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Top 10 Actor Replacements That Totally Ruined The Movie

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake

Whether you want to blame the director, the casting director, or the performer, these are all phenomenal cases of miscasting. For this list, we’re taking a look at actors who usurped famous movie roles, but failed to live up to their predecessors. Our list includes George Clooney as Batman, Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, and more! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Actor Replacements that Totally Ruined the Movie.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Actor+Replacements+That+Totally+Ruined+The+Movie. Special thanks to liam_schell for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Actor Replacements that Totally Ruined the Movie

Whether you want to blame the director, the casting director, or the performer, these are all phenomenal cases of miscasting. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actor Replacements That Totally Ruined the Movie.

For this list, we’re taking a look at actors who usurped famous movie roles, but failed to live up to their predecessors.

#10: Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling

“Hannibal” (2001)

Julianne Moore is an amazing actress, but taking over the role of Clarice Starling is a thankless task. Jodie Foster made the character iconic in 1991 and even won an Academy Award for her career-defining performance. So, when Foster turned down the chance to reprise the role in 2001’s “Hannibal,” the long-awaited sequel probably should’ve ceased development entirely. The filmmakers decided to take a James Bond approach to Clarice, however, ultimately casting Moore. Maybe Moore’s presence could’ve worked if the movie was a reboot, but seeing anybody other than Foster as Clarice in this continuity is just distracting. It didn’t help that Moore got stuck with a ridiculous script, which Foster said “betrayed” the original character.

#9: Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese

“Terminator Genisys” (2015)

Where the first two “Terminator” films remain sci-fi classics, the ensuing sequels are infamous for their nonsensical plots and inconsistencies. Those continuity errors are only more apparent since each sequel comes complete with a revolving door of replacement actors. In a franchise littered with questionable casting choices, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese is the most misguided. You never believe Courtney is the driven soldier we saw in the first “Terminator,” who was exceptionally played by the criminally underrated Michael Biehn. Even Anton Yelchin, who had minimal screen time as the character in “Terminator Salvation,” turned in a more charismatic portrayal of Kyle than Courtney, who comes off as more artificial than any Terminator.

#8: Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan

“The Sum of All Fears” (2002)

“Jack Ryan” is another series that’s known for constantly recasting the titular character. The original trilogy saw Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford convincingly play the CIA analyst. “The Sum of All Fears,” which served as a reboot, is considered one of the franchise’s blander entries and unfortunately the same can be said about Ben Affleck’s take on Ryan. While Affleck had the potential to put a fresh spin of this younger version of the character, his performance is simply underdeveloped. Peter Travers stated that Affleck “merely creates an outline for a role he still needs to grow into.” Who would’ve guessed that Jim from “The Office” would later deliver a more fleshed-out portrayal of Ryan?

#7: Jonathan Bennett as Van Wilder

“Van Wilder: Freshman Year” (2009)

The original “Van Wilder” might not be a comedic masterpiece, but Ryan Reynolds’ star-making performance helped it to grow a cult following over time. Reynolds brought an energetic charm to the titular party animal that ultimately elevated the material, so his absence doomed this straight-to-DVD prequel from the get-go. Jonathan Bennett does seemingly try to replicate Reynolds’ facial expressions and speech inflections, but the keyword here is “try.” The audience is always aware that they’re watching a dollar store knock off of Reynolds and the performance never feels like anything more than an impression. Much like Jim Carrey, Reynolds is a one of a kind comedic performer who can’t be replaced with just any old actor.

#6: Mary Alice as The Oracle

“The Matrix Revolutions” (2003)

Gloria Foster sadly passed away during the production of the “Matrix” sequels, influencing the filmmakers to cast Mary Alice as the Oracle in the final film. Where Foster brought a sly sense of humor to this enigmatic being, though, Alice shows up, reads her convoluted lines, and… that’s about it. This makes for a rather mediocre end to one of the franchise’s most interesting characters. It doesn’t help that the plot actually acknowledges the Oracle looks completely different. That’s like if in one of the “Harry Potter” movies somebody asked Dumbledore, “Say, professor, did you do something different with your face?” It just takes us out of the movie-going experience and distracts from the story.

#5: George Clooney as Batman / Bruce Wayne

“Batman & Robin” (1997)

After Michael Keaton’s complex, mysterious, and unpredictable take on the Dark Knight, Val Kilmer’s dull performance felt like a serious downgrade. As lackluster as Kilmer was, George Clooney brought Batman to a new low. What’s ironic is that out of all the actors who’ve played the character, Clooney is probably the closest to being a real-life Bruce Wayne. You’d think he’d be able to bring a certain level of class and authenticity to the role, but Clooney totally phones it in and doesn’t even try to mask his voice as Batman. To this date, Clooney jokes about how the film killed the franchise for a while, vowing never to don the cape and cowl again.

#4: Robert John Burke as Alex Murphy / RoboCop

“RoboCop 3” (1993)

At first, RoboCop might not seem like a role that’s especially hard to recast. After all, Peter Weller spent much of the first two films with his face mostly covered, and his robotic voice doesn’t sound too difficult to replicate. After seeing Robert John Burke’s take on the super cyborg, however, you really come to appreciate everything Weller previously brought to the table. Although Weller’s performance was robotic, he also injected a subtle sense of humor and raw humanity into the role, finding the perfect balance between man and machine. There’s no mystery to Burke’s interpretation of the character, making for a performance that feels as if it came off the assembly line.

#3: Dan Castellaneta as Genie

“The Return of Jafar” (1994)

Robin Williams broke new ground in voice acting when he breathed life into Aladdin’s Genie, improvising much of the character’s dialog, jokes, and impressions. Disney only paid Williams $75,000 for his efforts, however, and reportedly went back on several conditions he had. Williams thus expressed no interest in reprising his role in the straight-to-video sequel, even after Disney tried swaying him with a Pablo Picasso painting. He was thus replaced with Dan Castellaneta of Homer Simpson fame, who can do a decent impression of Williams, but lacks the energy and improv skills that made the Genie work. It took an apology from Disney and a million-dollar salary to get Williams back for the third “Aladdin” film.

#2: Omar Epps as Willie Mays Hayes

“Major League II” (1994)

Wesley Snipes is best known for his performances in action films, as well as his financial and legal troubles. Early in his career, though, the then-unknown Snipes demonstrates his comedic chops as baseball player Willie Mays Hayes. “Major League” became a box office and critical homerun, but it’d take five years to get a sequel off the ground. Within that time, Snipes had moved on with several high-profile roles and didn’t return for “Major League II.” Omar Epps, who previously worked with director David S. Ward in the football drama “The Program,” stepped up to the plate as Snipes’ replacement. Alas, this went about as well as Michael Jordan’s transition from the NBA to baseball.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

George Lazenby as James Bond
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969)

Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor

“Terminator Genisys” (2015)

Stuart Townsend as Lestat

“Queen of the Damned” (2002)

#1: Alan Arkin as Jacques Clouseau

“Inspector Clouseau” (1968)

Although Jacques Clouseau was essentially a supporting player in the original “Pink Panther,” he’d take center stage in “A Shot in the Dark.” Before “The Return of the Pink Panther” in 1975, though, we got the often-forgotten “Inspector Clouseau” film, which didn’t include Peter Sellers, director Blake Edwards, or even Henry Mancini’s iconic score. All three were working on “The Party” at the time, but that didn’t stop the studio from moving on with Alan Arkin as the bumbling inspector. This was seriously ill-advised, as nobody did slapstick better than Sellers. Arkin is a versatile actor, but his version of Clouseau is too slow, too disinterested, and better left as a forgotten case.


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