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Top 10 Actors Who Bombed in Big Roles

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Matthew Thomas. They got the role of a lifetime, but somewhere, somehow, things went wrong. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 actors who bombed in big roles. For this list, we’ve chosen actors who got cast in major parts in anticipated films, but had their performances heavily panned either by critics, moviegoers or both. For the record, we’re not saying we think these actors are bad or untalented, but that these roles could have been better acted or better cast.
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Transcript
Script written by Matthew Thomas.

Top 10 Actors Who Bombed in Big Roles


They got the role of a lifetime, but somewhere, somehow, things went wrong. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors who bombed in big roles.

For this list, we’ve chosen actors who got cast in major parts in anticipated films, but had their performances heavily panned either by critics, moviegoers or both. For the record, we’re not saying we think these actors are bad or untalented, but that these roles could have been better acted or better cast.

#10: George Lazenby
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969)

Following in the footsteps of Sean Connery’s James Bond was going to be a thankless job no matter who was given the honor. So when a model from a Big Fry Chocolate commercial got the job based on how he looked when the film’s producer met him at a barbershop, the writing was on the wall. Despite George Lazenby’s good looks and Bond-esque physique, his acting wasn’t quite up to par; he appeared uncomfortable, had trouble delivering his lines and even had his voice substituted by another actor’s for certain scenes. The Australian thespian became the only actor to ever play Bond just once.

#9: Mike Myers
“The Cat in the Hat” (2003)

A film so bad it inspired Dr. Seuss’ widow to ban any more live-action adaptations of her late husband’s work, “The Cat in the Hat” features a Mike Myers performance as the titular feline that should be put to sleep. Awkward and unfunny, it appeared that someone behind the film believed that if a character laughs at every joke he makes, the audience will have to think it’s funny too. Riding high after the successes of “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and the first “Shrek” movie, Myers’ career was never quite the same following this awful performance.

#8: Topher Grace
“Spider-Man 3” (2007)

Fresh off of the TV show that made him a star, Topher Grace was tapped to play one of the most popular Spider-Man villains, Venom, in the 3rd installment of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Instead of stretching as an actor and becoming a bigger star because of it, he brought little to nothing new to the role, and became a major part of why the film was so loathed by many fans. Coming off like a teenager that thinks the world is out to get him, instead of the badass Eddie Brock/Venom is meant to be, Grace appears to have bitten off more than he could chew.

#7: Mark Wahlberg
“Planet of the Apes” (2001)

One of many actors who were tasked with performing awful lines in front of beautiful set pieces in this remake of the 1968 sci-fi flick, Mark Wahlberg failed the hardest of every performer involved – most likely because he’s the lead. When an actor resorts to being out of breath in scene after scene to invoke everything from confusion to exhaustion, it’s a clear sign that things probably aren’t going to turn out well. And at the center of a love triangle with a fellow human and an ape, he also manages the impressive feat of having zero chemistry with either of them.

#6: Keanu Reeves
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)

Despite being a capable actor who has starred in many successful films, jokes about Keanu Reeves’ perceived inability have dogged him throughout his career. With very few discernible differences between his acting in this film compared to his two turns as Ted in the “Bill & Ted” flicks – which were comedies, as opposed to the horror fantasy and dramatic tone of “Dracula,” Keanu barely seems to understand the words that are coming out of his own mouth – and that’s not even considering his sloppy British accent. Sharing scenes with the immensely talented Gary Oldman in one of that actor’s best roles casts an even greater spotlight on how out of his depth Reeves was in the role.

#5: Ashton Kutcher
“Jobs” (2013)

This 2013 attempt by Ashton Kutcher to be taken seriously as an actor sees Kelso take on the role of the late co-founder of Apple Inc. Unfortunately, his performance as Steve Jobs in the biographical drama fell completely short of that lofty goal. Lacking any of the complexity of the real-life man, Kutcher instead relies on facial hair and stone-faced staring to mask his inability to enact nuanced emotions. Many were left disappointed at the film’s superficial look at Jobs’ life, which did little to represent him as the icon he was and still is.

#4: Ben Affleck
“Daredevil” (2003)

Prior to this superhero flick, Ben Affleck was a fairly respected actor as well as an Academy Award-winning screenplay writer. And while he’s regained some of that respect, mostly for his directing, we still remember when he starred in this abysmal comic book adaptation that threatened to erase the career he had been tirelessly building to that point. Seemingly sleepwalking in every scene, Affleck lacks any of the charisma or charm he’s come to be known for as the titular hero. It even earned him a Razzie for Worst Actor – alongside his roles in “Gigli” and “Paycheck” that same year.

#3: Colin Farrell
“Alexander” (2004)

When movie fans got wind that the visionary director of films like “Platoon” and “Natural Born Killers” was going to bring to life of one of history’s most successful leaders, many were undoubtedly salivating. But when they saw the end product, we can only imagine they cried tears of despair into their popcorn tubs. Nominated for a Worst Actor Razzie, Colin Farrell’s take on the titular military leader could be called pitiful – at least when compared to the real Alexander the Great, who was a man of such over-powering personality that former generals went to battle over who got to keep his corpse following his death. Never once in any of the many cuts of the film does Colin ever even hint at that level of gravitas, let alone even a small percentage of it.

#2: George Clooney
“Batman & Robin” (1997)

Joel Schumacher’s 1997 superhero flick is the film that broke a million Batman fanboys’ hearts. Fortunately for George Clooney, he managed to survive what many consider the worst comic book movie of all time (and that’s saying something) through luck and sheer talent. But for some reason, he didn’t bring that talent to “Batman & Robin.” Years later, he jokingly offered to refund the ticket price to anyone foolish enough to have seen it in theaters, and one critic even compared his performance to George Lazenby’s Bond. If that doesn’t speak to how bad he performed as Batman, we don’t know what does.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Sofia Coppola
“The Godfather Part III” (1990)
- Angelina Jolie & Johnny Depp
“The Tourist” (2010)
- Naomi Watts
“Diana” (2013)
- Halle Berry
“Catwoman” (2004)

#1: Hayden Christensen
“Star Wars Episode II” (2002) / “Star Wars Episode III (2005)

Darth Vader’s faceless façade allowed for him to become the absolute personification of evil when the original “Star Wars” trilogy came out. After “Return of the Jedi” humanized him, the stage was set for the character to be further fleshed out in the prequels. Unfortunately, nobody was prepared for how annoying and grating Jake Lloyd was as a young Anakin Skywalker in “Episode I.” And things didn’t get much better for the 2nd and 3rd episodes… as the older version of Anakin, Hayden Christensen, took a figure to be feared and transformed him into a whiny baby who seems on the verge of tears in almost every scene. Adding insult to injury, he also takes part in romantic scenes that’re supposed make audiences care about the characters involved. Instead, Christensen mostly came across as wooden and creepy.

Do you agree with our list? Which actor do you think dropped the ball in a major role? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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