One of the best parts of moviegoing is seeing an actor nail a role that they didn’t seem to be suited for.
It’s the kind of thing that can make a person a lifelong fan of an actor. The r/AskReddit thread has an awesome guide to a bunch of these movies, which includes which actor seemed miscast in a role but ended up killing it.
Joaquin Phoenix – Walk in the Line
“I think I was of the opinion that Joaquin Phoenix was an odd choice for the role of Johnny Cash until I saw his acting and heard his phenomenal voice sing these classics.” – u/PoliticsEnthusiast
“He played it so well I can’t help but imagine him when I think of Johnny Cash.” – u/CZILLROY
John Travolta – Pulp Fiction
“Everyone thought Travolta had been miscast in Pulp Fiction because at the 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.” – u/bulbhed
Jim Carrey – The Truman Show
“I thought Jim Carrey in The Truman Show must have been a mistake because he’s mostly into comedy. But in the end, I was so wrong and felt like the worst human being.” – u/Italianguyonreddit
Matt Damon portraying Jason Bourne
“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.” – u/yossarian1943
Patrick Stewart – Star Trek: The Next Generation
“Gene Roddenberry hated Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard. To the extent he had him wearing a wig during casting. The runner up for the role told Stewart that he killed the audition, but to lose the wig. Eventually, Roddenberry came around, and I personally think Stewart’s Picard was the most amazing captain to ever appear in the franchise. – u/ThePhatCat
Keanu Reeves – The Matrix
“Keanu Reeves as Neo. In my head, he was typecast as Theodore Logan, but he did really well in The Matrix, too. I still like Bill and Ted more (probably because of nostalgia), but The Matrix was so far removed from Bill and Ted and the other stuff he had done until that point, that it was surprising how well his Neo turned out.” – u/eksyte
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
“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, and that 10 Things… teen romance and the Internet collectively went ‘WTF???’
“Wow. That was a huge error on our part.” – u/Happy8Day
Bruce Willis – Die Hard
“Before that, he was a normal rom-com guy cast in an action film 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.” – u/r1333609
Cillian Murphy – Peaky Blinders
“Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby, playing a character poles apart from himself. He is not a tall, well built or physically imposing man but he gives the character power, authority, intelligence, utter ruthlessness, and a cold, hard stare that shows he’s in charge and not to be [expletive] with if you value your life.” – u/fishfingerchipbean
Hugh Laurie – House
“Absolutely kills 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 ultra-serious British version of Sherlock Holmes? That’s basically what they did there.” – u/tehm
Alan Rickman – Galaxy Quest
“Who the frick convinced Alan Rickman to play Alexander Dayne/Dr. Lazarus in Galaxy Quest?!
“Don’t get me wrong, Rickman was a serious dramatic actor and I loved him in so many roles. I did not expect him to be so good at comedy, though!” – u/MNVixen
Chris Evans – Captain America
“Chris Evans as Steve Rodgers. At the time of the announcement, a lot of people scratched their heads as to why him, since at the time he was playing Johnny Storm (Human Torch). That’s all people could really see him for, cocky frat boy with super powers basically.
“Needless to say, the rest is history, I can’t think of a better pick.” – u/reaper412
Steve Carrell – The Office
“Steve Carrell as Michael Scott. I remember finding out that the adaptation of David Brent was going to be played by Brick from Anchorman, and immediately assuming the show was doomed to failure. But a combination of a change in writing style and Carrell’s chops proved me wrong.” – u/Rhodie114
Daniel Craig portraying James Bond
“I remember Daniel Craig got a lot of flack. ‘James Blonde? That pretty boy couldn’t kick anyone’s ass.’ And it was leaked he couldn’t drive a car with stick. ‘Lol Bond can fly airplanes, jetpacks and space shuttles but can’t use a manual transmission.'”
Elijah Wood portraying Frodo
“Elijah Wood as Frodo, If you knew his other work putting him in the front of an epic fantasy like this, and he absolutely killed the role he is a [expletive] badass, and seems like a good dude so I am glad he got the part.” – u/Roltistotem
Michael Cera — Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
“Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. A lot of the comic’s fans originally thought that he wouldn’t be cool enough to fit the part, and he wasn’t, but his take on the character ended up being great and the film’s now a cult classic.” – u/SpacePirat3
Owen Wilson – Loki
“Owen Wilson as Mobius in Loki. I don’t think he was miscast, but I was very curious as how he’ll do in a more ‘serious’ role vs the funny roles we’ve seen him in. He absolutely killed it as Mobius, and short grey hair suits him so well.” – u/HereticxAnthem
Matthew McConaughey – Interstellar
“Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar! Up until then I only thought of him as Mr. I Keep Getting Older And They Stay The Same Age. He is excellent in Interstellar though, it’s hard to see his typical charming goofy guy in it.” – u/Skatykats
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
“Before Modern Family he’d only done sad roles and nobody on the show was convinced on him playing Phil except the producer, Steve Levitan, so much so that he had to audition at Steve’s house with Sarah Hyland and Steve was immediately sold on their chemistry.” – u/dissastr
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man
“Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
“The studio actually rejected him multiple times because they thought he wasn’t a good fit, but Jon Favreau fought for him.
“Also from the Marvel Universe, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston were seen as risky choices because they were nobodies back then.” – u/-eDgAR-