10 Of the Worst Movie Casting Mistakes In Movie History

By Rick Gonzales | Published

The Worst Movie Casting Mistakes

Movie casting decisions are key to every film. The casting director does their best to get the proper actor or actress to fill specific lead roles and getting this right can mean the difference between a film’s wild success or its tanking at the box office. It’s not rocket science trying to piece together the right cast and sometimes it involves luck and timing, but the following casting decisions were major swings and misses.

We must say, though, that while we feel the following casting decisions did not work out for anyone involved, this is not an indictment on the actors themselves. We are talking about a specific movie and the role they played in it.

10. John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror (1956)

Okay, pilgrim, this is pretty much a no-brainer. Why The Duke was chosen for this role is a mystery, even to this day. Wayne’s casting as the Mongol leader Genghis Khan was widely criticized due to his mismatched appearance and accent. The film’s producer, Howard Hughes, was so embarrassed by Wayne and how the movie turned out that he used his vast wealth to track down and buy the copies so no one could see it.

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9. Halle Berry in Catwoman (2004)

Sometimes it is a combination of things that sends a movie off its rails. This is the case with Catwoman, the 2004 film that starred Halle Berry in the title role. The script was flawed, the direction was subpar, and Berry, normally a fine actress, simply couldn’t pull off playing Patience Phillips or her alter-ego, Catwoman. Berry’s Catwoman seemed to be more concerned with slinking around like the Egyptian cats that brought Phillips back to life after she was murdered.

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8. Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher (2012)

It’s not that Tom Cruise can’t carry a film, he has shown this to be true time and time again. But the movie casting choice to have him star as Jack Reacher, especially for those who know the character through numerous novels, knows that Cruise is pretty much the complete opposite of the Reacher character. The book series Jack Reacher is described as being significantly taller and more physically imposing.

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7. Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom in Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The one thing that makes for a good superhero film is a great villain. Josh Brolin as Thanos, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Tom Hiddleston as Loki. But Topher Grace as Venom? Fans of Spider-Man were thrilled when they heard that Venom would be making an appearance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. This bit of movie casting was so outside the box that it took the air out of the Spider-Man sails.

6. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

As it was with Spider-Man 3 and Topher Grace, so it was with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when Jesse Eisenberg took on the role of Superman’s nemesis, Lex Luthor. Everything from Eisenberg’s physical appearance to the way he delivered his lines was not in sync with the Luthor fans have come to love. This was a movie casting that never should have happened.

5. Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars

Try as we may, we still can’t cut Hayden Christensen any slack for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. His movie casting came as a surprise since he was a little-known actor with very little big-screen experience. It showed as his Anakin was often overexaggerated to the point of being laughable.

4. Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Now, we’re not going to hold it against him (much) since he has gone on to redeem himself and then some with Yellowstone, but Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves will go down as one of the worst movie casting mistakes ever. It’s not because the man can’t act, he can. It was asking him to take on a British accent (which sounds like he was stuck between British and American accents) as well as his fundamental lack of British mannerisms that set him directly in the miscast territory.

3. Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

There are so many films where audiences can appreciate the talents of Keanu Reeves, but Bram Stoker’s Dracula isn’t one of them. In the movie, Reeves was cast as Englishman Jonathan Harker in the film and although Reeves has proven he can handle all types of weapons and fighting styles, the one thing he cannot master is a British accent. It was so bad in the film it was seen as unnatural and distracting.

2. Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Maybe you need to take into consideration when the movie was made and what Hollywood was like in 1961. Never mind, there is no real excuse for Mickey Rooney’s highly offensive portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Taped eyelids and large false buck teeth are how Rooney chose to play his Japanese character and it was then and still is now embarrassing and unwatchable.

1. Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone in The Godfather Part III (1990)

We, as a moviegoing audience, are very grateful for everything the Coppola Family has given to the film industry. But Sofia Coppola’s movie casting in her father’s (Francis Ford Coppola) 1990 crime drama, The Godfather Part III is considered to be one of the worst movie casting decisions ever. Her lack of acting experience was completely evident, and she was clearly out of her league with the rest of the fine cast. Thankfully for Sofia, she has turned out to be a fantastic director.