The Most Controversial Casting Decisions In Movie History

Movie casting is one of the biggest pulls at the box office. Many people will head out to the cinema just to see their favorite stars, however, when they have their mind set on a different person for the role, it can cause chaos.

We’re taking a look at the casting decisions in movies that caused uproars and came as shocks to film fans. From Heath Ledger to Lady Gaga, many stars have been criticized for taking on roles that people just didn’t think were made for them. Read on to find out which stars caused the most disruption in Hollywood.

Some Fans Weren’t Thrilled With Heath Ledger As The Joker

Heath Ledger appears on screen in his role as The Joker
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Before his role as the joker, many saw Heath as a kind of heartthrob actor who had no substance. Yeah, he was in 10 Things I Hate About You, and was devilishly handsome, but did he have much acting talent? As far as the fans were concerned it hadn’t been proved yet.

Of course, this turned out to be a silly fear – because his acting as the Joker was brilliant. Heath excelled in the role, and it went down in history as his best performance ever.

Daniel Craig As The Iconic James Bond

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic
Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic

James Bond? Blonde? Definitely not. Well, that’s what many said when Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond. James Bond had historically been played by dark, mysterious men with an edge, but on the surface, Craig didn’t seem to have that. How wrong they were though!

Daniel Craig brought the grit and the glam to the role and has lasted in the role since 2006. He starred in many movies as Bond: Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre. Great work, Daniel Craig!

Some Thought Johnny Depp Wasn’t Worthy Of Playing Willy Wonka

Johnny Depp Willy Wonka
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

This was a massively controversial casting decision as Johnny Depp was so different than the original version’s star, Gene Wilder. The original was loved so much by everyone, that he had a lot to live up to when he took on the role. Many thought he didn’t have it in him.

He proved the haters all wrong though and delivered a stunning performance. Tim Burton directed it, so it was a lot edgier than the original. This also had fans divided. Although Depp definitely gave a great performance, many thought that he came across as a little creepy in the role. The jury’s still out on this one!

Was It Elementary To Cast Robert Downey Jr. As Sherlock Holmes?

Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows Premiere - London
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. was trusted with one of the greatest roles of all time, and he did a spectacular job alongside Jude Law, creating a new brand for the Sherlock Holmes franchise and inviting a second movie.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. When fans found out that Downey Jr. was to play Sherlock Holmes, they were confused. Not only is he seemingly too young for the role, he’s a lot bigger and darker than the original, which left people a bit frustrated. However, it has now been said that his version of Sherlock is one of the best and truest to the books — take that, critics!

Some Selena Fans Weren’t Psyched About Jennifer Lopez Joining The Cast Of Her Biopic

jennifer lopez as singer selena
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Critics weren’t happy when Jennifer Lopez was cast as the Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. The biopic movie covered her tragic life and featured some pretty heart-wrenching scenes. People questioned whether J-Lo had the serious edge needed to take on the role. However, it became known as one of Lopez’s best performance, so the critics were proven totally wrong.

Interestingly, Lopez was not the casting director’s first choice. He initially invited Mexican actress Salma Hayek to audition but she was not interested in taking the role, saying it would be too emotional.

Much Controversy Surrounds Robert Pattinson In The Batman

Robert Pattinson Batman
FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images
FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

In June 2019, Warner Bros. announced that Robert Pattinson would be starring as Batman in an upcoming film called The Batman. The news divided fans, with some feeling that the broody former Twilight star was perfect for the role and others strongly opposed to seeing “that teen vampire guy” in the iconic bat suit.

Hours after the news was announced, online petitions to replace Pattinson began circulating the internet and gaining hundreds of signatures. Only time will tell how fans will react to the film, which will begin filming early in 2020.

Who Else Would You Like To See Play Katniss Everdeen?

Katniss jennifer lawrence
Lionsgate
Lionsgate

Jennifer Lawrence was never one for serious roles, and her persona as Hollywood’s silly but very lovable star didn’t exactly set her up perfectly for this role. In the weighty books, Katniss is a pretty kick-ass character who overcomes a lot of hurdles, so fans didn’t want it to be underplayed by funny but kinda clumsy J-Law.

We all love her, but people worried she was too ditsy for the role. Well, how wrong they were. She smashed it, and The Hunger Games became some of her best work.

Tom Cruise Had To Reach To Become Jack Reacher

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise is one of those actors who majorly divides opinion. Some love him, while others love to hate him, but the fact that he does all his own stunts is pretty impressive no matter what side of the fence you’re on.

His role as Jack Reacher totally threw fans, and many doubted that he could play the maverick as Cruise differed so much from the original book character the movie was based on. In the novel, Jack is 6ft 5in and is a pretty huge guy — not exactly a similar build to Cruise who is almost a foot shorter. BUT, he smashed it and the film was a hit. Hats off to the guy!

Fans Didn’t Think Anne Hathaway Was ‘Hot’ Enough To Be Catwoman

Anne Hathaway catwoman
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Batman fans are renowned for being die hard, so we’re kind of not surprised to find out that they were outraged when Anne was picked to play Catwoman. Although we think she’s gorgeous, many people thought she just wasn’t hot enough to play Catwoman and didn’t bring that smoky, sultry vibe that’s needed.

After the movie’s release she was hailed as a super actress and most of the fans ate their words. There were still those who liked to nitpick and say her acting was weak, but on the whole she nailed the performance. Right, on Anne!

Some Questioned Colin Farrell As Alexander

Colin Farrell Alexander
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

When you think of Alexander the Great, you think of a sexy, strong man who has a very serious and epic task ahead of him. No offense to Colin, but seeing him in a blonde was really not what we had in mind. He’s also Irish, which confused fans.

Colin Farrell is such a wonderful actor and has many great films under his belt, but this probably wasn’t one of them in all honesty. The casting decision was controversial and a little weird.

Funny Guy Vince Vaughn As Norman Bates Didn’t Sit Well With Many

Vince Vaughn Psycho
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Everyone LOVES Vince Vaughn. He’s funny, cheeky, and a little bit silly. So why oh why did he get cast in the (very deep and scary) remake of Psycho? The original Hitchcock has gone down in history as one of the most terrifying movies of all time, but Vince isn’t scary at all.

The fact that we all feel like we know him now makes his portrayal of a deranged hotel owner a little funny. However, when he was cast for the role he wasn’t as well-known as he is today, so people probably would have viewed it differently.

Could Margot Robbie Fill Tonya Harding’s Skates?

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding
LuckyChap Entertainment/Clubhouse Pictures/AI Film
LuckyChap Entertainment/Clubhouse Pictures/AI Film

I-Tonya was already quite a controversial movie in itself, since it was about the Olympic contestant who attacked her rival, fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. Robbie is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, so many thought it was odd to cast her as Tonya Harding (whom some don’t consider to be quite so attractive).

However, Margot Robbie wanted people to take her seriously as an actress and stop judging her on her looks, which actually put her in quite a good position to take on the role. It was a winner at the box office and has gone down as one of her best performances.

People Weren’t Sure Jim Carrey Could Be Serious Enough For The Truman Show

Jim Carrey Truman
Paramount/Getty Images
Paramount/Getty Images

Jim Carrey is everyone’s favorite funny guy, so when he was cast in Peter Weir’s serious and dark The Truman Show, people weren’t happy. However, the movie created a gorgeous juxtaposition in casting Carrey as Truman.

His joyful, playful, and childish nature meant that the audience really fell for Truman and felt sorry for him. It also meant that the audience properly rooted for him (spoiler alert coming…!) at the end when he breaks out of his made-up world. It was a crazy storyline and one that was carried by a solid performance from Jim Carrey.

Renee Zellweger As Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

According to the novel that the film’s based on, Bridget Jones is a pudgy, clumsy 30-something who has trouble finding love. So when fans found out that Renee Zellweger — a beautiful, American actress — was set to play her, they weren’t happy at all.

However, Renee absolutely smashed the role and became known as Bridget Jones. She lived in England before playing the role and even gained 20 pounds, so she definitely put a lot of effort into making the movie a success. And it was. Everyone loved Bridget Jones!

Ben Affleck As Batman??

Ben Affleck in the batsuit
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Look, we get it. Affleck wasn’t exactly our first choice for Batman either, but the fans really weren’t happy with anyone at this stage. They were complaining that Affleck was too silly and not a good enough actor to take on the role, which is a little harsh.

Time will tell how Robert Pattinson fares as the iconic superhero. But overall, this was not the best role for Ben Affleck.

Fans Ended Up Pleased With Mark Ruffalo’s Version Of The Hulk

Mark Ruffalo flexing As The Hulk
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Mark Ruffalo has traditionally played softer, more refined characters who the audience grew to love. His usual characters are a little geeky and on the shy side, but become the hero eventually. So, how did this everyman actor get cast as the scariest and biggest superhero ever?

We’re not sure. But if you’ve seen the Avengers films, you’ll know that they were a massive hit and Ruffalo brought a funnier, softer element to the Hulk which added more than his angrier portrayals in the past. The main thing was that Marvel fans were happy – and they’re not an easy bunch to please!

Russell Brand As Aldous Snow

Aldous Snow
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is such a classic comedy that you can play it at any social gathering, no matter what mood you’re in, and it will be a hit. However, the decision to cast Russell Brand as Aldous was a pretty controversial one.

Although Russell and Aldous aren’t actually that dissimilar, Russel hadn’t starred in many films before, so the decision to cast him in a Hollywood blockbuster was pretty bold. The part was actually modified for him, and he definitely did it justice. He’s funny, saucy, and gloriously silly in this movie.

Bradley Cooper Initially Turned Down His Role In A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper In A Star Is Born
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

A Star Is Born has been such a hit worldwide, and there’s no doubting that Bradley Cooper has a lot to do with that success. However, the star actually turned down the role back in 2011, which made people think maybe he wasn’t up to it.

However, his directorial debut was a major success, and his performance opposite Lady Gaga was stunning. Although the role casting decision was controversial, and many worried about him juggling the role and directing, he absolutely nailed it.

Here’s Anne Hathaway Again

Anne Hathaway Les Mis
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Les Misérables is another absolute classic that got amazing reviews at the box office, however many thought that Anne Hathaway as Fantine might have been too immature. Fans also questioned whether she had the voice to pull off one of the best songs in the musical, “‘I dreamed a dream.”

Overall, the reviews were pretty good for Anne, who gave a great performance in a pretty challenging role. There were still those who complained about her musical talents, and who thought she was too young for the role. You can’t win them all.

Elijah Wood Didn’t Seem Tough Enough To Be In Green Street

Elijah Wood Green Street
Universal Pictures/Freestyle Releasing
Universal Pictures/Freestyle Releasing

Ah, Green Street: a classic UK cult film about football hooligans who wreaked havoc across the streets of the United Kingdom in the ’80s, ’90s and early noughties. While there’s no doubting that Elijah Wood is an amazing actor, he doesn’t exactly look like a hooligan, so fans were confused when he was cast as one of the lead bad men in the movie.

However, the Hobbit Hooligan (as he became known), did a great job and the movie has gone down in history as a classic. Just goes to show that a fantastic actor can pull off almost any role.