He may be an Oscar-winner but Ben Affleck wasn’t winning over Batman fans when it was announced last year that he would be stepping into the iconic role. One fan was so outraged he started an online petition. John Roden from Bellevue, Ky. wrote: “His acting skill is not even close to being believable as Bruce Wayne and he won’t do the role justice.”
Sure, everyone loves Daniel Craig as James Bond now. But when it was announced in 2005 that the blond actor would take on the role of 007 the criticism was deafening. In fact British newspaper the Daily Mirror ran the cheeky headline, “The Name’s Bland – James Bland.”
As we now know, in the end Charlie Hunnam backed out of the chance to play Christian Grey in the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey. But when it was announced last year he would play the man millions of women have lusted over since E.L. James penned the character, fans were far from happy. In fact thousands signed an online petition demanding that White Collar actor Matt Bomer assume the role.
The controversy surrounding Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Mariane Pearl in the 2007 biopic A Mighty Heart comes down to one thing – race. The real-life widow of Daniel Pearl – the Wall Street Journal reporter who was beheaded by terrorists in 2002 – is biracial (Afro-Cuban and Dutch); Jolie, of course, is not. One BET fan wrote on their website: “[W]hat is Hollywood’s excuse for casting a white woman this time?”
For many Zoe Saldana isn’t dark enough to play the late Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic of her life. When stills from the set emerged showing Saldana wearing makeup to give her a darker appearance, critics came out of the woodwork. Singer India Arie penned an article saying: “VIOLA DAVIS should be playing Nina Simone.”
For fans of The Hunger Games book series, Jennifer Lawrence was deemed too big to play the role of heroine Katniss Everdeen. Even critics weighed in with The New York Times reviewer saying her “womanly figure makes a bad fit” and The Hollywood Reporter pointing out her “lingering baby fat.”
For millions of readers Helen Fielding’s beloved character Bridget Jones was quintessentially English. Surely Kate Winslet should play the chubby, chain-smoking, boozy, unlucky-in-love singleton Londoner? When skinny, Texan Renée Zellweger was cast fans were not happy.
Lindsay Lohan was never going to get a good review for her portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor in the TV movie, Liz & Dick, especially because critics were horrified that she had been chosen to play the screen legend from the get-go. Comedienne Rosie O’Donnell echoed that view, saying on TODAY: “I don’t think she’s right for the role and I don’t think she’s capable at this point to portray that character.”
When Heath Ledger was cast to play The Joker in The Dark Knight, the blond, square-jawed Aussie hunk was not the fans’ first choice. The actor went on to win a posthumous Oscar but at the time the Internet was ablaze with criticism. One Batman fan wrote: “Bad casting. Bad joke.”
“I’m just a 17 year old girl who got cast to play one of her biggest inspirations #positive.” That’s what Zendaya tweeted after facing a backlash because she was cast to play Aaliyah in a TV movie about the R&B singer’s short life. The teen eventually dropped out of the project.
It’s never a good sign when the family member of the real-life person an actor is portraying slams the casting choice. But that is the case with Hank Williams’ grandson who is not happy that Avengers star Tom Hiddleston – a posh Brit – is playing the country star. Hank Williams III apparently thinks 44-year-old Matthew McConaughey should play his grandfather who died at the age of 29.
The film was universally panned, but The Lone Ranger got off to a bad start before it ever made it to the big screen in 2013 purely because of the casting choice. Many Native Americans were not happy that Johnny Depp would be playing the iconic role of Tonto, an American-Indian character.
It was the most sought-after female lead in Hollywood at the time with greats like Bette Davis chomping at the bit to get the role. So imagine the horror when it was announced that a Brit actress would play southern bell Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. Vivien Leigh later won an Oscar for her performance in the 1939 classic.
Nothing about Michael Keaton says broad-chested, square-jawed comic book hero, so fans of Batman were naturally enraged when the Beetlejuice star signed on to don the black rubber suit in the 1989 version of the movie. Apparently 50,000 of them wrote letters to Warner Bros. to protest the casting choice.
She later ate her words but author Anne Rice initially publicly criticized the casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 adaption of her book Interview With the Vampire. She eventually apologized to the actor by buying a two-page ad in Daily Variety and applauding his performance.
“Why does Rue have to be black? Not gonna lie, kinda ruined the movie.” That’s what one mean-spirited Hunger Games fan tweeted after Amandla Stenberg played one of the pivotal characters in the movie.
Some Marvel fans were so outraged that Idris Elba had been cast as a Norse god in Thor, that they started a campaign urging others to boycott the 2011 movie. The Council of Conservative Citizens – a white nationalist group – was particularly upset that a black man had been selected to play the role.
Similarly some critics were fuming that Jake Gyllenhaal was cast as Dastan, the central character in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Filmmaker and blogger Jehanzeb Dar told the LA Times in 2010: “It’s insulting that people of color – especially Middle Easterners or South Asians – are not allowed to portray ourselves in these roles.”