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 comedic actors have 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.
So without further ado, here are 10 of the most unlikely actors and actresses to be cast in a superhero movie role. Enjoy!
10. Dave Bautista
Prior to being cast as Drax the Destroyer in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, Dave Bautista was better known to the world as WWE superstar and six-time world champion, Batista. The former wrestler officially made his debut on screen as a wrestler in Relative Strangers in 2006 and in 2013, landed a much bigger role alongside future Guardians co-star Vin Deisel in the science fiction thriller, Riddick.
Other than Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson, few wrestlers have had what it takes to make the transition from the ring to the big screen, so when Bautista was initially cast, we couldn’t believe it. We knew he had the look and could kick ass, but he never did much speaking, so we weren’t sure how to react to the casting. Luckily for us, Bautista knocked it out of the park and proved us all wrong. As a result, Bautista landed a role in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 and the directors upcoming Dune reboot, scheduled for release in 2020.
9. Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson has been cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Matt Reeves’ Batman movie and as you might imagine, the news didn’t sit well with fans. Despite the actor’s impressive filmography, all people could picture was his portrayal of the moody (and shiny) vampire – Edward Cullen.
While we’ll admit the decision to cast Pattinson in the role caught us off-guard, after having some time to think about it and having seen a few of his arthouse films, we’re confident he can pull it off. With all the nutritionists and trainers actors have at their disposal nowadays, putting on weight and muscle won’t be a problem, just as Chris Pratt.
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 and as they say, the rest is history.
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 had no problem transforming his body into action-star shape for the film. At first, the casting seemed questionable but after how successful the Guardians of the Galaxy films were, there is no doubt in our mind that Marvel Studios and James Gunn and the right decision casting Pratt as Star-Lord.
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
When it was first announced that Ant-Man would be getting his own movie we thought it was an odd choice, but it wasn’t until Paul Rudd was cast that we got a little worried. No disrespect to Rudd, we’re actually big fans, it was just hard for us to imagine Rudd – an overly nice and funny guy – playing Hank Pym, a genius with anger issues and a controversial past. Luckily for us all, Marvel Studios later revealed that Rudd would play Scott Lang, a petty criminal who turns his life around and becomes the new Ant-Man, taking over for Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas.
At the end of the day, despite our initial concerns, Rudd did a tremendous job playing a superhero. Nothing has been announced as of yet, but given the success of both Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, we have a strong feeling a third is on the way. The ball is in your court, Disney.
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.
Although we were skeptical and thought both Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League were underwhelming, Affleck’s portrayal of the Dark Knight was on point and one of the best parts of either film. He had the muscles, the voice and was able to pull off both Bruce Wayne and Batman, an aspect of the role even Michael Keaton and Christian Bale struggled with.