With the release of The Dark Knight Rises, we are truly in the heat of superhero movie season. We thought it might be a nice gesture to honor the men and women who have come so close to playing iconic characters only to be foiled by studios, competitors, and themselves. We bring you the top five actors who have been screwed over in superhero movies!
5. Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face
In Batman (1989) Billy Dee Williams played District Attorney Harvey Dent, with the promise that he would become Two-Face in the third film of Tim Burton’s Batman franchise. Unfortunately, Burton was escorted out of the Bat-verse for being “too dark,” and not just by an atmospheric standpoint: Batman Returns was literally so dark, that movie-goers had trouble even telling what was happening on screen. Three years later, Burton would be replaced by Joel Schumacher, who in turn cast Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and took the series in a cartoonish new direction that will forever live in Bat-Infamy.
4. Tyler Man as Sabertooth
It must have been the thrill of Tyler Man’s life to be cast as the villain Sabertooth in X-Men (2000). After years of wrestling with the WCW, he was actually playing an iconic and totally indestructible character on screen! But when the prequel to the series, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), was made, Sabertooth became less muscle and more character, requiring more acting chops than Man had on the side of his face. The part of Sabertooth was given to Liev Schreiber. Perhaps that was for the best as Man's Sabertooth seemed to be more bark than bite anyway.
3. Dylan Baker as the Lizard
Dylan Baker appeared in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 as Dr. Curt Conners, a left-handed professor who wants nothing more than to grow his right arm back. Of course, thanks to The Amazing Spider-Man, we know his story well. We also saw Rhys Ifans snap the role right up from under Baker, gator-style. Baker was obviously being groomed to be the Lizard in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, and he got so close! But Sony just had to replace Raimi in the interest of starting a new franchise. The fact that they still used the Lizard as a villain must really make Dylan's blood run cold.
2. Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes
In a unique twist, Katie Holmes screwed herself out of this one. After her fresh marriage to Tom Cruise (cue Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" now), she was more interested in spending time at home than promoting Batman Begins (2005). Officially the studio said they were unable to work out shooting schedules with Holmes’ pregnancy (despite them doing it recently with The Dark Knight Rises star Marion Cotillard) and instead recast Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, even preferring to use her photo in The Dark Knight Rises. Ouch, Katie. We doubt that Mad Money made more than the billion-dollar grossing film The Dark Knight. Hope it was worth it!
1. Hulk = You’re All Fired
Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliot, Josh Lucas, Nick Nolte… these are not names that you would expect to be replaced. After the first Hulk movie was a disaster, the studio decided to cut their losses and reboot the entire franchise with Edward Norton and Liv Tyler in The Incredible Hulk (2008). This was the version that ultimately led into The Avengers franchise. Norton dropped out over creative differences, but we can imagine that the anger Eric Bana feels is enough to turn anyone green with envy.
What actors do you think got screwed out of awesome roles?