Actors you don’t want in your book adaptation

In a previous post I raised the fact that Tom Cruise would be bringing Jack Reacher to the big screen. Now fans of the Lee Child books will be familiar with the 6’5″ Jack Reacher and the general differences he has from Tom Cruise, the most noticeable being that Reacher isn’t crazy. Of course Lee Child isn’t particularly worried because “the movie isn’t for the fans of the book, it is for movie goers.”

This all got me to thinking, I could really do with a nap. When I woke up I was thinking, “which actors would I hate to see playing the lead role in a book adaptation?” I present my list, do you have any others?

11) Nicolas Cage
Vampire's Kiss

Cage wasn’t always a horrible actor, he has an Oscar to prove it. But after he started buying castles and octopuses, his work got weirder and weirder, just watch The Wicker Man. He seems determined do his unique combination of drug-fueled mania and totally inappropriate character choices in most every movie.
Update: Conan O’Brian has got in on the joke.

10) David Caruso
David Caruso

David Caruso will be forever remembered as Lt. Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami. It isn’t because of his superb acting, no, rather it is his stunning array of bizarre tics and horrible one-liners he crams into 42 minutes of television every week. Caine is just pure corniness, and Caruso’s just getting worse. Whether he’s doing it on purpose or he’s just given up, this is some spectacularly horrible acting.

9) Jean-Claude Van Damme

I have seen Van Damme act just the once, playing himself, in JCVD. The rest of the time he is in films because he can kick high and do the splits. In fairness most of his movie roles have only required him to kick high and do the splits, but bringing a book to life takes a bit more than that. In JCVD’s favour is the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, having had guest star roles taking the piss out of himself on various TV shows.

8) Hugh Grant

Hughgrantrex 228X334
We have a TV channel in Australia called SBS. They show movies from around the world, rather than just Hollywood. They have a great advert that sums up Hugh Grant. They show the same bumbling, um er, insipid, um er, acting he does in every, um er, that is to say, role. I am simply baffled by his popularity. He is a weak, dull, uninteresting man.

7) Ben Affleck

Lets face it, any book adaptation that stars Ben Affleck will be fraught with budgetary over-runs due to acting class costs, hair product and dead hooker disposal. 

6) Steven Seagal

Steven 3
He’s played one role – the wise, astute, noble, ass kicker, who only resorts to violence when necessary – for his entire career (except in Machete). He also founded the Steven Segal School of Acting, which prides itself on producing one facial expression for every occasion. As Sean Connery will attest, you shouldn’t try to piss Steven off by suggesting he learn to act.

5) Orlando Bloom

Orlando “one look” Bloom has managed to make a career out of the same facial expression. “Orcs are killing everyone” is the same as his “I’m in love with you Elizabeth Swan” look. He and Kirsten Stewart clearly went to the Steven Segal School of Acting. The only reason he brings characters to life is that he has a heartbeat and can walk, as proven by his work on the LOTR book adaptations.

Update: Orlando Bloom has apparently had the same look since he was a child.

4) Paul Walker

I actually like Paul Walker, he comes across as a friendly, cool guy. Pity that is all he brings to a role. He does have the ability to do many things that Orlando Bloom can’t, but it is still hard to take him seriously in anything dramatic. Maybe it would be cool to hire him for the book adaptation just to hang out with him, but that’s the stalker in me talking.

3) Hayden Christensen

He ruined Star Wars with JarJar Binks, enough said. 

2) Tom Cruise

I’ve mentioned before that Tom Cruise has a habit of shouting instead of acting. I’ve also mentioned before that Tom has appeared in a number of good films, but he wasn’t the reason they were good. I’ve also mentioned that Tom will be doing his best to ruin Jack Reacher for Lee Child fans. Short nut-case closed.

1) Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves1Alt 300 400
Is this really a surprise? Did anyone watch The Day The Earth Stood Still and not think a block of wood could have contributed a better acting performance? Actually, aside from Bill & Ted, do you think there is any role he has ever had that couldn’t be improved upon by replacing Keanu with a block of wood? It was a tough decision picking the right photo for this one – on the one hand I had a photo of paint drying, and on the other hand I had a photo of Keanu. While the paint photo was a lot more interesting, I thought I ought to go with this one.

8 thoughts on “Actors you don’t want in your book adaptation

  1. Matt Damon, who displays the same emotional range over and over again:Emotionless sociopathic killer in The Talented Mister Ripley.Emotionless bloodsucking lawyer in The Rainmaker.Emotionless angel of death in Dogma.Emotionless cold-hearted CIA employee in The Good Shepard.Emotionless mob informant mole buried inside the Massachusetts State Police.Emotionless poker-faced poker player in Rounders.Emotionless killer in The Bourne Identity.Emotionless killer in The Bourne Supremacy.Emotionless killer in The Bourne Ultimatum.And I could go on, but I've lost the emotional drive to continue.


  2. I take issue with your characterisation of Keanu Reeves as a block of wood. You forget that he is a very attractive block of wood and also that he has an uncanny knack of using his woodenness to great effect, e.g. Speed, A Scanner Darkly, The Matrix. You have to appreciate someone who knows their limitations.


  3. Doug: Damon is a good addition. I do like his films and roles, but he does have a touch of the Paul Walkers about him. No wonder he hangs out with Ben Affleck.Jac: Woa. You may be right. Woa!


  4. I disagree with you on Nicolas Cage and Orlando (but I'm biased about my pirate elf, and Cage stars in three of my favorite movies). You're right about Grant, but if I make a character that's like him, he'd be perfect!I would hate Johnny Depp. Amazing actor, incredible really. But my character is mine, and he makes the character his. If I make someone totally insane, he can do that.


  5. Depp would be the kind of actor to do it his way and leave you with a movie completely different from your vision.Don't get me wrong on Cage, I'm a fan of several of his movies (e.g. Lord of War), but I challenge you to rewatch Face/Off and not cringe at both he and Travolta (another who could be added).I'm sure Orlando suffers in my eyes because I'm male. If I were female, or gay, I'm sure I wouldn't mind him in movies.


  6. Yup, again I agree with everyone, though I will say Orlando Bloom is hot. I can't believe Tom Cruise is playing Jack Reacher! I had no idea! That's absolutely silly! Not just because Tom can't act but b/c, as you pointed out, the mere physical differences. Stupid. And stupid Lee Child for agreeing to that! I will never be a sell-out!Of course…I probably won't ever get published either…sigh…


  7. April I think that we would both see the truck reversing down the drive to tip the pile of money at our feet and we would both sell-out quicker than we could say "Of course I don't mind if Keanu is in the lead role."


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