How many actors and actresses descend on LA with stardust in their eyes only to end up waiting tables at Spago and reprising their famous college roles –Willy Loman, Blanche DuBois –at community theaters for rent money? It’s difficult to get into the business, especially when every producer thinks he’s a hotshot extra in Robert Altman’s The Player. But dreams come true. Big breaks happens. And what if, after the big break, after the money, fame and recognition, after the actor becomes a household name, he hates the role or movie that made him famous? Here are 10 actors who hate their famous roles.
10. Joseph Gordon Levitt: 500 Days of Summer
Joseph Gordon Levitt likes 500 Days of Summer, the postmodern romantic comedy staring Zooey Deschanel, but he’s not fond of the character, Tom, he played in the film. In an interview with Playboy, Levitt said, “Tom develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person.”
9. George Clooney: Batman & Robin
Directed by Joel Schumacher, Batman & Robin was released in 1997 and panned so badly that it temporarily killed the Dark Knight franchise for Warner Bros. The film, a schlocky mix of garish neon colors, wooden acting, and batsuit nipples, wasn’t just an affront to diehard Caped Crusader fans everywhere; it’s considered by many critics to be one of the worst films ever made. At a recent New York Comic-Con, George Clooney said, “I think since Batman & Robin I’ve been disinvited from Comic-Con for 20 years. I just met Adam West and I apologized to him. Sorry about the nipples on the suit. Freeze, freeze. I apologize for that.”
8. Ally Sheedy: The Breakfast Club
Ally Sheedy played Allison Reynolds, the “basket case,” in John Hughes’ classic 1985 high school drama The Breakfast Club. Sheedy spoke the timeless line: “When you grow up, your heart dies.” Apparently so does your film career. After starring in The Breakfast Club and other Brat Pack classics such as St. Elmo’s Fire and WarGames, Ally Sheedy’s life took a turn for the worse. She dated Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, a relationship she says led her to abuse drugs and develop bulimia. It took Sheedy years to recover and she didn’t land another desirable film role until High Art, an independent film released in 1998.
7. Mark Wahlberg: The Happening
M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening is supposed to be a disaster movie, but in actuality the movie is just disaster. At a press conference for The Fighter, Mark Wahlberg let his thoughts on The Happening be known. “I don’t want to tell you what movie…alright. The Happening. Fu*k. It is what it is. Fu*king trees, man. The plants. Fu*k it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher.” Those sound like fighting words, and if M. Night Shyamalan had a sixth sense, he’d steer clear of Marky Mark.
6. Kate Winslet: Titanic
James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic shot a then 22-year old Kate Winslet to super stardom. According to the Huffington Post, the naked portrait that Jack drew of Rose (Winslet) still haunts the actress 17 years later as fans of Titanic continue to come up to her with copies to sign. “I don’t sign that one,” Winslet says. “I didn’t mean for it to be a photograph that I would see 16, 17 years later.” Winslet also stated that she hates her performance in Titanic, especially the fake American accent, and she told U.S. Weekly the film’s theme song, “My Heart Will Go On,” causes her to give “a massive internal eye-roll.”
5. John Cusack: Better Off Dead
Fans still approach John Cusack and repeat Better Off Dead’s most famous line: “I want my two dollars!” While Cusack’s 2010 comedy Hot Tub Time Machine gives a winking nod to the surreal 1985 teen comedy, Cusack has never “had much of a feel for the film.” According to director Steve Holland, 20 minutes into the screening, Cusack walked out of the film and never came back. Cusack supposedly called the next morning and said, “You know, you tricked me. Better Off Dead is the worst thing I have ever seen. I will never trust you as a director again.” The film was a box office failure, but it went on to earn a loyal cult following on home video and cable.
4. Katherine Heigl: Knocked Up
“You must be one of the most obnoxious creatures, male or female, roaming the planet.” This line is spoken to Katherine Heigl in her new NBC series State of Affairs, and it’s a cheeky, self-aware bit of meta-fiction. In the court of public opinion, Heigl comes across like a diva; she trashed Grey’s Anatomy, the series that made her a star and won her an Emmy, as well as her role in Judd Apatow’s hit comedy Knocked Up.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, she called Knocked Up sexist. “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys,” she said. “It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?” This habit of retroactively biting the hand that feeds her has damaged Katherine Heigl’s likability as an actress, and whether it’s true or not, she’s been branded difficult to work with.
3. Robert Pattinson: The Twilight Series
When Twilight stormed the multiplex in 2008, every tween and teen with a love for emo boys went gaga for vampire Edward Cullen. Robert Pattinson, however, hated the guy, and early on, before he reprised the role for two sequels, he made no effort to hide how he felt about the manic-depressive character. Pattinson told Empire Magazine that the trick to playing Cullen was to look “slightly constipated and stoned.” Robert Pattinson played Edward Cullen as a manic-depressive, stoned, and slightly constipated vampire, as well as a 108-year old virgin, which is something that Freud would certainly want to get to the bottom of.
2. Christopher Plummer: The Sound of Music
“The Sound of Mucus.” “S&M.” These are just a few of the colorfully disdainful nicknames Christopher Plummer has used over the years to describe the beloved 1965 musical The Sound of Music. Plummer played Captain von Trapp, and from the beginning the actor found the character to be a total bore; he even went so far as to say that trying to make Captain von Trapp interesting was like “flogging a dead horse.” In 2010, Oprah Winfrey persuaded Plummer to attend a cast reunion of The Sound of Music, and 45 years later the actor was still hating on the film; although it was edited for TV, at the cast reunion, Plummer said the film “sucked massive, sweaty donkey balls.”
1. Alec Guinness: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi
Alec Guinness, the British, theater trained actor who mentored young Luke Skywalker, initiating him in the ways of the force, hated playing Obi-Wan Kenobi. In fact, Guinness disliked playing Obi Wan so much that it was rumored it was his idea to kill off the Jedi because he could no longer stand speaking his banal lines. Some sources suggest he only reprised his role because George Lucas doubled his pay. Guinness hated Star Wars, he hated Star Wars fans, he refused to do any promotion for the films, and he apparently threw away every piece of fan mail ever sent to him.