Excellent actors who are completely wrong for a movie

I was watching Wolfen on Netflix last night. I remember loving this movie when I was young and HBO was actually showing movies all the time. I knew that it is not a “great” movie, but I wanted to see how it holds up.

Why in the name of all that’s holy did anyone cast Albert Finney as an alcoholic NYPD detective? The man’s a great actor, there’s no doubt about it, but he is just completely and utterly wrong for the part of Dewey Wilson. He doesn’t look like a cop, he sure as hell doesn’t sound like a New Yorker, and (sorry to be petty) the hair is just appalling. Was there nobody else looking for work in 1980 that could have played that role? It doesn’t look like Gene Hackman was overbooked then, it seems like he’ll take almost any part that comes along, and he’d have been awesome. Harvey Keitel? Brian Dennehy?

Who’s your favorite excellent actor who is just totally and completely wrong for a part?

Barbara Streisand was so completely wrong for the part of Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly that it wasn’t funny, girl.

I’m nlot denying that she isn’t/wasn’t a helluva performer, but she was in her twenties playing a middle-aged widower clinging (stylishly) to her role as matchmaker and hoping to snag a half-a-millionaire for herself. If she’s a pretty. young thing the plot makes very little sense.

Samuel L. Jackson was very ill-chosen as Mace Windu in the “Star Wars” prequels.

Bill Pullman was not a convincing President in “Independence Day.”

Sean Connery has been misused a number of times.

Mickey Rooney, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

John Wayne several times.

George Clooney as Batman.

Tom Cruise was horribly miscast as Lestat in the Vampire Chronicles. Lestat was a flamboyant blonde vampire in the Anne Rice novels.

Jonathyn Rhys-Myers had the right attitude as King Henry VIII, but he’s just way too scrawny (and dark) to be taken too seriously.

Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code.

She may have been the wrong age (though that’s trivial), but she was perfect for the role. In any case, her worst bit of casting was not that, but her role in All Night Long. She was supposed to play a shy and mousy woman. Streisand on screen is anything but shy.

Christine Baransky was absolutely wrong for her role as Mary Sunshine in Chicago. If you saw the stage production, you’d know why. To be fair, it would be impossible to cast that role properly on screen. Those who would fit the part would have killed the joke; at best, you’d need to cast a complete unknown.

Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks in the Bonfire of the Vanities

Johnny Depp in just about anything, but especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I only really buy him as Edward Scissorhands. :slight_smile:

Shia La Boeuf is at least a decent actor, and he was very good in Holes, but his character was supposed to be very fat. This was a key characteristic of him. It wouldn’t have been so noticeable if they hadn’t retained his ‘Caveman’ nickname and other comments about his size.

Maggie Gyllenhaal definitely isn’t ugly, but it almost seemed like a piss-take when they repeatedly referred to her incredible beauty in The Dark Knight; she was supposed to be a stereotypically beautiful woman that anyone would recognise as conforming to that type, not someone where people would go ‘yeah, I can kinda see it…’

Gregory Peck in “Beloved Infidel.” Allowing that this was–as pretty much all biopics–a fictional depiction of a real life person (F. Scott Fitzgerald), I just didn’t buy it. And having said that, I think he was just working with the material he was given, and the results wouldn’t have been a lot different with any other actor of the day.

I recall there was some vocal objection to the choice of Tom Cruise, but… wasn’t he a flamboyant blonde vampire in the movie, too?

IIRC they made a shitty sequel in which they didn’t even bother to dye the actor’s hair blonde…

I don’t remember any references to her beauty; IIRC, she was said to be very attractive, which is not the same thing.

Robert Redford, just hitting his '70s sex-symbol peak, playing Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder character in The Hot Rock. Dortmunder should be seedy, shabby, a hapless, hangdog loser. Someone like Dustin Hoffman would have fit the part better than pretty boy Redford.

I strongly disagree with Reality Chuck that age is trivial. Streisand reallt didn’t make any sense in that part.
In Philip K. Dick’s story we Can Remember it For Your Wholesale, Quayle* was an unimpresive, even introverted guy, and certainly not a pile of muscles, which makes his revelation as an agent even more impressive. They had to seriously rewrite it for Arnold Schwartzenegger. Of course, they were pretty much committed to completely rewriting it anyway, since the Dick story really can’t sustain an action-adventure movie longer than about half an hour, and didn’t have much action in it to start with. But Arnold is completely wrong for the role in Dick’s story.

*they changed the name to Quaid because of our VP at the time.

Wow, no Will Smith hate? It was pretty bad when I am Legend came out, but he’s had critics since Independence Day.

Personally, I hate anyone under 25 who gets roles because of their looks rather than their ability.

Wild, Wild West.
'Nuff said.

I don’t hate Will Smith. as for I, Robot, it wasn’t him or any other actor – the entire movie was wrong for that movie. If thy’d gone ahead and done what the screenwriter was originally doing – an original story set in what was essentially Asimov’s “Robot” universe – it might have been OK. It went awry when they said that they were adapting the book “I, Robot”. Smith isn’t my idea of Lije Bailey ( or Del Spooner), but nobody else in the film fit, either, and the plot itself was rotten as an adaptation of that story. Smith actually seemed a pretty decent match for the story Jeff Vintar started out with.

I can’t really blame Will Smith for that one. Everybody was wrong for that movie. Who wrote it, 4-year-olds?

The saddest thing for me watching that was how … disinterested Kevin Kline appeared. It’s like he had to take that part or the producers were going to kill Phoebe Cates or something. Or maybe he just had some freakin’ big bills to pay, I don’t know.

I also don’t like how many actors are thrown into roles for athletes, particularly those that obviously never played the game before and aren’t naturally athletic. The prime example imho is Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio in Karate Kid. They just wave their hands and people fall down. On the other hand, there’s a great many athletes who can’t act (yes I’m looking at YOU, Don “The Dragon” Wilson and your 11 kickboxing titles, and of course, everybody’s favorite dead horse, Steven Seagal.)

Another film where there was almost a perfect storm of bad acting athletes and non-athletic actors was Best of the Best 2, and Eric Roberts performing possibly the absolute dumbest fighting stance ever. Imagine doing the “Y” in the YMCA song but also raising one leg at the same time.

Found a clip, and shockingly James Earle Jones is in it as well.

Eh, I am Legend didn’t work for a variety of reasons not related to Smith. Within the confines of the role, I thought he did an admirable job with what little he seemingly was given.

Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds, I believe was miscast. Though, I freely admit I don’t what actor would have been better in that role, which I thought was missed concept from the get-go. Probably not Pitt’s fault as much as the direction and the writing.