It’s a sad truth of Hollywood that an otherwise enjoyable movie can be sunk single-handedly by an actor who just isn’t on the same page as everyone else.
Whether they deliver a lazy, phoned-in performance, fail to measure up to immense fan expectations, bring a distracting presence that detracts from the rest of the movie, or drag with them a boatload of PR baggage, these 9 actors just might ruin their huge upcoming movies.
With the Internet already reacting with a mixture of disgust and baffled curiosity to most of these casting choices – either as soon as they were announced or since unsavoury production news has leaked out – it’s safe to say that fans won’t be too kind to them if they’re anything less than surprisingly stellar.
Everyone would love to be wrong about these actors damaging their own upcoming projects, but for the most part it unfortunately feels like the writing’s already on the wall…
9. Alden Ehrenreich – Solo: A Star Wars Story
Though there are sure concerns about Emilia Clarke taking the lead female role in Solo, considering that she seems cast for cynical reasons – being a Game of Thrones star rather than a talented actress – those worries are nothing compared to those for Han Solo himself, Alden Ehrenreich.
While the actor gave an entertaining performance in the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! back in 2016, word from the Solo set is that Lucasfilm hasn’t been at all impressed with his turn as Han, and even hired an acting coach mid-production to try and tighten things up.
Considering how crucial it is for Ehrenreich to ably capture Harrison Ford’s essence, it’s reasonable to be concerned about him giving a forgettable or even legitimately bad performance that drags the rest of the film down. The little we’ve seen of him in the film’s first trailer doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence.
8. James Corden – Ocean’s 8
Though the first trailer for Ocean’s 8 actually looked pretty solid, there was sure social media outrage at James Corden making a brief appearance, as a man giving Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean some advice.
Nothing more than that is known about his role for now, but from the trailer alone, he looks woefully out of place. Considering the likelihood that Corden is playing a comic relief sidekick, he could have a fairly sizable part, which could end up working against the rest of the movie considering how wrong for it he seems.
Fingers crossed it’s just a cheeky cameo, but going by his seemingly lengthy conversation with Sandra Bullock in the trailer, that’s probably not the case.
7. Johnny Depp – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
Jaws dropped the world over when Colin Farrell transformed into Johnny Depp at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie, not out of elated surprise, but shocked disgust that Depp will now be taking pride and place as the series’ main antagonist, Gellert Grindelwald, for the next four movies.
It would be ridiculous to call Depp untalented, but the less he looks like himself, generally the more mugging and overacting he thrusts upon audiences, which in a series where he’s meant to be portraying a ferocious villain, just won’t cut it.
There’s no chance Depp will be able to disappear into the character, because just looking at him musters more laughs and sighs than fear or even basic intrigue.
Don’t be shocked if Depp magically transforms into another actor at some point later in the series, especially if the reaction to his Fantastic Beasts 2 performance is as negative as expected.
6. Bruce Willis – Death Wish
Now, to be fair, nobody’s expecting the new Eli Roth-directed Death Wish remake to be a particularly good film, but given Roth’s dynamic chops in the horror and thriller genres, with the right actor and a topical political spin, it could actually work.
The right actor for this take, however, is not Bruce Willis.
Willis is sadly deep in the straight-to-video dungeon right now, and despite Death Wish getting a theatrical release, the trailers don’t suggest this to be anything more than another workmanlike thriller that Willis just sleepwalks his way through.
Considering the supporting cast includes the talented likes of Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris and Elisabeth Shue, there’s some definite potential here.
However, Willis hasn’t seemed truly interested in a film role beyond a paycheck since 2012’s Looper – not counting his Split cameo – and so it’s easy to believe he’ll give a tired, boring performance that’ll sink any chance Death Wish has of being a fun B-movie.
5. Nick Frost – Tomb Raider
The new Tomb Raider movie is clearly trying to tap into the grittier, more “realistic” tone of the newer Crystal Dynamics video games, so one has to wonder why it needs a blatant comedy relief character, especially one played by Nick Frost.
Frost is hilarious, no doubt, but the trailer seems to suggest he’s playing an awkward goofball who helps Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) stock up on guns and ammo…which is exactly what a Tomb Raider movie doesn’t need.
Not every blockbuster movie needs lame comedy shoved into it in the quest for a bigger box office, and if this movie really is trying to faithfully adapt the tone of the new games as well as the style, it really should take itself much more seriously than this.
At least with most of the movie being a globe-trotting adventure, Frost hopefully won’t be in it too much, but if he appears in more than a single scene, his presence could be a real groaner.
4. Bryce Dallas Howard – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Though Jurassic World was a stonking box office hit, by far the worst thing about it was the actual human characters. From the uninteresting child siblings to Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s laughable action movie caricatures – the smarmy, charming hero and the uptight “career woman” – none of it even remotely clicked.
While there was clearly room to do something more interesting with Pratt’s rogueish lead in the inevitable sequel, it’s a shame Howard’s unconvincing love interest has also been lured back for another go-around.
That’s not a knock on Howard at all: she’s a fine actress, but it’s a pretty terrible part for a female lead in 2018 (assuming it follows the lead of the previous movie’s script, anyway).
The mere fact she’s in this at all suggests more eye-rolling romantic slop between her and Pratt. At least they’ll ditch the damn high heels this time, right?
3. Dolph Lundgren – Creed II
Dolph Lundgren will reprise his Rocky IV role of Ivan Drago in the upcoming Creed sequel, which while a somewhat amusing idea on paper, has the potential to completely derail the movie as a serious, quality follow-up.
Considering how Creed was leagues ahead of just about every Rocky movie bar the original, to see this sequel going to the well of nostalgia so blatantly is rather worrying.
It’s not so much that Lundgren will give a bad performance, but simply that his presence will make it impossible to see the film as anything more than a kitschy cash-in on the goofiest of all the Rocky movies.
If Creed II is going to retain a similar tone to its predecessor, shouldn’t the Drago years be left well alone?
2. Sophie Turner – X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Sophie Turner’s performance as Jean Grey was by far the worst thing about X-Men: Apocalypse, largely due to her atrocious American accent and generally bland performance as the iconic character.
While it’s entirely possible that Turner hired an accent coach to nail the part for the new X-Men movie, it’s still not easy to have much faith in a project that will center its plot entirely around her character.
Basically, if her performance in this role hasn’t improved by leaps and bounds, it could very well sink the entire film, given how much of the movie’s drama will hinge on her work as Dark Phoenix.
It’s hard to have much faith, sadly.
1. T.J. Miller – Deadpool 2
And finally, we have T.J. Miller, who will reprise his role as Weasel in Deadpool 2. Now, in fairness, this isn’t necessarily Miller’s fault, but it’s an unavoidable fact that the persistent sexual harassment allegations recently leveled against him are going to end up clouding the movie’s release.
Will Fox’s refusal to recast the part affect Deadpool 2’s box office or critical reception? Almost certainly not, but Miller is nevertheless going to be a major distraction every time he’s on screen, especially as a good chunk of the audience will immediately start thinking about the allegations and his potential guilt.
If director David Leitch is smart, he’ll downplay Miller’s role as much as possible in post-production, effectively “future-proofing” the film in case the allegations are proven true in the future.
While this is all certainly unfair to Miller in the event that he’s innocent, it’s probably for the best to ensure that audiences aren’t distracted by extenuating circumstances.
Still, it’s going to be an undeniable talking point when the film hits cinemas, so fingers crossed his role isn’t totally integral to the plot.