Whenever an actor or actress is cast in a role that is either a real person or some other role with established expectations, the debate immediately ignites whether the talent is a good fit for the part. Robert Pattinson is currently on the hot seat for being cast as a real life military interrogator in "Mission: Blacklist" whom he doesn't resemble at all. Pattinson may be the latest victim, but he's hardly the first.
Kevin Spacey - "Beyond the Sea"
There's no denying that Spacey is a talented actor, and he proved in this film he could carry a tune as well. This biopic about the life of singer Bobby Darin was a passion project for Spacey, who directed as well as starred as the crooner.
Spacey isn't that bad of a match for Darin physically; the controversy came over the issue of age. Darin was only 37 when he died, and Spacey was 45 when he played him at various points in his career.
John Wayne - "The Conqueror"
On its face, this may be the single most miscast role ever for a major star. Cowboy icon John Wayne played the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan.
The film flopped, rather deservedly, but the legacy of "The Conqueror" goes beyond the mere insanity of its casting. Parts of the film were shot on location in Utah downwind of a nuclear testing site. Numerous cast and crew, including Wayne, would later die of various forms of cancer in the decades that followed.
Anthony Hopkins - "The Mask of Zorro"
This is another case where race was the primary issue. Welsh actor Hopkins played a Mexican living in California and fighting injustice as Zorro. Many critics called shenanigans on the casting, though the criticism was somewhat ironic; nobody complained about fellow Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones playing the daughter of Hopkins's character.
Mickey Rooney - "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Again it comes down to race. In the earlier days of film, it was fairly common for white actors to play different races, often in what was intended to be comedic ways. By 1961, the practice had largely vanished, which just makes the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" example stand out all the more.
At the time, even the producers didn't think it was a good idea, but Rooney and director Blake Edwards thought there was humor in his Japanese caricature. All involved have since regretted the decision.
Denise Richards - "The World Is Not Enough"
It doesn't take much to be a Bond girl. Actually, it takes a very specific set of skills, and being able to pass for a nuclear scientist isn't usually one of them. However, that was the character Denise Richards had to improbably embody.
Besides Richards's own reputation as a bit of an air head, the idea of somebody as young as her rising to such a prominent scientific station in Kazakhstan of all places was too farfetched even for Bond fans. The character's name, Christmas Jones, didn't help either.
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