Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” went into production in the wake of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: Year One” as well as Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke,” all signature events in the lives of ‘80s comics fans who wanted superheroes to be taken more seriously by the culture at large. 

For the most devoutly humorless among them, the news that Michael Keaton—an actor best known for his comedy roles—would be donning the cowl in collaboration with Tim Burton—the director who had just guided him through a sustained ghoulish fit of a performance in “Beetlejuice”—sent up a red flag. Batfans took the casting as a sign that the movie would be a camp comedy along the lines of the ‘60s TV show. Purists also murmured that Mr. Keaton’s jawline was nothing to write home about. 

In the end, Keaton surprised audiences with a haunted, deeply felt performance, which would come in handy 24 years later, when those fans’ descendants pointed to him as an example of the ideal screen version of their hero that Ben Affleck could never measure up to.


Considering “50 Shades of Grey” began as a piece of Twilight-related fan fiction, it’s not all that surprising that fans of the smutty story had actors (read: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) in mind to play the coquettish Anastasia Steele and domineering Christian Grey. So when it became clear that the Twilight stars weren’t interested in playing versions of the same old characters once again, all hell broke loose in fan communities. 

Interested parties quickly had their favorites, and casting speculation ran rampant online, throwing everyone from Bradley Cooper to Jennifer Lawrence in the mix. Ultimately, Charlie Hunnam (Sons Of Anarchy) and Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) were cast in the roles—and the mildly S&M-laden shit immediately hit the fan. One set of fanatics launched a relatively successful petition online calling for Hunnam and Johnson to be booted, replaced, for whatever reason, by Matt Bomer and Alexis Bledel. Others voiced disappointment on Twitter that Pattinson hadn’t somehow come back around to the role, or that Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) hadn’t landed the gig. 

All the argument is for naught, especially considering fans’ main quibble seems to be that neither Hunnam nor Johnson has brown hair like the characters in the book, hardly an insurmountable hurdle.


Tom Cruise must have experienced a powerful sense of déjà vu in 2011, when fans of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books recoiled at the announcement that he’d be playing the character in an adaptation of Child’s “One Shot” novel. After all, it wasn’t the first time his casting as a potential franchise character from a popular series of novels had infuriated fans of the books. In 1993, when Warner Bros. announced that Cruise had won the role of suave, sexy, and undead Lestat De Lioncourt in an adaptation of the first book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series, it wasn’t only the fans who were up in arms: Rice herself told The L.A. Times that Cruise was “no more my Vampire Lestat than Edward G. Robinson is Rhett Butler.” Rice changed her tune after seeing the finished product, but the damage was done: Despite a then-respectable $105 million gross, no sequels would follow. 

History repeated nearly two decades later, when Jack Reacher’s admirers couldn’t begin to imagine the diminutive Cruise as the six-foot-five, 250-pound ex-military policeman of the novels. Unlike Rice, however, Child chose to steer clear of controversy, writing in The Daily Mail that, “Tom Cruise will be a superb Jack Reacher.” That didn’t stop the Facebook page Tom Cruise Is Not Jack Reacher from accumulating more than 10,000 likes, and with a domestic box office haul of only $80 million, it appears the first movie will be the end of the line for the character—at least with Cruise in the role.  


“The Name’s Bland—James Bland” ran one mocking headline. Daniel Craig Is Not Bond, insists a still-active website. Before the current 007 became the most highly regarded since the original, he faced a wave of scorn. Craig was too short, too blond, too much of a bruiser for those who wanted a debonair Bond, not enough of a bruiser for fans who wanted Clive Owen. 

But it wasn’t the only fan outcry over a Bond actor. Pierce Brosnan was dismissed as a lightweight TV actor too old for the role before winning audiences over in “Goldeneye.” And fans weren’t eager to welcome either of the two men who had to replace Sean Connery: first George Lazenby, then after Connery’s return for “Diamonds Are Forever,” Roger Moore. In fact, the only Bond that fans welcomed with open arms was Moore’s replacement, Timothy Dalton, who now rivals Lazenby as the least-loved Bond. It just goes to show there’s no pleasing anybody, so keep that in mind in 2017 when the Internet complains that they did or didn’t cast Idris Elba.


When it was announced that M. Night Shyamalan planned to adapt the beloved Nickelodeon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” fans (and moviegoers in general) were already put off. But Shyamalan only made things worse for himself in the casting process. Airbender’s cast is made up primarily (or entirely, depending whom you ask) of Asian characters. Instead of assembling a large group of Asian actors to play the Avatar and his comrades, Shyamalan cast a bunch of white kids to take on these roles--this picture sums it up

Reactions were so negative that critics began using the term “racebending” to mock Shyamalan’s casting decisions, and Roger Ebert was notably outspoken about his discomfort with the whitewashing of the film. Shyamalan attempted to quell the protest, noting he had Southeast Asian actors in the film, but by that point the damage was done. Avatar probably wouldn’t have been a big hit at the box office anyway, since it was universally reviled, but Shyamalan’s whitewashing definitely didn’t help.  

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