Casting a comic book movie can be very tricky, especially when you want to find an actor or actress who can perfectly embody a character that fans have already been following for years or even decades. It gets even harder though when that actor is already known for playing another well-known character.
These 10 actors gave it a try anyways, to varying degrees of success.
1. Chris Evans Was… The Human Torch and Captain America
Chris Evans first turn as a superhero was in both Fantastic Four movies, where he played Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch. Four years later he would be cast in another Marvel movie as Captain America, a decision a lot of fans got uptight about.
It was the right choice though, and four movies later, Evans is still going strong as Cap. We’ll see if he sticks it out for another contract run or not, but either way, he’s definitely managed to embody Steve Rogers as well as anyone could have.
For extra bonus points, Evans also starred in non-superhero roles in the comic book adaptations Snowpiercer, The Losers, Push, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
2. Nic Cage Was… Ghost Rider and Big Daddy
Both Ghost Rider movies were pretty awful in their own unique ways, but Nicolas Cage managed to make them almost watchable with his own unique brand of… Nic Caginess. Let’s face it, if your movie is going to suck, that man can do wonders to make it an entertaining experience. Cage then went on to star in Kick-Ass, channeling some Adam West into his role as Big Daddy.
Before all of that though, Cage was set to play Superman in a Tim Burton-directed adaptation. That movie didn’t end up happening, but oh my, what it could’ve been…
3. Ryan Reynolds Was… Hannibal King, Deadpool, and Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds is finally getting his Deadpool movie next year, but he’s already had plenty of experience playing comic book characters. In 2004 he played Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, before taking an ill-fated turn as Wade Wilson/Deadpool in X-Men Origins. A couple of years after that, Reynolds got his own superhero franchise with Green Lantern.
Sadly, while his portrayal of Hal Jordan was generally well regarded, the movie itself was pretty mediocre, and a sequel never materialized. Finally, Reynolds also starred in R.I.P.D., but I think we’re all trying to forget that one.
4. Hugo Weaving Was… V and Red Skull
Hugo Weaving is probably best known as Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy, or maybe as Elrond in the Lord of the Rings films (or Megatron, if you’re into that).
He’s no stranger to comic book movies though, and played V in V For Vendetta (based on the Alan Moore comic of the same name), and Red Skull in the MCU film, Captain America: The First Avenger.
5. Scarlett Johansson Was… Silken Floss and Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson is now a member of the Avengers as Black Widow, but two years before she made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2, she made the unfortunate decision to appear in Frank Miller’s The Spirit. Her role as Silken Floss wasn’t that huge, but considering it was one of the worst-received movies of 2008, I’m guessing she would’ve turned it down in hindsight.
Three Marvel movies later though, and we’ve basically forgotten she was ever another comic book character.