These days, even a successful and sought-after actor has to deal with endless auditions. Actors must continually hunt for work and hope to find a way to stand out among the thousands of other hopefuls trying out for a role.
The struggle doesn’t end with getting cast, however.Depending on the critical or public reception, a young star’s ship could sink before it has truly launched, if they are tied to a bomb. Even if they are singled out as one of the few redeeming qualities of a horrible movie, it might not be enough to save them from guilt by association. Though the DC/CW collaboration known as the Arrowverse has brought much success to its stars, the actors who star in Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow definitely have a few shameful roles in their acting pasts.
The fact of the matter is that every actor has taken a part for the sake of a paycheck and every actor has at least one role they wish they could put behind them for one reason or another. With that in mind, here are 21 Embarrassing Roles The Arrowverse Stars Want You To Forget.
21. Emily Bett Rickards – Dakota’s Summer
On Arrow, Emily Bett Rickards is beloved as master-hacker Felicity Smoak. In 2014, Rickards traded her tablet for a saddle to play the role of rodeo-rider Kristen Rose in Dakota’s Summer.
Dakota’s Summer tells the tale of Dakota Rose (Haley Ramm) – an aspiring rodeo star from a long line of trick riders, who is struggling to meet the standards of her family’s legacy. Dakota’s anxiety gets worse when she learns that she was adopted and isn’t a “real” Rose. Angry with her family for lying to her, Dakota decides to spend the summer at the horse ranch of her grandfather (Keith Carradine), who teaches Dakota that nobody is born to be anything and blood doesn’t determine who your family is.
Dakota’s Summer is a harmless fluff piece aimed at horse-loving tween girls. There’s nothing bad about Rickard’s performance here as Dakota’s kindly older sister, who tells her the truth of her adoption, but it’s a far cry from her work on Arrow.
20. Tyler Hoechlin – 7th Heaven
Despite running for eleven seasons and being the highest-rated show ever to appear on The WB network, it’s virtually impossible to find reruns of 7th Heaven on television today. This is partly due to the show’s legendary sense of melodrama, which has not aged well since the show’s premiere in 1996. It is also due to the charges of inappropriate behavior with children leveled against lead actor Stephen Collins, which led to an organized boycott against the show even after its conclusion!
Tyler Hoechlin, who plays the role of Superman in Supergirl, spent three seasons on 7th Heaven as Martin Brewer – a friend of The Camden family, who came to live with them while his Marine father was deployed. An aspiring professional athlete, staunch conservative, and general dope, Martin’s main reason for existing was to badger the nerdier Simon Camden over his indulging in premarital sex. Unsurprisingly, Martin did not practice what he preached and Simon would ironically come to offer financial support the mother of Martin’s illegitimate baby.
19. Grant Gustin – Kid Fitness Jungle Adventure Exercise Video
Pediatric obesity is an epidemic in the United States, with over thirty percent of children under 18 being dangerously overweight for their ages. Various steps have been taken to encourage healthier living, from First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative to the production of children’s programming that encouraged exercise.
These are laudable goals, but we have to wonder if there might have been a better way to encourage kids to get off the couch and turn off the TV than by producing series like Kid Fitness.
Imagine Lazy Town without the high production values or any standard of quality control and you just might be able to grasp what your average episode of Kid Fitness is like. Forced smiles and half-hearted animal costumes are everywhere, as is a barely concealed sense of shame from all involved.
18. Willa Holland – Blood In The Water
Originally filmed under the name Pacific Standard Time, Blood In The Water may as well be titled Willa Holland In A Bikini. It’s certainly a better description of the film’s contents and seems to be the film’s only selling point based on its movie poster, trailer and most of the production stills on-line. Heck, “bikini” is the only Plot Keyword on the movie’s IMDB page!
To be sure, the Arrow actress is a fetching figure but Blood In The Water offers Holland little chance to show the snarky humor that won her acclaim. The plot – such as it is – has two twenty-somethings (Willa Holland and Alex Russell) house-sitting in the Hollywood Hills when an old college friend with a shady past (Miguel Gomez) just happens to show up. The story that follows is tepid even by the played-out standards of neo Noir thrillers and the producers probably decided that exploiting a scantily clad Holland’s star power was the only way to make bank.
17. Stephen Amell – When Calls The Heart
Some say that actors often become the characters they play. This certainly seems to be the case of Stephen Amell, who has played the role of Oliver Queen in multiple media since Arrow began in 2012. Since that time, Amell has become as famous for his generosity in his charity work as he has for being a physical badass, doing as many of his own stunts as possible and running the course on American Ninja Warrior.
This makes watching the 2013 film When Calls The Heart a slightly surreal experience. Here, a shockingly clean-cut Amell portrays Wynn Delaney – a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. The plot centers upon Wynn’s romance with schoolteacher Elizabeth Thatcher (Maggie Grace), as the high-class lady adjusts to life in the Western frontier. Tepid stuff, as one might expect from a movie based on the Christian romance novels of Jeanette Oke.
16. Katie McGrath – Freakdog
With roles as Morgana on Merlin and Lucy in Dracula, Irish actor Katie McGrath possessed a strong fan following even before she was cast as Lena Luthor on Supergirl. However, her performance as goth girl medical student Harriet in the 2008 horror film Freakdog is less fondly remembered.
Originally titled Red Mist when it was released in The United Kingdom, Freakdog earned only an 8% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The story focuses on four med students (including McGrath), whose prank involving giving a spiked drink to a mentally-challenged hospital janitor (the titular Freakdog) results in said janitor lapsing into a coma. An experimental treatment gives Freakdog psychic powers and the means to strike back at his tormentors.
It’s hard to say what the worst aspect of Freakdog is – the cliche-ridden script which rips off countless better horror movies or the mostly English and Irish cast’s attempts at American accents. Either way, McGrath’s fans would do well to avoid watching it.
15. Wentworth Miller – Romeo and Juliet (2000)
William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest playwright to work in the English language. That said, the role of Paris in Romeo And Juliet is a thankless one. Paris, for those who need to brush up on their Shakespeare, is the young gentleman with whom Juliet’s parents try to arrange a marriage, unaware that she’s already married Romeo in secret.
Depending on the director’s interpretation of the dialogue, Paris is either a clueless nice guy who stands in contrast to the more passionate Romeo or a possessive jerk, who views Juliet as his property. Either way, the role was a waste of the talents of Captain Cold actor Wentworth Miller, who played Paris in a direct-to-video production of Romeo and Juliet that is best remembered for featuring Kel Mitchell as Romeo.
14. Caity Lotz – Battle Of The Year
An experienced dancer and stunt performer as well as a skilled actress, no one can deny the amazing sense of physicality that Caity Lotz brings to her performances as Sara Lance on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. Would that her talents had been better utilized in the 2013 film Battle of The Year!
The movie focuses on producer Dante Graham’s efforts to assemble a dance-team that can bring home the top prize from an international dance competition. Graham (Laz Alonso) hires his friend, basketball coach Jason Blake (Josh Holloway) to lead the team, hoping the challenge may help Blake to find new purpose following the death of his family. Caity Lotz plays Stacy, the no-nonsense choreographer brought in to plan a winning routine. Lotz is tasked with delivering such lines as “I’m not into boys… I’m into men.”
Battle of The Year was a critical and commercial flop, failing to make back its $20 million budget. It was decried for being cliched, even by the standards of sports and dance movies and currently holds a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
13. Nick Zano – Desperately Seeking Santa
Nick Zano cuts a fine figure as Nate “Steel” Heywood on Legends of Tomorrow, showing both poise and excellent comedic timing. Only one of these was evident in Desperately Seeking Santa – a 2011 Christmas film which cast Zano as the romantic lead against Smallville‘s own Supergirl, Laura Vandervoort.
Zano plays David – a man who enters a “hunky Santa” contest to win the money needed to save his father’s pizzeria from a greedy developer. Vandervoort plays Jennifer – the ambitious executive trying to save her failing mall with said “hunky Santa” contest. To the surprise of no one who has seen You’ve Got Mail or any of the other movies which use the same formula, she’s also an employee of the aforementioned greedy developer! Gasp! The two fight, fall in love and learn the true meaning of Christmas, all in a little under 90 minutes.
12. Danielle Panabaker – Friday The 13th (2009)
The 2009 attempt to reboot the classic Friday The 13th franchise was a miserable failure by any standard. Fans of the original films decried changes to the formula – the usual rules that the “good kids” have to survive to the end were violated. Traditional film critics panned the film and even those critics who specialized in horror film criticism said the reboot brought nothing new to the slasher genre.
Danielle Panabaker, who plays the roles of Killer Frost and Caitlin Snow on The Flash, managed to emerge from this critical slaughterhouse relatively unscathed. While hatred for the new Friday The 13th was near-universal, many singled out Panabaker’s performance as “good girl” Jenna as one of the film’s few high points. It’s not good enough to make it worth enduring the rest of the movie, however.
11. Dominic Purcell – Vikingdom
On Legends Of Tomorrow and The Flash, Dominic Purcell is famous for the passion and fury he brings to the role of Mick “Heat Wave” Rory. That passion was nowhere to be found in Vikingdom – a 2013 fantasy film, in which Purcell plays the fallen Viking king, Eirick. Angry that his followers are abandoning him for Christianity, Thor goes on a journey to retrieve three artifacts that will enable him to destroy the world. Eirick is tasked with stopping him by Freya.
Vikingdom is everything its title promises, complete with second-rate CGI and shield-maidens who run through the snowy fields of Scandinavia with their abs exposed by their sports-bra “armor.” Purcell has little to do in this midst of this madness but swing a sword and look stoic as the plot meanders from one action sequence to the next.
10. Katie Cassidy – Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
About the only person who had any kind words to say about the 2010 reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street was Robert Englund – the original Freddy Kruger himself. Fans of the franchise were displeased that Wes Craven – writer and director on the original Nightmare – was not brought in as a consultant by the reboot’s producers, as Craven had been on other remakes of his horror films. Established critics panned the film as well, calling the reboot as uninspired as it was unnecessary.
Complaints of banality were also applied to the performance of Arrow’s Katie Cassidy as Kris Fowles – the first teen to fall prey to Freddy Kruger in her dreams. Slasher/Horror aficionados were almost as fast as Freddy himself in cutting apart Cassidy’s lackluster performance.
9. David Ramsey – Hair Show
Despite receiving third-billing in the credits and a prominent place on the movie poster, there’s hardly any evidence that David Ramsey is in the 2004 film Hair Show on-line. There’s no mention of his character, Cliff, in any synopsis of the movie’s story. There’s no production stills of him. He doesn’t even seem to show up in the movie’s trailer!
Given that this is the sort of comedy that was promoted as having “a special appearance by Vivica A. Fox”, it may be for the best that Ramsey’s performance as a Beverly Hills hairdresser has been forgotten. While Ramsey is capable of great range as a performer, his role in Hair Show seems to be at odds with his more recent work and the image he projects as the calm, cool and generally badass John Diggle on Arrow.
8. Chyler Leigh – Kickboxing Academy
Chyler Leigh has had a wide and varied career as an actress, model, and singer. Her performance as Alex Danvers on Supergirl won over both fans and critics alike. Everyone has to start somewhere and, unfortunately, Leigh got her start in a little film called Kickboxing Academy when she was 15 years old.
The film was regrettable for several reasons. The story was the standard “good team of underdogs must fight the team of rich bullies” sports plot. The fight choreography was virtually non-existent. Worst of all, Leigh was cast against her brother – Christopher Khayman Lee, most famous for his role as the Red Ranger Andros on three seasons of Power Rangers – and the script required the two to kiss. Repeatedly. Awkward doesn’t begin to describe it.
7. Brandon Routh – The Nine Lives Of Christmas
Brandon Routh is renowned for the wholesome sense of innocence he seemingly conveys without effort. This charm that led to him being cast as Clark Kent in Superman Returns also infuses every bit of his performance as the overly-optimistic Dr. Raymond Palmer on Legends of Tomorrow.
Ironically, this same charm makes Routh somewhat unconvincing in the lead role of The Nine Lives of Christmas. Fireman Zachary Stone is reportedly a womanizer but with Routh in the role it seems more likely that he invites lot of girls over to his place for cookies and milk.
6. Katrina Law – Snow Bride
Katrina Law was well-beloved as an action heroine, even before being cast as Nyssa Al Ghul on Arrow. Possessing a black belt in taekwondo, Law is also an experienced archer and sword-fighter, who showed off her fighting skills as both Garren in Legend Of The Seeker and Mira in Spartacus.
Thus, it’s somewhat jarring then to see the tough-as-nails Law starring in a movie such as Snow Bride.
Law plays Greta Caine – a career-minded tabloid reporter, whose quest for a scoop involving a possible proposal by one of the country’s most eligible bachelors leads her to the country estate of The Tannenhills – a political family described as “The West-Coast Kennedys.” Through a series of contrivances, Greta is rescued from a snow storm while wearing a bridal gown by Ben Tannenhill (Jordan Belfi), who brings the “snow bride” home with him.
5. Robbie Amell – Picture This
Robbie Amell’s time as Ronnie Raymond on The Flash was short-lived but the young actor still burned bright as one-half of Firestorm. Indeed, Amell is so hot these days that a long list of scheduled film appearances prevented him from resuming the role on Legends of Tomorrow.
This was not the case in 2008, when Robbie Amell was cast in the Ashley Tisdale vehicle Picture This. Amell plays Drew Peterson – the All-American athlete and dream boy of Tisdale’s character, Mandy Gilbert. Hilarity ensues as Mandy must maneuver around her overprotective father and a gang of mean girls in order to win Drew’s heart.
Everything you need to know about Amell’s role in the movie can be summed up by one fact – a Google search for his name in relation to this movie results in multiple clips of a shirtless and soaking-wet Amell exiting a swimming pool. It’s a thrilling sight for some, certainly, but not the stuff of high drama.
4. Odette Annable – Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 & 3
Has any good ever come from any live-action movie which involved talking dogs? Even before CGI technology reached a point where lip-synced mouths could be inserted onto any manner of beast, the bargain bins of our nation’s video stores were filled to the brim with the likes of Look Who’s Talking Now and Oh! Heavenly Dog.
The genre reached new lows with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which somehow proved popular enough to spawn two direct-to-video sequels. Odette Annable – currently playing both Samantha Arias and Reign on Supergirl – was cast to play the role of Chloe the Chihuahua when Drew Barrymore somehow could not be persuaded to return to voice her again in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 or Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta!
3. Tom Cavanagh – Trading Christmas
Fans of The Flash can speak to the versatility of Tom Cavanagh, who has played multiple versions of Harrison Wells along with The Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne. Unfortunately, Cavanagh’s skills could do little to save Trading Christmas – a 2011 film, based on the Debbie Macomber book of the same name.
Cavanagh plays Charles Johnson – a professor in need of a quiet place to write. He trades homes for the holidays with Emily Spengler (Faith Ford) – a widow who wants to surprise her college-age daughter, who can’t make it home for Christmas.
The surprise is on Emily, however, when she finds her daughter ran off to Florida and she is forced to spend the holiday with Charles’ brother, Ray (Gil Bellows). Charles is similarly surprised by the arrival of Emily’s sister Faith (Gabrielle Miller), who arrives unannounced. The two Christian sisters teach the two secular brothers the importance of Christmas and all ends well. One can only imagine what Harry Wells would have to say about this movie.
2. Neil McDonough – Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
It took some doing to make a movie that was more poorly-received by both critics and fans of the Street Fighter franchise than the 1994 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Somehow, despite the odds, the makers of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li managed it. The film still holds a place on Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Worst Movies of the 2000s and earned a MetaCritic score of 17 out of 100.
Whatever else may be said about Raul Julia’s performance as M. Bison in the first Street Fighter movie, he did resemble the character from the game. Neil McDonough – known to Arrowverse fans for his portrayal of Damien Darhk – could make no such claims when he played the same role opposite Kristin Kreuk’s Chun Li.
1. Melissa Benoist in Homeland
While receiving positive reviews and winning several awards, the Showtime series Homeland has also drawn criticism for encouraging negative stereotypes of Muslims. Indeed, the series’ second episode depicted an employee of one Saudi Arabian prince interviewing naive young American women who wished to be part of the prince’s harem.
One of these women – Stacy Moore – was played by Melissa Benoist, long before she was flying through the skies over National City as Supergirl.
We’ll spare you the details of Benoist’s performance. Suffice it to say, she is naked to the waist and there’s a good deal of touching and groping as part of her audition. It’s uncomfortable to watch, even if you ignore how completely at odds the whole thing is with Benoist’s empowering performance as Kara Danvers.
Can you think of an even more embarrassing Arrowverse performance that we missed? Sound off in the comments!
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