Casting major roles in blockbuster films, book adaptations, and comic book movies aren’t easy to do, and many times those decisions spark a great deal of controversy amongst the source materials’ fans. Sometimes those issues fans have with the casting decisions end up being spot on, but not always.
And even though many – and really, many – controversial casting decisions turned out alright in the end, not many people apologized for being wrong about the decisions in the first place. We’ve gathered some of those examples below.
This Page: Lots of DC… and James Bond
Page 2: Sherlock, Marvel, Hunger Games
10. Heath Ledger – Joker
The guy from Brokeback Mountain is going to play the Joker… seriously? That about sums up the general reaction to Heath Ledger’s casting as the Clown Prince of Crime in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. The fact is, many comic book fans and fans of Jack Nicholson’s original portrayal of the Joker were irate over Ledger’s casting. Some people even said they wouldn’t see the movie because they would only be imagining Joker having sex with Batman.
Well, that didn’t happen. And instead, The Dark Knight became the highest-rated movie of the year, one of the best comic book movies of all-time, and it garnered Ledger an Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor. It seems Nolan made the right call with Ledger.
9. Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
If Batman appearing alongside Superman for the first time on the big screen wasn’t enough, Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder decided to include Wonder Woman as well, who was eventually played by Fast & Furious star Gal Gadot – probably not the first person that would come to mind for a role like that; Patty Jenkins admitted as much when she signed on to direct the character’s solo movie.
Some people criticized Gadot for her acting and her body (but mostly her body) as reasons she wasn’t capable of bringing Wonder Woman to life. That tone changed after Gadot made her debut as the Amazon superhero in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and then again in Wonder Woman. Now, she’s considered the embodiment of Wonder Woman and arguably the DCEU’s biggest star to date. Clearly, a lot can change in just a few years.
8. Daniel Craig – James Bond
A number of actors have played James Bond over the years, and each Bond fan has their favorite one. For many, that happens to be Daniel Craig (the most recent actor to play the MI6 spy), but before he first appeared in Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale, not many people were actually on board with his casting. In fact, several campaigns were launched to boycott the film because of Craig’s height (5’10”) and since he had blond hair, which didn’t befit the traditional tall, dark-haired James Bond from previous films. It got so bad that each previous Bond had to come to Craig’s defense at various points.
Considering that Casino Royale frequently ranks among the better Bond films and that Skyfall is still the highest-grossing Bond film to date, it’s fair to say that people’s adverse reactions to Craig’s casting were baseless. We’ll just have to wait and see what the reactions will be like if EON actually decides to cast a woman or person of color as the next 007.
7. Ben Affleck – Batman
Gal Gadot’s casting as Wonder Woman drew a lot of ire, but so did Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman. In fact, pretty much every major casting in the DCEU so far has been criticized at length by a vocal minority – or, in some cases, a majority. Affleck falls into the latter category. Some fans pointed to Affleck’s portrayal as Daredevil as a reason he shouldn’t be cast as Batman, while others criticized his Boston accent as being unfit for the character.
Overall, a great many people were displeased with WB’s decision, but it seems to have turned out well in the end… sort of. A lot of Affleck’s detractors are now on board with the actor’s brutal portrayal of the iconic superhero, but it’s unclear how long his tenure as the Dark Knight will continue to last.
6. Michael Keaton – Batman
Tim Burton’s original Batman film is among the most influential comic book movies ever to release on the big screen, and it helped propel Michael Keaton’s acting career. He’s still referred to as Batman almost 30 years later. But there was a time when Keaton’s casting as the Caped Crusader drew scorn from comic book fans. After all, Keaton was an actor known primarily for his comedy roles in films such as Beetlejuice and now he was about to play the Dark Knight in the character’s first live-action movie.
Well, Burton’s Batman is now well-regarded for its darkness and seriousness compared to other superhero movies, and much of that is owed to Keaton’s portrayal as Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Moreover, Keaton is one of many comedy actors who’ve proven themselves in dramatic roles; perhaps fans will remember that and give Kristen Wiig a chance at playing Cheetah in Wonder Woman 2?
Page 2 of 2: Sherlock, Marvel, Hunger Games