Comic book castings are always controversial. Fans have come to know these superheroes and villains through their comic book pages and when it comes to immortalizing them on screen, they want to see the characters they know and love represented accurately. Fans all too often become skeptical when directors try to stray from comic book characters’ origins or take the character in a different direction.
Directors are forever deviating from comic book portrayals. In their defense, they want to do something fresh. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Nobody thought that Robert Downey Jr. would work as Iron Man or Heath Ledger as the Joker, but most people consider these two as some of the best. Of course, sometimes the risk in casting someone different in the role doesn’t work - the actor just isn’t believable in the role or the audience can’t get past his or her household name. Other times, it comes down to a bad script.
Of course, there are other reasons why comic book castings just don’t pan out. It might come down to the actor’s abilities - perhaps their acting skills didn’t have the range to be able to live in a character and make these powerful characters come to life. In other words, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. With that, here is a list of some of the worst comic book movie casting fails.
13 Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Ben Affleck doesn’t seem too phased by the ongoing negative response surrounding being cast as Batman given that he just penned his own Batman script where he will be the star of the show. We put Affleck on this list not necessarily because he was a terrible Batman (in fact, some claim he was one of the best so far), but because he was one of the most controversial. From the very first announcement that he would be taking on the role, a lot of people took to Twitter with the power of the hashtag in the name of #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck. A lot of the negativity had to do with the fact that he was a household name and, well, Daredevil had already happened, meaning that he had the potential to mess up another superhero movie. So, how did his portrayal of Batman pan out? The jury is still out on that one.
12 Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom
Eric Forman Topher Grace is probably not someone one would consider when it comes to casting one of Spiderman’s super-villains (Topher doesn’t exactly look like a body-builder either, but that is beside the point). In short, he wasn’t entirely believable in the role - in general, he didn't come across as someone you might be scared of or very violent. Some claimed that his portrayal also managed to take the role in a direction that was entirely wrong for the character. He was too smart-alecky and left the audience feeling little of the sympathy that they should have given his unfortunate history.
11 George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Yet again, we have more proof that Batman castings don’t always go right (or entire movies). Case in point: George Clooney, who took the iconic role back in 1997 in Batman and Robin. Even Clooney agreed that being cast as Batman was a big mistake and that he “almost destroyed” the franchise. Why? He said it was because of his “bad acting.” Let’s not be too hard on Clooney because nothing about this film worked - the entire thing was a joke. It was panned by critics and it has a whopping 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch. Even a better Batman couldn’t have necessarily saved this film. We don’t mean to bring up a Batsuit with nipples, but there’s also that...
10 Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom
Julian McMahon’s take on Dr. Doom in 2005’s Fantastic Four was just wrong. As one of Marvel’s greatest villains, it is too bad that this casting didn’t work out. It has been said that he was more of a big baby than a dangerous villain - in fact, he didn’t seem threatening at all. Part of this might have had something to do with the script, yes, but it also might have something to do with the fact that McMahon didn’t seem to have a grasp of the character. He said if he were given a chance to play the character again, he “could play him the way [he] always wanted to, as a sniveling, conniving, freaky guy…” Dr. Doom is conniving, yes. But he is certainly not sniveling. If he were to do it all over again, he probably still wouldn't get it right.
9 Halle Berry as Catwoman
Let’s be fair: Halle Berry’s casting here wasn’t the only thing that was wrong about 2004’s Catwoman. The movie couldn’t even get Catwoman herself right. However, Berry did receive a Golden Raspberry Nomination for Worst Actress. Ouch. Robert Ebert criticized the filmmakers for failing to put any thought into creating a great character. Instead, it was a movie about Berry’s sex appeal, of which he says, “it gets [that] right.” So, with a better script, it is possible that Halle Berry could have been better in this role. With what she was given, though, she certainly didn’t make it work. Some say that this is one of the most terrible movies of all time.
8 Seth Rogen as Britt Reid/The Green Hornet
A lot of people were not thrilled (as usual) when the casting for the role of The Green Hornet was announced. Although superheroes are beginning to break their traditional archetypes, which is only a good thing, this particular casting ended up being problematic because Seth Rogen was basically a version of Seth Rogen. Yes, you read that right, he played himself, which meant that we basically got a funny guy. Although The Green Hornet was obviously not taking itself too seriously, Rogen’s bungling was almost hyperbolical to the point where it was borderline ridiculous and not believable. Of course, this isn’t surprising.
7 Jennifer Garner as Elektra
Some have said that Jennifer Garner’s role as Elektra is one that flat-out stopped her career in its tracks - or at least, she never fully recovered after 2005’s Elektra - unlike Ben Affleck, who went on to be cast in Batman v Superman after the likes of Daredevil. So, why was this bad casting? Some have said she came across as too much like a nice girl, which didn’t make her believable as a deadly killer. Of course, the bad script didn’t help matters either, which amounted to a movie that garnered mainly negative reviews and a 10% rotten rating via Rotten Tomatoes.
6 January Jones as Emma Frost
Feel free to consult the Internet, but it is generally agreed that January Jones could have been way better cast. She portrayed one of the comic book industry’s most popular characters in X-Men: First Class, but sadly her performance was one-dimensional and failed to tap into the complexities of Emma Frost. She didn’t dazzle at all on screen, despite her diamond form - that is saying something. If anything, she was more of an ice queen on screen. Interestingly, her failure to dazzle can’t really be blamed on a bad script like some of the other contenders on this list.
5 Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane
Arguably one of the worst castings when it comes to Superman’s leading lady, Lois Lane. There are a lot of reasons why people found this casting problematic, including the fact that Kate Bosworth was a mere 22 at the time, which made the fact that she was an award-winning journalist rather unconvincing. Some claimed that people couldn't like the character due to her chilly performance while others said that she lacked Lois Lane’s fierceness and charisma during her time on screen in Superman Returns. The Razzies seemed to agree given that she was awarded The Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
4 Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze
We can't help but chuckle over this particular casting choice (or, shall we say the movie in general). Mr. Freeze is a super smart scientist and, obviously, casting Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the part is somewhat of a stretch, as many memes have pointed out. Not only that, but his acting in the film was drizzled in cheese. Never good at a movie theater, unless you’re the nachos. It also didn’t help that he was known for all of his good guy roles at the time, making it difficult to believe that he would be a villain. Then again, nothing about this film worked. That would be impossible with a script like that.
3 Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
Nicholas Cage doesn’t manage to get a lot of roles quite right and his portrayal of Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider is no exception. He failed to understand the character of Johnny Blaze and his seriousness and ended up getting him all wrong. He treated the character as if everything was all fun and games. He definitely didn’t have the looks to pull off the character either, given CGI’s need to step in to give him some stomach muscles (although, we can overlook this). In general, his acting was over the top - we don’t need to mention the peeing fire, but there, we said it.
2 Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman
Jessica Alba took on the role of Sue Storm, or the Invisible Woman, in 2005’s Fantastic Four and its second installment in 2007. And, as you probably know, the casting was terrible (at least according to the general public). Alba was essentially cast in the role because of her titillating good looks and while it may have stricken the fancy of teenage boys everywhere, Sue Storm is intelligent, powerful and headstrong, which, sorry Jessica Alba fans, is not believable, given her many roles in which she is bikini clad or showing off her (lovely) curves. Exhibit A: Into the Blue.
1 Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
This one didn’t end well. A lot of people have credited Jesse Eisenberg with flat out ruining Batman v Superman. In fact, nearly everyone agreed that he turned out to be a really bad choice for the role, even though he had some potential. Why? People said his acting was over the top and was out of place considering the general tone of the movie. His attempts to portray a psychotic super villain with all of his facial ticks made the audience aware that he was trying really hard, which is kind of what you want to avoid in a movie. Then there was all the stuff about how Eisenberg stole everything from Heath Ledger’s Joker. But you get the point.