in the show’s run.
Mike Myers as The Cat in the Hat in Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat
After the success of the Jim Carrey-led “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Mike Myers tried his hand at another live-action adaptation of a classic Seuss story, but this one is better left forgotten. Myers isn’t a bad choice for the character, but he had a little bit too much control over the project as a whole and ended up loading the film with adult humor, obnoxious jokes, and plenty of other poor ideas.
Choosing a different actor and keeping the script silly and kid-oriented would have made for a much stronger film.
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Dawn of Justice’s second appearance on this list comes from Batben, and this wasn’t even Affleck’s first attempt at playing a superhero – more on that later. This disappointing comic book film was yet another blow to Ben’s career, and his attempt at portraying the best DC Comics superhero came off more as pouty and sad than brooding and bedeviled.
Even worse, Affleck was later given a chance to both direct (okay…) and act (dang!) as Batman in the next installment, though both of these facts have been shifted, with Robert Pattinson in the lead role and Matt Reeves directing.
Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke in Dukes of Hazzard
Jessica certainly knows how to fill out a pair of shorts, but casting a pop star as a lead role is fraught with potholes. Simpson is a fine singer, has plenty of stage presence, and knows how to write a song, but acting just isn’t in her skill set – or at least wasn’t during filming “Dukes of Hazzard.”
Thanks to directing by Seann William Scott and acting by another non-actor, Johnny Knoxville, this film didn’t have a whole lot going for it, and Simpson as Daisy Duke, instead of a more experienced actress, gave the film even less to work with.
Russel Crowe as Inspector Javert in Les Misérables
Yes, it’s Crowe’s second appearance on our list, and this time it’s for an adaptation of the famous musical. Problem is, Crowe isn’t a singer, and stories have come out that the musical direction and training for the film lacked so bad it made actual singers and musical actors wince.
The film wasn’t all bad, but Crowe’s singing was a certain low point, with “Javert’s Suicide” being unbearable and distracting and the musical elements of the film falling pretty flat compared to most stage adaptations. Crowe defended his singing as “raw and real,” and yes, it was certainly one of those.
Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon in True Detective
Yes, it’s Vince’s second showing on this list. While the man might be able to hold his own somewhat as a comedic actor, casting him in such a dark role should have been tossed out at first mention. “True Detective” is extraordinarily adult, with the first season taking on murders, infidelity, other worlds, drugs, and more, and was incredibly promising as an anthology show, but then it got Vaughned.
Vince simply can’t be a career criminal in such a dark outing, though we applaud him for stretching his boundaries. But maybe stick to the comedies with Wilson, bud.
Colin Hanks as Travis Marshall in Dexter
Dexter Morgan has faced some of television’s most notorious characters while trying to keep his secret actions hidden and navigating the trials of being a sociopath who knows what he does is wrong. The final season’s villain, played by Colin Hanks, however, just didn’t have the nerve and grit to make for a good series send-off.
Like Colin’s father, Tom, the character just seems too nice to be someone known as the “Doomsday Killer,” and it became one of the big problems about the show’s final season. The head of an apocalyptic killer cult needs a certain something more to properly affect viewers.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan in Prince of Persia
Movie adaptations of video games have a pretty rough history, much rougher than comic books. The odd choice to make the “Prince of Persia” series into a big-budget Hollywood flick came with Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character. They gave him all the long hair and scruffy beard they could, but it’s just not that easy to turn Donnie Darko into a Middle-Eastern prince.
We’re seeing more and more examples of opportunities to cast an ethnic actor or actress squandered by Hollywood who want the biggest name attached to their project. Still, it’s clear it has a bad track record – the only “good” example in recent history is Tilda Swinton. The movie’s not very good, either.
Gary Oldman as Rolfe in Tiptoes
There are few casting choices as perplexing as Gary Oldman in 2003’s Tiptoes, which plays a dwarf. A little person. The film features plenty of incredible actors who are dwarfs (including everyone’s favorite, Peter Dinklage), but the lead dwarf role going to a man of standard stature raised plenty of little eyebrows.
The movie is even about the rights and portrayals of little people, which makes the choice of Oldman an even stranger choice. Dinklage is right there, for Pete’s sake! The film was poorly received and ended up going straight to DVD. The preview looks like something from a comedy show.
Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange
Also appearing in “The Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” The Ancient One is, almost always, portrayed as an Asian character. Yet again, Hollywood whitewashing comes to the fore, but this time the actress pushed back. The character is famously a title, not a single person, and Swinton went on record saying this iteration of the character is a Celtic woman instead of an Asian man.
Most of the controversy passed when viewers saw her role in the action, but there are still people who raise a stink for yet again denying an Asian actor a powerful role.
Emma Stone as Allison Ng in Aloha
Nobody liked “Aloha.” Not even Stone herself, though she only joined the “this is whitewashing” crowd after she had been paid. Allison Ng is a Chinese-Hawaiian, two cultures that Stone is not, which was one of the biggest criticisms the film garnered. Overall, the film was a big flop for director Cameron Crowe, though there were plenty of poor reviews and a lack of interest to add on to casting mistakes that buried this film.
Stone told the Los Angeles Times: “I’ve become the target of many jokes. I’ve learned a lot about the insane history of whitewashing.”
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars
There are plenty of ways to level criticism at the Star Wars prequel trilogy – special effects far too flashy, spectacle takes away from the story, the story isn’t that good anyway. And the dialogue – but yet again, a big one is the main character casting. Hayden Christensen appears as Anakin Skywalker in Episode II and III and is unable to stand next to big names like Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, and even wilts opposite Ewan McGregor.
His exaggerated portrayal of the Sith Lord takes power away from the proceedings and thus drags the trilogy down even farther than it would have.
Jared Leto as The Joker in Suicide Squad
We could have put almost any actor or actress from this superhero stinker here, but Jared Leto stands out as the worst. He’s a new, updated version of the clown prince of crime, but whether it was following in Heath Ledger’s big shoes or the movie’s fault, the character had too many issues. We were told over and over how much time he spent getting into character, but he was apparently getting into the wrong character.
It’s one of the many, many, many many problems with Suicide Squad and squashed between Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix; this Joker is mostly just a joke.
Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Few films are as well-liked by burgeoning style aficionados, for some reason, but the fact that the movie’s third-biggest star – Mickey Rooney – pretends to be a Japanese man the entire time. With a ridiculous prosthetic for his teeth, a terrible accent that just barely sounds Asian, and silly glasses that bugged out his eyes, this character is a slap in the face for any of the possible Asian actors who could have had a spot in this film.
However, the character is really only for comic relief, which might have made putting an Asian man in the role an even greater misstep.
Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian
Nobody can decry Johansson’s acting chops, but this was another misstep by casting white actors in Asian roles. “Ghost in the Shell” is a classic piece of anime history, and it was a great opportunity to give a big role to a smaller name. But the producers went with the hot hand, and Johansson starred instead.
Plenty of people wanted the role recast, and thanks to this bad press – and, we have to assume, being not a very good movie – the film became both a commercial and critical flop.
John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror
This one’s a big blunder, guys and gals. John Wayne was born in Iowa, and Mr. Khan was born in Asia. Mongolia, specifically. Maybe you can see what we’re getting at here. After a lifetime of killing it in the west, Wayne wanted something different. When producer Howard Hughes delivered a big pallet of cash for this role, Wayne signed up, but both the movie and the casting choice ended up being terrible.
It’s often seen as one of the worst movies of all time, thanks in part to Wayne’s casting as this famous conqueror.
Topher Grace as Venom in Spider-Man 3
While the newest version of “Spider-Man” has impressed plenty, the original film version was still well-regarded, with “Spider-Man 2” an early example of what superhero movies could achieve when given a chance. However, “Spider-Man 3” couldn’t keep the success going and made an especially strange casting choice with Topher Grace, the lead from “That ’70s Show,” as the villain Venom. Venom is supposed to be a huge, hulking character with the physical skills able to take on Venom and the menacing appearance of a true monster.
Tom Hardy is a little closer (despite that movie’s quality), Topher Grace is far from the mark, and the movie suffered.
George Clooney as Batman in Batman & Robin
Hey, look, it’s that movie we made fun of a few entries back. Batman has been one of the more popular film superheroes, but the movies have still been hit or miss. This is the one with the Bat-nipples, and a mediocre-at-best acting job by Clooney, Uma Thurman as a cringe-worthy Poison Ivy, and the first and last Batgirl to appear on the big screen, Alicia Silverstone.
Alongside this poor supporting cast, Clooney’s lack of Wayne charm and Batman power was even more noticeable, turning this movie into a clunker. But don’t worry: “Batman Begins” was just around the corner.
Everyone in Fifty Shades of Grey
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star as the…lovers…of this steamy “romance” film, which attempted to capitalize on the fame of the novel of the same name. Yet the movie couldn’t even reach the low bar of the book; since the two primary actors had so little chemistry, the relationship came off as creepy and predatory rather than…whatever it was supposed to be in the book.
It had none of the passionate tension or interesting power dynamic of the literary version we’re, uh, told. In fact, Johnson and Dornan are reported to have hated each other. That makes a romantic film tough, probably.
Halle Berry as Catwoman in Catwoman
Michelle Pfeiffer broke ground as the first portrayal of this sharp character in Batman Returns, but when Halle Berry was handed the claws in 2004, it was for what is regarded as one of the worst films of all time. Instead of the sensual and seductive Pfeiffer, Berry was over-the-top and hyper-sexual, despite doing well as superheroine Storm in the X-Men series.
This movie was a dizzying travesty of writing, directing, producing, and acting and won four Razzies in 2004. Berry, for her credit, looks back and laughs at how bad the film is and even collected her Razzie in person.
Colin Farrell as Alexander in Alexander
Alongside Jolie as his one-year-older mom, Colin himself is another miscast for this famous flop. He has plenty of good acting roles, but the Irishman dropped the ball as Alexander the Great. His casting was seen as insensitive to Greek culture and simply could act as the morally bereft and greedy emperor who would go on to rule most of the known world.
Farrell has laughed at himself, being quite critical of his bleached blond hair, as well as the Irish accent, which was one of the common things for reviews to mention as a sticking point.
Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern
While Hollywood has gone wild for superhero movies now, it was a long and rocky road before the arrival. For every Batman, there was a Batman & Robin. One of those poor showings was “Green Lantern,” and while director Martin Campbell was hoping for the gravitas and energy of Robert Downey Jr., what he actually got was a wooden performance for a character that traditionally has been very witty, engaging, and memorable.
While Reynolds has succeeded as Deadpool, the Green Lantern just didn’t work, and the movie ended up as one of the worst bombs of his career.
Kevin Costner as Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
C-Kev has plenty of great acting roles under his belt, but dressing up in the tights of this legendary woodsman was a misfire. As a follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Dances With Wolves” performance, it’s hard to take this non-English-accented, long-haired Californian seriously. He looked to combine the earnestness of Elliot Ness from “The Untouchables” and the crassness of Crash Davis from Bull Durham, but he forgot that in both of those films, he was trying to act.
The film itself didn’t garner much applause, and Costner’s spot as the top-billed, playing one of England’s legendary mythical figures, was a sticking point for many critics.
Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone in The Godfather III
The first two Godfather films are unforgettable pieces of filmmaking history. The “Godfather III” sucks every ounce of energy out of the storyline with some bizarre writing and a certain casting choice that even now is a watchword for Hollywood nepotism. As the daughter of famous “The Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola was killed off before the third act and is one half of the worst makeout scene in Hollywood.
Sofia has gone on to be a great director and screenwriter, but as the daughter of Michael Corleone, she probably wishes she had passed on the opportunity.
Russell Crowe as Noah in Noah
Ah yes, the film adaptation of the classic Biblical story that everyone* has been waiting for. With plenty of stupid additions, bad acting, silly special effects, and theological arguments that would sicken a first-year seminary student, this film dropped the Biblical ball big time. Crowe – a white guy from New Zealand – as Noah was just the first wave that made this film a box office bomb.
It was an attempt to capture the power of “The 10 Commandments” and “The Passion of the Christ,” but they wet their pants by adding far too much to the story, enough to get religious and non-religious alike upset.
Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough
Being a Bond girl is much more than being a pretty face and willing bed-warmer. You also have to have energy, adventure, and acting skills, which, unfortunately, Denise Richards lacks. At the time, her big role was the face attached to a pair of breasts in “The Wild Things,” and she just didn’t possess the skills to deepen her character enough.
Though supposed to be a brainy nuclear scientist, the best the filmmakers could do was stuff her in a tight shirt for a Bond film that messed up the series big time – The World is Not Enough is certainly the worst Brosnan-Bond, and is frequently at the bottom of overall lists.
Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates in Psycho
Here’s another shocker. Vince Vaughn can’t act his way out of a wet paper dress, and acting as the mother-obsessed killer in the remake of “Psycho” is much harder than that. It was an overall unnecessary remake (again), and Vaughn did nothing to set himself above, or even near, Anthony Perkins’s original performance.
Vaughn might be passable as a fast-talking wiseguy or a crass idiot like in “Wedding Crashers,” but dramatic works might be beyond his reach. We’ll never forgive him for ruining “True Detective” season two after such an unforgettable first season. Take your lumps, Vince.
Angelina Jolie as Queen Olympias in Alexander
Alexander the Great was one of the greatest conquerors in history, and Alexander is the worst movie about his life. One of Hollywood’s big problems is their hesitation in casting older actresses, which is why Angelina Jolie, at twenty-nine, was cast to portray Alexander the Great, whose actor Colin Farrell was twenty-eight while filming. They did nothing to age Jolie, and her beauty on the film – helped by Jolie’s famously thick, full lips – raised a lot of eyebrows.
The movie itself is a stinker, a box office bomb, and was a Razzie favorite: worst picture, worst director, worst actor, worst supporting actress, worst screenplay, most intrusive musical score (won), worst female fake accent (won), and least “special” special effects.
Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in Jobs
Wow, what a surprise, Ashton Kutcher wasn’t a great casting choice. Who could have guessed? Sometimes comedic actors switch to dramatic roles and succeed, such as Tom Hanks. Sometimes they don’t, such as Kutcher. And anyone who thought that Kelso from That ’70s Show would do well as the man who invented culture-shifting tech such as the personal computer, the iPod, and the iPhone, needs to get their dome checked.
From “Dude, Where’s My Car” to this, it just isn’t a career jump that a lot of people think works. If you’re interested in Steve but want a better actor, check out Steve Jobs with Michael Fassbender.
Keanu Reeves as Johnathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Keanu Reeves has had some bad performances to his name, but let’s forget about “Point Break” for now. We’re talking about Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola is certainly not a slouch at picking the perfect actors, and as beloved as Reeves is now, this was a misstep. Johnathon Harker is an Englishman, and Reeves is not, which led to a stilted and unnatural accent out of the actor.
Coppola has said that he wanted to do it perfectly and focused too hard, so the accent became unreal. He also had unnatural reactions and affectations.
John Cusack as Richard Nixon in The Butler
John Cusack is quirky, lovable, and pudgy, which is why he’s cast as the romantic lead in rom-coms like “Say Anything” or “High Fidelity.” But casting him as one of the most unpopular presidents in recent history was a big misstep for the casting directors of “The Butler,” which features him in a terrible prosthetic nose which distracts from everything else on the screen and neither looks nor sounds anything like the thirty-seventh president.
Lee Daniels directed “The Butler,” and he also miscasts Cusack as a murderous maniac in another one of his films, “The Paperboy.”
Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie in Carrie
The first problem was most people didn’t think a Carrie remake was necessary, but of course, this is Hollywood – they think we’re goldfish the way they remake things. The other problem with the remake was the lead actress, CGM, who is beautiful. Yes, for this film, that’s a knock. In King’s original – and first – novel, Carrie is a doughy, pasty, stringy-haired, pimply outcast who is bullied relentlessly.
Moretz is pretty, has beautiful gold curls, and seems more like a bully than the bullied. She may be able to act awkward, but it just doesn’t strike right, even after the pig blood falls.
Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger
Nothing beats Johnny Depp as an interesting character, but this casting choice was a bit too interesting for most people. “The Lone Ranger” was a huge box office bomb for Disney, losing them almost two hundred million dollars, and Depp’s casting was a primary issue. Tonto is a Native American character, and it would have been a great way for a Native American actor to show his skills. Instead, we got Captain Sparrow – and his costume for the film also raised some eyebrows.
Depp’s acting wasn’t the problem, but his “redface” is the leading storyline when most people talk about this movie.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor is one of the iconic comic book villains, up there with the Joker and Magneto. Plenty of people were hoping for a powerful actor who has already been stunned as a bald villain – like Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” when he says, “I am the one who knocks” – but instead, we got Jesse Eisenberg. He’s certainly not a bad actor, looking at his previous outings, but he just didn’t have the power to play this unforgettable villain.
Superman’s arch-nemesis needs more, and Eisenberg just didn’t have it in him. Many found his character too manic, too loud, and too wild for what a good Luther should be – a little bit too close to the Joker for a lot of people’s liking.
Cameron Diaz as Jenny Everdeen
Like almost every Martin Scorsese film, “Gangs of New York” is a long drama with plenty of interesting characters, amazing sequences, and outrageous violence. Cameron Diaz, as “Irish” pickpocket-slash-prostitute, however, was a let down that sticks out like a sore thumb compared to Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Her accent kept slipping, and she failed to carry the dramatic energy that the other principal actors – dramatic pros – maintained with ease. A comedic actor, which Diaz is, going up against Day-Lewis and DiCaprio is also going to play second fiddle, but for a movie that was almost perfect, Diaz dropped the ball big time.