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10 Celebs We Were Surprised Could Play Superheroes (And 10 Who Were Born For Their Roles)

These 20 would’ve taken anything that came their way. When starting out, you can’t afford be fussy. But then as their careers progressed, they would’ve thought more and more about the kinds of roles they wanted to take up. There are a number of reasons why a certain role would appeal to an actor. They like others who’ve played such a role. Perhaps they’re confident in their own abilities. Or maybe they realize that playing a certain role would make them appeal to the masses.

A lot of actors find the prospect of playing a superhero character to be intriguing. It tests an actor’s skillset. The superhero role is one that’s also massively scrutinized. You’ve got to be made of stern stuff if you’re going to take up such a role. Shine, and it could make your career. If your performance or the film flops, your career could tank. The superhero character is certainly a career-defining role. Many have risen to the occasion. They made perfect superheroes. It’s as if they were born to play such roles. With some, initially it caused raised eyebrows when learning they were going to be cast as superheroes. But they surprised us. Here are 10 celebs who were born to play superheroes and 10 who surprised us.

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20 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: MARGOT ROBBIE

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The initial opinion of Margot when she broke into Hollywood with The Wolf of Wall Street was that she was just a pretty face. But Margot’s proven herself to be a versatile actress full of depth. Those who watched her early career on Neighbours already knew that to be true. They weren’t surprised when Margot stole the show as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. She brought a manic energy to the character. It’s little surprise she’s going to reprise her role as the crazed Quinn in her own spin-off.

19 SURPRISED US: TOBEY MAGUIRE

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Tobey Maguire is a self-confessed geek. He’s played that awkward character quite a few times on screen too. Judging from his role in Don's Plum and Wonder Boys, people just wouldn’t have envisaged Tobey playing a superhero. But he surprised people when he was cast as Spiderman. He pulled off the role of Peter Parker superbly. His dorky and hapless nature was textbook Peter Parker from the Spiderman comics. He’s one of Marvel’s biggest superheroes. In fact, he can be credited with bringing the superhero genre to box office success in the early 2000s.

18 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: CHRISTIAN BALE

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There’s been plenty of debate over the years as to who the best Batman was. The vast majority of people find it hard to look past Christian Bale. He seemed such a natural at playing Batman, like he was born to play such a role. It actually took a ton of dedication and preparation on Bale’s part. He had to pack on a load of muscle. But his acting prowess shone through. He was gritty, intimidating and brought the Dark Knight to life.

17 SURPRISED US: BEN AFFLECK

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Ben Affleck’s certainly proven himself to be a versatile actor. But it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen him perform as a superhero.

Ben has starred in superhero movies before. He was cast in the 2005 film Elektra, as Daredevil. But in 2016, he surprised us when he played Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman. He’s since portrayed Batman in Suicide Squad and Justice League. It was always going to be tough to follow Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman. But Ben’s done an apt job and has surprised many.

16 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: HUGH JACKMAN

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Hugh Jackman is arguably one of the most popular superheroes of all time. Think of the X-Men, think of The Wolverine, and you think of Hugh Jackman. He’s made that character his own. For over 17 years, Hugh Jackman has stood head and shoulders above the rest in the superhero genre. He’s become intertwined with the character – it’s part of his identity. He recently retired from his long-running role as the troubled superhero. The X-Men will never quite be the same without Hugh Jackman in the mix.

15 SURPRISED US: JENNIFER LAWRENCE

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When Rebecca Romijn played Mystique in the X-Men series, people thought she’d be there to stay. But Jennifer Lawrence surprised everyone and took the character and her career to greater heights when she played Mystique in X-Men: First Class. She surprised everyone because she wasn’t really a massive star back then. It was before The Hunger Games so people weren’t aware of her skillset as an actress. She demonstrated her full repertoire when she took up the role of Mystique.

14 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: VIN DIESEL

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Vin Diesel’s career has been all about playing the macho man. He’s larger than life; He just looks like and simply embodies a superhero. Some would say that he’s been a superhero of sorts in a number of films. Only a superhero could achieve what he did in XXX. Only a superman would’ve been able to endure what he did in The Fast and the Furious films. But he’s actually on this list because of Groot. Okay, so it’s not the character that Vin was born to play. But he even made Groot memorable. He and his films belong in the superhero genre.

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13 SURPRISED US: GAL GADOT

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Gal Gadot was as surprised as anyone when she got cast to play Wonder Woman. It’s a truly iconic character, and is one of pop culture’s most recognizable figures. When Gal initially came in to audition, she thought she was trying out for another character. But the casting directors were obviously surprised, and saw something in Gal that just fit. The world now knows Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. It’s a big surprise. It was a big transformation from being a soldier in the military to being Miss Israel. Gal’s more than just a pretty face.

12 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: HALLE BERRY

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Over the years, Halle Berry has established herself as one of the best actresses around. The 51-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.

Halle was born to act. Over her three decades in the industry, she’s demonstrated her versatility as an actress. Halle’s played one of Marvel’s most loved characters, Storm. Those movies received mixed reviews from the critics. But Halle’s performances were the shining light. Even the actresses who’ve played Storm since have reached out to Halle for advice on how to play the character.

11 SURPRISED US: SCARLETT JOHANSSON

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American actress and singer, Scarlett Johansson, was once the highest paid female actress in the world. That should tell you a little something about her pedigree. Those who’ve seen her play the Black Widow in the Marvel movies wouldn’t be surprised at that. But what surprised people was when she made her debut as Black Widow in 2010. Until then, she hadn’t taken up such role. This was out of the blue. But she obviously did well, because she’s now gotten her own standalone movie as Black Widow.

10 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: WESLEY SNIPES 

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Wesley Snipes has been around in the industry for over three decades. He has a wealth of experience in all different types of genres. But action films are his specialty. We’ve seen him in numerous macho action films over the years. He’s also prone to getting in some action in his real life. He’s a 5th dan black belt in Shotokan Karate and 2nd dan black belt in Hapkido and has been training since he was 12. There was only one man to portray the Marvel comic character Blade.

9 SURPRISED US: JAMES MCAVOY

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James McAvoy had already established himself as an amazing actor when he was cast to play Professor Charles Xavier. But even so, people weren’t really expecting too much from him. That’s because the role of the Professor had already been made famous by another superstar actor. People weren’t sure what to expect with this new casting. But he surprised us with the level of vulnerability he brought to the role. He ended up being an apt replacement for Patrick Stewart.

8 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: RYAN REYNOLDS

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Being a superhero is serious work. For some, it’s no laughing matter. But now writers, directors and producers are adding an element of comedy for the genre. That’s what was on the cards for the Deadpool movies. Who better to play the comedic, quick-witted superhero than Ryan Reynolds? After all, comedy is where it all started for Ryan, who came into the limelight after starring in Two Guys and a Girl. The movie and Ryan earned a ton of awards, including the best comedic actor and the best picture at the Golden Globes.

7 SURPRISED US: MORENA BACCARIN

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Morena Baccarin has established herself as one of the world’s most loved actresses. Most people know her from the Gotham TV series in which she stars opposite her real-life hubby. She’s recently found success on the wider stage, in films such as Deadpool. Most of the time she plays a highly intelligent woman, who often ends up being a damsel in distress. But she switched things up in Deadpool in which she played the Marvel character, shapeshifter Vanessa Carlysle. She received plenty of plaudits for that role, and for her chemistry with Ryan Reynolds.

6 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: WILL SMITH

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Will Smith is similar to Vin Diesel in that he just looks like a superhero. He’s a handsome hunk, but he can act too. He’s added more layers to his career over the years. He’s all about comedy, but we know because of films like Ali and Bad Boys, he’s no slouch when it comes to action either. He wasn’t really up for action in Hancock either. He plays a homeless superhero. The superhero part fits, but the rest of it – it was an unconventional film and character to say the least. Will though made it work.

5 SURPRISED US: MICHELLE PFEIFFER

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Michelle Pfeiffer’s best known for playing strong women, who are intense and emotionally distant. Her role in Scarface was a prime example of that. But eventually she grew frustrated of being typecast. She got her wish in 1991 and pulled it off. She starred in Batman Returns as Catwoman. The way she portrayed Selina Kyle was utterly compelling. It made people change their minds about the character, the perceptions they’d gained from previous actresses playing the role. Pfeiffer is many people’s favorite Catwoman.

4 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: CHRIS EVANS

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Chris Evans was born to play a superhero. Evidently casting directors and those at the helm of the Marvel movie universe think so too. He’s known for playing a superhero, and has starred in a number of superhero films since 2005 when he first appeared in Fantastic Four. Then there’s Captain America, The Avengers, Thor and Ant-Man. His name’s synonymous with that superhero genre for a reason. Many would rate all of his performances highly, but Chris received the most plaudits for his role as an Avenger.

3 SURPRISED US: ROBERT DOWNEY JR.

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Robert Downey Jr. is another guy whose career has been defined by superhero movies. He started life in the Marvel universe a decade ago, playing Tony Stark in Iron Man. He took to the role superbly and now people can’t imagine the character being portrayed by anyone else. Actually, it’s hard to imagine a superhero movie without Robert Downey Jr. It’s surprised many in the acting profession that he’s returned to these heights. That’s because of numerous issues in his personal life. For a long time, it was thought that there was no coming back for Robert.

2 BORN TO PLAY A SUPERHERO: IAN MCKELLEN

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Ian McKellen is on this list due to his portrayal of Magneto. He changed what people thought about such characters. Magneto had a tough upbringing, but was all about serving the people. McKellen got this across superbly, as he did with the close bond he shared with Prof X. We’ve seen this play out over 14 years. But that’s not really acting. Ian and Patrick Stewart share a deep friendship in real life. It certainly helped their characters and what played out on screen.

1 SURPRISED US: MICHAEL KEATON

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Michael Keaton surprised everyone with his portrayal as Batman. That’s because he was mainly known as a comedy actor, hence people raised their eyebrows and were expecting the worst when he got cast. On top of that, he didn’t have the physical stature of Batman. But when the movie was released in 1989, people forgot their grievances. He prepared religiously for the role, took it incredibly seriously, and what came out of that was a top performance. He might not be the best Batman, but he surprised us with how he came across.

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