There are so many good actors in Hollywood, you’d think casting directors would have their pick to fill any and every role. And while they often get it right, they do unfortunately get it wrong sometimes, too.
It’s not always just a mistake, either. Occasionally we see casting directors giving roles to actors just because they are popular and not because they are perfect for the role.
So let’s take a look at some of the worst casting choices made in films!
Emma Stone in Aloha
Hollywood often has a problem with whitewashing, and Emma Stone’s casting in Aloha is a shining example. Her casting to play a character of Asian and Hawaiian heritage didn’t sit well with most people, and the controversy affected the movie’s success.
Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher
Tom Cruise was cast to play Jack Reacher himself, but he just can’t fill the shoes. The policeman is supposed to be a 250-pound blonde man standing over 6 feet tall, with hands “the size of dinner plates” and “a six-pack like a cobbled city street.” For reference, Cruise is 5’7” and around 150 lbs.
Tom Cruise in Interview With the Vampire
Oh, look — it’s Tom Cruise again. Sure, he brought his intensity and made a good movie (it’s still one of my favorites), but he simply can’t quite lose himself in the role of Lestat. The vampire is described as “a tall, fair-skinned man with a mass of blonde hair and a graceful, almost feline quality.” The Brat Prince describes himself as 6 feet tall in the book, and he’s always sensual — lots of things that Tom Cruise just doesn’t bring to the table.
Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York
While Gangs of New York is packed full of incredible performances from the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Liam Neeson, there’s also… Cameron Diaz. Her attempt at an Irish accent changes from scene to scene, and she’s not exactly convincing as a daring pickpocket.
Russell Crowe in Les Misérables
Casting a not-very-good singer in a musical? Why not! That’s what happened with Les Misérables when they cast Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. While Crowe defended his solo number as “raw and real,” the rest of us call it nearly unbearable.
Jared Leto in Suicide Squad
The Joker has been many things over the years — but despite the acid green hair, tattoos, and grill, Jared Leto’s Joker is boring. I don’t feel like I even need to expand on this one. It was just… not good.
Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell
For whatever reason, Scarlett Johansson was tapped to play Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell. It’s set in Japan, and the major characters are Japanese. This casting mistake at least gave us plenty of memes about Johansson playing absurd roles.
Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Look, I love Keanu Reeves as much as the next person… But that doesn’t mean that he’s perfect for any and every role. His casting as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula proves it. It’s almost comedic to watch him slip in and out of his accent while he tries to deliver lines in time with Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman — and comedy is not what you want in a dark adaptation of Dracula.
More to Explore: We Don’t Deserve Keanu Reeves
Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger
I’m sure they cast Johnny Depp for two reasons: the star power of this name, and his knack for donning a costume and lots of makeup. Unfortunately, Disney pulled a pretty culturally insensitive mistake casting Depp as the Native American Tonto, despite Depp’s claims that “everything was done with a lot of respect.”
Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3
No actor in Hollywood wants to be typecast, but Topher Grace just isn’t a formidable villain. We’re supposed to believe that sweet Eric Foreman is a scary archenemy? Sorry, not happening. It doesn’t help that Tom Hardy’s standalone Venom films are so much better and more enjoyable than whatever this was.
Ben Affleck in Daredevil
Back in the days before Marvel and DC movies ruled the box office, Ben Affleck scored the role of Daredevil and it was a disaster. Affleck won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor, and later went on to say, “I hate Daredevil so much.”
To add insult to injury, Jennifer Garner’s character, Elektra, was given a spinoff film, which was also a critical and commercial failure. He tried his hand at the superhero genre again by becoming Batman for DC’s poorly received Justice League franchise. Maybe just hang up the capes and masks for good, Ben.