Great acting talent is certainly a win for any film, but it does not necessarily guarantee success. Casting directors do not always get it right, and sometimes a big name may not equate to be the right man or woman for the job. Just because someone is a good actor does not necessarily mean that they are right for the part.
There are many possible reasons that an actor or actress may not fit with a particular role, and many will be covered on this list. For this list specifically, we found exceptional acting talents that, for whatever reason, did not fit the bill of the character he or she was portraying.
Here are 10 Great Actors Who Were Bad Casting Decisions.
10. Sean Connery in The Untouchables (1987)
Almost nothing can bring an audience outside of a character’s performance more than a bad accent. While some actors pull off a foreign accent with ease, such as Hugh Laurie’s American accent in the House series, other actors fall incredibly short. For Sean Connery in The Untouchables, the result ends up being the latter.
When moviegoers witnessed Sean Connery cast as an Irish-American police officer, Jimmy Malone, one of the faults of this film became quickly apparent: Sean Connery just cannot pull off an Irish accent.
While The Untouchables is widely praised by critics and audiences alike, one of the few complaints of this film is the poor attempt at an Irish accent by supporting actor, Sean Connery. Ironically, Connery won his only Oscar for the role, suggesting that the accent was the only problem.
9. Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger (2013)
Whitewashing in Hollywood has been an issue since the inception of cinema, but lately, there has been more and more fan rage over this problem, and as a result, more of an attempt to fix said issue with diverse casting choices. That being said, there is still plenty of whitewashing in Hollywood cinema today, and there are few better examples than the casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto in Disney’s The Lone Ranger.
Despite a few missteps, Johnny Depp is one of the biggest movie stars working today, one of the best character actors of our time, and one of the most interesting people in the business. One thing he is not though, is a Native American (though he claims to have some Native American ancestry), yet casting directors were not swayed by this fact when they decided to select Johnny Depp for the role of Tonto. It should be noted that this film had many problems aside from the miscasting of Johnny Depp, but it certainly did not help matters much as The Lone Ranger went on to be one of Disney’s biggest box office bombs if all time.
8. James Franco in Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)
In film, it is not just about being a great actor, its also about having the right fit and synergy between character and actor. James Franco has proven himself as a very talented actor in his Oscar-nominated role as the leading man in 127 Hours, but, as made apparent by this list, talented actors hand in pedestrian performances all the time.
Similar to a few films on this list, the miscasting of the leading actor was not the only misstep, but it sure did not help. James Franco, as talented and charming as he is, was unable to pull off the lovable con-man turned hero routine. Not to mention, Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr., who were in talks for the leading role, seem to fit the bill much more closely than Franco.
7. Halle Berry in Catwoman (2004)
Halle Berry is a beautiful, talented and Academy Award-winning actress, but she has also been known to mail in a performance from time to time. It appears that is exactly what happened in the critically reviled superhero film, Catwoman.
Catwoman is infamous for its overuse of CGI, wonky special effects, incredibly cheesy dialogue, along with Berry’s unbelievable portrayal of the title character. It does not help either, that Michelle Pfeiffer’s stellar performance of the same character in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns was still fresh in the minds of moviegoers at the time.
6. Benedict Cumberbatch in Black Mass (2015)
Benedict Cumberbatch is undeniably one of the most talented actors in Hollywood today, but audiences of Black Mass quickly found out something that the Oscar Nominated and Emmy Award winner could not do very well – pull off a convincing Boston accent.
With so many great Boston actors to chose from in Hollywood, it is bewildering to think that the casting directors thought it was a good idea to cast Cumberbatch as “Whitey” Bulger’s politician brother, Billy. As fun as it was to see the London native take a shot at the British during the film, moviegoers were left a little confused as to the decision-making process behind this particular casting.
5. Nicole Kidman in Days of Thunder (1990)
Looks can be another key factor in believability among moviegoing audiences. If an actor or actress does not appear quite right for the part, viewers are generally quick to take notice. In the case of Nicole Kidman in Tony Scott’s Days of Thunder, her age and youthful appearance did not sit quite right for audiences in regards to her character, Dr. Claire Lewicki.
Dr. Claire Lewicki was the love interest of Cole Trickle, Tom Cruise’s car-racing main character. The aspect that moviegoers found unbelievable however, is the fact that Dr. Lewicki was supposedly a leading surgeon in her field, and at the time, Kidman was in her early twenties – her appearance reflecting this fact. Nicole Kidman looked far too young to be a leading professional in any field, much less health care, and this was quite apparent right out of the gate.
4. Harvey Keitel in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
One would be hard-pressed to find two things that go together less than Biblical stories and Brooklyn accents, and yet that is exactly what audiences got in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.
While this entire cast is guilty of whitewashing, the most egregious offender in this film is probably Harvey Keitel’s portrayal of Judas.The Last Temptation of Christ was hailed by critics and audiences as a solid Scorsese film, but most agreed that the movie could have done without Keitel’s Brooklyn accent, and that it felt very out place in this theatrical retelling of the crucifixion.
3. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
There have been numerous offensive portrayals of Asian characters by non-Asian American actors throughout the decades, but there are probably very few, if any, more offensive than Mickey Ronney’s role as Mr. Yunioshi.
The worst part about this casting decision is the fact that Breakfast at Tiffany’s is simply above this stereotypical brand of “humor.” Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a celebrated, Academy Award-winning film, starring one of the great all-time actresses in Audrey Hepburn.
The Asian-American community has been very vocal about the outrage concerning this portrayal, and rightfully so. Although this film is a comedy, it is also a iconic film that was very much in the public conscience at the time, which makes this offense all the more insulting.
2. Vince Vaughn in Psycho (1998)
There are very few films as iconic as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. So, when a remake to one of the greatest films of all time was announced almost 40 years later, people were already less than enthused. Excitement only dipped further once fans found out that the actor playing the role of one most iconic characters in film history was none other than Vince Vaughn.
Vince Vaughn was primarily known for his comedic role in the film Swingers two years prior, as well as the character Nick Van Owen in the disappointing sequel to Jurassic Park. There were a lot of interesting decisions made in this shot-for-shot remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, but there is perhaps nothing more peculiar than the casting of Hollywood funnyman Vince Vaughn as the iconic serial killer Norman Bates.
1. John Wayne in The Conqueror (1956)
The Conqueror may be the biggest disaster in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. Due to filming near a nuclear bombing testing site, over 90 members of the cast and crew were soon diagnosed with cancer, and about half of the diagnosed, including the film’s leading man, tragically died. The film would later go on to be known as “the film that killed John Wayne.”
Despite the tragedy, there are no real positive takeaways from this film. One of Wayne’s last regrets was deciding to take the role of Genghis Khan, and not just because he fell ill as a result. John Wayne knew that he was unsuited for the role, and it shows in his performance, when he gives up the Asian accent entirely and returns to his swaggering cowboy persona after only the second scene.
The film was such a disaster that Howard Hughes himself spent millions of dollars buying up all copies of the film just so no one would see it. In the end, he spent $12 million, twice as much as the films original budget, to buy back copies of the film in order to keep it from the viewing public. It was not until after Hughes death that the film was released for public consumption.
Do you agree with the list? What great actors or actresses do you think were miscast in previous films? Let us know in the comments below.