actors The Most Controversial Casting Decisions of All Time  

Jacob Shelton
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Casting can be controversial, whether it's whitewashing, race-switching, or picking anyone to play Batman.  When it comes to film adaptations, most die-hard fans have an actor in mind that they think would be perfect for our favorite role. More often than not, such casting dreams are dashed to bits on the rocks of Hollywood, leaving us to pick up the pieces and scream to the heavens (or Twitter) about what could have been.

Seemingly every major casting decision lately is at least a little bit contentious, with actors like Michael B. Jordan and Ben Affleck kicking up dust over their comic book movies. Internet denizens weren’t happy and they took to social media to express their wrath in 140 characters. But it’s not just superhero films that provide fodder for casting arguments: since the '30s, there have been fan backlashes about the actors picked to portray beloved characters from fiction. With this list we’ve picked some of the most controversial casting choices ever.

When it comes to casting a major studio film, we don’t know the ins and outs of the system, but we do know that probably shouldn’t go out of your way to anger loyalists on the Internet, which is exactly what all the decisions on this list did. Of course, plenty of these actors ended up creating the definitive takes on their characters after all the hubbub.

Check out the list of the most controversial casting decisions of all time, if you think you can handle all the venom.

The Joker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Casting Decisions of All Time
Photo:  The Dark Knight
One of the ultimate examples of an actor completely confounding expectations and proving his detractors wrong, Heath Ledger’s mesmerizing performance as Clown Prince of Crime not only earned him worldwide adoration from the comic book community and beyond, but also garnered him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. When he was cast, however, it was a different story. Batman fans almost unanimously cried foul, loudly condemning Christopher Nolan and declaring that “the guy from 10 Things I Hate About You” didn’t have the gravitas to make such a showy, edgy role his own.

Also Ranked

#8 on The Most Likable Movie Antiheroes

#7 on The Best Oscar-Winning Actor Performances, Ranked

#6 on The Very Best Oscar Winning Performances

#140 on The Best Movie Characters of All Time

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Katniss Everdeen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Casting Decisions of All Time
Photo:  The Hunger Games
J. Law took her criticism for her casting as rugged, resourceful Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen in stride. "I'm a fan too. I get it," she said in response to fans who thought she was too old, too pretty, and not tough enough for the character. Some people went as far to say that Lawrence was "too big."  Thanks to her now acclaimed performances as the Mockingjay, Oscar-winner Lawrence is the biggest action heroine around.

Also Ranked

#123 on The Best Movie Characters of All Time

#11 on The Greatest Female Characters in Film History

#14 on The Best Female Characters in Literature

#82 on The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

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Idris Elba – Heimdall


Heimdall is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Casting Decisions of All Time
Photo:  Thor
Kenneth Branagh’s choice to cast Idris Elba as the Norse God Heimdall in Thor brought the race issue to the forefront for Marvel. Whether there are a lot of racist nerds or they just fear change (or maybe a mix of the two), the fans flipped out. The criticism was proved wrong when Elba turned in one of the best performances of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  see more on Heimdall

Selena is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Casting Decisions of All Time
Photo:  Selena

When Jennifer Lopez was tapped to play beloved singer Selena Quintanilla in the biopic about the singer's tragically short life, critics did a lot of SMHing and a few even protested but were proven wrong in the end when Selena became one of Lopez's standout performances.

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