25. Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York
It’s no secret that Daniel Day Lewis completely steals the show in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 Best Picture nominee Gangs of New York. With such a commanding on-screen performance, anyone who isn’t up to Day-Lewis’ level is bound to stand out. While the rest of the cast hold their own, the totally miscast Cameron Diaz sticks out like a sore thumb. Diaz plays Jenny Everdeane, a pickpocket who ends up becoming a love interest for Leonardo DiCaprio’s protagonist, Amsterdam Vallon. Gangs of New York was a rare dramatic role for Diaz. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t up to snuff. She gave her character a spotty-at-best Irish accent — and simply wasn’t convincing as a 1860’s pickpocket/prostitute.
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24. Jesse Eisenberg in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Lex Luthor is one of the all-time great comic book villains (right up there with Magneto and Dr. Doom). When word spread that he’d show up in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, fans wondered which lucky actor would bring the bald bad guy to life. Many hoped for Bryan Cranston — a man who knows a thing or two about playing supervillains. When news broke that Jesse Eisenberg would play Superman’s arch-enemy, fanboys weren’t exactly pleased. While DC fans and movie critics don’t usually see eye to eye, most agreed that Eisenberg was totally miscast as the Man of Steel’s main villain. Many believed his interpretation of the character was far too manic, too loud, and way too similar to that of Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker.
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23. Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger
Oh, look. Another white person playing a character of a different race. How original. Johnny Depp has certainly endured his fair share of career setbacks of late. However, The Lone Ranger was an especially big bomb. The film reportedly lost Disney a whopping $190 million after critics and audiences alike were unimpressed by the film. One of the most prominent issues with the film, it seemed, was the selection of Depp for the role of Tonto (a Native American sidekick). Depp has virtually made his entire career out of being an on-screen chameleon (whose performances have included heavy makeup and prosthetics). In this film, his Native makeup designs and headgear prompted blowback for the racist undertones of his “redface” appearance.
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22. Chloë Grace Moretz in Carrie
We’re not really sure why we needed a Carrie remake in our lives. Since the film didn’t see much success at the box office, we guess most people felt the same. If you’re already making a Carrie remake, you might as well cast an actress who looks the part. Carrie is an awkward, painfully shy teenager who gets bullied because she’s a misfit. Chloë Grace Moretz looks more like a popular cheerleader who would bully girls like Carrie. The problem is that she is as cute in the first scene as she is during the climactic prom. As such, the scenes in-between are flush with a kind of painful awkwardness. It’s not the awkwardness that she’s supposed to have. It should be illustrating the torment of a girl who is constantly bullied by classmates (and even more so by her bible-thumping mother). Instead, it’s the awkwardness of a poised, gifted actress trying to appear like the pigeon-toed outcast.
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21. John Cusack in The Butler
John Cusack excels at playing likable, quirky everyman types. This is probably why he so often plays the romantic lead in films like Say Anything and High Fidelity. Casting him against type as one of the most unpopular Presidents of the United States was a pretty big gamble from the outset. However, this seemed to be lost on Lee Daniels, as Cusack was miscast in two of the director’s films. The first was The Paperboy, in which Cusack plays a murderous sex maniac. However, his small role as Nixon in The Butler makes little sense. Cusack, complete with a laughably bad prosthetic nose, is distractedly bad here. He both looks and sounds nothing like the 37th President.
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20. Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Speaking of hilariously bad acting, Keanu Reeves has quite a few awful performances to his name. The one that takes the cake is his supporting role as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Despite the fact that the film won three Oscars for its costuming sound effects and makeup crews, Reeves’ portrayal of the curious estate agent who comes to know the Count was marred by a terrible British accent and over-the-top reactions. Director Francis Ford Coppola kindly remarked that Reeves tried very hard when it came to speaking with an English affectation. However, the exertion of effort was ultimately the issue with his portrayal: “He wanted to do it perfectly, and in trying to do it perfectly it came off as stilted.”
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19. Ashton Kutcher in Jobs
We understand that sometimes comedic actors want to try their hand at something a little more serious. With that said, did anyone really think that Kelso from That ’70s Show would be believable as Steve Jobs — the computer genius who helped revolutionize the way we interact with modern computers and technology? Sorry Ashton, but you can’t go from Dude, Where’s My Car to playing the guy who helped invent iconic things like the iPod and iPhone without us being skeptical. For a much better biopic about the Apple founder, check out Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs.
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18. Angelina Jolie in Alexander
If it weren’t bad enough that Colin Farrell was cast to play Alexander, they gave Angelina Jolie the part of his mother. This raised eyebrows from the very beginning. She certainly doesn’t look old enough to be his mother, and they didn’t even use prosthetics to make her appear older. Jolie was only 29 years old at the time filming began, and Farrell was 28. This raises some important questions: Was Alexander’s mother a one-year-old baby when she had him? Also, would it kill Hollywood to cast some older actresses?
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17. Vince Vaughn in Psycho
This remake of the Hitchcock classic was a pretty strange one. Many fans of the original deemed it overall unnecessary. However, the weirdest thing about it was the choice to cast Vince Vaughn as Bates. As the character should appear to be frail as a bird, many believed it would have been much better to cast someone else. In 1998, Vince Vaughn was still trying to figure out who he was. He’d played a fast-talking wise-guy in Swingers and Rounders, but hadn’t yet made it big in comedy with films like Old School and Wedding Crashers. His take on the role is just as bad as you’d expect. The worst part is how desperately Vaughn tries to pull it off. Luckily, we still have Hitchcock’s original to fall back on.
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16. Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough
The role of Bond girl is not just to look good, but also to challenge Bond and match his wit. Sadly for Denise Richards, she is now remembered as one of the worst Bond girls of all time for her performance as nuclear scientist Dr. Christmas Jones in 1999’s The World is Not Enough. At the time, Richards was mainly known for appearing topless in The Wild Things. She did not possess the skills to make this an intriguing character with depth. She herself claimed that the role was “brainy,” but she was unable to portray it. It was truthfully difficult to take her seriously as a nuclear scientist. Richards was chosen as worst supporting actress at the Razzie Awards, making The World is Not Enough the first Bond film to win a Golden Raspberry.
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15. Russell Crowe in Noah
We’re not sure why Hollywood continues to think that epic portrayals of bible stories make for good movies. Yes, we know that The 10 Commandments is a classic, and that The Passion of The Christ made about a bajillion dollars. But seriously, stop. No one believes that Russell Crowe, a short-tempered white guy from New Zealand, can accurately play Noah — a guy from the Middle East who built a giant wooden ark (by hand!) to save all the animals from a global flood brought on by God’s wrath. The film made pretty much everyone angry, religious and non-religious alike. Some Muslim countries even banned the movie for contradicting the teachings of Islam. Yikes!
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14. Sofia Coppola in Godfather III
She is the daughter of a famous director (Francis Ford), cousin of a famous actor (Nic Cage), and a great director/screenwriter in her own right (won a screenwriting Oscar for Lost In Translation). As an actress in the The Godfather III, Sofia was about as wooden as a barstool. Nepotism is nothing new in Hollywood. In her defense, Coppola was uncredited for two appearances as a child in The Godfather and The Godfather II. However, Daddy Francis must still shake his head at casting his daughter in his third, critically acclaimed effort. Sofia Coppola’s Mary Corleone was monotone, and as uninteresting as watching grass grow. The fact she was killed off before the final act was a blessing.
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13. Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
A non-English-accented, long-haired Californian playing Robin Hood, you say? Pity. Costner set the legend back immeasurably with his bogus portrayal of one of England’s most beloved mythical characters. What made it worse was that this was his follow up to the acclaimed Dances With Wolves (making this performance even harder to stomach). Costner’s Robin Hood was a cross between his earnest Elliot Ness from The Untouchables and crass Crash Davis of Bull Durham. Except he left out the acting part. Ugh, what a terrible film and role.
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12. Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern
Hollywood loves a superhero. We can’t say the same for Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal in Green Lantern. Director Martin Campbell probably figured he was going to get some Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark magic from his handsome and snarky leading man. He figured wrong. Reynolds doesn’t have the gravitas of Downey, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s just more suited to playing a wisecracking, invulnerable anti-hero, as he does in Deadpool. Seeing Reynolds in a green crime-fighting suit dealing out retribution to bad guys is just all kinds of wrong. The film bombed as bad as Reynolds did in a role he wasn’t suited for.
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11. Colin Farrell in Alexander
Irish actor Colin Farrell has had a fair number of acclaim-worthy performances. Despite this, his eponymous turn in Alexander was not one of them. Not only has his casting been panned for being culturally insensitive to Greek culture, but he was simply not convincing as the type of morally bereft and greedy emperor that would go on to make history as Alexander the Great. Farrell, for his part, has since been able to laugh off the criticism. He particularly spoke about his terrible bleach blonde hair on The Graham Norton Show in 2013: “That was my Doris Day look…Alexander was the golden-locked child, but he shouldn’t have been. He should’ve been brunette. And maybe he shouldn’t have had an Irish accent — only from the 7,000 reviews I read.”
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10. Halle Berry in Catwoman
Halle Berry was only a few years removed from her historic Oscar win when she accepted the lead role in Catwoman. To this point, she had already had success playing a superhero with her portrayal of Storm in the X-Men series. Unfortunately, Berry’s performance was about as far from Michelle Pfeiffer’s incredible portrayal of the character from 1992’s Batman Returns as possible. Berry’s version lacked the seductive nature of Pfeiffer’s, and instead was over-the-top and hyper-sexualized. It certainly doesn’t help that Catwoman is one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Even if it hadn’t been a cinematic travesty, Berry’s performance still stands as arguably the worst on-screen Catwoman to-date.
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9. Everyone in Fifty Shades of Grey
Starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as the infamous couple, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie attempted to capitalize on the phenomenon that was the novel with the same title. Unfortunately, the movie fell short in almost every way. Most notably, Dornan and Johnson had such little chemistry together that the film could have easily been called Fifty Shades of Oh God My Eyes This Is So Boring. Capturing none of the sexual tension or interesting power dynamic of the literary version of the couple, reports began to leak during the films release that Dornan and Dakota legitimately hated each other on set.
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8. George Clooney in Batman & Robin
Lots of famous names have played the Dark Knight (to varying degrees of success). After all, fans were outraged when it was announced that Heath Ledger would play The Joker. That one turned out pretty well. Anyway, back to Clooney. He only played Batman once, in the critically panned Batman & Robin. Ya know, the movie with the bat nipples. Clooney’s take on Bats was surrounded by a terrible Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a terrible Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a terrible Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) and just a terrible movie. It’s okay, though. His career turned out just fine.
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7. Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3
While not nearly as good as the newer Spider-Man movies, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man will always hold a special place in our hearts. Some people thought casting Tobey Maguire as the superhero was a bad choice. But it was an even stranger choice to cast Topher Grace, who’s better known for his role of the meek Eric Forman from That ’70s Show, as Venom in Spider-Man 3. According to the comics, the villain should be a much bigger guy (let’s say, like Tom Hardy). Topher’s performance as Venom was straight garbage. Having Maguire and Grace face each other in the film was embarrassing, to say the least.
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6. John Wayne in The Conqueror
Genghis Khan was born in Mongolia, which is part of Asia. John Wayne was born in the middle of Iowa, perhaps the whitest part of the entire United States. After being a big-time Hollywood star in the way of Westerns, Wayne decided to play the role of Khan in the 1956 disaster The Conqueror. Maybe he was just bored after 30 years in the business. Or maybe producer Howard Hughes just drove up to his house with a dump truck full of money. Either way, the movie and the casting choice was terrible — and is routinely cited as one of the worst in film history.
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5. Scarlett Johansson In Ghost In The Shell
Another prominent example of whitewashing in genre filmmaking, Scarlett Johansson’s casting as Ghost in the Shell was simply an unacceptable move for a major studio to make in 2017. Much like with Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia, there is nothing inherently wrong with Johansson’s performance. She’s a good actress and I genuinely enjoy most of her performances. That being said, handing a prominent Asian role to an already successful white actress at a time when Asian actors as a whole are hugely underrepresented in Hollywood reeks of poor taste. As a result, it comes at little surprise that a petition was circulated by fans of the Ghost in the Shell demanding that the role be recasted. At least Ghost in the Shell fans got some karmic justice in that the Rupert Sanders-directed film was both a commercial and critical flop.
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4. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Now this is a big one — the part of Breakfast at Tiffany’s people seem to completely forget when talking about the film’s appeal. How many girls who visit New York begging to be taken to Tiffany’s do you think understand that the third-biggest star in the film (Mickey Rooney) wore fake teeth and pretended to be a Japanese man? He’s the only non-white character in the film, and he’s played by a white man. Rooney’s character is also a stereotype in literally every way. The character easily could’ve been cut from the plot, but was kept in — presumably — for comic relief.
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3. Jared Leto in Suicide Squad
Prior to release, the Suicide Squad marketing machine hit us over the head for months about the extreme lengths Jared Leto went to get into character as the Joker. This reportedly included sending used condoms to his costars — to staying in character so much that Will Smith claims he never actually met Jared Leto on set. With that kind of dedication, you would expect that Leto’s Joker would at least be captivating to watch. Unfortunately, the only truly memorable thing about Leto’s performance is how forgettable it is. Leto’s “Scarface” Joker is outclassed by Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn at every turn. Leto’s portrayal lacks the danger and chaotic nature that Ledger had in spades. On the bright side, at least he’s only one of the many, many problems with Suicide Squad.
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2. Hayden Christensen in Star Wars
The Star Wars prequel trilogy has become something of a galactic-sized joke, even for audiences who positively loved the original films. A lot of that has to do with Hayden Christensen’s exaggerated portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in the days leading up to his transformation into Darth Vader. Before he became the sand-loathing villain, Christensen was a little-known actor with few films and TV roles to his name. His work was certainly cut out for him to keep pace with decorated industry veterans like Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ewan McGregor. Even so, his performance easily ranks among the most laughable of all-time. It simultaneously helped to put a stain on the series.
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1. Emma Stone in Aloha
Cameron Crowe’s 2015 romantic comedy Aloha was not well-received by any metric. One of the biggest criticisms leveled against the film was the casting of Emma Stone as Allison Ng. It’s very simple: Emma Stone is neither Hawaiian nor Chinese (like her character). Many viewed Stone’s casting as a prominent example of Hollywood whitewashing — an argument that Stone herself came out in support of. She told the Los Angeles Times, “I’ve become the butt of many jokes. I’ve learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is. It’s ignited a conversation that’s very important.” Aloha ended up being a box office flop, though that likely had more to do with poor reviews and a lack of interest rather than the controversy over Stone’s miscasting.
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