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Thread: Cinema's Most Unexpected Biopic Casting Choices

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    Default Cinema's Most Unexpected Biopic Casting Choices



    Ashton Kutcher seems like an odd choice to play Steve Jobs in an upcoming film adaptation of the tech pioneer's life, which has us examining other unusual casting choices in Hollywood's long history of biopics.



    Nothing Like the Real Thing






    The biopic is a Hollywood staple. For the most part, it's pick a captivating public figure because the story's already written. The real trick is finding the right person to play the larger than life source material. Sometimes the casting feels like a natural fit, but other times it seems like a real stretch.







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    Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs






    Ashton Kutcher has made a career out of acting like a dope and pulling elaborate pranks. Steve Jobs changed the world with his Apple empire by being one of the smartest and most innovative minds in the tech industry. The two men probably don't strike you as very similar. Nonetheless, the sitcom star has signed on to play the late business giant in the upcoming indie biopic Jobs.







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    Keira Knightley as Domino Harvey






    Typically known for her delicate and feminine roles, Keira Knightley seemed like an odd choice to play a bounty hunter draped in artillery. All the bullets and brutality wasn't enough to rough up Keira Knightley and distract from her inherent beauty, which made it hard to believe her as the deadly Domino Harvey. Audiences weren't buying it, and Domino flopped at the box office.







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    Hayden Christensen as Bob Dylan (Kinda)






    Hayden Christensen didn't exactly wow critics and moviegoers with his acting chops in the Star Wars prequels, so it was surprising to see him play one of the most iconic musicians in music history. Bob Dylan must have agreed because he decided not to sign off on the use of his name in Factory Girl. As a result, Christensen played Dylan facsimile Billy Quinn.







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    Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan






    A Bob Dylan portrayal that worked fell in the hands of someone just as unlikely  Cate Blanchett. The actress may be the opposite sex, but she gave the most believable on-screen rendition of the folk hero since Don't Look Back. Heck, one could argue she out-Dylan'd Dylan.









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    Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman






    When Man on the Moon came out in 1999, Jim Carrey wasn't exactly known for heavy, dramatic roles, so he had plenty of doubters when he took on the psychological circus that was Andy Kaufman. Fortunately, Carrey didn't just hit the comedic highs of the film; he gave Kaufman's life story depth and grace, paving the way for future performances like that in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.







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    Madonna as Evita






    Madonna, musical  that makes sense. But taking on a cultural hero like Eva Peron in Evita? That was something else entirely. The controversial pop star experienced quite a bit of backlash during filming, particularly from the people of Argentina, but it did not deter Madonna from turning in a surprising performance, one that earned her a Golden Globe.









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    Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali






    Try as he might, Robert Pattinson is going to have a difficult time breaking away from his association with the Twilight franchise. Pattinson's portrayal of French surrealist Salvador Dali in Little Ashes was a swing and a miss in the eyes of critics and fans alike. Just because you grow a goofy mustache doesn't turn you into Dali.








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    Milla Jovovich as Joan of Arc





    A supermodel playing one of history's most badass warriors? On the surface, it just doesn't seem to make sense, but that didn't stop Milla Jovovich from playing Joan of Arc in The Messenger. While the medieval biopic failed to capture audiences, it catapulted Jovovich into viable action heroine option, and she went on to star in the popular Resident Evil franchise.








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    Josh Brolin as George W. Bush






    George W. Bush is old enough to be Josh Brolin's dad, which is why it was a little strange to see Brolin picked to play the ex-president in W. With a Texan accent, gray hair, and artificial wrinkles added, Brolin transformed into Bush more naturally than anyone expected.








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    John Wayne as Genghis Khan






    Old Hollywood has a reputation for being more racist than people like to remember, watching Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's will prove that pretty quickly, as will seeing who was cast as Mongol leader Genghis Khan. America's favorite cowboy John Wayne played Khan in 1956 film The Conqueror. Say what you will, that Fu Manchu isn't fooling anybody.







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    Diana Ross as Billie Holiday






    Diana Ross and Billie Holiday had wildly different singing styles, but that wasn't the main reason why Hollywood insiders balked at Ross' casting in Lady Sings the Blues. It was because the film was the former Supreme's first foray into big screen acting. Well, Ross started out on the right foot, earning an Oscar nom for her performance.








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    Beyonce as Diana Ross (Kinda)






    While Diana Ross had to deal with naysayers when she took on Billie Holiday's life, Beyonce felt the same skepticism when she was cast to play the Diana Ross-inspired character in Dreamgirls. Unfortunately for Beyonce, one of her doubters was, in fact, Diana Ross, who routinely denounced the Dreamgirls project. Despite Ross' lack of support, the film went on to rave reviews.








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    Will Smith as Muhammad Ali






    Ali was Will Smith's first lead role in a dramatic film. Despite skepticism based on his good-time, comedic reputation, Smith handled the honor of playing Muhammad Ali with unparalleled pride and professionalism. Anyone who doubted the former Fresh Prince can answer to Smith's Oscar nomination his performance earned.








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    Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great









    There are some actors that just look too modern to play in a period piece. Colin Farrell is one such actor, so choosing him to play the Grecian leader Alexander the Great didn't seem like a wise choice. Alexander's failure was due to a lot of things, but Farrell lack of believability was one of them, especially with that ridiculous flowing blonde hair.







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