Everybody makes mistakes in their careers, and there’s probably not a single person alive who hasn’t looked back on old photos or videos of themselves and cringed. That means that logically actors have it pretty bad, since every one of their regretful career decisions is immortalised in film forever.
Despite this, most of the actors who have vendettas against their movies have learned to see the funny side, and even spoken out publicly about why they hate particular roles of theirs so much. We’re taking a look at these infamous comments and the infamous roles that caused them, by counting down the top ten movie stars who hated their own films.
Kate Winslet – Titanic
The more successful a movie is, the harder it is to imagine someone hating their own performance in it, and there pretty much isn’t a bigger movie than Titanic. Despite its mammoth success, however, Kate Winslet cannot bear to watch any scenes in the film that include her. Winslet has said in interviews that it was her first major role, and everything from her facial expressions to her American accent were super regrettable, to the point that she couldn’t watch it. However, the fame it gave her allowed her the ability to be in any movie she wanted, which feels like a fair trade.
Not only that, but she did have an awesome time shooting the movie, and sparked a genuine friendship with her co-star and love interest Leonardo DiCaprio. She also looks back on the movie as a whole with love and affection, and recognises that her performance isn’t as bad as she thinks, she just finds it too cringeworthy to actually look at.
TJ Miller – The Emoji Movie
While it’s kind of unbelievable that someone would regret being in a movie zeitgeist like Titanic, it’s not hard to imagine that anyone would regret being in the emoji movie. In fact, it’s more difficult to imagine an actor being in the emoji movie who didn’t regret it. TJ Miller left his long-running and hugely successful show to be in the terrible emoticon film, and has since said of the experience: “Instead of dying, like everybody in my family would love, I go and make ‘The Emoji Movie… which is worse for American culture.”
Though in hindsight it seems like an obviously bad idea, initially people thought it seemed like a clever way to satirise modern life in a children’s movie. Several big names were attached to the project, and though none have been as outspoken as Miller, it’s obvious that none were happy with the final result.
George Clooney – Batman & Robin
Batman is one of the most iconic roles in all of cinema, and there’s a lot of pressure on any actor taking up the mantle to do it right. With that said, the potential is there to have a career-changing performance, either for better or for worse. Unfortunately for George Clooney, his stint as the Bat in Batman & Robin went down in history as the all-time worst. When asked about the movie, Clooney admitted: “It was a difficult film to be good in. With hindsight, it’s easy to look back at this and go ‘Woah, that was really shit and I was really bad in it.’”
The problems with the movie can’t be entirely reduced down to Clooney’s performance alone though. From the outlandish costuming to the insanely campy production design, or the cheesy humour in the script to Chris O’Donnell, no part of this movie is looked back on fondly, except maybe as an endearingly retro cringe-fest.
Jeremy Irons – Batman V Superman
Speaking of regrettable superhero movies, Clooney is not the only actor to appear in a comic book adaptation and feel like he made the wrong choice. In fact, even more specific than them both being in bad DC universe movies, they were both in Batman films specifically that didn’t pan out the way they wanted. Jeremy Irons played the butler Alfred in Batman Vs Superman, and was actually considered one of the only good parts of the movies. However, when faced with the horrible reviews the movie got he said they were “Deservedly so. I mean it took $800 million, so the kicking didn’t matter but it was sort of overstuffed … It was very muddled.”
Irons’ concerns about the film weren’t drastic enough to put him off the franchise entirely however, as he still agreed to appear in Justice League as the same character. Not only that, but he’s still slated to appear in further instalments in the franchise, even though it seems like the cast and attached director are being shuffled every other day.
Mark Wahlberg – Boogie Nights
Most of the regrets on this list come from an actor being in a movie that was universally considered bad, or at the very least giving a performance in a good movie that they think doesn’t live up to the hype. However, Mark Wahlberg’s experience doesn’t fit into either of these categories. Wahlberg is a devout and practising Christian, and the themes and content of his movie Boogie Nights definitely aren’t to the point where he regrets even being in the film.
Speaking about this regret, he said: “I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past… Boogie Nights’ is up there at the top of the list.” Despite allegedly trying to avoid movies that went against his Christian values and upbringing, Walberg has since gone on to star in other films that aren’t exactly wholesome. Both The Fighter and The Departed have gritty adult themes, but Ted, in particular, is not the kind of movie you’d expect any god-fearing person to make.
Dev Patel – The Last Airbender
On the completely opposite end of the spectrum from Wahlberg’s experience is Dev Patel’s. His reasoning for not wanting to be in The Last Airbender was the same as everybody’s reasoning for not wanting to go and see it: it’s just not very good. Though he never came out in public to rant and rage against the movie, he did say something in an interview that made it obvious what film he was talking about. The quote went as follows: “I know what I’m afraid of playing: those big studio movies. After Slumdog Millionaire, I did a film that was not well received at all. I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. That was really scary for me, and that’s really when I learned the power of no, the idea of saying no.”
Patel was not the only actor who regretted taking part in the adaptation – or even the only person involved with the project as a whole. For example, the movie has long been considered the film that buried M. Night Shyamalan’s career, and made his return to form and fame much harder to attain.
Jim Carrey – Kick-Ass 2
Jim Carrey has never been afraid of strange and unusual roles, and even roles that weren’t exactly appreciated by the critics or at the box office, so it’s hard to understand what would make him change his mind about a character. As it turns out, in this case the answer is politics. He shot the movie Kick-Ass 2 just a month before the Sandy Hook massacre, which massively changed his opinion on gratuitous violence and guns.
So much so that he wished he’d never taken on the role of the wacky villain, and even released a public apology. Carrey has stepped back from acting in recent years, but it definitely seems like he’s kept his promise to stay away from movies with overwhelming violence.
Matt Damon – The Bourne Ultimatum
When it comes to the Bourne series, the third instalment The Bourne Ultimatum is usually considered the strongest of the trilogy, which is why it’s so strange that the actual star of the series didn’t agree. In fact, Damon claimed it was the worst one, and that he didn’t enjoy filming it at all. His quote about the script is so direct and scathing that it would be a shame to cut it down to size, so here’s what he said in full:
“I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender.” That’s already incredibly harsh, but Damon went on to include a genuine threat, saying the following: “I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”
Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
The Bourne trilogy might have been a successful series, but it was never going to be as beloved as the Harry Potter franchise. That’s why it’s almost unimaginable that star Daniel Radcliffe disliked his own work, since he carried one of the most successful film series’ of all time for almost a decade. To be fair to him, he didn’t dislike every instalment of the series, just the Half-Blood Prince. Sadly, that’s because he was dealing with depression and alcoholism, which led him to phone in his performance and deliver a bland final product that he just wasn’t happy with.
It’s hard to notice the flatness in his performance that he’s talking about while watching the movie, because the whole tone of the film is very dark and unemotional. With that said, there is a noticeable shift between that movie and the two instalments of the last book, where his performance is far more varied and emotive.
Robert Pattinson – Twilight
Of course, there was only ever one contender for the top spot on this list, since Robert Pattinson famously despised his role as the famous glittery vampire Edward Cullen. He didn’t understand why the character was romantic, and decided to play him as creepily as possible. Across four movies he did several press appearances where he complained about the character, and even accused the author of the book of being insane and obsessed. However, his feelings on the franchise have since warmed, since he’s joked a lot about returning for a sequel.
Not only that, but it’s obvious that he’s not against playing broody characters who stay out of the sunlight on principal. If he did, he wouldn’t have agreed to take on the coveted role of Batman, a role which has its own danger of one day appearing on this list.
Halle Berry – Catwoman
Anyone who has seen the Halle Berry Catwoman movie will know exactly why it’s on this list, because it hasn’t exactly aged well. Looking back, it seems somewhere between unnecessarily sleazy and hilariously goofy, but apparently it seemed that way at the date of its release as well. Most actresses would have just realised the movie was a bad one and moved on, but it came at a particularly bad time for Berry. That’s because Catwoman was the first film she did after winning an Oscar, and it took her from the top of everyone’s casting lists straight to the bottom.
The movie was so bad that it won a Razzie for terrible performance, and that’s when Berry revealed just how not happy she was. She showed up in person to accept the award, and looped everyone from her agent to the director into the speech, making it clear that they were all partially responsible for the disaster.
Channing Tatum – G.I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra
Channing Tatum has never been afraid of goofy or unusual roles, and he hasn’t stuck too closely to the stereotype of action star. Weirdly though, his worst role wasn’t in any of the odd projects he accepted, but in the most straight-forward action film he could have picked. The G.I. Joe movie was panned by both critics and audiences, and absolutely bombed at the box office to boot.
Tatum was a good sport and kept relatively quiet about how much of a disaster it was during the promotion cycle, but after that he was not shy. In an interview with Howard Stern, Tatum admitted that he hated the movie with a passion, and only did it because he was forced to. The forcing was literal, as he had a three-movie deal with the studio, who could force him into doing any movie they chose.
Alec Guinness – Star Wars
Out of all of the roles actors despised on this list, this may be the most surprising of the bunch. After all, Star Wars is maybe the most beloved franchise in history, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most treasured characters in all of sci-fi. The problem was, Guinness was already a classically trained and universally acclaimed actor by the time Star Wars roled around, and the role was far less serious than his usual fare.
As a result, the campy script and over-the-top characterisations annoyed him a great deal, and he only accepted because of the money involved. His regret was so profound that when asked to sign a copy of the movie by a fan that had seen it over one hundred times, he said he would only do it if the fan promised to never watch it again. He also said that the fan’s subsequent love of his character came as a complete surprise to him, and actually annoyed him with its intensity.
Christopher Plummer – The Sound Of Music
The Sound Of Music is another movie that is pretty much universally loved, and it’s hard to imagine anyone involved having a bad time making it. However, Christopher Plummer – who played the love interest opposite Julie Andrews – was completely uninterested in being in the movie. He said the character of the stern widower with a secret heart of gold was impossible to relate to, and he didn’t actually connect with the character at all. Not only that, but he said the genre of the movie was not one he usually acted in or even watched, so the final product wasn’t something he had any interest in seeing.
As for whether there was anything bearable about the production for him, it does seem that he sparked a genuine friendship with Julie Andrews, and loved getting to work alongside her. Not just that, but the musical was record-breaking at the box office, so the paycheck probably wasn’t half bad either.
Michael Caine – Jaws: The Revenge
Very few actors have hit the highs and lows in their career like Michael Caine has. As a perfect example of this, he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and couldn’t go to collect it in person as he was too busy shooting the fourth instalment of the Jaws franchise. Oddly enough, though Caine hated the second installment of the Jaws franchise deeply, he did return to do subsequent movies in the series. Even more than that, he talks about those third and fourth movies with great affection and reverence, it’s just the second one that he’s on record as hating.
This might like seem like a contradiction, but he’s explained his position in interviews, saying: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
Alec Baldwin – Rock Of Ages
Accidentally starring in a bad film happens pretty often, and there are a variety of ways an actor could realise that it’s happened to them. Sometimes it’s not until years after the movie is released that they come out of denial and realised the mistake they’ve made, and sometimes it’s immediately after release that they know it just didn’t come together. In the case of Alec Baldwin and Rock of Ages though, it was a week into shooting the movie that he knew he’d made a terrible mistake.
In fact, he has vivid memories of looking around during the second week of shooting and saying to himself “oh god what have I done?”. So why did he take on the project in the first place? Well, simply because of the other people who were in the film alongside him. Baldwin had wanted to work with Russell Brand for years before the offer came along, and so he couldn’t resist, despite the risks of a Broadway jukebox musical adaptation.
Edward Norton – The Italian Job
It may sound contradictory given this movies’ inclusion on this list, but it’s actually miraculous that this movie did as well as it did. That because the 2003 Italian Job starring Edward Norton is a remake of a beloved 1969 movie, which is widely considered to be one of the best heist movies ever made. Remaking such a movie was a huge gamble that actually paid off, since the film got very positive reviews from both audience members and critics. However, that plus the good box office taking was not enough to convince Norton he’d made a good choice by being in the film.
The reason for his ambivalence was simple: he was contractually obligated to be in the movie, and had literally zero interest in being involved with the project. He agreed to appear in the film and subsequent promotion, but spent every interview telling people not to see the movie, and didn’t technically do any promotion at all.
Bob Hoskins – Super Mario Bros
Anyone who loves film will know that video game movies are always unpredictable, and they’re very difficult to get right. On those grounds, it’s not all that surprising that the Super Mario Bros movie wasn’t very well recieved, even by the cast themselves. Bob Hoskins in particular was very vocal about his dislike of the movie, even going so far as to say: “The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Bros. It was a [freaking] nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set!”
As if that wasn’t damning enough, the other star of the movie Dennis Hopper soon opened up about the experience, saying: “I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my 6-year-old son at the time—he’s now 18—said, ‘Dad I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ And I said, ‘Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes.’ And he said, ‘Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.’”
Katherine Heigl – Knocked Up
Knocked Up is a fairly harmless romantic comedy that cemented Katherine Heigl’s status as a leading lady, so it’s hard to imagine anyone seriously objecting to it. To be fair, Heigl’s own dislike of the movie never really extended to pure hatred, but she did find herself “unable to love it.” Why? Well, for a handful of little reasons that added up to make the movie something she couldn’t be proud of.
Predominantly, the issue was that the characters were exaggerated and kind of stereotypical, with the men getting to be kind of goofy while the women were harsh and shrewd. That combined with her other issue, which is that the plot of the movie was pretty sexist. Whenever she tried to add nuance or subtlety to the character she was shot down, which made her enjoy the experience less.
Mark Wahlberg – The Happening
It’s probably worth noting that Mark Wahlberg is on this list twice, because he apparently keeps getting involved in projects he disliked. Not only that, but director M. Night Shyamalan is on this list twice too, because he keeps making movies that people regret being in. The movie in this case is The Happening, where the central foe is literally trees. It sounds goofy, but plenty of people enjoyed it, it’s just that Wahlberg wasn’t one of the people who did.
He did keep fairly quiet about his dislike of the movie at first, but one conversation with another actor cracked the whole thing wide open. Then, during a conversation with a journalist about his new movie The Fighter, he opened up about the conversation saying: “I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”