The internet had a collective seizure last week as it was announced that Ben Affleck would be assuming the role of the caped crusader in the sequel to Man of Steel. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative with a very small few offering kind gestures like “well, let’s just see how he does”. We here at LTBM are somewhat split on the matter. Some of us think it’s a bad casting decision, some of us think it’s a sure sign of the end of days! 😉 It did however get us thinking about some of the worst casting mistakes we’ve ever witnessed. Naturally, this is something you try to forget about once you’ve seen it on-screen, but I’m sure you’ll agree that some of these are the worst casting decisions ever made.
On-screen adaptations of comic books are probably the most difficult roles to cast. If you even get the hair-color wrong the fanboys will be up in arms. When it comes to Batman, the popular choice as worst-cast is George Clooney in Batman & Robin. I disagree. In fact, I think if Clooney had been originally cast as Batman it would have been just as good as it was with Michael Keaton. Clooney simply stepped onto a boat already riddled with the holes that Val Kilmer created in Batman Forever. Kilmer is a terrific actor in very specific roles (see Tombstone and Willow). But, he does not come close to pulling off the deep-seeded anger needed to do justice to Batman. I am not a fan of Affleck as Batman for the same reasons. He’s a good actor in certain roles (Argo, Good Will Hunting), but I think he is going to fall well short of the depth of anger needed to pull off The Dark Knight.
George Lucas has made many bad decisions when it comes to the Star Wars Universe. One of the worst and unforgivable choice was to cast Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. Why on earth did he choose a whiny, soap opera reject, to play the most iconic character in Star Wars is beyond me. It is his fault the love story between Anakin and Padme was so awkward and at times creepy. I would even go so far to say that casting Hayden was a worse offense than creating Jar-Jar Binks. Alright time to go watch A New Hope and watch the real Vader.
When I was in college I had to read Bridges of Madison County for a summer class. Yes, it’s a “chick book” and a love story. However, I actually got into it. There’s a great and sincere story of sacrifice in there. I read it a few times before I heard a movie was coming out. With truly only 2 characters in the movie, you had to have a major person to play the lead. The only person in my mind that could possibly be manly enough and gentle/kind enough was Robert Redford. I was truly disappointed when I heard Clint Eastwood was playing Kincaid. (Not as shocked when I found out he cast himself since he directed it, too.) DO NOT misunderstand me; I am a huge Eastwood fan. I have seen a large majority of his movies, even small rolls, and yes, even the black and white movies. For BoMC, Eastwood had a great eye, the perfect flow, and ideal style in directing. However, he totally ruined the roll of Robert Kincaid. Some people can play tough and gentle. That however is NOT Eastwood’s forte’.
In my opinion, the worst casting decision I’ve seen is Andy Garcia in The Godfather III. Let’s be honest, the movie is a train wreck, but one that you’re okay with not looking at. And Andy Garcia, while I like him in other films (he’s great in the Oceans movies), was all wrong for this movie and for the franchise. However, his work in the film sums up the whole movie: Average, only mildly entertaining, but without the attitude, seriousness, or raw energy of the first two. I never believed Garcia in the role, and it all seemed like a bad joke. Think about it, the first two Godfathers were Marlon Brando (played by Robert Deniro in flashback for The Godfather II) and Al Pacino. … And then Andy Garcia? Really? Much like the 4th Indiana Jones, I pretend that The Godfather III isn’t really a part of the franchise, and that Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is still in charge.
I’m going with George Clooney as Batman in Batman and Robin. The caped crusader has had it rough. In the same supposed chronology of films, three actors played the character in four movies. And when the opening credits show nipples on the batsuit, you know it’s going to be a rough ride. Even rougher is Clooney’s one dimensional portrayal. I don’t mind Clooney in most of his movies; as a matter of fact I loved him in Oh Brother Where Art Thou. But you can’t take a smooth talking gentleman and turn him into an angsty vigilante. It doesn’t work. It was a poor decision all around and hopefully one we will never see the likes of again.
As you can see, Batman has been somewhat abused over the years, in our opinion. Let’s hear from you, what are some of the worst casting decisions that you’ve ever seen?