From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

No Objectivity: Top Ten Miscastings in Fantasy Movies

5. Jennifer Beals in The Bride

This cult favorite suffers from a terminal case of The 80s, specifically in the casting of Jennifer Beals as the Bride of Frankenstein. Clancy Brown’s Viktor is a unique, humanizing and humorous take on the lovestruck-monster archetype, and Sting, though never an Oscar contender, does at least know how to look psychotic and aristocratic at the same time. Beals, however, is a hot mess; from her too-precocious innocence at the beginning to her laugh-out-loud protestations of independence at the movie’s climax, she looks like a refugee from a high school acting camp, and singlehandedly brings this B-movie down to the C-list.

Suggested replacement: Bridget Fonda. She’s got a soft spot for B-movies, she can fake a better accent, and when she hits you I bet it actually hurts.


 

 

4. Everyone in the Star Wars prequels

Oh, you know it, and they know it, too.

Suggested replacement: A bunch of CGI paper dolls. No one will notice.


 

 

3. Tom Cruise, Legend

This dark fairy tale eschewed computer effects for more realistic smoke-and-mirrors, and has stood the test of time in every respect except one; its hero, played by the chiseled (and wooden) Tom Cruise. His mid-80s surfer-corporate dialogue manages to yank the viewer out of the magic, no matter how hard everyone else is trying.

Suggested replacement: Daniel Day-Lewis has the same aristocratic profile and lanky build. Bonus: Daniel Day-Lewis can act.


 

 

2. Keanu Reeves, Constantine

Casting Keanu Reeves as England’s grumpiest underworld private eye singlehandedly turned this demon-choked, angel-riddled redemption story into The Matrix: Revelations.

Suggested replacement: I understand not wanting to cast Sting in a big-budget actioner (he’s still recovering from all that thespianism in The Bride), but why not bring in Sean Bean? He’s appropriately grizzled. Plus, actually English!


 

 

1. Liv Tyler in The Lord of the Rings

So Peter Jackson hired half a dozen people to make mithril by hand, but figured that the girl from the Aerosmith videos was the best choice to play the most beautiful elf maiden in the world. Can’t win ’em all, I guess. The gormless elf-maiden blanded through her scenes in the first film; thankfully, after backlash, Jackson cut Arwen out of Helm’s Deep (!) and gave her a subplot about feeling dizzy that we could all skip on our Special Edition DVDs. It’s a bizarre casting error from the guy who had the foresight to pick unknowns for several key roles (Orlando Whom?); seriously, was every other actress in the world busy?

Suggested replacement: Jennifer Connelly. She has a handle on subdued, mature pathos, and her bone structure is disgusting. Elf-queen, indeed.

Genevieve Valentine is a writer in New York; her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Farrago’s Wainscot, Diet Soap, Journal of Mythic Arts, and Fantasy. Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks on her blog. She is currently working on a formula to evaluate the awfulness of any given film, a scale that will be measured in Julians.

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