For actors, the competitive, cut-throat acting industry may occasionally necessitate participation in projects about which they feel less than positive. For young actors and actresses just starting out, especially, the temptation to take any role that comes their way can often be too great to resist. Other reasons for taking on an ill-advised role vary; a desire to stretch one’s creative boundaries and liberate oneself of a type cast may is one common motivating factor. A multimillion dollar paycheck might help. Even some well-established actors who should have known better have been known to take an atypical role with high hopes. That’s not always a bad thing, but on occasion a risk or a rushed decision has led to a mistake that plagued an actor’s career evermore – an unfortunate black mark on a largely pristine filmography.
As we can imagine, often actors’ earlier roles are the ones which cause them the most embarrassment — it’s like having the most humiliating things that you did as a teenager immortalised forever more, for all the world to see at the drop of a hat, should they so choose. However, many actors and actresses also regret films in which they participated as established professionals, displeased with how the film turned out only after the fact when they’ve witnessed the completed project. Sometimes, hindsight is a useful – but painful – tool. There are many more thespianic regrets than you might imagine, but we’ve chosen just ten actors and actresses who have famously spoken out against roles they played – sometimes, even, their most iconic roles.
10. Carrie Fisher — The Star Wars franchise
At number ten is Carrie Fisher, whose role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise is, apparently, the bane of her life. The actress-turned-author has gone on record as saying that if she’d known the films would become so successful she would have turned down the role. From the beginning the whole experience proved antagonising — when she was first cast at the age of nineteen Fisher was told she was too fat to play the role, although she accepted regardless. The actress has struggled with bipolar disorder and drug addiction at various stages in her life, and has said that “all [she] really did while [she] was famous was wait for it to end.”
9. Marlon Brando — A Streetcar Named Desire
Number nine, hearthrob Marlon Brando, fought against his fame throughout his life, having gone on record as saying ‘Hollywood is ruled by fear and love of money, but it can’t rule me because I’m not afraid of anything and I don’t love money’, but he had a special place in his heart for the hatred of his role in A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando’s depiction of the brutish Stanley Kowalski is regarded worldwide as one of his most iconic parts, but Brando made no secret of his disgust for the role. The character of Kowalski is cruel, overpowering, and a horrendous exaggeration of the macho man, of which Brando said in an interview ‘Kowalski was always right, and never afraid. He never wondered, he never doubted. His ego was very secure. And he had the kind of brutal aggressiveness that I hate. I’m afraid of it. I detest the character.’ Of course, we can hardly say he regretted the well-respected movie; sometimes, as perhaps in this case, the most heinous and unlikeable characters are the most artistically rewarding.
8. Jessica Alba — Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Actress Jessica Alba is at number eight, with her hatred of her role in the film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer being so extreme it almost pushed her to quit acting altogether. In an interview with Elle magazine, Alba revealed her breaking point came when she was told by the director of the film that her attempts at crying were ‘too real’ and ‘too painful’, and urged to ‘be prettier when you cry […] Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat.’ This stoked something of an inner crisis in Alba, who apparently then began worrying she wasn’t good enough, or that her instincts and emotions were subpar; ‘Do people hate them so much that they don’t want me to be a person?’ Understandably enough after this level of turmoil, Alba ended up giving the metaphorical two fingers to the movie industry as a whole, and has been recorded as saying ‘F**k it. I don’t care about this business anymore.’
7. Matt Damon — The Bourne Trilogy
Matt Damon’s role as Jason Bourne in the first three Bourne films made him the highest paid actor in the world, but it also puts him at number seven on our list of Hollywood regrets. He decided not to feature in the fourth film of the franchise, The Bourne Legacy, and has made clear to the general public that he deemed the second and certainly the third movies of the series at best gratuitous, and at worst potentially ‘career-enders’. Damon was particularly disparaging about an early draft of the script for the third movie, saying that ‘it’s the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position […] it was unreadable.’
6. Katherine Heigl — Knocked Up
When we think of Katherine Heigl, the first thing many of us will associate with her is her role in comedy Knocked Up, a fact which it seems safe to assume she would not be pleased about. Heigl reportedly hated both the film itself – which she deemed ‘sexist’ – and her role in it. Heigl has said that the film ‘paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys’, and says of her performance as the uptight Alison Scott: ‘I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?’ Heigl has also, somewhat paradoxically, stressed that working on Knocked Up was the best filming experience of her life, although she stands by her assessment of the movie as a whole.
5. Sean Connery — James Bond
Sir Thomas Sean Connery epitomises, for many, James Bond’s on-screen portrayals, having been the one of the first cinematic depictions of the character, and is known around the world for his good looks and distinctive suave Scottish accent. Although playing Bond made Connery famous worldwide the actor has less-than-friendly feelings towards the character, being well-known for saying ‘I have always hated that damn James Bond. I’d like to kill him.’
4. Kate Winslet — Titanic
Although Kate Winslet put up a good fight to be cast in smash hit movie Titanic in the first place — writing letters to the director to plead her case for casting, even though she was outside the ideal age range — she now hates to look back on her early role as Rose DeWitt-Bukater. Winslet is very critical of her own performance in the film, saying ‘every single scene, I’m like “Really, really? You did it like that?” Oh my God. Even my American accent, I can’t listen to it. It’s awful. Hopefully it’s so much better now.’
3. Shia LaBeouf — Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
LaBeouf, who has gone from Disney darling to blockbuster megastar to hard-hitting actor, famously told the L.A. Times back in 2010 that he and world renowned director Steven Spielberg ‘dropped the ball’ on Indiana Jones 4. The movie received mixed critiques which were more positive than negative, although – as LaBeouf correctly pointed out – it wasn’t ‘universally accepted’. LaBeouf felt he failed in bringing his character to life. He has, however, since said he regrets the comments. Either way, the Indiana Jones experience combined with critics’ largely negative responses to the Transformers movie franchise, seems to have led LaBeouf off the beaten path: His latest offering, Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’, couldn’t be further from his previous family-friendly blockbusters.
2. Ally Sheedy — The Breakfast Club
Member of the Hollywood Brat Pack Ally Sheedy is at number two, with her dubious feelings towards her performance as introverted outcast Allison in John Hughes classic The Breakfast Club. Although the actress now says that she is glad that she featured in the film, for many years she worried that she would be forever known as the weird girl from The Breakfast Club, and ten years after the film’s release, in trying to break out in her career, despaired as to whether its legacy would ever go away.
1. Robert Pattinson — The Twilight Saga
No matter how much any of the actors and actresses of this list have hated their part in various films, none of them come close to Robert Pattinson’s infamous and genuine loathing towards the Twilight franchise. He has publicly declared that he thinks author of the books, Stephenie Meyer, is ‘completely mad’, and says of his own performance as Edward that ‘the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that’s how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself.’