Hollywood has seen different iterations of a famous story or character several times. After all, many directors want to recreate the classic novels and popular comic books on the big screen. With a critically-acclaimed version already existing in the history of Hollywood, directors and actors often find it hard to meet the benchmark set by the predecessor. It is impressive how the following actors did justice to the legendary characters and attached their names to the novels forever. All the actors were so good in their own way that it is often difficult to pick one. So, here are the 16 iconic movie characters played by more than one actor.
The warm and stirring classic novel “Little Women” has seen many on-screen translations, but the most well-known ones are the 1994 and 2019 adoptions. The most notable character Jo March was incredibly brought to life by Winona Ryder and Saoirse Ronan. Both the actresses know how to capture the audience with their powerful presence. They had their own unique ways to bring out the rawness and strength of Jo March.
Most of your childhood is incomplete without the adventures of the eccentric detective Sherlock Holmes. He was every kid’s favorite fictional character and an iconic figure in the field of literature as well as for London. Till date, tourists visit Sherlock themed cafes and the famous 221B Baker Street whenever they are in London. Many directors have adapted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel series for movies and TV shows. The most memorable Sherlocks in TV history are Jeremy Brett, Vasily Livanov, Robert Downey Jr., and Benedict Cumberbatch. Each one’s quirky portrayal of Sherlock was unique and peculiar in one’s own style.
Recently, Henry Cavill also attempted to portray the classic detective in “Enola Holmes” but what we got was an agreeable Superman dressed as Sherlock. So, we didn’t risk mentioning it with the above legendary performances.
Whether to play Spider-Man is bliss or curse, no one knows. From Tobey Maguire to Andrew Garfield, their career has seen an instant rise and fall ever since they donned the costume. The latest and youngest iteration of the Marvel hero is Tom Holland, who has won everyone’s heart. Even though he is considered as the next face of the MCU, this Spider-Man will barely get a “cameo” in his own film with crossovers and multiverses arriving in Spider-Man 3. Regardless, the fandom of the Spidey universe is divided into three parts as all three actors have achieved worldwide admiration and love.
Forget about “Clueless” when you have the real classic “Emma” from the beloved novel of Jane Austen with the same title. The three actresses who portrayed the clever, charming, and meddling Emma were Kate Beckinsale, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Needless to say, Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance is the most admired as she navigated through the depths of Emma’s character development. Anya Taylor’s performance in the 2020 iteration has also won the hearts of critics and the audience. The 2020 “Emma” gave a 21st-century touch to the classic drama and highlight issues on feminism.
No matter whose name we skip or add, this list is incomplete and irrelevant without the iconic agent, James Bond. The famous Hollywood character was brought to life by many actors over generations. In fact, it became a big break for many talents and marked them as one of the permanent names of cinemas. Even though Agent 007 was portrayed by over seven actors, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, and Daniel Craig stand out as the titans. It is impossible to think about James Bond and not picture these three faces.
Out of all the cinematic characters that have been played by various actors, the most debatable one is Joker. Over the decades, many A-list actors have tried to play the psychotic Batman villain but only a few could get under his skin. It takes a whole new level of mental transformation to project the chilly, dark, and cynical enemy of the Caped Crusader. So far, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, Jared Leto, and more have been in the shoes of the Clown Prince of Crime. But the one who moved everyone and will forever be the best Joker is undoubtedly the late actor, Heath Ledger.
Even though there are several superheroes who got more than one version, Batman is the one played by renowned actors. The DC Caped Crusader made its debut on the screens a long time ago. We have seen Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck so far as the Dark Knight. The next in line is Robert Pattinson, and from what his past performances tell us, he will make one heck of a Batman.
This Marvel green giant has seen many replacements. Just when fans begin to like one actor, he is replaced by another in the next film. Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo are the most famous Hulks for their star power and the MCU studio it falls under. Edward’s performance in “The Incredible Hulk” was applauded by Marvel fans and critics but his behind-the-scenes dissent with the producers got him out of the franchise. Fans initially had their reservations about Mark Ruffalo but the actor instantly won everyone’s heart in “The Avengers” and now stands out as everyone’s most favorite Hulk.
After Sherlock Holmes, if there was another trustworthy and reliable detective in our favorite childhood books, it was Hercule Poirot, the hero of Agatha Christie novels. The most notable actors who brought justice to the detective are David Suchet in “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” and Kenneth Branagh in “Murder on the Orient Express”. David Suchet happens to be a personal favorite of the author’s descendants. Agatha Christie’s kids and grandchildren say that David appeared as the Poirot who emerged straight out of the pages.
Conan the Barbarian
When it comes to portraying the strong and furious Conan the Barbarian, the cinemas couldn’t have picked up better faces than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Momoa. The first iteration of the character, played by Arnold was appreciated by the critics for his acting and impressive physique. Whereas, Jason was called too thin for the role. Yes, even Aquaman is skinny is front of Arnold. However, some viewers and critics appreciated his expressions and how he brought Conan under a different light.
Some honorary mentions are-
Belle from The Beauty and the Beast