When it’s time to play characters that hail from literature or comic books with a strong fanbase, people often show reluctance towards certain actors. We doubt if they’d be able to pull off the assigned role. Take a look at 15 risky casting choices that totally paid off:
ADAM DRIVER AS KYLO REN
Back when Adam Driver was being cast as Kylo Ren in the Star Wars franchise, the choice became controversial because of his look and age. He was mostly known for HBO’s Girls at the time. Critics and skeptics were however convinced by his ferocity and vulnerability.
JONAH HILL IN MONEYBALL
Back in 2011, Jonah Hill was a familiar face of teen comedies. However, his dramatic abilities were put to the test when Bennett Miller cast him as Peter Brand. Hill managed to maintain his comedic touch and exceptionally showcased his dramatic skills earning an Oscar nomination.
MICHAEL KEATON AS BATMAN
When the news of Michael Keaton being cast as Batman was out, Warner Bros received 50,000 protest letters from angry fans. In today’s time, the “best Batman” debate usually comes down to Bale or Keaton.
BARKHAD ABDI IN CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Since Paul Greengrass wanted to cast Somali actors, he started to search the Somali-American community of Minneapolis. He discovered a completely unknown limo driver called Barkhad Abdi. Abdi’s “I’m the captain now” dialogue landed him a BAFTA award, and an Oscar nomination.
RENEE ZELLWEGER AS BRIDGET JONES
Back in the 90s, Bridget Jones was considered British literature’s most iconic female character. Casting a small girl like Renée Zellweger saw the headlines like ‘Crap American Comedian Playing English Icon’. Zellweger earned an Academy Award nomination for this role.
JENNIFER LAWRENCE AS KATNISS EVERDEEN
Because Katniss Everdeen is a beloved book character, fans questioned Lawrence’s look and experience. after the success of part 1, her ability to lead the franchise was cemented and led to the next four Hunger Games installments.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. AS TONY STARK
Marvel Studios fought against the casting, and Director Jon Favreau stated, “Robert was a tough sell. They wanted a lesser-known actor with no baggage who was 10 years younger”. RDJ has since become the face of Iron Man and the rest is history.
CHARLIZE THERON IN MONSTER
In 2003, it wasn’t easy for audiences to imagine Charlize Theron as the psychic killer Aileen Wuornos. She received an Oscar and Robert Ebert praised it as, “One of the greatest performances in the history of cinema.”
DANIEL CRAIG AS JAMES BOND
When the news of Daniel Craig being cast as James Bond was out in 2005, it stirred up the “Blonde Bond” controversy and had fans boycott the film. His 5 installments as Bond from 2006 to 2021 have grossed close to $4 billion.
HEATH LEDGER AS THE JOKER
He was the first actor in a superhero movie to get nominated and win an Oscar but fans were outraged when Ledger was cast as the Joker. Today, his performance is considered among the all-time best.
GAL GADOT AS WONDER WOMAN
When Gal Gadot faced a global backlash for being cast as Wonder Woman she said, “If you want accuracy, the Amazons should all remove a breast to better shoot their bow and arrows”. Currently, her 3rd installment of the franchise is in the works.
KEANU REEVES IN SPEED
Long before The Matrix and John Wick had happened for him, people believed that Keanu couldn’t lead a big-budget blockbuster like Speed. He shaved off his long hair, bulked up earned a name from Jack Tavern that soon made him an action star.
BRUCE WILLIS AS JOHN McCLANE
Back in the late 80s, Schwarzenegger and Stallone were the top action heroes. The audience didn’t react very positively when they saw Bruce Willis in the Die Hard trailer. It took them some time to accept the less muscular, more comedic Willis in Die Hard.
MARLON BRANDO IN THE GODFATHER
Marlon Brando hadn’t delivered a single hit since the 50s and Paramount execs were reluctant to cast him in The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola turned a blind eye to the complaints and created the highest-grossing movie of all time (at the time) and a cinematic gem.