When casting his Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Nolan made sure to get the best of the best. Still, considering Schumacher’s Batman franchise which came before, it is kind of surprising that stars belonging to the old guard, such as Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine were willing to attach their names to a superhero movie, especially one about the Caped Crusader. Fortunately, Nolan succeeded to gather a very impressive cast of talented actors for his movies.
However, while they are extremely talented, they are not infallible. With the amount of roles an average actor takes each year, it is hard not to make at least one miscalculation and sing on for a disastrous piece of work. The former Batman, George Clooney, always apologizes for ruining the franchise with Batman & Robin. The new Batman, Ben Affleck, stated that the only movie he regrets doing is Daredevil. Halle Berry was extremely vocal when accepting a Razzie for her performance in Catwoman, thanking Warner Bros. for casting her in a godawful movie. The point is every actor has gone through a bad role or two and that’s okay. So, today we take a look at 15 embarrassing roles of The Dark Knight Trilogy actors.
15 HEATH LEDGER IN THE ORDER
Academy Award winner, Heath Ledger amazed audiences around the world with his remarkable portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Prior to becoming the Clown Prince of Crime, Ledger appeared in excellent movies such as Brokeback Mountain, as well as some not so excellent flicks such as The Order.
In 2003, Heath Ledger starred as a priest from a secret religious order who is sent to Rome to investigate the death of the order’s leader. This religious horror flick relied heavily on the success of movies such as The Exorcist and The Omen, but failed to replicate any of the elements that made its predecessors successful. With 8% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and horrible performance at the box office, The Order is Heath Ledger’s worst movie ever.
14 TOM HARDY IN THIS MEANS WAR
The 2012 romantic comedy spy film, This Means War, stars not one but two future superhero movie actors. In the film, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, long-time friends and fellow CIA agents, engage in a not so friendly competition for the girl they’ve both been dating at the same time. Tom Hardy has since renounced the romantic comedy genre as his experiment with This Means War turned out to be a failure.
Apparently the actor found the whole experience to be boring despite how fun it looks. And given his imposing figure, Tom Hardy hardly strikes us like the right person for a romantic comedy. Watching Bane in what is essentially a chick flick gives us chuckles. Luckily, Hardy quickly recovered from his rom-com fail, starring in The Dark Knight Rises later that year.
13 CILLIAN MURPHY IN TRANSCENDENCE
Cillian Murphy was praised for his portrayal of Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow in The Dark Knight Trilogy. There’s just something about Murphy that enables him to bring such an unnerving character to life in a very believable way. However, not all his movies were glowing successes. In 2014, Murphy appeared in the sci-fi drama Transcendence, alongside Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall and Morgan Freeman.
The trailers for Transcendence seemed promising, however, once the movie hit the theaters and the reviews were in, things weren’t looking up anymore. Transcendence was slammed by critics for essentially being out of its depth with thought-provoking concepts, failing to produce anything new and valuable. In a movie about a genius scientist who uploads his consciousness into a quantum computer, Murphy plays Agent Buchanan, the man tasked with stopping the sentinel entity from spreading.
12 ANNE HATHAWAY IN THE PRINCESS DIARIES
When Anne Hathaway was cast in the role of Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises fans were skeptical about her ability to do justice to such an iconic comic book character. Once the movie came out and we got to see Hathaway as the black-clad anti-heroine, most skeptics changed their minds.
However, one can kind of see where they were coming from. In a way, Hathaway’s breakthrough movie role as Mia Thermopolis in Disney’s The Princess Diaries defined her. At the time, the actress was best known for her Princess Diaries franchise and a few other rom-com flops. And while the franchise still has a certain degree of appeal for younger audiences and remains a popular guilty pleasure, it never really warmed up to critics. But the incredible Anne Hathaway certainly proved she can do much more than silly rom-coms.
11 AARON ECKHART IN I, FRANKENSTEIN
Aaron Eckhart probably wishes I, Frankenstein never happened, and frankly so do we. In this unmitigated disaster of a movie, Aaron Eckhart plays Frankenstein’s creation Adam who fights gargoyles and demons in a dystopian present. Based on Kevin Gervioux's novel of the same name, this action thriller was denounced by critics who described the movie in three words: loud, incoherent and dull.
For all the hype that preceded it, I, Frankenstein failed to deliver in every aspect, thus barely surpassing its budget with a weak worldwide gross. For an actor whose filmography includes films such as Erin Brockovich and Sully, Aaron Eckhart’s role in I, Frankenstein stands as one of his most embarrassing roles to date. As for us, we’ll just continue to think of him as Harvey Dent.
10 MORGAN FREEMAN IN EVAN ALMIGHTY
Five-time Academy Award nominee, fourth highest box office star and the man with the most recognizable awesome voice ever, Morgan Freeman, is one of those actors who is almost unanimously liked. In The Dark Knight Trilogy, we got to enjoy his exceptional portrayal of Lucius Fox. Yet, even the mighty Morgan Freeman has a couple of duds. We’re looking at you Evan Almighty.
The Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty, which is probably to blame for the fact that we picture God as Morgan Freeman, was a box office hit for Carrey, Aniston and Freeman. It’s sequel however, a whole different story. Evan Almighty received predominantly negative reviews and bombed at the box office, earning less than its production budget. While Carrey passed on the opportunity to reprise his role, Freeman regrettably did not.
9 MARION COTILLARD IN TAXI
Do you remember those French Taxi movies we used to watch on TV way back when? Even if you don’t remember those, you must remember the American remake starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon. Anyways, in a movie about a speed junkie taxi driver who starts assisting his new detective friend on police cases, the French actress Marion Cotillard plays the driver’s girlfriend.
The first two movies did surprisingly well and even received largely positive reviews. However, the second two were a disappointment. Luckily, Cotillard exited the franchise after the third movie, so she doesn’t have that much to be embarrassed about. Cotillard moved on to bigger things and starred in critically acclaimed movies such as The Dark Knight Rises, playing the infamous Talia al Ghul.
8 LIAM NEESON IN THE HAUNTING
Today, Liam Neeson is best known as the action star of the Taken movies, which led to Neeson being cast in other similar action flicks. Nolan enlisted Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul and the actor delivered a memorable performance. Throughout his career, Neeson has starred in highly regarded movies, such as Schindler’s List and The Endurance.
However, the actor has a couple of flops in his filmography too. One of the movies that comes to mind is the 1999 horror picture The Haunting. This remake of the 1963 movie of the same name was panned by critics, who found fault with the movie’s weak screenplay, over-reliance on horror clichés and exaggerated CGI. Result of such negative reviews: five Razzie Awards nominations. Luckily for Neeson, the movie is 18 years old and mostly forgotten.
7 GARY OLDMAN IN RED RIDING HOOD
Live-action adaptations of our favorite childhood fairy tales can be excruciating to watch. One such example is the 2011 Red Riding Hood movie. Directed by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, the movie unfortunately shares a lot with the director’s previous work. Red Riding Hood plays out as your average young adult novel-based movie with a week female protagonist defined by the men in her life.
Still, Hardwicke somehow convinced some pretty big actors to star in her unbefitting adaptation of a beloved Grimm brothers story. Among such big names was the former Commissioner James Gordon, Gary Oldman. The actor played the antagonistic Father Solomon, a witch-hunter and werewolf hunter who arrives to find the big bad wolf. Upon its release, the movie received negative reviews, with one critic pointing out that the movie was undeserving of Oldman’s talent, and we agree.
6 MICHAEL CAINE IN BLAME IT ON RIO
Academy Award winner, Michael Caine, has become one of Hollywood’s most regarded actors, however, his past is plagued by some questionable movies, such as Blame it on Rio. Watching good old Alfred Pennyworth as a 45-year-old having an affair with his best friend’s teenage daughter is not something you wanna do.
If you don’t know this movie, don’t fret, you haven’t missed out on anything. Blame it on Rio is considered one of the worst romantic comedies to date and not without good cause. As one critic so eloquently put it, the movie can best be described as a lighthearted take on a very horrible subject. Whatever possessed Michael Caine to star in this tasteless movie remains a mystery. And while Michael Caine’s character may blame Rio, we blame it on the atrocious screenplay.
5 ERIC ROBERTS IN HANSEL & GRETEL: WARRIORS OF WITCHCRAFT
How this man gets all of his work done is beyond us. Eric Roberts, who portrayed the infamous gangster Sal Maroni in The Dark Knight, has appeared in around 400 movies as well as a great number of TV shows. With such varied movie and television history he’s bound to have a couple of bad apples in the mix. One that comes to mind is the Asylum mockbuster Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft.
The Asylum is an independent film company that capitalizes on producing low-budget direct-to-video movies based on current blockbusters. If you ever wondered who’s behind gems such as Paranormal Entity and Transmorphers, now you know. Hansel and Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft is a mockbuster of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Eric Roberts stars as the Head Master of the elite boarding school attended by the teenage Hansel and Gretel.
4 KATIE HOLMES IN JACK & JILL
Katie Holmes left Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy in order to star in what turned out to be a horrible movie, Mad Money. However, this is not by far the worst motion picture Katie Holmes’ name has been attached to. In 2011, Adam Sandler took a page from Eddie Murphy’s book and starred in his own "one-man show" Jack & Jill, with Holmes as his wife Erin.
With the approval rating of 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, it safe to say that the movie was a complete disaster, on top of being a box office bomb and "winning" ten Razzies. Holmes herself was nominated for Worst Supporting Actress, but lost to fellow Jack & Jill actor, David Spade. Given that the movie was dubbed as one of the worst movies ever made, Holmes probably wishes her involvement in it be forgotten.
3 CHRISTIAN BALE IN SHAFT
Actor Christian Bale has demonstrated his exceptional acting chops on countless movies. The way he is able to transform himself into the character he is playing is mind-blowing. Over the years, Bale has starred in a great number of successful movies, just like The Dark Knight Trilogy. However, we’re not here to discuss his success, but rather his flops. Because even Batman has an embarrassing past.
Five years prior to Batman Begins, Christian Bale starred in Shaft. Bale played Walter Wade Jr., a sociopathic and racist murderer pursued by NYPD’s best, detective John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson). The movie had lots of over-the-top action, as well as a rather ridiculous, albeit catchy, theme song. Shaft received mixed reviews from the critics, as well as the audience. And Bale probably wouldn’t mind if we were to forget he was ever in it.
2 TOM WILKINSON IN UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Tom Wilkinson will probably always be recognized for critically acclaimed movies such as Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Wilkinson appeared in the first movie as the notorious Mafia don Carmine Falcone. However, Wilkinson has some less notable roles as well. For example, in the 2015 comedy movie Unfinished Business.
Starring Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson, Unfinished Business was released to negative reviews, with critics describing it as living down to the title. On top of that, the movie was a total box office bomb, failing to even make back its $35 million budget. Wilkinson played the older associate of a young business owner in a disastrous movie about three men who set out on a business trip to Europe and end up on an adventure, which was utterly unfunny and agonizing to watch.
1 JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT IN G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA
Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a name for himself by starring in critically acclaimed movies such as 50/50, 500 Days of Summer and Inception. Nolan apparently liked working with Gordon-Levitt on Inception so he cast him in The Dark Knight Rises as Officer Blake, who at the end of the movie becomes Robin. However, not all of Gordon-Levitt’s movies have been met with positive reviews.
One of his less commendable endeavors was the 2009 action film based on Hasbro’s toy franchise, G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra, in which he played The Doctor. Although the movie was deemed a box office success, the critics mostly agreed that it was cartoonish with outrageous action scenes and overall poor performances. Due to negative critical reception, the movie was nominated for six Razzies, which tells us Gordon-Levitt would prefer to scratch this one off his resume.
Which of these roles do you think is most embarrassing? Let us know in the comments!