People Are Sharing Actors Who Seemed Wrong For A Role But Actually Killed It, And There Are No Lies Detected

·8 min read

Recently, Reddit user u/wfpbgoals posed the question, "Which actor seemed miscast in a role but ended up killing it?"


The thread quickly went viral with nearly 25,000 comments! Here are some of the best responses:

1.Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight:

Heath's Joker holding up a playing card

"I'll always refer to the pushback that Dark Knight got when it was first revealed they cast 'that blonde dude' from A Knight's Tale and10 Things I Hate About You. The internet collectively went, 'WTF???' Wow. That was a huge error on our part."


Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger on Parks and Recreation:

Rob as Chris in a suit

"Based on some of his other work, it didn’t seem as if the role of an enthusiastic health nut would fit him, but he killed it."


Colleen Hayes / NBC/ Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the Bourne series:

Matt as Jason holding a gun

"In 2002, nobody could imagine Matt Damon playing a badass CIA assassin with amnesia. I saw the preview on TV and was like, 'The dude from Good Will Hunting?' The Jason Bourne movies are among my all-time faves now, and I can’t picture anyone else in that role."


Jasin Boland / Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad:

Walter with an injured nose talking on a cellphone

"Who would have guessed that Hal from Malcom in the Middle would absolutely kill it in this role?"


Gregory Peters / AMC / Courtesy Everett Collection

5.John Travolta as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction:

John as Vega sitting at a table and holding a cigarette

"Everyone thought Travolta had been miscast because — at that time — his career was on its knees, and he hadn’t been cast in anything noteworthy in a very long time. Tarantino breathed new life into his career by giving him the role."


Miramax Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Keanu Reeves as Neo in the Matrix franchise:

Keanu wearing dark sunglasses

"In my head, he was typecast as Theodore Logan, but he did really well in The Matrix, too. The Matrix was so far removed from Bill & Ted and the other stuff he had done until that point that it was surprising how well his Neo turned out."


Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Misérables:

Anne as Fantine in a gown, sitting and looking sad

"I had only seen her in The Princess Diaries, and she seemed like a lightweight for a pretty heavy role. But she ended up being the best actor in the movie and winning the Academy Award. Her version of 'I Dreamed a Dream' was amazing."


Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard in American History X:

Derek in prison clothes standing in line with other inmates

"I could never feel intimidated by Norton…or so I thought. I was terrified of his character."


New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman:

A young  MIchael Keaton in a bow tie

"At the time, people were outraged, which is hilarious in retrospect because he ended up being amazing."


Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray:

Jamie as Ray playing the piano and singing

"I always thought of him as a comedic actor, but he nailed that role."


Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

Chris Evans in a military uniform

"'That guy from Not Another Teen Movie is gonna be Captain America?! He already sucked as the Human Torch!' Hee-hee, whoops. My bad, Chris Evans."


Jay Maidment / Marvel / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket in A Series of Unfortunate Events:

Patrick as Lemony in a suit and standing in a somber room

"Really came out of nowhere for me."


Joe Lederer / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind:

Black-and-white photo of Vivien as Scarlett

"At the time of the casting, nobody wanted a British actress playing a belle from the South."


Loew's / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line:

Joaquin playing the guitar and singing as Johnny

"I am a huge Cash fan and was very disappointed when he was cast. He absolutely killed it, though. I was so wrong."


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

15.Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Mathayus in The Scorpion King:

<div><p>"I heard a pro wrestler was going to make an acting debut, and I was hoping his role was small. I watched the movie and loved it! At the end, my friends asked, 'Did the wrestler ruin your movie?' I told them, 'No, I couldn't even tell by the bad acting who the wrestler was.' When they told me he was the Scorpion King, I was blown away! He did an amazing job. Now if I hear The Rock is in a movie, I get excited!"</p><p>—<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:u/" class="link ">u/</a><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fromhelley" class="link ">fromhelley</a></p></div><span> Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection</span>

"I heard a pro wrestler was going to make an acting debut, and I was hoping his role was small. I watched the movie and loved it! At the end, my friends asked, 'Did the wrestler ruin your movie?' I told them, 'No, I couldn't even tell by the bad acting who the wrestler was.' When they told me he was the Scorpion King, I was blown away! He did an amazing job. Now if I hear The Rock is in a movie, I get excited!"


Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise:

Alan as Severus looking serious

"Snape was supposed to be a younger, scrawny, greasy-looking guy. Rickman didn't really look at all how he was described in the books, but he still made a fantastic Snape."


Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

17.Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club:

Matthew as Ron wearing a cowboy hat and leaning against a car with his hand on his hip

"From a rom-com hero to playing an AIDS-infected cowboy. He was perfect for the role. Blew me away completely."


Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features / courtesy Everett Collection

18.Bruce Willis as John McClane in the Die Hard series:

Bruce as McClane holding a weapon

"Before that, he was a rom-com guy cast in an action film during a time when most action leads were absolutely shredded. So much so that the trailers had audiences laughing, and they ACTUALLY REMOVED HIM FROM THE POSTER. Needless to say, the rest is history."


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in the DC universe:

Margot as Harley in pigtails and a wide smile

"She was a way better Harley Quinn than I think anyone expected. She fit the role like a glove."


Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

20.John Krasinski as Jack Ryan in Jack Ryan:

John and Ryan looking to the side

"Jim from The Office? No way he's Jack Ryan. Turns out he's totally Jack Ryan."


Jan Thijs / Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

21.Zendaya as Marie Jones in Malcolm and Marie:

Zendaya in a black-and-white photo looking thoughtful

"When I saw her and John David Washington together in the trailer, I thought it was a father-daughter relationship. And I wasn’t the only one — a lot of people thought Zendaya looked too young (despite being like 24). Well, I saw the movie, and it actually worked. She could hold her own against J.D.W. She is just a phenomenal actor."


Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

22.Hugh Laurie as Gregory House in House:

Hugh as House holding a small knife and medical bag

"Laurie was THE lovable British goofball. The upper-class twit. A comedian. House was a brooding, depressed, American Sherlock Holmes. Absolutely killed it. Can't imagine anyone else for the role now...but good lord. Could you imagine someone like Patton Oswalt being cast to play an ultraserious British version of Sherlock Holmes? That's basically what they did there."


Jordin Althaus / Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

23.Cher as Dolly Pelliker in Silkwood:

Cher as Dolly in pigtails and sitting and leaning against a wall

"I remember going to the theater to see Silkwood in 1983 with Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell. When they showed Cher's name at the beginning, people audibly laughed. She was fantastic in the movie and went on to have a very respectable film career."


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

24.Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones:

<div><p>"I was skeptical at first. In the books, the character has a darker, more commanding type of charisma, but Pedro's version was terrific."</p><p>—<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:u/Propagandave" class="link ">u/Propagandave</a></p></div><span> HBO</span>

"I was skeptical at first. In the books, the character has a darker, more commanding type of charisma, but Pedro's version was terrific."



25.Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There:

Cate looking like Bob, sitting in a chair and wearing sunglasses, holding a cigarette, and arms crossed

"She was the most believable Dylan in that movie by far."


Weinstein Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

26.David Tennant as Purple Man in Jessica Jones:

David in a suit and tie and purple shirt

"To me, he was a brilliant but goofy Doctor Who, not a baddie. Holy cow, though, if his safe and cozy doctor rep didn’t quickly dissolve away."


David Giesbrecht / Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

27.Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarchy:

Katey as Gemma standing by a window with horizontal blinds

"I was expecting a vapid ditz similar to her character in Married With Children. Boy, was I wrong."


Prashant Gupta / FX / Courtesy Everett Collection

28.Regina King as Angela Abar/Sister Night in Watchmen:

Regina looking up and serious

"I was like, 'Huh, how is this gonna work?' But she won me over once again, as she has done many times over the years."



29.John Lithgow as Arthur Mitchell in Dexter:

John as Arthur holding a hammer and looking scary

"I grew up watching him play a goofball alien in 3rd Rock From the Sun. I was massively disappointed when I heard he was playing a serial killer in the new season of Dexter. I thought it would be ruined. His first scene — no dialogue, just him stalking a family at the beach while sipping tea — somehow chilled me to the bone. Man’s an amazing actor."


Randy Tepper / Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection

30.And finally, Robert Pattinson as Ephraim Winslow/Thomas Howard in The Lighthouse:

Robert as Ephraim looking out the window in a black-and-white photo

"I thought, No way the Twilight dude is going to be able to keep pace with Willem Dafoe in a drama role. That was the role that changed my opinion of him."


A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

Which actor did you originally think was wrong for a role, but ended up killing it? Sound off in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.