Leonardo DiCaprio – Django Unchained
When Quentin Tarantino wrote Django Unchained, he originally envisioned the character of Calvin Candie to be much older and more decrepit. When DiCaprio – who had never played a villain before – expressed his interest in the role, Tarantino rewrote certain aspects of the character to make it work. Although the actor tried to make himself as externally ugly as he could, sporting fake yellow, rotten teeth and allowing his midriff to get more doughy, there’s just no getting around the fact that DiCaprio is an incredibly good-looking guy.
Nicole Kidman – The Hours
Despite her reputation as a sexually liberated woman in a time of repression, Virginia Woolf wasn’t known to be a natural beauty. Nevertheless, the director saw fit to cast bona fide Hollywood bombshell Nicole Kidman as the brilliant author in 2002’s The Hours. In an effort to make Kidman more closely resemble Woolf, the actress was fitted with a prosthetic nose that did nothing to restrain her beauty but still garnered plenty of mockery. Still, it won Kidman a Best Actress Oscar.
Hugh Grant – Four Weddings and a Funeral
During the casting process for Four Weddings and a Funeral, writer Richard Curtis did “everything in his power” to stop Hugh Grant from landing the starring role of Charles. According to Curtis, “the absolutely key thing for that film when I was writing it was that the person who was playing the lead would not be good-looking. That was the absolute starting thesis of the film.” Curtis wanted Alan Rickman instead, but when the actor refused to audition he was eventually persuaded to go with Grant.
Sean Connery – Dr. No
Although James Bond’s womanising tendencies are well documented in the books, Ian Fleming never envisioned him as a particularly good-looking man, and for the TV adaptation of Casino Royale, Fleming expressed his support for the casting of Barry Nelson, an actor who wasn’t known for being handsome. When the character made his movie debut, filmmakers decided to move away from the source material and went with Sean Connery, one of the biggest heartthrobs of his day, setting the tone for all future Bonds.
Henry Fonda – War and Peace
In War and Peace, Tolstoy’s literary masterpiece, the character of Pierre Bezukhov is described as “ungainly,” “heavyset” and “physically awkward.” None of these words come close to describing Henry Fonda, but that didn’t stop filmmakers from casting him for the role in the 1956 film adaptation. Whilst Fonda did add some star power to the movie, his effortless, handsome charm could not have been further from what Tolstoy had envisioned when he wrote the character.
Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, brilliant heroine of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is unequivocally not meant to be hot in the book the film is based on. Whilst Rooney Mara – who portrayed the character in the 2011 American remake of the film – did her best to physically become the character, getting multiple facial piercings and an extremely edgy haircut, there’s just no getting away from the fact that Mara is an incredibly attractive woman – although the same could be said for Noomi Rapace and Claire Foy, who have depicted Salander on screen before and after Mara respectively.
Daniel Brühl – Captain America: Civil War
A fan-favourite comic book supervillain, Baron Zemo wears a large purple hood to cover a horrifically scarred visage. When the character made his film debut, however, his appearance was drastically changed, with both the hood and scars it hid ditched. Fans of the comics expressed their disappointment that Hollywood had drastically altered a character’s iconic appearance and it was widely felt that Daniel Brühl was simply too handsome to make a convincing Zemo.
Brad Pitt – Moneyball
2011’s Moneyball saw Brad Pitt play Billie Beane, a baseball manager who – with the help of mathematician Peter Brand – began using statistical computer models to help him make trades and revolutionised baseball in the process. Whilst the real-life Beane isn’t bad looking by any stretch of the imagination, casting arguably the most handsome man in Hollywood in the role is a somewhat odd move, although it definitely gave Beane some major bragging rights.
Ben Whishaw – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
2006’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer saw Ben Whishaw play Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a gifted but psychopathic perfumer who kills women to create the perfect scent. The novel the film is based on describes Grenouille as notably ugly, an adjective that absolutely couldn’t be used to describe Whishaw. However, whilst the actor is significantly easier on the eyes than the literary character he’s portraying, he still did a fantastic job of displaying the inner ugliness that drives Grenouille’s actions.
Rebecca Romijn – The Punisher
In The Punisher comic books, his neighbour Joan is shown to be a timid, dowdy woman. For the 2004 film, casting directors decided to take the character in a different direction, using her as an opportunity to inject some eye candy into the movie in the form of Rebecca Romijn. Whilst Romijn did a great job of portraying Joan’s shy and nervous disposition, some fans were still bothered about a former model playing a character who is notably plain.