Top O’ the Mornin’ to ya, Big Blue Nation! For my first post on KSR I spent the better part of a week sitting around and thinking about what I should write. Initially I was going to write a movie review about Finnegan’s Wake but it turns out that is not a movie about Irish surfers, but instead the most unreadable book in the English language, so, damn, there went that gem.
I decided I probably ought to concentrate on recent happenings as inspiration for my writing. This weekend I was sitting around watching TV when my friend Amanda texted me, “Ben Affleck!” Knowing what a Batman obsessive she is I immediately guessed that he must have been cast as the Dark Knight in the upcoming Batman/Superman crossover, which turned out to be the case (covered in wonderful detail by Ms. English on Monday).
Like the majority of people on the internet apparently, I’m not giving this casting much hope. I think Affleck might be able to pull off Bruce Wayne, but never, ever, ever should he be cowled as the Bat. The casting got me thinking about other times I’ve been watching movies and thought to myself, “What on Earth was the casting director thinking?” with a particular role. There’s no way to know if Batfleck would end up on this list if it were hypothetically written in 2016, but given how bad it is in my mind’s eye it certainly belongs on the….
Keanu Reeves Honorary List of the Worst Miscastings Ever
This list is in no particular order, nor does it rank them because this is completely subjective to me. Also, if I had included all the comic book characters that had been miscast or all of the roles that Keanu Reeves shouldn’t have been in, we’d be here forever.
(Quickly: Ben Affleck as Daredevil, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and the Green Lantern, Halle Berry as Catwoman, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, Howard the Duck as a film, Clooney and Kilmer as Batmen and then Keanu in just about everything except Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey.)
So, without further ado…
John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror (1956)
For any of you that took Dr. Summer’s history classes, he always told our class that the two worst casting decisions ever were Humphrey Bogart in The Return of Dr. X and this one. I’ve never seen the Bogie movie, but I subjected myself to this movie and it is incredible in a very painful way. The Duke wears a terrible fake wig and mustache and speaks in the same corn-fed Iowa accent that he has in all of his movies. When he’s not beating one of his wives or hacking someone up with a sword, he’s attempting “political intrigue,” not one of his strong points…
While John Wayne has a number of iconic roles and is, indeed, one of the most iconic actors of all-time, this is not a role he should have been cast in. Neither the first, nor the last in a long line of “Why are you casting obviously white actors in an ethnic role?” choices.
Kevin Costner as Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
I hate Kevin Costner, he’s terrible, but for some reason people have been casting him in things for FOREVER. I mean, you’d think that people would take the hint when his first movie was Troma Feature called Sizzle Beach U.S.A.that this was not a person to take seriously.
Yet, hot off of his Oscar-winning run in Dance with Wolves (if not for Bicentennial Man in the running for worst movie ever made), the powers that be decided to cast Costner as the British folk hero Robin Hood. Just look at him.
Rockin’ the early 90’s mullet, clean shaven, and with nary a sign of anything resembling a British accent, this was one of laziest performances by one of the worst performers and makes an otherwise OK movie (who doesn’t like Alan Rickman and Morgan Freeman?) painful to watch. If you want to know why Cary Elwes is a better Robin Hood any day of the week, fast forward to the 1:10 mark of the following video and he’ll tell you.
Shia LeBeouf as Henry “Mutt Williams” Jones III in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Lots of ink has been spilled over the things that George Lucas has done to our respective childhoods. Even trying to give him the benefit of the doubt I can’t defend any portion of the 4th Indiana Jones movie. This thing was a bomb.
One of the worst parts was the super in-your-face way that Lucas and Spielberg slapped you with Indy’s not-so-secret love child with Marion played by mini-Tom Hardy.
Is there really such a dearth of actors under 30 that he was cast as a supposedly bad-ass 50’s greaser? I would have chosen any actor in The Outsiders if they hadn’t been so old. Aaron Paul is way more bad ass than Shia LeBeouf (though the material wasn’t outstanding either, maybe Paul would have lent some talent to the whole production and made them ashamed of the script enough in time for rewrites! Re-writes, Bitch!). Shia fumbles his way through fist-fighting Socs, sword fighting Russkies, and the awkward emotional relationship with his (shocking revelation) father. It’s painful to watch.
Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough (1999)
That is apparently what passes for a nuclear physicist in the Bond universe, if you’re female anyway. What the producers were trying to tell us by casting Wild Things actress Denise Richards as a femme fatale scientist was that it was less E=mc2 and more that $=TNA. This is why I prefer the new hyper realistic Bonds, we still get the beautiful women but they’re shockingly competent most of the time (for Bond Girls).
In hindsight it’s especially easy to harp on Richards because of the whole ob-Sheen romance thing that happened to her, but check out some of these lines she dead panned during the movie:
“The world’s greatest terrorist running around with six kilos of weapons-grade plutonium can’t be good. I gotta get it back, or someone’s gonna have my butt.” Dang it! I hate it when I misplace six kilos of weapons-grade plutonium!!
“You wanna put that in English for those of us who don’t speak Spy?” SPY, M#%^F%*@!, DO YOU SPEAK IT?
It’s not completely her fault, the writing (as with a lot of these) is absolutely terrible here, but don’t you think that someone a bit more Blanchett-esque would’ve felt more like a scientist here? I suppose I shouldn’t make any jokes, she’s probably heard them all.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men, X-2, X-3, Wolverine: Origins and The Wolverine (2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013)
The picture above pretty much encapsulates everything that I find wrong with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. I know that a lot of people are fine with his performances and there aren’t a lot of clips with him acting poorly or coming off as an idiot in these movies. Also, I haven’t read any X-Men comics ever. I was reared, though, on the X-Men cartoon of the early 90’s. Listen to this theme song and tell me you’re going to get this out of your head anytime in the next week.
Wolverine is a bad-ass in this cartoon, a true, original member of #TeamNF in the fake cartoon world. (I believe all of the Street Sharks would have been members as well). My problem with Hugh Jackman in the movies is that he shows emotion. Not a particular emotion, not too much for a movie, just any at all. The only emotions Wolverine ought to have are anger, sarcasm, and a mixture between the two.
Wolverine here falls in love, gets weepy when he has to kill her, thinks about his actions, and isn’t as gruff as he should be. Wolverine, to me, ought to be that 60’s dad that doesn’t show any emotion because it’s not the manly thing to do. Wolverine needs to repress his feelings and drink them down into a deep, black emotion pit never to see the light of day. He needs to be this guy and not this guy. I may be in the vast minority here, but I would’ve like to have seen a less realistic emotional range from this role.
William Shatner as Notah/Johnny Moon in Comanche Blanco (1968)
If that’s not the creepiest clip of Shatner you’ve ever seen, then you have access to some home movies I’m not interested in. So where do we start? The boots? The evil grins that Shatner dons like a goatee in this bizarro world? I suppose after seeing Star Trek, there are very few roles other than Kirk that you can really imagine Shatner succeeding at (Boston Legal is a rare example of success). But what you’re telling me is that 5 years after Star Trek someone thought it was a good idea to cast a Canadian starship captain as a white American Indian? Huh?
What I want to know is, did he know about the role beforehand? Could we have been spared? Is this a Twilight Zone crowd?
Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
I’m kind of penalizing Depp here for every movie he’s made in the past decade. This movie is the first one in my head where he stopped being “Johnny Depp, Actor who fits all molds” and became “Johnny Depp, Actor who is annoyingly weird for weirdness sake.” Before his latest movies had been released, I was alright with his Willy Wonka.
Yet, as he’s trotted out the same pale, tired oddity over and over and over again, I’ve started to like him less in the role. I watched Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka again and this just drove it home for me. There’s a perceived depth to Depp’s characters that I don’t think is really there and it’s sad that this previously good actor has become so boring. Everything I think, actually, is said better here.
Personally, I would’ve liked Christopher Eccleston in the role because he was an awesome and underrated Dr. Who who struck the perfect balance of eccentricity that role needed. Plus, let’s face it, Billie Piper is more attractive than Helena Bonham-Carter. Billie Piper is quite…
Ok, maybe not as good as all that.
Wookiees as Ewoks in Return of the Jedi (1983)
Originally, George Lucas wanted to use a planet of Wookiees in Return of the Jedi to be a bunch of hippie bears that could take down the massive industrial empire, or something like that. How much cooler would that have been? Wookiees are like 8 feet tall and they have laser crossbows and can rip people’s arms off. With the Ewoks we got Yub Nub:
We also eventually got this:
Yeah, the ending of that movie always made me ask these questions:
Wookiees would have been so much better and more plausible.
Jim Carrey as Johnny Squares in The Dead Pool (1988)
I can’t be certain that the rest of you spent a good week in high school watching and re-watching all of the Dirty Harry movies, so for those of you who haven’t seen it, this is the last one of those. The movie is an action bit where a killer has odds on celebrities dying–hence the “Dead Pool”–that he ends up killing himself so that he can make some pocket cash. It’s kind of a convoluted get rich quick scheme. In the movie Jim Carrey is supposed to be a rock star in the vein of Axl Rose. In fact, the rest of Guns N’ Roses cameo as his band during his funeral in this movie. The problem is, watch this clip and tell me if you buy Ace Ventura as a strung out, junkie glam rock musician.
Nope, neither do I. And in the movie when he talks, he sounds like Crispen Glover, with a Canadian accent. No parts of this work for me.
Manis, the Orangutan as Main Monkey in Going Ape! (1981)
I know that all of you are as disgusted as I am, seeing a star like Manis debased in a role such as this. The star of Every Which Way but Loose and Cannonball Run II shouldn’t have been forced to act in such tripe. The sheer unfairness of it leaves me ag-Ape with horror.
This is the one role on this list where the actor is far too good for the part they were given. This movie should have gone to a lesser Orangutan like Bam-Bam, who you all surely know as Precious from NBC’s Passions. Watch this and tell me that wouldn’t have been a more appropriate casting.
There are certainly others, but that’s my list of the 10 most ridiculous miscastings I can think of. I’m no casting director, so I can’t always say who’d be better, but if you really think about it aren’t all the castings I’ve listed mistakes?
Now I can’t say whether or not Ben Affleck will end up here for his portrayal of Batman, but if you even have to ask this early, then the chances are fairly high that it won’t end well. If there’s one thing that we know for sure though, it’s that someone in Hollywood will always inevitably leave us feeling mad about something.