Movie List

15 Movie Roles That Would Have Been Great With Different Actors

June 25, 2017
9 min read

Movie casting is one of the most important decisions that decides the fate of a film. It is really tricky when it comes to deciding who plays who. For instance, not only is Robert Downey Jr. irreplaceable as Tony Stark in the MCU but this casting choice is one of the reasons we have MCU as well. Hence, casting directors take a lot of time before finalizing a particular actor for a role. In this list, we are compiling movie roles that would have looked better with different actors. We are refraining from commenting on some roles that were played well by the actors cast. For instance, Johnny Depp is quite good as Captain Jack Sparrow but we will never know how Jim Carrey’s version would have turned out to be. So here is the list of movie roles that would have been great with different actors.

15. Cate Blanchett in place of Denise Richards (The World is Not Enough)

Denise Richards is undoubtedly hot in the role of but the diva was not convincing enough as a nuclear scientist in her role of Dr. Jones. She had the cheerleader image and perception among audiences and they just didn’t buy her performance in the film. A better choice for the smart and elegant character would have been Cate Blanchett.

14. Jason Statham in place of Christian Bale (Terminator Salvation)

Arguably, one of the best actors alive, Bale was cast as John Connor in the hit franchise’s fourth installment. The film was mediocre and the reviews were mostly unfavorable. It was a terrible waste of talent. The studios were indeed producing a commercial action flick and a more conventional action hero, such as Jason Statham, would have worked better.

13. Sam Rockwell in place of Jim Carrey (The Number 23)

After delivering 3 successful performances in serious movies (‘The Truman Show’, ‘Man on the Moon’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’), Jim Carrey tried a thriller and ended up winning a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actor. The film was not even a critical success and is highly forgettable. The role needed a guy who looked tired and confused and curious. The role could have been played well by Sam Rockwell who can maintain the required energy in the serious role. Remember him in ‘Moon’?

12. Colin Farrell in place of Leonardo DiCaprio (Gangs of New York)

It seems Scorsese used all his energy convincing Daniel Day-Lewis to play Bill, the Butcher and he used little effort for casting others. He effortlessly went with his future favorite Leo for playing Amsterdam and his choice of Cameron Diaz for the female lead was also questionable. If the film were to be made today, Leo would have pulled it off. He has definitely grown as an actor and can play almost any role and justify it. But his role in the film feels low on energy and rebellion. His anger does not come out as it should have and DDL is the one and only highlight of the film. A better casting choice for the rebellious Irish lead would perhaps, have been Colin Farrell.

11. Matt Damon in place of Edward Norton (Red Dragon)

Red Dragon is an excellent thriller and could have been at par with its prequel, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. Okay, maybe not that good. But what went wrong was Edward Norton’s role as Dr. Will Graham. In scenes where he was to face Dr. Hannibal Lecter, his character seemed considerable weak and hence, he was never seen as a match to the villains, Lecter and Tooth Fairy. Needless to mention, his bleach blonde hair was very distracting. The role would have been more suitable for an actor like Matt Damon, who could have stood at par with Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Fiennes.

10. Julia Roberts in place of Sofia Coppola (The Godfather Part III)

The unwanted addition to the classic Godfather series had the director’s own daughter play Mary Corleone. She might be a good director, but Sofia will never be considered a good actor, thanks to this particular role. Her wooden performance was met with criticism and she has not yet come out of the shadows of this miscasting. The original choice, Julia Roberts, could have done wonders for the character and the film.

9. Justin Timberlake in place of Topher Grace (Spiderman 3)

Topher Grace is a good actor. He hasn’t been as active as we’d want him to be, but he gives pleasant appearances every once in a while. Remember him in ‘Interstellar’? Anyway, ‘Spiderman 3’ had him as Eddie Brock Jr. aka Venom. The thing that went wrong here was that Topher Grace has this good guy image in everyone’s mind (thanks to ‘That 70s Show’) and no one bought him for a baddie. His acting reminded everyone more and more of Eric Foreman and the performance could not please many. As an alternative, Justin Timberlake would have made a good contender. It might sound absurd but consider this. Not only he looks suitable for the role but he can also deliver a worthy performance. Remember such a douche his character was in ‘The Social Network’? He could have pulled Venom off.

8. Clive Owen in place of Keanu Reeves (Constantine)

John Constantine is one of DC Comics’ popular antiheroes. He’s an English magician and a detective. He does not get along with people really well and does what it takes to get a thing done. So when a live action film was planned based on him, Reeves was cast in the titular role. Now, Reeves is a beloved actor but he is not recognized for his acting skills, really. The character needed an English accent, expressions of being aloof and complex emotions that weren’t captured in Reeves’ performance. A better choice for the role would have been Clive Owen. Apart from being English, I am basing my opinion mainly on his portrayal of Dwight in ‘Sin City’.

7. Leonardo DiCaprio in place of Jack Black (King Kong)

This one is interesting and open for discussion. We can all agree that Jack Black felt out of place in Peter Jackson’s 2005-epic, ‘King Kong’. The comedian playing an intense role was just too distracting and while he can be mean in comedy movies, him playing a baddie in a serious film was even worse. I don’t think we need any more discussion to prove that this was a miscasting. Coming to the next question, who instead? So, Carl Denham is an eccentric movie director who’d do just about anything to get the required shot. He is a dominating character and hard to argue with. I would have placed my money on Leonardo DiCaprio playing him. DiCaprio proved in  ‘Django Unchained’ that he can play a baddie with some chtuzpaah and he would have been great as Carl Denham.

6. Mark Wahlberg in place of Ben Affleck (Daredevil)

Ben Affleck is the counterpart of Ryan Reynolds. Ryan was miscast in a DC film and made it big in Marvel. Affleck was miscast in Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ and Batfleck is one of the smartest casting decisions ever. Coming to the point, Daredevil is a straight superhero in that he is a superhero with an extreme balance for morals. Affleck’s portrayal looked inherently villainous and the fact that only his chin was visible under the mask made things worse. He would have been better played by someone like Mark Wahlberg.

5. Josh Brolin in place of Nicholas Cage (Ghostrider)

This anti-hero was really popular among fans and hence, the studios wanted a big name to portray it in the live-action adaptation. They miscast Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze. The thing is that Nicholas Cage is always Nicholas Cage in any role he plays. His over-the-top mannerisms didn’t do enough justice to this daredevil biker and displeased the audiences. People wanted someone more calm and composed and yet, full of energy, and Josh Brolin is a costly miss.

4. Michelle Pfeiffer in place of Halle Barry (Catwoman)

One of the worst superhero movies ever and this Oscar Award Winner’s biggest regrets, this film was just bad. Halle Barry was literally playing around like an actual cat while she just had to incorporate the feline characteristics slightly in her mannerisms. Blame her or the director, everyone wanted to forget this performance. On the contrary, Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal is regarded as one of the best in DC film history and she should have reprised the role. The film would probably still have sucked, but not nearly as much.

3. Ralph Fiennes in place of Vince Vaughn (Psycho)

Eternally typecast as a funny guy and eternally trying to escape the perception, Vaughn was cast as Norman Bates in the 1998- remake of the classic. The film was copied scene to scene and not received very well. Firstly, Vaughn’s tall physique was never built for playing Bates. Bates is supposed to look ordinary or even somewhat weak. Secondly, Vaugh, the actor, was not yet ready to deliver a serious performance. The role would have worked better with Ralph Fiennes. He is a bankable performer and he can be intense and calm when required. His later portrayal of the Tooth Fairy in ‘Red Dragon’ goes on to prove that he would have been perfect for the role.

2. Michael Keaton in place of George Clooney (Batman and Robin)

The performance that killed a hit franchise and something that Clooney apologizes for to his fans even today, this casting choice had error written all over it. We’ll straight jump to who should have played the caped crusader instead. It would have been hard at the time, but having Michael Keaton on board to reprise the role would have actually been better for DC. He was the definitive Batman of the 90s and shouldn’t have been replaced in the first place.

1. Billy Zane in place of Jesse Eisenberg (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice)

This film was polarizing at many levels and the audiences were extremely wary of the casting choices. While Affleck’s Batman was met with immensely positive responses, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor wasn’t. He didn’t match the appearances and mannerisms of Superman’s arch-villain. He never looked strong enough for the role and just like someone rich and out of an asylum. Luthor has always been shown as intense and smart, not as a mad genius, but as a calm calculative person. If you’re a comic enthusiast or have even watched the animated films, you would agree that Billy Zane would have been perfect for the role.

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