We live in an imperfect world. Mistakes are bound to happen, and there’s no getting away from that. Unfortunately, Hollywood has proven all too well that it is more than capable of making its fair share of mistakes. From terrible reboots to unnecessary sequels we can all think of a time where a movie director/producer has ruined our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some pretty spectacular films in my time, but more times than I care to admit was there something so horribly off about a film that I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it.
One of the biggest and most brutal mistakes Hollywood makes is casting the wrong actor for a particular role. Yeah, I know that it’s the job of the actor to be able to flex his skills and play roles that he wouldn’t normally play, but I’ve never seen anyone be able to play any part they choose. Liam Neeson would be a terrible choice for a romantic comedy. Johnny Depp wouldn’t make a good star for a gripping drama. You get my point.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped Hollywood from casting some people in roles that they should never have been in. Whether it didn’t fit them or they just weren’t cut out for it, we’ve all seen this happen one time or another. Without further ado, here are 10 of the worst casting choices in film history.
10. Will Smith – Cipher Rage in After Earth
Just read the name of Will Smith‘s character a few times and let it sink in. Cipher Rage? What kind of name is that? Regardless, the M. Night Shyamalan film, After Earth, was a pretty terrible ride. However, its most criminal offense was casting one of the most vibrant and charismatic actors to ever exist into a role where he had to show no charisma. Will Smith with no emotion or personality? Yeah, doesn’t sound good to me either. If you ever get the chance to watch this film, do yourself a favor and don’t.
9. Jack Black – Carl Denham in King Kong
Everybody knows that Jack Black is a comedic actor more than anything else. No doubt, he’s done some great work in Kung Fu Panda and School of Rock, so who’s idea was it to put him in a serious, dramatic role? King Kong is a serious movie and requires little comedy. So Jack Black was essentially neutered, and what we got was a flat, one-dimensional character who was giving all his might not to act the way he wanted. They could’ve at least allowed him a small quip here and there.
8. Nicolas Cage – Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider is one of the edgiest, most incredibly powerful individuals to ever come out of a comic book. So when it was announced that a movie was going to be made, fans were ecstatic. However, when they announced who would be playing the flaming skull himself, fans were disappointed. Johnny Blaze is legendary. He has a lot of rough edges, a lot of sass, and does as he pleases. This is a role designed for an imposing, youthful individual. Not Nicolas Cage. Can you believe that he almost played Superman as well?
7. Dennis Quaid – General Hawk in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is full of terrible casting choices, but the worst one was probably Dennis Quaid as the leader of a secret military organization. Don’t get me wrong, Quaid is a great actor, but one of his most notable roles was as Bethany Hamilton’s father in the drama film, Soul Surfer. Case and point: he was a really nice guy. And that’s what he does best – play the kind, gentle-hearted folk. Seeing him as a stoic, inexpressive military commander was a criminal injustice to his acting chops.
6. Keanu Reeves – Buddha in Little Buddha
We all know who Buddha is. He is a peace-loving, all-around kind gentleman in the search for enlightenment. He didn’t even want to be worshipped. Why then when a movie was made on this historic man, did they cast an attractive, muscular, lady-loving man? Keanu Reeves is a ladies’ man, not Buddha. It’s like they took everything they knew about Buddha and said, “Get someone who is the exact opposite of that.” No wonder the movie fell flat. They should’ve casted someone like Ian McKellen. He at least gives off the old, wise vibe a heck of a lot more than Reeves ever will.
5. Madonna – Gloria Tatlock in Shanghai Surprise
If I told you that Madonna was cast to play a loving, missionary nurse who is getting opium for her patients overseas, what would you say? Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. However, for the director of this 1986 film, they thought it would be a perfect idea. Cast Madonna in a role that is completely contradictory to what she is known for and hope it sticks. I’m sorry, you’re asking for a box office disaster if you do that.
4. Colin Farrell – Alexander the Great in Alexander
Alexander the Great was an intelligent, powerful man. Taught even by the likes of Aristotle, he had the power of knowledge at his side when we conquered the East. So when deciding who would portray him on screen, Oliver Stone picked Colin Farrell, a short, Irish dude who had to wear a blonde wig just to keep some physical likeness to the character. What’s even worse was he also cast Angelina Jolie as Alexander’s mother. That would normally be fine, except the actors were only one year apart in age difference. Wow. Just wow.
3. Ryan Reynolds – Hal Jordan in Green Lantern
The Green Lantern is known by comic book fans as one of the most intense, serious, developed characters ever to hit the pages. Ryan Reynolds is largely a comedic actor. See my point here? Reynolds portrayed a Green Lantern that was not only unlike his nature, but lacked any emotional development whatsoever. It was an insult to the character and DC as a whole. Currently The Green Lantern stands as one of the worst comic book films of all time. I’m glad he’s finally getting the role he was born for as Deadpool.
2. Sylvester Stallone – Sergeant Jon Bomowski in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Sylvester Stallone starred in a comedy movie. Need I say more? After his success with cult classics like Rocky and Rambo, Stallone wanted to flex his chops a bit and branch out from the heavy action genre. He decided to take a stab into the comedy world, and because he’s on this list, you know it didn’t end well. The worst part about this decision is that it wasn’t his first comedy, and it didn’t even go well the first time. Stallone has thus admitted that it was the worst film he has ever made.
1. Hayden Christensen – Anakin Skywalker in Star Episode II and III
Christensen had one of the biggest tasks in film history – to accurately depict how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. To portray how one romance ended up pitting the galaxy at war. Unfortunately, Christensen does none of this and falls short of all expectations. The result is a romance that is one-dimensional, if even that, and a transition that is not believable by any means (he literally becomes bad for no reason). The entire Star Wars prequels were a tragedy, but Christensen’s performance definitely takes the cake. Darth Vader got a lot less terrifying after that. And it takes a lot of skill to do that to one of the best villains of all time.