In the film industry, like all industries, money talks. Still, we do see some actors who refuse to sell their souls every so often. Leonardo DiCaprio always stays true to his pal Marty Scorsese. Whenever Tim Burton needs an actor, he doesn’t need to look far because his confidant Johnny Depp is always close at hand. But what about loyalty to a character? Do actors ever feel such a strong connection to a character that they refuse to sully it? Possibly, but unless they tell us about it, it’s near impossible for us to ever find out. We can, however, find the actors who are not loyal to their characters, just by looking at the roles they’ve chosen.
The easiest way to tell if an actor is loyal to their characters is by looking at comic book movies. These guys are basically all treacherous dogs. As you’ll see by the entries in this list, many actors have switched teams from DC to Marvel and from good to evil. Because the two competing comic book companies, Marvel and DC, are making so many films these days, we’ve seen a whole slew of actors playing on both sides of field. These are the disloyal ones.
It’s not always comic book films that reveal an actor’s true colors, but it’s definitely the vast majority of the ones on this list. You would think that disloyalty shows itself most in actors who have played a character that is the opposite from another of their characters, but, most often, it’s shown in actors who play two characters that are similar. So, let’s take a look. Here are 15 actors who have no loyalty to characters they’ve played.
15. Ben Affleck – Daredevil & Batman
We’ll start with this one because it’s so fresh in everyone’s mind and Ben Affleck has played two very iconic superheroes. His first foray into comics was with Daredevil in 2003 where Affleck played the titular hero. The movie was a disaster, so it’s no wonder Affleck has tried to distance himself from the part, but sleeping with the enemy is never acceptable. After his early failure as a superhero, fans were a little slow to embrace him when he was announced as the newest Batman, starting with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Maybe Affleck was a DC comics fan all along and he intentionally sabotaged Daredevil to try and ruin the company and then really tried when he got the role of Batman. Or maybe he was just learned from his mistakes.
14. Chris Evans – Human Torch, Captain America & More
If ever there was an actor who was typecast as a comic book hero, Chris Evans it is. He’s been selling himself to the highest comic book bidder since 2005 and he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down. He’s been back and forth between Marvel and DC comic movies more often than any other actor. It began with him as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in Marvel’s Fantastic Four (2005). After that he did some voice work with Mirage’s TMNT, then he cheated with DC comics’ Push and The Losers in 2009-2010. Evans then went to Oni Press’ Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, before going back to Marvel with Captain America: The First Avenger where he stayed for a little while. The lure from other mistresses was too strong to resist though, and he was pulled over to Snowpiercer in 2013, once again loosely associated with DC comics. Now he’s back to Marvel and Captain America where’s he been ever since. Maybe it’s true what they say: “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours.” Or maybe Evans just doesn’t feel connected to any of his characters.
13. Kevin Spacey – Lex Luthor & Superman
Despite the fact that people tend to overlook Bryan Singer‘s Superman Returns, the film did well at the box office and the critical reception was decent, not great, but decent. All of the performances were pretty good, save maybe Kate Bosworth, but, by nearly all accounts, Kevin Spacey‘s Lex Luthor was fantastic. The character was written specifically with Spacey in mind. His Luthor was darker and bitterer than ever before. It was great. Then, the following year, Spacey spat in the face of Luthor in Fred Claus. It didn’t seem that way at first. Spacey’s character in that Christmas film was bitter and cold, like Luthor. But then we learned his deepest desire. He wanted a Superman cape. When he gets one, he puts it on and never takes it off, just disgustingly insolent to the criminal mastermind he once was.
12. Natalie Portman – Evey & Jane Foster
Natalie Portman first popped up into the comic world in 2005 playing Evey in V For Vendetta. This film is based on the graphic novel that was published by DC comics. It was a popular film but DC didn’t commit with Portman, so she found another lover. Six years later in 2011, Marvel came knocking and asked Portman to play Jane Foster, Thor’s little lass in Thor. She would reprise that character in Thor: The Dark World in 2013, but that was it for her and Jane. When asked about her future with Marvel, Portman said, “As far as I know, I’m done. I don’t know if maybe one day they’ll ask for an ‘Avengers 7’ or whatever, I have no idea. But as far as I know, I’m done.” Maybe DC still has a chance.
11. Hugo Weaving – V & The Red Skull
Like Portman, Hugo Weaving started with DC and switched over to Marvel. He began as the hero in V for Vendetta, taking down the establishment and fighting the man. He played a similar part as the Red Skull in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger except that he was evil. Again, like Portman, it seems that Weaving is done with Marvel now, saying, “I have not really changed my opinion about not wanting to do another Captain America,” he explained. “It was fun to do. It was a very great thing to do in many ways, but I suppose my focus is more likely to be elsewhere, but who knows.” He hasn’t said anything about comic books in general, so maybe Portman and Weaving might reunite in another DC film in the future.
10. Marlon Brando – Vito Corleone & Carmine Sabatini
Considering that Marlon Brando‘s character in The Freshman, Carmine Sabatini, was a caricature of his earlier character Vito Corleone from The Godfather, it makes sense that they’re so similar. Brando uses the voice and mannerisms to hammer home this second-coming of Vito. In fact, the running gag in the film is that Vito Corleone’s character was based off Carmine. It’s hilarious and the film is excellent, but it doesn’t change the fact that Brando sold his soul and Vito’s to take home a second paycheck for the same character, the actor’s version of measuring once and cutting twice. The character of Vito was about as sacred as it gets, but that’s also what makes the caricature in The Freshman so funny.
9. Ray Stevenson – The Punisher & Volstagg
In terms of comic books and Ray Stevenson, it all started with Punisher: War Zone in 2008. Stevenson came on to replace Thomas Jane as the title character in a sequel that was released four years after the original. There were far too many problems with making the film and the delay was ruinous for the franchise. Stevenson, however, looked comfortable in the part, even if the film didn’t live up to expectations. After that, he reprised this role in the animated series, The Super Hero Squad Show. Obviously, things were over between Stevenson and the Punisher after that because he went and traded in his skull t-shirt for Norse armor, taking the role of Volstagg in Thor and Thor: Dark World. Now with Thor: Ragnarok on the horizon, we don’t know if Stevenson will see anymore action in Asgard, but we hope that the next person who takes on the Punisher character in a film doesn’t just abandon him like the last two actors have.
8. Halle Berry – Storm & Catwoman
Obviously Catwoman was one of Halle Berry‘s worst decisions. No matter what the actress goes on to do with her career, that one role with hang over her head like a dirty raincloud everywhere she goes. Outside of money, the reasons she took the role don’t seem to make any sense. She had already played the marvel character Storm twice, first in X-Men and again in X2. The character was well-received, there was a third installment coming and obviously, there was room to grow from there. Then she goes to the enemy of Marvel, DC comics, and takes on a character that didn’t even need a solo film. It was a foolish decision. Did she foresee herself taking part in both Marvel and DC film franchises as major characters if Catwoman was a success? Was it meant to be a one-and-done role? Oh, Halle Berry, you confuse us so.
7. Matt Smith – The Doctor & T-5000
When Matt Smith was first announced as the 11th Doctor in Doctor Who, fans were wary. He was young, like really young. How could he ever pull of the role? But it didn’t take long for him to endear himself to everyone, adding a little something extra to a role that had been played from so many different angles. He was exciting and unpredictable and most fans came to absolutely love him. We got a few magical seasons out of him and he was gone from our lives as quick as he came. Then something worrisome happened. Smith took all the time-travelling know-how he acquired from playing the Doctor and went and applied to another time travelling role, Alex, the T-5000 Terminator/Skynet from Terminator Genisys. Not only was the film a stain on the Terminator franchise, but Smith had been caught conspiring with another time-travelling franchise. There’s got to be some sort of non-compete clause that can be signed to avoid this type of thing.
6. Ryan Reynolds – 5 Comic Book Characters
Everyone knows the story of Ryan Reynolds and his many comic book adventures. He started out playing Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, which was interesting. Then he moved over to play a bastardized version of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was confusing but still within the Marvel family at least. After that failure, Reynolds moved over to DC comics to play Hal Jordan in The Green Lantern film. It too was a massive disappointment. After that came a move to Dark Horse comics and the film R.I.P.D., which, incredibly, might be the worst out of the entire bunch. But Reynolds kept his head high. Four enormous, near-catastrophic failures could not discourage this man. After years of trying to get all the pieces in the air at once, Deadpool the film finally became a reality, and it was a romping success. Reynolds had played so many comic book characters and failed so spectacularly that he knew what worked and what didn’t. He pulled from the good and threw out the bad. We were left with a close to perfect character on screen and one that should be around for quite a while in the future. Yet, while everyone was applauding Reynolds’ commitment to the Deadpool character, they’ve ignored that he abandoned four other characters, including an earlier version of Wade Wilson, along the way.
5. Jeffrey Dean Morgan – 5 Comic Book Characters
The year 2009 was a weird one for DC comics fans. With the adaptation of Watchmen and The Losers coming out in the same year, there was a lot of excitement, but then Jeffrey Dean Morgan came in and confused the hell out of everyone. First, he played the Comedian in Watchmen and then followed it up by playing Clay, the leader of the Losers. The following year, DC called upon their boy Dean Morgan again, giving him a small part in Jonah Hex. After all this, when DC needed someone to play Thomas Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, they picked up their phone and called old reliable, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. So, while Dean Morgan has absolutely no loyalty to his characters, at least he has some to DC comics. Nowadays, he’s playing Negan on The Walking Dead, a show based on a comic from Image comics. This might not seem like the norm for the DC mainstay, but when you consider that the brain trust of Image is made up of ex-Marvel people, it fits in with Dean Morgan’s anyone-but-Marvel policy. We actually don’t know if that’s his policy, but it had a nice ring to it.
4. Jim Carrey – The Grinch & Scrooge
In 2000, Jim Carrey wowed as the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The role was perfect for him and the zany actor pulled it off with precision. Since the character’s creation, the Grinch has always been compared to Scrooge. Both are hateful of Christmas and both are borderline psychopathic. It’s no secret that the Grinch is an off-shoot of Scrooge, focussing on the commercialization of Christmas rather than all the love and feels. That’s precisely why Carrey is such a slime for taking the 2009 role of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Maybe he thought we wouldn’t recognize him under that animation, but we did, oh, we did.
3. Willem Dafoe – Norman Osborne & Vulko
The Spider-Man trilogy had its ups and downs, but no one can ever say that Willem Dafoe‘s Norman Osborne/Green Goblin was anything less than brilliant. He fit the role incredibly well and really put Marvel on the map in terms of high-quality films. Now, in case you haven’t heard, all you Marvel fans better brace yourselves, but Dafoe has been consorting with the enemy. Rumor has it, he’ll be playing Vulko, an ally of Aquaman, in the upcoming Justice League film. It gets even worse. We also know that he’ll be in the upcoming adaptation of the Death Note manga series. How could you do this to Norman Willem? Think about Stan and the children.
2. Brandon Routh – The Atom, Superman & More
The year was 2006 and Brandon Routh was named the new Superman. It was going to be monumental. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, but the blame wasn’t on Routh. He was pretty good. The film just didn’t captivate audiences. But Routh wasn’t finished with comic books. After that iconic role, Routh took a recurring role on the DC show, Arrow, playing Ray Palmer/The Atom. That role evolved into a guest role on The Flash, which turned into a starring role on Legends of Tomorrow. Thankfully Henry Cavill is now Superman or DC would be in an awkward spot. But Routh doesn’t just cheat on Superman with other DC comic book characters. Like Chris Evans, Routh also landed a role as one of the exes in the Oni Press comic adaptation, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the Italian comic adaptation, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.
1. Michael Keaton – Batman, Birdman & Vulture
For a long period of time, Michael Keaton was the only Batman. Sure, Adam West was great, but for an entire generation of comic book fans, there was only one caped crusader. After hanging up his belt, years went by, but we never forgot Keaton. He was still the favorite for many of us. Then he did Birdman. The movie was outstanding and Keaton was unquestionably amazing, but he was riffing on the character from his past. He was using Batman to prove a point. We forgave him. So, did the Academy. But the latest news might not be so easily forgivable. It appears that the once-and-forever-Batman is now switching sides. It’s been confirmed that Keaton will be playing the villain The Vulture in the upcoming Spiderman: Homecoming. Don’t look now but our beloved DC Batman is on team Marvel.