The Top 10 Worst Comic Book Casting Mistakes

July 29, 2009

Comic books are all the rage in the movie industry, but they don’t always have the right man or woman behind the mask. Some people are lucky they don’t read comics. They do not suffer when 30 years of waiting ends in disappointment. For the purists it’s never that simple. One poor casting job can blind them to any positives, and the following actors did not merely betray the franchise, they were doomed from the start.

Source: Warner Bros.

10. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (Wade Wilson) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Source: 20th Century Fox

I like to think they gave Deadpool his name because it’s easy to imagine him standing knee deep in a flood of corpses, all sliced in half and with bullets in their brains. Now, is that the extreme guy you think of when you look at Ryan Reynolds? Is he the type of cold-blooded assassin who leaves his blades behind when he raises the roof off a sorority house after faking an engagement to Sandra Bullock? Reynolds might have something to offer the comic book universe. Maybe as Flash, or even Havok, but for the sake of all that’s good and Marvel not Deadpool.

9. Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) in Watchmen

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Source: Warner Bros.

There is nothing coy or James Bond about Veidt, which is what Goode mysteriously brought to the character. Fans noticed immediately when the first in-costume still was released. It’s not mostly Goode’s fault, he didn’t have the look or the build to fit the massive mind and physique of the super-hero tycoon. Veigt was insanely toned mentally and physically. Goode was plain soft, and cocky in a bad way. It was Veigt’s demeanor what made his ultimate decision so shocking. He wasn’t really hiding anything. He was the same person on every page. Ozymandias did his deed for the better good. It felt like Goode was just having a good time.

8. Cillian Murphy as The Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane) in Batman Begins

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Source: Warner Bros.

Scarecrow was a smart villain to work into Batman’s origin story, but Cillian Murphy was a puzzling choice to play the disturbed Jonathan Crane. We can forget the designers turning what could have been a fantastically terrifying costume into a 99-cent-store Halloween mask, but Murphy added a sense of style and sultriness that could not have been farther from the source material. In fact, it was Crane’s inability to deal with commonplace social interactions that led to his obsession with controlling people’s emotions: most specifically fear. He was a frazzled lunatic. Christopher Nolan transformed him into some bio-terrorist Hugh Hefner.

7. Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-man

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Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

We’ve seen the fashionably frumpy Dunst play the seductive girl next door, so it wasn’t a stretch for an acting assignment at first. After weighing two movies worth of whining, we had a hard time rooting for Spider-Man to save her in part three. Spidey wore the tights, but with her performance, she made sure she wore the pants. Dunst confused “spunky” for “airhead,” did her best acting when she was screaming, and even blew the lid off plot details months before the producers intended.

6. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in Superman Returns

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Source: Warner Bros.

Casting Bosworth as Lane is like casting Posh Spice as Professor McGonagall in the next Harry Potter movie. Then you drive the stake deeper by telling the fans she’s continuing the role from the previous films like nothing happened. Age aside, Bosworth still doesn’t come close to portraying the feisty Metropolis reporter. There’s a reason Lane worked herself to the top of a mostly male-driven industry at the time of Superman’s first publishing. She had a take-no-prisoners style of reporting, justifying her attendance of nearly every traumatic event in Metropolis. Going from Margot Kidder to Kate Bosworth may be easy on the eyes, but you don’t need x-ray vision to see she doesn’t fit.

5. Jessica Alba as The Invisible Woman (Susan Storm) in The Fantastic Four

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Source: 20th Century Fox

Susan Storm is one of the most accomplished scientific minds in the Marvel universe. The Invisible Woman and her husband often solve problems raised by other infamous heroes from Spider-Man to the X-Men. That’s why it’s hard not to chuckle thinking of the star from Good Luck Chuck and Into the Blue working long hours at the laboratory, or winning Reed’s heart in some late night study session. Alba is about as convincing a scientist as Denise Richards.

4. Jennifer Garner as Elektra (Elektra Nachios) in Daredevil

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Source: Marvel Enterprises

One thing that Marvel can take credit for is subtle, but important advancements in the treatment of ethnic characters in comic books. Seeing these regional distinctions as mostly optional on celluloid, Marvel movies often just find the hottest guy or girl they can and start shooting. This resulted in a Colossus that wasn’t Russian, a Gambit that didn’t speak Creole, a Rogue that’s never even been to the south, and an Elektra that was most certainly not Greek. Garner may have demonstrated skill and finesse on five seasons of Alias, but that didn’t help her fill the leather boots of Daredevil’s partner in crime-fighting. Don’t ask how the character got its own spin-off.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze (Victor Fries) in Batman & Robin

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Source: Warner Bros.

If you were forced to cast the Cali-Governator in any comic book, you have a multitude of options. Not being a performer known for his combat or acting chops, he’s a good physical fit for Bane, Juggernaut, Kraven, or even Darkseid, but Schwarzenegger as Freeze must have had extras giggling on set. We almost didn’t include Arnie because it almost appears intentionally bad. Thinking otherwise makes you feel like you’ve been frost-blasted with one of Victor’s custom ray guns. No one could have expected fans to take it seriously.

2. Halle Berry as Storm (Ororo Munroe) in X-Men

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Source: 20th Century Fox

Credit must, of course, be given to this Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and Academy Award-winning actress. She is an exceptional talent, but not Storm in her wildest, lightning-charged dreams. Ororo is descended from a long line of Kenyan mystics and upon being orphaned she raised herself as a thief on the streets of Cairo. As Storm, Halle looks like a victim. Storm’s milky white eyes should be filled with fury. Instead, Berry looks like she’s falling asleep. We get it--there’s a considerable shortage of young black actresses with long, flowing white hair, but there are better mops at the 99 Cent Store.

1. Topher Grace as Venom (Eddie Brock) in Spider-man 3

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Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Going from That ‘70s Show to That ‘90s Comic Villain was just the first of Topher’s problems. The real Eddie Brock, even before he became the sinister symbiote, could have crumpled up Topher and stuffed him in a burrito. Readers weren’t just scared that Brock discovered the alien substance because it fostered his unending hatred, they trembled because he was a powerhouse of aggression. He was about as tough as they come. Topher just didn’t make sense, period. If Topher’s mousy exterior belongs in that role, then he might as well play He-Man or Conan the Barbarian. It was rumored that Raimi fought Venom’s inclusion in the film, which might explain why he cast one of the scrawniest actors in Hollywood to play one of the bulkiest adversaries in comics. This is one villain we hated for the wrong reasons.


Honorable Mention:

Kelsey Grammer as Beast (Dr. Henry McCoy)
Ben Foster as Angel (Warren Worthington III)
Taylor Kitsch as Gambit (Remy Lebeau)

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