Actors Who Were Seemingly Miscast But Wound Up Perfecting Their Role

Movie buffs typically have a thing or two to say about casting, especially if they don’t agree with the director in their choice of actor. But talent such as pretty boy Heath Ledger and family man Bryan Cranston proved the haters wrong, absolutely killing their respective roles as the Joker and Walter White.

Keep reading because these actors might have seemed wrong for the role at first, but they wound up slaying it.

Katey Sagal As Gemma Teller Marrow In Sons Of Anarchy

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AMC
AMC

As the ditzy mom on Married with Children, Katy Sagal playing the rough and tough mama bear of a motorcycle club in Sons of Anarchy was pretty much out of the question for a lot of people.

Then she’s on screen, with her streaked black hair, studded belt, and bad attitude, and it’s clear that no one else could have done the role of Gemma better than Sagal.

Heath Ledger As The Joker In The Dark Knight

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

When it was announced that actor Heath Ledger would be the infamous Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker, in Peter Jackson’s The Dark Knight, Batman fans had mixed reactions.

Many people didn’t think the rom-com Ten Things I Hate About You pretty boy had what it took to play the crazy clown. He proved them wrong, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the iconic performance.

Keanu Reeves As Neo In The Matrix Franchise

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

While Keanu Reeves has a few action films under his belt, such as Point Break and Speed, many people still saw him as the goofy guy from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. So, when it was announced that Reeves was slotted to play Neo in The Matrix, it seemed wrong.

He proved everyone wrong, helping the film become a major box office success.

Matthew McConaughey As Ron Woodroof In Dallas Buyers Club

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Focus Features
Focus Features

Being one of the faces of early 2000s rom-com films, it was hard for people to imagine Matthew McConaughey playing the role of an AIDS-ridden cowboy in Texas. Sporting a mustache, bucket hat, and some stellar aviator sunglasses, he blew the role out of the water.

McConaughey wound up winning his first Oscar for his performance, an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Edward Norton As Derek Vinyard In American History X

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New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

A Yale graduate whose first major role was as a crazy person named Aaron Stampler/Roy in Primal Fear, it was hard for many people to take Edward Norton’s casting as Derek Vineyard in American History X seriously. He just didn’t come across as an intimidating being.

Norton proved those people wrong, though, having one of the best performances of his career that wound up earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He absolutely nails the role.

Michael Keaton As Bruce Wayne/Batman In Batman

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

When Michael Keaton was cast as the title character in Tim Burton’s Batman, he’d already been typecast as a comedic actor. Needless to say, his casting was very controversial, and many people weren’t thrilled that Beetlejuice was going to be Bruce Wayne.

He might have seemed wrong for the role at the time, but Keaton wound up doing so amazing, greenlighting the sequel was a breeze.

Vivien Leigh As Scarlett O’Hara In Gone With The Wind

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

While Vivien Leigh went on to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, her casting didn’t have people jumping up and down.

When it was first announced Leigh was taking on the starring role, many people thought the actress would be “too British” to play a Southern belle.

Bruce Willis As John McClane In The Die Hard Franchise

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Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

When Bruce Willis was cast as John McClane in the Die Hard franchise, people literally laughed. He was a rom-com actor. And the studio even went through eight other actors, many of which were action stars, before settling on Willis.

Even though he wasn’t the first, second, or even sixth choice, Willi killed the role with one film critic, Pete Croatto, calling the film “a perfect action movie in every detail.”

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the Bourne series

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Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Director Doug Liman was looking at action stars such as Russell Crowe and Sylvester Stallone before landing on Matt Damon for the role of Jason Bourne in the Bourne franchise. The choice had a lot of people scratching their heads.

This was an actor who was in Good Will Hunting, Mystic Pizza, and Dogma. What was he going to bring to a CIA character? Answer: everything. Damon wound up winning numerous awards for his performances throughout the films.

Hugh Laurie As Gregory House In House

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Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company

At the time, Hugh Laurie was known as a British comedic actor. Nothing on his resume really screamed “American drama actor to-be,” making people curious as to why he was chosen to portray the title character of the medical drama House.

Laurie wound up stealing the show and becoming one of the highest-paid actors on cable television, making $400,000 per episode.

Anne Hathaway As Catwoman In The Dark Knight Rises

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Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Between Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry, there was no way The Princess Diaries actress Anne Hathaway would bring something new and exciting to the character of Catwoman, especially alongside Christian Bale’s Batman.

She wound up proving everyone wrong, bringing a more humane (albeit still sassy!) side to the character in The Dark Knight Rises.

Alan Rickman As Severus Snape In The Harry Potter Franchise

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

It might be hard to imagine since Alan Rickman embodies Severus Snape so well, but a lot of Potter fans were not happy with his original casting. In the books, Snape is illustrated as being a younger wizard. At least, not as old as Rickman.

Now, people can’t think of Snape being anyone but Rickman!

Bryan Cranston As Walter White In Breaking Bad

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AMC
AMC

Bryan Cranston as drug lord Walter White had a lot of people confused. This was the actor who was the goofy father in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. There was no way he was going to bring a manipulative, tough-guy anti-hero person to the table.

Well, he did. Cranston’s portrayal of Walter White is now widely considered one of the best TV characters of all time.

John Krasinski As Jack Ryan In Jack Ryan

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Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video

Nothing really says wrong casting decision, like casting John Krasinski, aka Jim from The Office, as the title character in the TV series Jack Ryan. It just didn’t make sense! He was the floppy-haired salesman, not an action star.

Apparently, that wasn’t the case, as Krasinski was widely praised for his performance, with critic Terry Terrones saying, “[he] plays him so naturally I couldn’t tell where he ended and Ryan began.”

David Tennant As Kilgrave In Jessica Jones

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Netflix
Netflix

A goofy version of the Doctor in Doctor Who, people didn’t really know what to think when it was announced David Tennant would be playing the mind-controlling Kilgrave in the MCU television series Jessica Jones.

Alas, Tennant is an amazing actor who understands character development. He gave an outstanding performance, bringing the crazy yet likable villain to life.

John Lithgow As Arthur Mitchell In Dexter

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Showtime
Showtime

Many people knew actor John Lithgow as goofy Dick Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun, a sitcom about aliens. When it was announced he was going to play serial killer Arthur Mitchell in Dexter, it seemed like a strange fit.

However, he blew the creepy role right out of the water and even went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama.

Robert Pattinson As Ephraim Winslow/Thomas Howard In The Lighthouse

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Focus Features
Focus Features

Needless to say, Robert Pattinson will always be Edward from Twilight for a lot of people. There was no way he would keep up with the talented William Dafoe in Robert Eggers’s The Lighthouse.

He did keep up and was widely praised for his performance as Ephraim Winslow/Thomas Howard. Pattinson even won a British / Irish Actor of the Year Award from the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards.

Anne Hathaway As Fantine In Les Misérables

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Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

As the girl from The Princess Diaries, Alice in Wonderland, and numerous rom-coms, actress Anne Hathaway seemed to be a bit too Blockbuster when she was cast as Fantine in the film adaptation of Les Misérables.

Then she got onscreen, sand I Dreamed a Dream, and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, one of many awards she won for the performance.

Margot Robbie As Harley Quinn In Suicide Squad

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Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Actress Margot Robbie had appeared in multiple movies leading up to her casting in Suicide Squad. However, none of those roles were quite as eccentric. That’s why when she was cast as Harley Quinn people thought she wasn’t the right fit.

Well, she proved everyone wrong, bringing the crazy former psychiatrist to life in three different films and winning numerous awards in the process.

Chris Evans As Steve Rogers/Captain America In The MCU

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Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Considering Chris Evans was “that guy” from Not Another Teen Movie and completely botched his Human Torch role in Fantastic 4, people weren’t too thrilled when he was cast as Steve Rogers/Captain America in the MCU. Ironically, Evans wasn’t thrilled either. He turned the role down four times!

Eventually, he took it on and blew people away with his performance, winning numerous awards in the process, including a Scream Award and two Teen Choice Awards.