10 Movie Casting Choices That Should've Worked (But Didn't)

Jared Leto as the Joker. What could go wrong?

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Krueger 2010 Remake
New Line Cinema

There are some performers that you struggle to picture in certain roles, despite their obvious talent.

Nobody thought Hugh Jackman could pull off Wolverine. People laughed at the Die Hard trailer because they couldn't take Bruce Willis seriously as an action hero. The producers of Pirates of the Caribbean were certain Johnny Depp's performance would sink the movie.

Despite initial skepticism, each of these actors delivered a mind-blowing performance, which helped shape their career.

However, there are some casting choices that have the exact opposite problem. Ryan Reynolds seemed like he was born to play Green Lantern. We assumed Robert De Niro would deliver as Frankenstein's monster. We were certain Robert Downey Jr's Doctor Dolittle would become iconic.

But for one reason or another, these casting choices didn’t work. Sometimes, the actors weren’t to blame, since they were let down by lame dialogue, a lack of direction, or a shoddy script.

Other times, the performers tried to put a unique spin on the character, which didn’t pay off. But on occasion, the character didn't work simply because the actor wasn’t very good.

10. Christian Bale As John Connor – Terminator: Salvation

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Krueger 2010 Remake
Warner Bros.

Nobody in their right mind believed Terminator 3 could live up to the expectations of its predecessors.

But Terminator: Salvation looked like it had a lot to offer (despite having the same director as Charlie's Angels). Not only was it the first entry to take place in the apocalyptic timeline where SkyNet had ravaged the world, John Connor was played by Batman himself, Christian Bale.

Even though Bale has been a universally beloved star for decades, casting him at the peak of his career made people believe the most recent outing of James Cameron's franchise would be a return to form.

Sadly, Salvation was criticised for jerky handheld action, surprisingly underwhelming action, and a twist so boring, most viewers can't even remember what it is. (CGI Arnie didn't help either.)

Although Christian Bale has never dropped the ball, this might be the Welsh actor's weakest performance. Even though Bale depicts The Resistance leader as a flawed and reluctant hero, we never buy this guy as the saviour of mankind.

As blasphemous at it sounds, Nick Stahl from Terminator 3 captured the essence of John Connor a lot better.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85