The box office draw that is the superhero genre has grown so quickly that the opportunities for actors to get involved has grown as well, meaning some unlikely castings have popped up. Some actors were obvious choices for the roles they were given, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Christian Bale as Batman however when some names got linked to big superhero roles, fans thought that the studios must be joking. In fact, many a comedic actor has stepped out of their regular niche of films to take on the challenge, resulting in some bad but also some very good performances. Since some of these actors haven’t been seen in their superhero roles yet, it’s hard to tell if the unlikely casting paid off. Here are the 8 most unlikely actors and actresses cast in superhero movie roles.
8. Anne Hathaway
Catwoman has seen some hits and misses for her representation on the big screen and while Michelle Pfeiffer rocked the role in 1992’s Batman Returns, Halle Berry’s take on the character in 2004’s standalone Catwoman film received some of the worst reviews ever. Due to accomplished and respected actress Berry receiving such harsh criticisms, eyebrows were raised when it was announced Anne Hathaway would be the next to take on the challenge in 2012’s Dark Knight Rises. Prior to the role Hathaway was known mostly for her romantic comedy roles, none of which were spectacular, meaning the skepticism was warranted of inserting her into the biggest superhero franchise ever. In the end Hathaway’s portrayal was met with mostly positive reviews, with some even stating she is the best Catwoman yet.
7. Edward Norton
The Hulk is one of the most liked superheroes in the entire comic book world, so fans are extra critical of bringing him to life on the big screen through his human counterpart Dr. Bruce Banner. With Lou Ferrigno being The Hulk to Bill Bixby’s Banner in the ’70s-’80s, modern film technology allowed for The Hulk to be computer generated in recent films, but that doesn’t mean Banner needed to be any less convincing. In 2003 Erica Bana took on the role and while not a huge guy, is formidable, however one look at Edward Norton would never convince anyone of his ability to turn into a raging monster, but in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk he did just that. Norton’s casting was only unlikely because his predecessor was Hollywood Hunk Bana but in all reality Norton’s turn brought the true nerd factor of Banner back into the game.
6. Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds is a sarcastic comedic gem, and does well in that role in several of his light-hearted films, which made the decision to put him in the titular role of the Green Lantern in 2011 kind of surprising. Unfortunately, this one did not work out well for Reynolds and the film and his take on the superhero have been slammed many times around, but the comic world wasn’t done with him yet. Regardless of the poor reception of his DC Comics’ Green Lantern/Hal Jordan portrayal, Marvel stood by him as their Wade Wilson/Deadpool lead for their 2016 Deadpool standalone film, which this time around many think was the perfect casting choice.
5. Chris Pratt
Chris who now? That was what many people were saying with the news that Pratt would be the ringleader Peter Quill of the lesser-known Guardians of the Galaxy. Those who did know him as an actor still didn’t buy it as Pratt was anything but superhero-like in most of his previous roles where he played the funny, chubby guy. The good news for Pratt though was that Quill/Star-Lord is a very sarcastic, entertaining guy and Pratt had no problem transforming his body into action-star shape for the film. At first the casting was questionable but after the major success of the film, we know absolutely no-one would have been better.
4. Chloe Grace Moretz
Chloe Grace Moretz was only 13 years old when she took on one of the lead roles in the 2010 film Kick-Ass as young superhero Hit-Girl/Mindy Macready. While part of the lesser known comic universe many weren’t sure what to think of this superhero film but our jaws actually dropped open when sweet and innocent Chloe became a foul-mouthed, skilled assassin with some very violent scenes. No doubt she does a fantastic job but her casting is unlikely that no-one’s first thought is a 13-year old girl as a leading superhero.
3. Seth Rogen
Even more surprising than the “funny, chubby guy” casting of Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, was Seth Rogen in 2011’s The Green Hornet, the first big screen take on the superhero since the ’60s television series starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee. Rogen was the least likely suspect to appear as a womanizer millionaire by day and crime-fighter by night and the result of casting him in the film was not a good one. Prior to the film Rogen was known as the stoner buddy type in movies like Knocked Up and Pineapple Express, and unfortunately, but not surprisingly, that’s exactly the role he should have stuck to.
2. Paul Rudd
Ant-man is a strange pick for a superhero getting their very own film but nonetheless he is getting one and what is most shocking is the actor who is taking the lead in the film. Paul Rudd is about as average as it gets in terms of stature, and while he is a loved and talented actor, it is going to take a different set of acting skills from Rudd to convince us he is right for the role of a superhero. We’re talking about Mike from Friends here! Luckily, like with Chris Pratt’s G.O.T.G character, it seems Scott Lang/Ant-man is also somewhat comedic, something we know Rudd is talented at, the real challenge is him making us believe he isn’t make a joke with every single line.
1. Ben Affleck
Jaws dropped, social media exploded and people were horrified when it was announced that Ben Affleck would be stepping into the huge Batman shoes left by Christian Bale after he confirmed he would not be partaking in the next set of films involving the Caped Crusader including Batman v Superman and Justice League films. Of all the people cast as superheroes this one shocked fans right to the core, mostly because of the recent massive success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy lead by Bale in the role. To replace him so soon and with an actor like Affleck who sways between respected and ridiculed made many believe the film was already doomed. Luckily as more pictures surface of Affleck in costume, fans are becoming more accustomed to the thought of him as Bruce Wayne/Batman. While the movie is already highly-anticipated, a fair portion of that anticipation derives from those wondering if this casting will pay off or in fact ruin the film.