First impressions are always said to be crucial, especially when it comes to the dating scene. Of course, being that you are reading an entertainment website, first impressions have to be taken in a slightly different context. There have been several instances when dedicated enthusiasts have voiced their premature disappointments when it comes to actors and actresses playing some of their most worshipped characters. But what do the fans visualise when it comes to making up their minds? The previous body of work of an actor? A single photo from a screen test? Their past or current reputations? Maybe all these things.
Ben Affleck still has to prove himself in the titular role of Batman in Batman vs Superman, scheduled for a US release on 25th March. Will he, again, prove everybody wrong and affectionately place himself in the good books of the fans? Or will he be ranked alongside George Clooney as one of the worst to don the famous cowl? We will find out soon enough!
In the meantime, let us document the times when actors have happily invalidated the negative criticism pitted against them and kept their dignity when in the role of some of the most famous fictional personas!
1. Daniel Craig – James Bond 007 (Casino Royale, 2006)
“Craig Not Bond!” That was the URL title of one hate website that was created to convince the public to boycott Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie, Casino Royale. In reality, this was never going to happen, as curiosity would always get the better of the fans. Even the most hardcore ones. Once the movie was released in 2006, “Craig Not Bond” was taken offline at a speedy rate, having admitted that they were defeated. Craig bought a certain grit and edginess to the role that had been missing since the days when Timothy Dalton took over the character in a brief reign that lasted all of two years. But to balance out the roughness, Craig showed a certain emotional vulnerability that had not been seen before and has only perhaps been seen once more in the most successful Bond movie of them all in Skyfall. But it is not as if everything is now all of a sudden harmonious! The Chester born actor still has a few critics who still long for the return of a Roger Moore. But as has been evident in the past, the franchise tends to take different turns as time goes by. And it is only a matter of when the current tone of the films will inevitably change once again.
2. Heath Ledger – The Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008)
Let us be honest here. The death of the Australian actor probably had a lot to do with the outpouring of endearment of Heath Ledger’s The Joker character who appeared in 2008’s The Dark Knight. But that is not to take away from his performance, which was outstanding! However, again, the hate levelled at him was unjustified. Things like “The Joker is a character that needs an actor with gravity. Not some little twerp who got lucky” were published online by the public to express their abhorrence. When the actor suddenly and tragically died shortly before the American release of the film, theatre ticket sales were so popular that they were even being sold on Ebay! That may not have proven his worth at that moment but it sure meant that many were going to give him a chance. Happily, many people who saw the film’s deliverance came around to both Ledger’s presentation and his own indiividualistic impression, which was a massive difference to Jack Nicholson’s more animated version that he bought to the screen back in 1989. In fact, Ledger has left such a lasting impression, it is not uncommon to see people dress up as his version of the Joker every Halloween still 8 years later, a massive telling of the huge amount of love that the fans have for his incarnation.
3. Michael Keaton – Batman (Batman, 1989)
It was not long after that Michael Keaton had played the comedic spiritual character, Beetlejuice which effectively typecasted him as an actor who apparently should have stuck to playing in comedy films. Batman creator, Bob Kane wanted Val Kilmer for the role but the studio saw something in Keaton to have enough faith in him to pull it off. Kane and the fans had to eat some humble pie soon enough, and the actor was bought back for the sequel made in 1992 which featured the Batman character much more than in the previous film. However, that was to be the last time that his chest would wear the famous yellow and black bat emblem. Keaton passed on reprising the haunted hero for Batman Forever, stating that the screenplay “sucked.” Not sure about that, but at least he was wise enough to press on the brakes, otherwise can you imagine if he had got carried away and ruined his reputation by starring in that God awful Batman & Robin?! It is depressing to even think about it.