10 Worst Casting Choices in Film History

By Kimberly Gadette (doddleNEWS)

When Irish actor Jamie Dornan was hired to take on the part of the hot and bothered Christian Grey in the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey, a huge portion of the book’s 70 million followers loudly voiced their outrage. Dornan didn’t have the right color eyes. He was a snooze fest. He simply wasn’t “their Christian.”

Yet the casting of Mr. Dornan pales next to some of these absolute doozies:

MV5BMTUzNjI0Njc5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTM2MjYz._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_10.  Michelle Pfeiffer as a lonely, undesirable woman in 1991’s Frankie and Johnny. Pfeiffer has played a credible witch, catwoman, Mafia wife, torch singer, evil queen, etc. But portraying a sad sack waitress (sans fat suit or face-altering makeup) who no one will romance other than Al Pacino’s pushy ex-con? C’mon! To clarify: In the original off-Broadway stage version, the character was played by Kathy Bates. ‘Nuff said.

9.  Tony Curtis, aka Bernie Schwartz, couldn’t shake off his working-class Bronx accent for years. (Were there no voice coaches in the ’50s?) Until his break-out role in 1957’s Sweet Smell of Success, the young Curtis was miscast time and again, giving such awkward performances as:

The slave minstrel Antoninus, who feebly croaks out a song with his anachronistic accent in Spartacus; Yul Brynner’s son in Taras Bulba; a native American in The Outsider; an English knight in The Black Shield of Falworth; and a Persian in The Son of Ali Baba, infamously saying: “This is my faddah’s palace, and yondah lies the Valley of the Sun.”

8.  Charlton Heston as Michael Vargas, a Mexican drug enforcement officer in Orson Welles’ 1958 A Touch of Evil. It’s more than just a touch of evil — Heston can’t act his way out of a paper bag.

7.  Rosie O’Donnell as Betty Rubble in 1994’s live action feature of The Flintstones. With her blue, ragged-hemmed, sexy short dress and come-hither giggle, Betty is usually considered to be hotter than Wilma. Though Rosie O’Donnell has many talents, believably portraying a stone-age siren ain’t one of ’em.

6.  Edward G. Robinson as Dathan in 1956’s The Ten Commandments. Swaggering in a toga and sandals, he may as well be chomping on a cigar as he states in his iconic gangster voice: “Too many ears tie a rat’s tongue.” (Note: Robinson’s oft-quoted line, “Where’s your messiah now?”, was actually delivered by Billy Crystal in a parody.)


Adding to the insult, we have a Faux Asian Invasion starring:

Marlon Brando, "The Teahouse of the August Moon"

Marlon Brando as Sakini in “The Teahouse of the August Moon”

5.  Marlon Brando as Sakini, the comedic Japanese interpreter in 1956’s The Teahouse of the August Moon. Obsequious, giggling and winking, Brando’s Sakini is far more horrific than comedic. Maybe that explains why, as a possible need for redemption, he took on another post-war film set in the China Seas … otherwise known as Apocalypse Now.

4.  Katherine Hepburn as Jade Tan, a simple Chinese villager in 1944’s Dragon Seed. Simple, yes. Simply revolting.

3.  Mickey Rooney as I.Y. Yunioshi, the cantankerous Japanese neighbor in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With his buck teeth and exaggerated accent, Rooney was shocked to hear that the character had been branded “racist” by several Asian-American activist organizations. It’s hard to say what’s worse: the fact that Rooney was shocked, or the fact that it didn’t dawn on him until 2008.

2.  John Wayne as Genghis Khan in 1956’s The Conqueror. Wayne played heroes, most often of the Ol’ West. But the Ol’ East? And as a Mongolian warlord? Kill me now – go on, you’re Genghis Khan, you know how to kill.

And now (drum roll, please!) presenting the most ridiculous casting choice yet:

Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin

1.  Clint Eastwood as Pardner, the lovesick, all-singing farmer-turned-prospector in 1969’s Paint Your Wagon. Perhaps this film served as the inspiration for Eastwood’s iconic quote from 1971’s Dirty Harry. Because perhaps, just before launching into his tuneless rendition of “I Talk to the Trees,” Eastwood addressed one particular hardwood by saying, “You have to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’
Well do you … trunk?”

Seeing is still disbelieving:

All righty, then; it’s time to pick your jaw up from the [forest] floor.

About Kimberly Gadette

Film critic Kimberly Gadette, born and raised in movie-centric L.A., believes celluloid may very well be a part of her DNA. Having received her BA and MFA from UCLA's School of Theater, Film & Television, she spent many of her formative years as an actress (film, tv, commercials, stage) before she literally changed perspective, finding a whole new POV from the other side of the camera. You can find her last 500+ reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/kimberly-gadette/). Other than taking the occasional side trip to Cannes or Sundance, you can find her at the movies ... sitting in the dark as usual.

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