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Literary Characters Who Were Badly Casted for the Movie Version

Updated on July 4, 2015

In literature, authors typically go into explicit detail about the description of their lead characters. They give us histories, background, physical descriptions, and personality quirks. Here is a list of some of the badly mis-casted roles from the book version to the movie version.

Washington and Roberts


Gray Grantham

When it was announced that Denzel Washington was going to play Gray Grantham in The Pelican Brief, some eyebrows were definitely raised. In the book, Grantham is white. So the fact that Washington is not white was a large liberty taken by the casting director of the movie.

Washington pulled it off nicely, but for purists, I'm sure they were not happy with the change in one of the pivotal characters of the novel.

McConaughey, Cruz, and Zahn


Al Giordino

For those who have read the Clive Cussler books, Al Giordino is described as a short, thick, quiet Italian man with a neck that is as thick as a tree trunk.

When Sahara came out in 2005 and it was announced that Steve Zahn was cast in the role, there had to be some questions about staying true to the character. Steve Zahn is not quiet, not muscular, and certainly not Italian. The only thing he may be is shorter than Matthew McConaughey's Dirk Pitt.

Aside from that, they completely whiffed on the casting of this role.

Dr. Christmas Jones

It's understandable that you need someone smoking hot for a Bond film. But the role in The World is Not Enough called for a nuclear physicist. The casting director should have gotten someone with at least some partial brain power.

Instead, they gave us Denise Richards who was best known for her threesome with Neve Campbell and Matt Dillion in Wild Things. She's young, under-dressed, and completely moronic in the movie. Eye-candy, sure. Nuclear Physicist, definitely not.

Denise Richards


Mark Ruffalo


Dr. Bruce Banner

Take your pick on this one. While Edward Norton was decent, Mark Ruffalo was the epitome of what The Hulk should not be. Anyone who thinks that Ruffalo has a single angry muscle in his whole body needs to have their head examined.

Ruffalo is one of the nice guys from chick flicks. Totally harmless and without that dark side that accompanies the Hulk. The fact that they want us to believe he can go apeshit crazy in The Avengers is just too much of a reach.

Vince Vaughn


Norman Bates

When one thinks of Norman Bates, one thinks of a really creepy human being. In 1998, someone thought that casting Vince Vaughn in the lead role of Psycho would be the epitome of creepiness. That decision was about as far from the truth as truth gets.

Vaughn is a lovable comedian full of sarcastic wit. He can play a character with a dry sense of humor for sure, but to become the psychopath that was needed for this role was asking a but too much.

Tom Cruise


Jack Reacher

In the Lee Child (Jim Grant) book series, Jack Reacher is described as a hulking 6'5" former military policeman and investigator with many a special-skill (ability to tell time without a watch, mathematics, fighting, marksman, trilingual). For the 2012 movie version of the character, taken from the ninth book of the series - 2005's One Shot, they cast Tom Cruise in the role.

While Cruise was able to bring a suaveness to the part, it was hard for audiences to get past the fact that Cruise in real life stands all of 5'7" and is not exactly the hulking figure described in the book.

Which character was the most mis-casted?

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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Endless topic. Denise Richards gets my vote. That was ridiculous. Vince Vaughn is next for me. I know many were complaining about Jeremy Renner was the new Bourne. I liked him. But now Damon is coming back, so problem solved. I think you'll have a "Part II" to this topic. Voted up.