Top 10 Casting Decisions That Fans HATED

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Top 10 Casting Decisions That Fans HATED

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Yasmin Ahmed
Some of these worked out for the best, but fans immediately hated these casting decisions. Our countdown includes "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," "Aladdin," "Bram Stoker's Dracula," and more!
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Top 10 Casting Decisions That Fans Hated


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Casting Decisions that Fans Hated.

For this list, we’ll be looking at casting decisions that Hollywood audiences reportedly felt could have been more appropriate. Some of these roles may have turned out alright in the end, but they initially rubbed many viewers the wrong way.

Which casting decision still bothers you? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001)


While Bridget Jones became Zellweger’s most defining role, fans - and critics - were not initially thrilled about this particular casting. She was up against already-successful actresses for the role, like Kate Winslet, who was too young at the time, and Rachel Weisz, who was allegedly considered “too beautiful” for the part. Zellweger was neither naturally British nor the right (over)weight, but that didn’t get in her way. The actress actually ate junk food, trained with a dialect coach and worked at a publishing house to prepare for the role. We admire her dedication. But would it have perhaps been easier to find someone who already fit the bill beforehand? Would they have captured the awkwardness and endearingness of the character, just the way we love her?

#9: Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)


Next, we have another North American actor playing a British character - but this time, it’s with an accent that’s often deemed heavily lacking. In his efforts to portray a subdued Jonathan Harker, Keanu Reeves’ acting is rather stiff in this “Dracula” adaptation. He maintains stoicism throughout most of the movie, keeping his face expressionless even when he’s in danger. Both fans and critics said that his performance fell short compared to his co-stars, Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. Even though Reeves and Ryder have later admitted to having crushes on each other, these apparently didn’t translate into on-screen chemistry. In fact, director Francis Ford Coppola had considered casting Ryder’s real-life fiance at the time, Johnny Depp, instead. Do you think Depp would’ve made a better Harker than Reeves?

#8: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)



Lex Luthor’s character in the comic books evolved from mad scientist to unscrupulous business tycoon. On-screen, Lex is often played by older men who’ve been deemed better able to convey the darker side of the character. When “Batman v Superman” cast the boyish, early 30-something Jesse Eisenberg to play Lex, it was a while before comic book readers and moviegoers fully digested it. Eisenberg admitted to not having grown up reading the comics and fans say it shows in the performance. While Luthor is supposed to be a strategic genius, Eisenberg’s portrayal comes off more as a manic kid feeling his way through the business he inherited from his father.

#7: Will Smith as Genie
“Aladdin” (2019)


For Disney’s live action adaptation, Will Smith knew had quite the shoes to fill, as many people fondly remember the late Robin Williams as the Genie in the animated film. Despite his efforts, however, many fans claimed that Smith didn’t do the role justice - at least, when stacked up against Williams. Aside from the performance though, there was something about the CGI’ed Genie that rubbed film lovers the wrong way. The character was compared to a “smurf Centaur,” being under a “fruit curse,” and the “thumb people from Spy Kids.” “Aladdin,” unlike many of its Hollywood contemporary counterparts, actually uses people of color instead of white actors to play the roles. But fans were undecided about both the Genie’s shade of blue layer he kept shedding on and off throughout the movie as well as the hairpiece.

#6: Madonna as Eva Perón
“Evita” (1996)


Like Madonna, the real Eva Peron tried to get her foot into showbiz. However, that’s as far as their similarities go. While Madonna became our queen of pop, Eva Peron met her husband-to-be in the aftermath of an earthquake and later became first lady of Argentina. Beloved by her people, Evita is known for her humanitarian and charity work. She likely would’ve even run for vice-president had she not been diagnosed with cancer. When it comes to the musical drama, the casting team could’ve gone with a more seasoned and more serious actress - especially considering Madonna’s musical career and previous acting efforts. One critic even claimed that the “stiff, wholly artificial and forced performance that Madonna gives” pretty much ruined the film - though that didn’t stop her from earning multiple accolades.

#5: Russell Crowe as Javert
“Les Misérables” (2012)


In our “Evita” entry, many believed that the lead role should have gone to a more experienced actor. By contrast, “Les Miserables” had people saying that Javert should’ve been played by a proper singer. Russell Crowe has many memorable, iconic roles, such as Maximus in "Gladiator" and real-life mathematician John Nash in "A Beautiful Mind." Police Inspector Javert, however, did not leave the same impression on audiences. While the filmmakers’ choice to use live singing certainly didn’t help, Crowe’s vocals came out dull. They could’ve made an exception and replaced them with a more powerful voice. Many felt it lacked the intensity that inspector Javert was supposed to project, with Crowe’s limited signing skills giving us more of a lazy uncle vibe, rather than a terrorizing authority figure.

#4: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
“The Hunger Games” (2012)


Did you know that Jennifer Lawrence nearly turned down this part? Lawrence was in her early 20s when she played the role in the first film, while the character was in her mid-teens. In the second part, Katniss turned 17 while Lawrence inched closer to her mid-20s. While this something new among casting, it would’ve probably been easier to choose a younger actress - notwithstanding Lawrence’s youthful looks. In contrast, in biographical comedy-drama “Joy,” Lawrence’s age was unsuitable, but in the reverse: she was a girl-next-door beauty in her mid-20s playing a single, beaten-down mom in her mid-30s. Hunger Games fans also critiqued Lawrence’s real-life look. While Katniss comes from an underprivileged district and is forced to ration out food to her family, the casting of athletic and healthy Lawrence made the character that much less believable. Of course, this clearly didn’t prevent the franchise’s mega box office success.

#3: Jared Leto as The Joker
“Suicide Squad” (2016)


“Suicide Squad” has been called a messy watch, probably because it attempts to cram too many characters and genres into one movie. Jared Leto, however, got special criticism from audiences. Like Will Smith, Leto had big shoes to fill. Living up to Heath Ledger couldn’t have been easy, and it’s clear that Leto was excited to be part of the film. His coworkers said he did weird things on-set to get into character, such as giving his coworkers condoms and being called Joker-related nicknames, like Mr. J, by the cast and crew. Had he played the role with more subtlety, we might’ve seen a darker and more sinister Joker like the audiences wanted and were used to. Things may change with the depiction in “Zack Snyder's Justice League” though...

#2: Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010)


While few would complain about having to look at Jake Gyllenhaal for two hours straight, the “Prince of Persia” is a classic example of Hollywood’s insistence on casting white actors in roles that shouldn’t necessarily be played by them. Although Gyllenhaal accepted the role, he later admitted that it wasn’t a great fit. Fans rightfully asked why the movie couldn’t have cast an actor of Middle Eastern descent, especially as the video game character he’s based on has an extremely replicable and accessible look. At least Gyllenhaal bothered to put on an English accent, which makes a bit more sense geographically.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Ben Affleck as Batman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ” (2016)
Too Sad to Be Bad

Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke, “The Dukes of Hazzard” (2005)
She Should’ve Stuck to Her Day Job: Singer

Matthew Macfayden as Mr. Darcy, “Pride & Prejudice” (2005)
Not as Hot as Colin Firth

Tom Cruise as Lestat de Lioncourt, “Interview with the Vampire” (1994)
Even Author Anne Rice Wasn't Initially Convinced

Emma Watson as Margaret "Meg" March, “Little Women” (2019)
Not Sure What to Do with (or Think About) the Accent

#1: Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian [aka Motoko Kusanagi]
“Ghost in the Shell” (2017)


This otherwise intense and engaging movie flopped in large part because of the failure to cast an Asian actress to play Major. While we know that anime characters don’t necessarily look like realistic humans, it wouldn’t have hurt the film to have an authentic Japanese person in the lead - instead of the Caucasian Scarlett - to honor the original manga series. Johansson pointed out that the character was a synthetic copy of a real human, and didn’t belong to any particular ethnicity. “I would never attempt to play a person of a different race,” she said. The actress added that audiences would understand why she fit the role once they saw the film, but the final revelation that - spoiler alert! - the character was formerly Japanese seemingly contradicts this.
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Robin Williams as the Genie maybe un-replaceable, but saying that Will Smith was hated for replaying him is actually wrong.