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Casting choices fans hated (and then loved)

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Ben Affleck has been announced as the latest actor to play Batman, in Zack Snyder’s Batman-Superman mash-up, due in 2015.

As is routine in these matters, there has been much complaint about how Affleck is definitely wrong for Bruce Wayne and that is should definitely be someone else playing the role and nobody will ever watch Batman ever again, ever. So there.

It was ever thus and the casting choices that cause the most upset have a habit of becoming the most beloved.

(Images: All Star)

Heath Ledger – The Joker

Fans quickly forgot their ‘In Nolan we trust’ mantra when the director announced his decision to make Heath Ledger his Joker. Cue Brokeback Mountain gags as numerous as they were lame and poorly spelled complaints about how this would ruin Batman forever. Of course, Ledger’s performance, which he didn’t live to see, was not only the highlight of Nolan’s trilogy but the only performance in a superhero movie ever to win an Oscar. After that, suddenly everyone remembered thinking it was a good idea all along.

Anne Hathaway – Selina Kyle

Short memories, noisy Batman fans. Despite the whole Ledger farrago, their indignation rumbled up again when perennial good girl Anne Hathaway was given possession of the Catwoman suit in The Dark Knight Rises. The assumption was that Hathaway couldn’t possibly bring the requisite sexiness and sly humour that the Selina Kyle required. But as much as there are detractors of Nolan’s closing chapter, Hathaway’s success in flipping between fluttering innocent and cold-eyed killer was one on which most agreed. Except the permanently angry ones.

Daniel Craig – James Bond

Of all the reasons to discount an actor, hair colour is perhaps the most absurd. And yet, a large part of the negative campaign against the sixth 007 was the fact that his hair was blond. Never mind that Craig was the most accomplished actor to take on the part, those whose idea of Bond was still stuck somewhere in the winking camp of the late 60s would not be moved. Craig has since become not only the first Bond to be nominated for a BAFTA but also the star of the biggest film in the series’ history.

Michael Keaton – Batman

You can see the objection on this one. Keaton looks more like your typical Batman reader than a plausible Bruce Wayne. Not particularly handsome, not especially tall and not at all muscular, he seems much better suited to playing The Joker than Batman. Regardless of how opinion might have shifted on the Tim Burton Batman movies, Keaton was a hit. His was a quiet, intense Batman who seemed much happier behind the mask than exposed as his real self.

Robert Pattinson – Twilight

Twilight fans, at least the ones who like to make their feelings known on the internet, are on the higher end of the ‘Mad and Unreasonable’ scale. When Robert Pattinson was given the dubious honour of playing pouting vampire Edward Cullen they were absolutely furious that he was not sufficiently buff or mysterious to portray their fantasy boyfriend. The hormonally-fuelled screaming Pattinson has since experienced everywhere he goes proves that they quickly changed their mind. It was mainly the hair that did it.

[N.B. We couldn't actually find a clip of Pattinson being impressive in Twilight]

Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games

There was some question among the more devoted fans of Suzanne Collins’ novels about whether blonde-haired, blue-eyed, athletic Kentuckian Jennifer Lawrence matched the character description of a dark-haired, olive-skinned, starving Katniss Everdene. Lawrence’s performance showed that she was perfect for the role. The film also had further attack from a small group who objected to the character Rue being played by a black actress, Amandla Stenberg, showing not only that there are people apparently incapable of reading the character description in the book, but that there will always be idiots.

Tobey Maguire – Spider-Man

Beyond anyone else on this list, Maguire really changed himself to become the character. There’s the argument that he was never really cocky enough to play the Peter Parker of the comics, but he undeniably possessed the nerdish aspects of Parker’s persona. What he didn’t have was a crime-fighting physique. But then months in the gym turned him into the buffest geek in the library, so much so that some fans complained he was now too big to play the wiry Parker. But most agreed he owned the role, and absolutely everyone was relieved that he got the job over the shortlisted Freddie Prinze Jr. and Chris Klein.

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