Superhero movies are under intense scrutiny from the very start, with millions of passionate fans eager to dissect everything from the storyline to the costume. Casting is the most vital part: the wrong actor can break a movie before it hits theaters, and fans may never know how many close calls involved their favorite heroes. Here are Screen Rant’s 5 Awful Superhero Castings That Almost Happened.
Nicolas Cage may have an Oscar to his name, but that doesn’t mean he was right for director Tim Burton’s short-lived reboot Superman Lives. Better known for bringing hyper and hysterical characters to life, those traits would have been a strange fit for the calm and collected Kal-El. Clark Kent is supposed to be an unassuming everyman who can blend in with the crowd – not a personality Cage is known for. The actor didn’t even look the part in his costume test, coming off as more of a bad Halloween get-up than the Man of Steel. We partly regret not getting to see a Nic Cage Superman in action, but that’s a sacrifice worth making.
For years, it was Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise who was attached to star in an Iron Man film before dropping out and giving way to Robert Downey, Jr. While Cruise has returned to top blockbuster form in recent years, Downey’s casting as Tony Stark turned out to be a match made in Heaven. It would have been nearly impossible for audiences to separate Tom Cruise from his superhero character, and picturing Cruise spitting Stark’s banter still seems wrong. The same challenges turned out to be a good thing for Downey, having conquered demons of his own before landing in the Marvel spotlight. No offense to the actor, but it’s for the best that Cruise lost interest.
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of his generation’s most respected actors, but there are some parts even he’s not cut out for. Sony originally wanted the Titanic star for the lead role in Spider-Man before Sam Raimi cast Tobey Maguire. While almost anyone can be convincing under the Spider-Man mask, it would have been hard to buy DiCaprio as Peter Parker, the geeky science nerd who gets bullied at school, and tongue-tied when talking to Mary Jane Watson. DiCaprio is the kind of celebrity most men aspire to be, and not someone they see themselves in. That’s simply the wrong dynamic for Spider-Man, whose everyman struggles are vital character traits.
Everyone loves Bill Murray, but would they feel the same way if he had donned the cape and cowl? Warner Bros. had to scrap plans for a Murray-led Batman film in the vein of the campy Adam West TV show when they decided to pursue Tim Burton’s movie, and fans can once again breathe a sigh of relief. Even if the project was light-hearted and fun, it’s hard to see Murray striking fear in the hearts of criminals, or playing a clean-cut billionaire playboy. Murray’s deadpan wit and dramatic chops may have been worth seeing, but Michael Keaton’s Batman helped build the mold that all other superheroes would follow afterward.
Fans didn’t really care for the Green Lantern film they eventually got, but at least it wasn’t this. For years, Jack Black was attached to star in an adaptation as “Jud Plato,” a slacker schmuck who is selected to become a member of the Green Lantern Corp. Black’s casting completely misses the point of the character, typically defined by his strong will and determination. Whether it’s Hal Jordan, John Stewart, or anyone in between, a potential Lantern at least gives the impression they’re hero material, which the Black most definitely does not. Admittedly, Black may have been right for Jud Plato, but Jud isn’t right for the Lanterns. At least Ryan Reynolds had the right physique.