It’s impossible to hit 1000 in a career. We’re all going to have some misses and some mistakes. Actors are no different than any of us. They take roles that they believe are going to be awesome and they bomb. They do a favor for a fired person in the industry and the film sucks. These things happen all the time. But the film industry is a tricky business. Sometimes, actors are contractually obligated to do films that they despise. These films often confuse us. We see a big-name actor in a terrible movie and we think, how the hell did they get Leonardo DiCaprio in this piece of crap? Whenever you ask yourself that question, the answer is almost always contractual obligation. Sometimes stupidity, but usually obligation.
There are other scenarios, though. Sometimes, the actor believes they’re making something solid but it all goes wonky in post-production. Sometimes, it’s studio interference. Whatever the case is, there are plenty of examples of good actors in bad or questionable roles. We decided to take a look at films that were real dangers to a great actor’s legacy. These films came at a time in the actor’s career that put everything in jeopardy. It’s almost as if the filmmaker hated the actor so much that they set out to crumple the actor’s career. Here are 15 Roles That Were A Slap in the Face of Great Actors.
15. Andy Garcia – Passengers
You may be thinking, where the hell was Andy Garcia in Passengers? Well, if you blinked at the end, fell asleep, or turned off that terrible mess of film, you missed him. He was in the trailer. He was in the big picture for the movie, but he wasn’t really in the final cut. He showed up in the end (presumably as the captain) and looked around in awe, but he never spoke. It was weird, jarring even. Apparently, his part was cut down dramatically when the ending was changed, but why have him at all? Just showing his dumb old face looked silly and felt as if he was only there so they could include him in the trailer and promotional material.
14. Jamie Lee Curtis – Virus
In 1999, Jamie Lee Curtis was somehow suckered into doing a little film called Virus. The filmmakers obviously tried to leverage Curtis’ appeal in horror movies, hoping to cash in on her Scream Queen status. But, as Curtis said of the film, Virus was a “piece of s**t movie.” When asked about it, the legendary actress said it was an “unbelievably bad movie. Just bad from the bottom… It was maybe the only time I’ve known something was just bad and there was nothing I could do about it.” Curtis went on to describe the scene that bothered her the most. When the Scream Queen tells you that something’s not right in a scene, rewrite the scene. “There’s a scene where I’m running away from this alien and I actually hide under the stairs,” she described. “I come down some stairs and then duck underneath them and I’m quivering and this big thing comes down… This is something that can open walls of steel and I’m hiding under stairs.”
13. Everyone – Jonah Hex
There are some great actors in Jonah Hex—Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, and Michael Fassbender. Each of these actors were slapped across the lips with what the filmmakers eventually put on screen. What an embarrassment it was. When asked about his experience, Brolin didn’t hold back, “Oh, ‘Jonah Hex,’ hated it. Hated it,” he said. “The experience of making it — that would have been a better movie based on what we did. As opposed to what ended up happening to it, which is going back and reshooting 66 pages in 12 days and that being… Listen, I understand it’s financiers, you’re trying to save their money and it becomes a financial thing, but if — there’s this thing called revenge trading. And I’m disciplined enough to know you never do it.”
12. Jim Karz – Matilda
Alright, you caught us. Jim Karz is not a great actor nor was he ever even close to being good, but he was slapped in the face by a role. That role was the one that made him kind of famous too, Matilda. Karz played Bruce Bogtrotter in the film, the kid who was forced to eat chocolate cake. Now, first of all, it’s clear that Karz was hired to play the part because he was chubby, so being cast in the first place is a little offensive. He then had to stuff chocolate cake down his throat like a pig. It’s a gross-looking scene. It’s even worse when you watch it knowing that Karz hated chocolate cake. Sure, he could have said no to the role and allowed some other kid to take it, but it is pretty harsh knowing that the only real task the actor had in the film was to devour a food he hated.
11. Mike Myers – Cat In The Hat
While it’s difficult to verify the details because everything is kept so hush-hush in Hollywood, the story about how The Cat in the Hat came to be is this: Tim Allen was set to star in the film, but he had to do Santa Clause 2. During this time, Mike Myers was preparing to do Sprockets, but he was so appalled by the script that he pulled out of it late in the process. This got him in trouble with the studios and they sued him. Eventually, some Hollywood bigwigs stepped in (Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg) to help calm everyone down. They proposed that if Myers did The Cat in the Hat, everyone would be happy. Myers agreed and played ball, but some suggest that he was playing saboteur. While filming, he would hide away from the rest of the cast and would overlook and question everything the director did. In the end, the film made Myers look like a total a*s, so maybe the filmmakers got back at him for being a nuisance.
10. Everyone – Movie 43
Movie 43 has an enormous cast. When you watch the film, you wonder how the heck they managed to nab all those A-listers. Well, they basically guilted them all into it for the most part. None of the actors did any promotional work for the film and all likely regret it. But, what’s done is done. It started with Hugh Jackman. The movie is the brain child of Charles Wessler. He met Jackman at a wedding and convinced him to do a short. After sending Jackman the script, Wessler recalls, “He called me back I think 24 hours later and said, ‘Yeah I wanna do this,’ which I think is, quite frankly, incredibly ballsy. Because you could be made a fool of, or you could look silly, and there will be people who say, ‘That’s crazy; he should never have done it.'” After that, it took four years to complete the film. Jackman and Kate Winslet were used to lure others to the film. So Jackman had four years to regret his decision. When it finally did come out, Jackman had to live with the fact that his character had balls hanging off his chin.
9. Channing Tatum – G.I. Joe
When Channing Tatum started rising through the ranks of Hollywood, he appeared destined for great things. Then his career took a bit of a hit with the questionable decision to appear in G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. Later, when asked about it, Tatum revealed that he had no choice. “Look, I’ll be honest. I f***ing hate that movie. I hate that movie,” he said. “I was pushed into doing that movie. From Coach Carter, they signed me to a three-picture deal … They give you the contract and they go, ‘Three-picture deal, here you go.’ And as a young [actor], you’re like, ‘Oh my god, that sounds amazing, I’m doing that!’ Time goes by and you get other jobs and you’re building your quote and you have a dream job you want to do. And … the studio calls up and they’re like, ‘Hey, we got a movie for you, we’re going to send it to you.’ And they send it to you, and it’s G.I, Joe.” That one film is bad enough. But then Tatum has to do the sequel, which might even be worse. This poor guy wasn’t slapped in the face. He was hit with an uppercut.
8. James Franco – Your Highness
James Franco has gone on record about his displeasure with Your Highness. The final cut of the film almost feels like a giant blooper reel. It doesn’t feel like a real movie. But it is real. Too real. It’s bad enough that Franco had to walk around with a horrible British accent, but he had to do some pretty questionable things, such as kissing and fondling a slimy purple puppet as well. Ew. The whole thing is an embarrassment and a bruise on his career that he will likely carry for the rest of his life.
7. Bill Murray – Garfield
Ever since Zombieland was released, the world has known that Bill Murray regrets taking on the role of Garfield in Garfield. Even though we can’t see his face, we all know Murray’s voice, so there’s no hiding behind the animation. The story of how this union came to be is hilarious. Murray agreed to do the film when he heard that Joel Cohen was writing the script. He took a quick glance at it and said yes. Then, when he started doing work on it, Murray didn’t find the script funny. This is when he realized that Joel Cohen of Cheaper by the Dozen was not Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers and good movies. Murray basically had to rewrite the entire movie, and it still made him look like an a*s in the end.
6. Keanu Reeves – The Watcher
When the film The Watcher came out, everyone felt that something was really off with the picture. The film felt disjointed and strange, and Keanu Reeves, who wasn’t promoting the film or talking about it, was not well-suited to a serial killer role. Well, one year after the film was released, Reeves started talking. He says he was unable to talk poorly about the process for one year for legal reasons, hence the delay. “I never found the script interesting, but a friend of mine forged my signature on the agreement,” he said. “I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film.” Reeves was also misled into thinking that his part was a minor role. Instead, he was the main antagonist. Reeves, fresh out of a career resurgence with The Matrix, earned a Razzie nomination for a film he never wanted to take part in the following year.
5. Gary Oldman – Tiptoes
When you look at Gary Oldman‘s phenomenal career and resume, there is one giant black mark on it in the name of Tiptoes. In this mind-boggling film, Oldman plays a little person. He got down on his knees and put shoes on his kneecaps. It’s about the strangest thing ever. Why would he do this? Why would Peter Dinklage co-star in the film? Well, according to Dinklage, the script and the original plan was quite moving. But then, things changed. The director was fired, and the film was recut. The results were horrifying. “It was sort of an amazing idea for a movie, but the result [of the new cut] was what we were fighting against—the cutesiness of little people,” Dinklage said.
4. Ben Kingsley – The Love Guru
We may never know what possessed Ben Kingsley to play Guru Tugginmypudha in The Love Guru, but he did it. While many point to this film as the one that did Mike Myers’ career in, Kingsley should consider himself lucky. He gained wide acclaim playing Mohandas Gandhi in Gandhi, a film that made Hindus proud. Years later, he takes on the in The Love Guru and makes Hindus cry. Now, we’re not saying it’s all the filmmakers’ fault. Kingsley has to take some responsibility for the bad choices he made, but this piece was super offensive. Someone should have taken a look and thought, maybe we shouldn’t totally mock this culture.
3. Michael Caine – Jaws: The Revenge
Michael Caine‘s appearance in Jaws: The Revenge has been talked about a lot over the years. He is often quoted about not having seen the film, but it paid for his house. That’s funny, but we want to tell another one. Caine first signed onto the film because he like the script. He had said, “It is part of movie history… the original was one of the great all-time thrillers. I thought it might be nice to be mixed up with that. I liked the script very much.” But it was early on that Caine saw problems, and the shoot was troublesome. Still, one of the true acts of professionalism took place on that set. While the Academy Awards were going on, the Jaws team were shooting in the Bahamas. Caine, who was nominated for and won an award for his performance in Hannah and Her Sisters, could not attend the ceremony because he was committed to a film that would earn him a Razzie Award the following year. That’s a good man. But seriously, if we were the Jaws filmmakers, we would have given Caine a small holiday to receive his award in person. A thank you for being in our terrible film.
2. Peter Sellers – The Fiendish Plot Of Dr. Fr Manchu
Peter Sellers is one of cinema’s real legends. He made movies in four different decades and is considered by many to be the greatest comedian of all time. Sadly, his last film, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fr Manchu, was a disaster. Even before the script was finished, two directors had been fired. In the end, Sellers, even in failing health, had to complete the reshoots himself. He would die before the film was even released. Thankfully, he never had to read or hear about how the film was panned by nearly everyone who saw it. The dreadful yellowface, the laughless script—it was awful. Though nothing could tarnish Sellers’ legacy, this film sure came close.
1. Joan Crawford – Trog
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting down and watching Trog, the B-movie that would prove to be the great Joan Crawford’s final film, you know what we’re talking about when we say that this was both a slap in the face to Crawford and a helping hand. Even though the film is laughably bad, Trog is actually quite enjoyable. At the time Trog was made, Crawford was not acting much, but the film showed fans that she had not lost her ability. Though it made her look silly and probably helped inspire her to retreat into seclusion until her death, her performance in Trog was pretty good. Still, the overall silliness of the film did not help Crawford’s image at the time even if, years later, it may have.
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