6 Incredible Miscasting Decisions - Mania.com

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6 Incredible Miscasting Decisions

Think Seth Rogen's bad? Check out these guys.

By Matt Hoffman     January 13, 2011

6 Incredible Miscasting Decisions
© Mania/Robert Trate

Some moviegoers might have been surprised by the casting of Seth Rogen as Britt Reid, the playboy-turned-superhero protagonist of The Green Hornet. Whether or not Rogen can overcome his former schlubby persona remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely that his performance will be any more incongruous than these classic casting screw-ups:


6. Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez in Highlander

Sean Connery is so awesome that it’s difficult to imagine him being “miscast” in anything, but having him play a flamboyantly dressed Spanish aristocrat made his trademark Scottish brogue seem oddly out of place. To make matters worse, Connery’s scenes take place in medieval Scotland, so his accent fits right in when it should sound foreign; in fact, he sounds more genuinely Scottish than the supposedly Scottish protagonist, who was played by French actor Christopher Lambert.


5. Denise Richards as Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough

To be fair to Ms. Richards, “sexy nuclear physicist” is a Halloween costume, not a character. Her role in the 1999 James Bond adventure The World Is Not Enough never had much of a chance of being plausible; she was playing someone named “Christmas,” for God’s sake. Still, there are actresses who could have made this Bond girl’s intellectual pedigree at least a little believable, and Richards is not among them. When put in service of Jones’s supposed seriousness and intelligence, Richards’s hip-swinging sashay and pouty line delivery approach pornographic levels of incongruity.


4. Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore in The Happening

Thought we were being sexist by saying that Denise Richards didn’t seem smart enough to be a nuclear physicist? In The Happening, Mark Wahlberg doesn’t seem smart enough to be a high school science teacher. Wahlberg is at his best playing working-class toughs and doesn’t appear to know how to play a nerdy nice guy, so his performance is infused with more wide-eyed earnestness than you’d get from a ten-year-old in an educational video. On the plus side, though, we did get some funny YouTube videos out of the whole mess. (“What? No!”)



3. Harvey Keitel as Judas in The Last Temptation of Christ

“’Eyyy, Jesus, how ya been? Me and some of the guys were thinking of going out for pizza later, whaddya say? Yeah, you, me, Peter, Paul, alla da guys. We’re gonna go to that joint over on 48th, the one with the long table so we can all face the window. ‘Ey, how’s things with that Mary Magdalene broad? You givin’ her the old body of Christ yet, huh? ‘Ey, ‘ey, I’m just messin’ with ya, fugghedaboutit. C’mon, gimme a kiss.”



2. Kevin Costner as Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Kevin Costner achieved A-list status playing wholesome all-American heroes, a persona that reached its peak with the flag-waving patriotism of The Postman. It’s no surprise, then, that he faltered a bit when he took on the role of English folk hero Robin Hood. Almost all of the other actors in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves -- from native Brit Alan Rickman to Yankee Christian Slater -- deliver their dialogue in credible English accents, but it’s hard to tell if Costner was even attempting to do so. It seems like his dialect coach didn’t have much advice beyond “Make yourself sound kind of wussy.”



1. John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror

We could write an entire article about racially insensitive casting (in fact, we already did) However, there’s a difference between a racist casting decision and a casting decision that just doesn’t work. For example, Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s derives cheap laughs from a painfully degrading stereotype—which is exactly what he’s supposed to do. You can call the character offensive, and you’d be right, but you can’t really fault the execution.

Not so with John Wayne’s performance as Genghis Khan in 1956’s The Conqueror. While Rooney used facial prosthetics and adopted a hideously over-the-top accent to play Mr. Yunioshi, Wayne pretty much looks like he always looks, except with a mustache and kinda slanty eyes. Most damningly, however, Wayne made absolutely no change to his speaking voice, delivering all of his lines in the same cowboy drawl that he used in the Westerns for which he was famous. The result is a viewing experience that feels less like watching a movie about Genghis Khan than like watching a movie about John Wayne pretending to be Genghis Khan, and there’s a big difference between the two. In a good performance, an actor disappears into his or her character; in this case, and in many of the other examples on this



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SarcasticCaveman 1/13/2011 1:40:04 AM

"Yer BYOOTIFUL in yer wrath"...*passionate kiss* ~ John Wayne in The Conqueror.  Funny stuff.

karas1 1/13/2011 1:54:20 AM

I agree that the accent thing in Highlander is kind of funny, but really, Connery is important to the film.  I couldn't imagine Highlander without him or with anybody else in the role.  And you could argue that his character was a centuries old guy who had lived all over the world and had learned how to blend in with the native populace by adopting the local accent.

FerretJohn 1/13/2011 2:59:35 AM

If I remember correctly Connery's Ramirez was actually Egyptian (then-) currently posing as a Spaniard.

Who says brainy chicks can't be hot too?  I never saw no rule about it.  And in a Bond film "Christmas" is actually a pretty decent name.

I have to take objection to Costner's Robin Hood as a miscast.  I liked that movie.

John Wayne as Ghengis Khan I'll give you.  Even The Duke was wondering what he was thinking when he got with that role.

FerretJohn 1/13/2011 3:10:59 AM

Now, you want Miscast....

Wil Smith as James West (Wild Wild West)

Arnold Swarzeneggar (I can never spell his name right) as a gynocological researcher (Junior)

Nicholas Cage as Superman (thank God that one never saw daylight)

Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk (actually it's not the Kirk that was wrong but the Captain, but that's another long argument)

Woody Allen as the romantic lead in Anything

TayDor 1/13/2011 3:41:35 AM

Ferret is correct.  Ramirez was Egyptian. 

Connor MacLeod: I cannot swim you Spanish peacock.
Ramirez: I'm not Spanish, I'm Egyptian.

"I was born 2,437 years ago."  Given the film takes place in the 1400s, that means he was born sometime around 1000 B.C.  A bit before spain.

Obviously Ramirez is his current name, not his original name.  Just as McLeod calls himself Russel Nash in the modern time of the film.

Now we just have to explain how an egyptian gained a scottish brogue. 

wish 1/13/2011 5:40:31 AM

Paul Walker as............just Paul Walker

Ryodin 1/13/2011 5:42:40 AM

An Egyptian gained a Scottish brogue by being 2,437 years old. Being that old, and having traveled all over the world, it's not implausible to imagine his accent is from "lots of different places" and no one place in particular.

creekwoodkid 1/13/2011 6:04:44 AM

I actually liked Robin Hood too...better then the Russell Crowe version for sure.

jfdavis 1/13/2011 6:20:43 AM

I'm impressed you mentioned Christmas Jones ("I always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey.") but not Elizabeth Shue as a cold fusion specialist in The Saint. Kudos!

One omission that should have been made, though, was the old chestnut Halle Berry as Storm. Sure, Angela Bassett would have been the best choice but even Vivica Fox would have been an improvement...

kinetoscope 1/13/2011 6:21:35 AM

John Wayne by faaarrrrr the worst! Another quality list.

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