13 Examples of Someone’s Iconic Role Being Their Worst

While these actors will forever be linked to their most iconic roles, they’re not necessarily their best. These are the characters that made them famous, but if you’re looking for the best performances of these 13 stars, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter

Harry Potter
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Following the conclusion of the Harry Potter franchise, Radcliffe proves himself as one of the best actors of our generation. From his performance in Swiss Army Knife and Weird to his leading role in the anthology series Miracle Workers, Radcliffe is one of the most versatile talents in Hollywood today.

Yet no matter how many roles he takes that showcase his talent, he will always be known as Harry Potter to millions worldwide.

Robert Pattison – Twilight

Twilight movies
Image Credit: Kimberley French/Summit Entertainment.

When Pattison was cast as Batman, many scoffed at the decision. Edward Cullen? Really?

Yes, really. Pattison quickly outgrows his most iconic role. Everyone points to his performance in The Lighthouse, but some under-the-radar selections include Good Time and High Life. Oh, and he’s one of the best examples of Bruce Wayne on the big screen.

Kristen Stewart – Twilight

Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Pattison’s Twilight co-star is arguably a more skilled actress. Personally, I recall her in Into The Wild more than Twilight, but that’s just me.

While the general public was exposed to her mainstream blockbuster roles, Love Lies Bleeding and Spencer are must-see movies.

Orlando Bloom – Lord of the Rings

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

We can argue all day about which Bloom performance is more iconic: Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean. We’ll go with the former here.

What makes Bloom’s performance bad, then? There’s a stiffness in his character that lacks personality. Sure, he has a back-and-forth with Gimli, but Bloom’s talent isn’t always on display in Lord of the Rings.

Natalie Portman – Star Wars

Star Wars Attack of the Clones
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Another toss-up: Portman is iconic in the Star Wars prequels and the Thor films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Portman is an incredibly accomplished actress when she has the chance to prove it, most notably in Black Swan. She has been nominated for an astounding 84 awards in her career, winning 39 times, including the Oscar for Best Actress in Black Swan.

Vin Diesel – Fast and the Furious

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Diesel is the face of the Fast and the Furious franchise. Voice-wise, he’s also Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. Yet you can easily argue he has better performances in both real-life acting and voice acting.

Everyone knows that Diesel’s role in The Iron Giant is emotional, and his acting in Saving Private Ryan proves that Diesel has plenty of talent whenever the film calls for it.

Alec Guinness – Star Wars

Alec Guinness - Star Wars
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Everyone knows Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Guinness wasn’t the biggest fan of the role as time passed.

“What I didn’t tell him was that I just couldn’t go on speaking those bloody awful, banal lines. I’d had enough of the mumbo jumbo,” he told Talk in an interview.

Guinness’ best performances are arguably Great Expectations and Oliver Twist.

Angela Lansbury – Murder She Wrote

Angela Lansbury - Murder She Wrote
Image Credit: Universal Television.

Lansbury was a decorated actress. She had three Oscar nominations, six Golden Globes, six Tony Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.

Yet she will instead forever be remembered for her role as Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote.

Leonardo DiCaprio – Titanic

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.

DiCaprio burst onto the scene with his performance as Jack Dawson in Titanic. Despite being one of his most iconic roles, it is nowhere near his best.

Leo finally won his Oscar for The Revenant, but his better performances include What’s Eating Gilbert GrapeThe Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Jessica Lange – King Kong

Jessica Lange - King Kong
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Lange made her professional debut in 1976’s King Kong, which failed to capture the magic of the original film.

Lange would go on to win three Emmy Awards, two Oscars (one for Tootsie and one for Blue Sky), and a Tony Award, yet everyone still remembers her for King Kong.

Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Lawrence won an Oscar for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook and has established herself as one of the premiere actresses in Hollywood today.

Yet, to many, she will always be Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. The film adaptation of the young adult novels doesn’t come close to showcasing Lawrence’s talents.

Al Pacino – Scarface

Scarface (1983) Al Pacino
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

This may be controversial, but it has more merit than you may realize.

Scarface hasn’t necessarily aged well, proving to be a film that takes itself far too seriously. Pacino’s performance, in particular, is a total non-serious ham-fest.

His performance as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II is one of the best acting jobs ever.

Mark Hamill – Star Wars

Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Unlike other actors from Star Wars on our list, Hamill’s performance as Luke Skywalker isn’t bad!

However, Hamill’s greatest strength comes from his role as a voice actor. While many argue between Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger as the Joker, fans argue that Hamill’s voice role as the Joker is the most iconic.

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The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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