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Seven Casting Calls Worse Than Kristen Stewart as Snow White

In theaters Friday: Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White, a beauty to overthrow Charlize Theron's Evil Queen.
In theaters Friday: Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White, a beauty to overthrow Charlize Theron's Evil Queen.

Lips a standard pinky-orange. Hair a dark, dusty brown. Accent...sort of British. That's Kristen Stewart for you, as dear, dear Snow White.

Stewart - the child actor turned Twilight megastar - is often criticized for taking that old adage of acting for the camera ("Do nothing") a bit too seriously, though she's proved her chops in smaller flicks like Adventureland and The Runaways. It's true, casting characters that are defined so largely by their beauty is never easy; see Diana Kruger as Helen of Troy or Clemence Poesy as Fleur Delacour. But to cast the likeable tomboy next door (assuming it's a neighborhood of Hollywood insiders) who looks surprisingly fetching when styled by Elle as a young woman whose beauty is destined to surpass Charlize Theron's? Mirror, please.

A number of lesser-known British beauties were considered for the part - like up-and-coming star Felicity Jones of Like Crazy - but what seemed to clinch the role for Stewart was her name recognition. Three words: Game of Thrones. The perfect actor for this role just needed to be kidnapped off the HBO series set, where she (Emilia Clarke) was killing it as Daenerys Targaryen. Clarke is a stunning (and British) beauty; she makes a commanding warrior queen; and her hair clearly takes color well.


The revisionist fairy tale Snow White and the Huntsman opens Friday, and reviews are starting to come in that argue in Stewart's favor. It probably won't go down in movie history as one of the worst castings, especially compared with these seven unforgettable mistakes:

John Wayne in The Conqueror (1956)


John Wayne stars as Genghis Khan in what is notoriously derided as probably the worst miscasting ever, ever, ever . Take away that weird facial hair and it's still John Wayne under there, the same swaggering cowboy with the same distinctive drawl (it's like the opposite of watching Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson try to be American cowboys ). This one is so wrong that it's actually very funny. But that was then, right? We know better now.

 

Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)


Nope, it's more than half a century later and we apparently haven't learned a thing. Not only was Gyllenhaal woefully miscast against type in this film (which, to its credit, has some incredible video-game-inspired cinematography), but there's a point at which Hollywood needs to stop casting white actors in whatever ancient ethnicity it sees fit - so long as they all speak in the same, semi-British accent that we all recognize as definitively "historical."

Katharine Hepburn in Dragon Seed (1944)


Katharine Hepburn leads "her people" against Japanese invaders as heroic Chinese peasant Jade Tan . There's not much to say about this one, except: Clever eyeliner does not Katharine Hepburn a Chinese peasant make.

Colin Farrell in Alexander (2004)


Nevermind the controversy over Alexander the Great's sexuality that brought 25 Greek lawyers to threaten director Oliver Stone and Warner Bros. with a lawsuit, the real controversy is where Farrell got that beach-blonde-Shirley-Temple wig (he stole it from that one guy from Gladiator ?). Farrell may not be the only miscast actor in the fanciest, historical epic flop since 1963's  Cleopatra (take Angelina Jolie, who was criticized for both her out-of-place, vaguely Russian accent and for being the same age as Farrell , the actor playing her son), but as conqueror Alexander he's definitely the one with the most screen time.

 

Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough (1999)


Denise Richards is Jones, Christmas Jones: the Bond girl who's also a nuclear physicist! For what Richards does well, see the last few minutes of Love Actually : Sashay toward the camera. Be hot. Say hi. That's a wrap.

Jena Malone in Pride & Prejudice (2005)


In this beautiful adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, Jena Malone (seriously, who does she know??) stands out like a sore American thumb surrounded by current and up-and-coming British starlets (Carey Mulligan's easy to miss drowned in those heavy brown curls, but she's there!). As ill-behaved Lydia Bennet, Malone does a bizarre, super breathy caricature of a Brit that somehow gets even more ridiculous the more fancy her outfits get.

Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon (1969)


There's a hilarious moment on The Simpsons when Homer gleefully rents Paint Your Wagon , thinking it's a standard Clint Eastwood film. He's in for a shock: Eastwood may still be in a cowboy hat, but he's hard to recognize (or maybe even respect) when he breaks into song in this still loveably whimsical musical (I'm pretty sure singer Glen Campbell was kicking around starring in westerns in '69; couldn't he have taken a break from True Grit ?). Eastwood plays a kind of "brother husband" with the always wonderful Lee Marvin. In case you didn't catch that: It's a musical. It's about a woman with two boyfriends. One of them is Clint Eastwood. 

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