Even when they choose incredibly talented actors, they can end up ruining the film. That’s because talent isn’t the only consideration—especially when millions of dollars are on the line. Sometimes a great actor just isn’t right for a part. Sometimes casting directors make the wrong decision.
1. John Wayne in “The Conqueror”
You might have noticed the problem here. Wayne is the quintessential American Western hero, and his iconic drawl made him one of the most respected actors of his era. The Conqueror nearly erased his sizable reputation.
2. Johnny Depp in “The Lone Ranger”
Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers wrote, “Your expectations of how bad the Lone Ranger is can’t trump the reality.” The problem isn’t Depp, Travers insists. The actor tries valiantly to work against type, to “explode every cliche of the American Indian ever cooked up by racist…Hollywood.”
3. Ben Affleck in “Daredevil”
Unfortunately, the film falls apart. Affleck, who’s certainly a talented performer, fails to bring any life to the dull plot. Occasionally, he seems to forget that he’s playing a blind character, creating a few jarring sequences.
4. Keanu Reeves in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
“He tried so hard. That was the problem, actually—he wanted to do it perfectly and in trying to do it perfectly it came off as stilted.” Coppola said. “I tried to get him to just relax with it and not do it so fastidiously.”
5. Jake Gyllenhaal in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”
Gyllenhaal’s turn as a swashbuckling Saudi isn’t bad, exactly. The performance is fine. The movie even finds a way to translate the video-game action (yep, it was based on a video game) to an enjoyable theater experience.
6. Nicolas Cage in “The Wicker Man”
Nicolas Cage plays the lead role earnestly, but that turned out to be a bad decision. Audiences laughed as the Academy Award-winning actor screeches out lines like “How’d it get burned?” with apparent sincerity, and when the film’s villains brought out a container of bees…well, let’s just say that the original version was better.
7. Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”
Still, there’s no winning the argument that Costner was right for the role. He made a name for himself as an all-American tough guy in The Untouchables and a whole slew of baseball films. And he couldn’t shake that Americanness, not even when he was supposed to be playing English lord Sir Robin of Locksley.
8. Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai”
The Last Samurai tells the story of a 19th-century American military adviser who figures out how to be a killer samurai in a few months, training with native Japanese warriors who have presumably been studying their entire lives. Hey, he just picks things up quickly. He’s Tom Cruise.