In one of the most unexpected casting decisions in quite a while, former Twilight star Robert Pattinson has been cast as Batman.
While some fans are expressing displeasure with the casting choice, others are waiting until the film is released to judge Pattinson’s performance.
The latter option is probably a more valid choice. While we as fans are often skeptical, casting directors usually know what they are doing.
Here are a few unexpected casting decisions that actually turned out well.
1. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
It is near impossible now to imagine another actor sporting the iconic adamantium claws, but Hugh Jackman was not the first choice to play Wolverine in the X-Men films. He was not even the second.
Russel Crowe was the first choice. When Crowe turned the role down, he suggested his friend Hugh Jackman audition for the part. Jackman was relatively unknown at the time, so British actor Dougray Scott won the role of Logan/Wolverine. Unfortunately, Scott pulled out shortly before production began.
In a panic, with filming due to begin any day, Hugh Jackman was called to audition. He won the role, and the rest is history. Jackman now holds a Guinness World Record as the longest running live-action Marvel Superhero.
2. Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr has always been a gifted actor with dedicated fans. However, for a time, his history with drug abuse kept Downey from landing any major roles. Even after Downey Jr had cleaned up his act, many studios were nervous to work with him in fear of a relapse.
For this reason, Downey almost missed out on the role of Tony Stark in the 2008 Iron Man film. Director Jon Favreau went in to bat for him, and after adding a few special conditions to his contract, the studio agreed to cast Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man.
The movie was a hit, and Downey went on to play Tony Stark in seven more films. Fans are now campaigning for the actor to receive an Oscar nomination for his final performance as Stark in Avengers: Endgame.
3. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
When it was revealed that the popular Harry Potter books were to become films, it was made well-known that the film makers were looking to build an all, or at least mostly British cast for the films. This made sense, since the films were set in Britain. It also dispelled the fear held by some British fans that the films would be too Americanized.
Despite this, American child actor Haley-Joel Osment became a favorite to land the role of the boy wizard. Osment had proved his acting chops in films such as The Sixth Sense and A.I: Artificial Intelligence. So for some, it came as a surprise when young British actor Daniel Radcliffe was cast as Harry. At the time, Radcliffe was best known for a role in a mini-series adaptation of David Copperfield.
When Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone hit theaters, it was clear that the right choice had been made. Radcliffe continued to play Harry in the remaining seven films in the series.
4. Chris Hemsworth as Thor
As one of the lesser known Marvel properties, some were surprised to learn that Thor was being developed for a film. It was therefore expected that the film would be bolstered by casting a big name as the titular hero. Josh Hartnett’s name was floated, and at one point early in production, Daniel Craig was approached for the role.
Ultimately, however, Marvel decided to take a risk on some new talent. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, then best known for playing Kim Hyde in soap opera Home & Away, and a small role in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, won the part of Thor. British actor Tom Hiddleston was cast as his brother, Loki. Both characters soon became pop-culture icons.
Hemsworth has now played Thor in seven films, with the possibility of more on the way.
5. Heath Ledger as The Joker
When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker in The Dark Knight, many fans were furious. They claimed that Ledger was too much of a pretty boy to capture the manic darkness of the character.
Of course, we all know what happened next. After the very first trailer dropped, fans changed their tune. Ledger, who tragically passed away before The Dark Knight was released, won the Academy Award for Best Actor for what many now believe to be the definitive portrayal of Batman’s nemesis.
Clearly, there is a lesson to be learned from the above examples. Unpopular or unexpected casting decisions are not always bad casting decisions.
We should give Robert Pattinson’s take on the Caped Crusader a chance to surprise us before we judge. Who knows? His Batman could be one of the greats.