The business of casting a movie is never easy, and directors have a tough job on their hands. When they envision bringing a story to life on the screen, casting is everything. If you cast the wrong actor in the heroic lead role, it is almost certain that the movie will flop. When it comes to finding that perfect actor for your hero, the same amount of effort is needed to find the perfect villain as well. But what happens if the actor who came in to audition for the hero, is more perfect for the villain instead? It is certainly an interesting conundrum!
But it happens much more often than you think. So often that there are lists all over dedicated to the topic of actors who went in for a role and ended up getting another. The world of Hollywood can be a tricky one sometimes because the actor may even think that they are perfect as the hero, when in reality, their look, demeanor, and persona may be more suited for the role of villain. While initially there may be disappointment from not landing the coveted role, these actors can create their own legacy and fame from playing the bad guys.
Here’s a list of the most shocking casting secrets in Hollywood. These actors came in auditioning for the hero, they got the villain, and we possibly can’t picture them in any other role. They have become Hollywood legends and icons from these casting choices and it’s quite possible that had they gotten the role they originally went for, they wouldn’t have become as famous as they are today or worse…ruined their careers with a possibly bad movie or television show. We hope you enjoy this list and check out some of the screen tests that are mentioned to see the proof for yourself.
10. Sam Rockwell as Iron Man
Before he was cast as billionaire weapons dealer Justin Hammer, Sam Rockwell was originally one of the original contenders for the role of Tony Stark. Because the director Jon Favreau had to fight to have Robert Downey, Jr. play the role, he had a list of “plan B” actors to play Iron Man, should he not get what he originally wanted. Well, we know who Tony Stark is now, but Sam Rockwell wasn’t out of the running to have a part in the Iron Man sequel, playing a part that is almost like the polar opposite of the hero.
9. Clancy Brown as Superman
Clancy Brown’s voice has become the ideal Lex Luthor voice from video games, films, and television shows. His voice has also become synonymous with what a villain would sound like. But interestingly enough, when Clancy Brown first auditioned for the 1996 series “Superman the Animated Series” he was first going for the role of Clark Kent but Bruce Timm thought that the quality of his voice would be better suited for Lex Luthor. The series also changed up the role of Luthor by making him racially different. But Clancy Brown’s characterization of the role makes him nearly immortal in the comic book world.
8. Lee Pace as Peter Quill
“Guardians of the Galaxy” hasn’t been released yet, but we have been treated to short clips of the actors as Ronan the Accuser, the main antagonist in the Marvel franchise. Lee Pace was one of the numerous actors that were in talks of playing the Star Lord, Peter Quill, but Chris Pratt eventually would land the role. But even though Pace didn’t get the part of the hero, his impressive acting career ended up landing him the role of the lead villain.
7. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Kick-Ass
After his McLovin’ days in the movie “Superbad”, Christopher Mintz-Plasse auditioned for the heroic role of Kick-Ass. But it turned out that director, Matthew Vaughn, hated his audition. So landing the coveted heroic role wasn’t really going to happen. Mintz-Plasse did end up, hoever, playing the main villain, Red Mist. This proves that it just goes to show that just because you’re not right for one role, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other opportunities for you in an other area. If, of course, you’re open to the possibilities.
5. Alexander Skarsgård as Bill Compton
Alexander Skarsgård auditioned for True Blood’s Bill, back when the production company was only casting for the pilot. At the time, Bill Compton was the leading vampire role. The theory is that series creator Alan Ball was merely scanning out the talent for True Blood and choosing a pool of actors from which to cast. According to interviews, Skarsgård didn’t believe he was right for the character of Bill, but at the time it was the only role to audition for. Lucky he did, because when production started to come together, he became the villainous Eric Northman.
4. Rachel McAdams as Cady Heron
“Mean Girls” has become one of the most popular cult classic movies of the 21st century with its comedic timing and classic one-liners that have become mainstream jokes since it came out in 2004. Rachel McAdams was 25 at the time that she was in the casting process for “Mean Girls”, and she was originally set to play the leading lady, Cady Heron. Lindsay Lohan was originally cast as the villain Regina, but was at the peak of her popularity at the time and director Mark Waters made the decision to scrap the original casting line-up and swap it to please Lohan’s fanbase.
3. Tom Hiddleston as Thor
Yep, you read that right. It’s hard to picture Tom Hiddleston as anyone else other than Loki because he plays the role so well! He originally went in to audition for the role of Thor and he even went through a rigorous body transformation from training so that he could embody the physicality of Thor. But the casting directors just saw that there was something missing and the role went to Chris Hemsworth. But Hiddleston still became part of the series as Loki and has created a Hollywood legacy from his work in the role. This past year at Comic-Con, Hiddleston even came on stage and commanded the audience as Loki, so he seems to be okay with the final decision.
2. James Franco as Spider-Man
James Franco was one of the numerous actors who were considered for the role of Peter Parker in the Spider-Man franchise (which is now experiencing a reboot). Franco even went through an extensive screen test with state-of-the-art cameras, cranes, lighting, and more. Even though Franco wanted the part, he was humble when Tobey Maguire landed the role and stated that Tobey was the better choice. However, all was not lost for Franco as Sam Raimi offered him the role of Harry Osborn without an audition or a screen test.
1. Heath Ledger as Batman
Along with Cillian Murphy, Heath Ledger was one of the other actors that was in talks to play Batman before the role ultimately went to Christian Bale. But Ledger declined the role stating that he had no interest in being in a superhero movie. After Christopher Nolan released “Batman Begins”, Ledger signed on to play the Joker and not too long after, rose to critical acclaim. After his death, Ledger won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, which his father, mother, and sister accepted on his behalf.