April 26, 2024 | Samantha Henman

15 Actors Who Hated Their Famous Roles


Acting Up

Whether it’s for financial or contractual reasons—or perhaps just a bad experience on set—sometimes an actor ends up in a role that they might not necessarily enjoy. Though they may not always let it show, some actors are all too vocal about the roles that they hated. While there’s some we definitely expected, there are also some serious surprises when it comes to actors who absolutely hated playing these iconic characters.

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Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen

Perhaps no other actor in history has been as disdainful of the role and film franchise that gave them their start then Robert Pattinson. Casting for the Twilight series was hotly anticipated—the books were already beloved. Everyone knew that whoever got cast would be Hollywood’s next big heartthrob.

image of a boy from TwilightRed Letter Media, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Overnight Success

Though Pattinson had already appeared in a blockbuster franchise (Harry Potter), he was unprepared for the attention that The Twilight Saga brought. Luckily, even critics who hated the films appreciated his acting. But when it was all over, Pattinson had a lot to say.

image of Edward & Bella from TwilightRed Letter Media, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Biting The Hand That Feeds You

There are numerous soundbites and interview clips where Pattinson rips apart the Twilight franchise and his character—but this is one of the best. Pattinson once said: “"He's the most ridiculous person...the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy...Plus, he's a 108 year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there”. Ouch.

image of Actor Robert PattinsonAndrea Raffin, Shutterstock

Jamie Lee Curtis/Kelly “Kit” Foster In Virus

After making her name as the original scream queen in Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis enjoyed a blockbuster career in the 80s and 90s, starring in hits like A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies. As the decade came to a close, Curtis was slated to appear in a hotly-anticipated thriller alongside William Baldwin. But it didn’t quite work out as planned…

Image from the film Virus (1999)Universal, Virus (1999)

Regrets, I’ve Had A Few

That movie was called Virus, and it was a total financial flop that was also panned by critics. And Curtis wasn’t exactly surprised by its reception. During the film, she already thought that it was so bad, that she actually tried to get director John Bruno fired.

image of Jamie Lee CurtisFred Duval, Shutterstock

Don’t Hold Back

Curtis agreed with the critics about Virus—saying “It was maybe the only time I’ve known something was just bad and there was nothing I could do about it. It’s an unbelievably bad movie; just bad from the bottom”. It may come as a surprise to her that in the years since its release, it’s gained a cult following—just don’t tell Jamie Lee.

Image from the film Virus with man and womanUniversal, Virus (1999)

Willem Dafoe/Vulko

Willem Dafoe is a Hollywood chameleon, able to work in indie films and blockbusters alike. He’s always had a knack for appearing as stone-cold weirdos, like his characters in Wild at Heart and The Boondock Saints. He also garnered acclaims for his portrayal of the Green Goblin in Spider-Man, so it made sense for him to try another superhero movie. And then Aquaman came along…

Willem Dafoe in Wild At Heart (1990)PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Wild At Heart (1990)

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Dafoe has said that he has trouble lying in interviews—which makes what few things he’s said about his role as Vulko in Aquaman all the more telling. The one thing he said about it? “I think they’re going to make another one. We will see about my involvement in that”. In the same interview, he was asked if he enjoyed the experience—and while he didn’t answer, the interview said his entire demeanor darkened.

image of Willem DafoeDenis Makarenko, Shutterstock

Christopher Plummer/Captain Von Trapp

The Sound of Music is one of the most enduring and beloved films of all time—but not by one of its leads. It turns out that Christopher Plummer didn’t exactly love his experience playing Captain Von Trapp—and what he has to say makes a lot of sense. Plummer said he was “bored” with the character—but that’s not all.

image of a Captain Von TrappRobert Wise Productions, The Sound of Music (1965)

Not His Favorite Thing(s)

Plummer also claimed that The Sound of Music “was so awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it”. He probably thought he was saying “So Long, Farewell,” when filming wrapped—only to have it become one of the most popular movies of all time.

Actor Christopher PlummerRon Adar, Shutterstock

George Clooney/Batman

After the success of Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer’s entries into the Batman franchise, the 1997 Batman & Robin starring George Clooney seemed like it would be a guaranteed hit. Clooney was halfway through his time on the megahit TV show ER and he was a bona fide heartthrob. But then…it all went wrong.

image of BatmanWarner Bros. Batman & Robin (1997)

The Cape Isn’t Easy To Fill

The film flopped—and though Clooney admitted his performance wasn’t great, he refused to shoulder all the blame. Clooney said that the script and direction were also problematic, saying that both the screenwriter and director later admitted their own contributions to its failure. As Clooney shared, “We all whiffed on that one”.

Portrait image of George ClooneyMatteo Chinellato, Shutterstock

Kate Winslet/Rose In Titanic

Kate Winslet’s turn as Rose in 1997’s Titanic was her star-making role, AND it netted her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress at just 22 years old. You’d think that she’d be proud—but not quite.

Image from the popular scene in TitanicTwentieth Century Fox, Titanic (1997)

Hindsight Is 20/20

Winslet doesn’t take umbrage with the quality of the film itself, but instead has looked back with experience and declared that her performance simply wasn’t up to snuff. She doesn’t stand behind the creative choices she made in the role—nor does she think her American accent was particularly good.

image of Rose from TitanicTwentieth Century Fox, Titanic (1997)

Your Own Harshest Critic

Winslet doubled down on the criticism of her own performance, saying that while actors do tend to be too self-critical, when she re-watched Titanic, she found it painful. Winslet said: “I have a hard time watching any of my performances, but watching Titanic, I was just like, ‘Oh God, I want to do that again’”.

image of Kate WinsletFred Duval, Shutterstock

Emilia Clarke/Sarah Connor

Linda Hamilton’s shoes are tough to fill—and Emilia Clarke learned that one the hard way. After the mega-success of Game of Thrones, Clarke hoped to find her footing in film. And what better way than by appeared in the Terminator franchise, which has been pretty stacked with successes? Unfortunately, it wasn’t so easy to make the leap from small screen to big.

Scene from the Film Terminator 2Carolco Pictures, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Under Pressure

Clarke reunited with frequent Game of Thrones collaborator Alan Taylor on Terminator Genisys. However, as director, Taylor didn’t get quite the same treatment from the studio that he did at HBO. Clarke remarked that Taylor was “eaten and chewed up” by the studio on Genisys. 

image from game of thronesHBO, Game Of Thrones (2011–2019)

What A Relief

Taylor wasn’t the only one who had a bad time on set. The terrible vibes trickled down the cast, and Clarke said that it was “miserable” to work on. When the film flopped, Clarke actually confessed that she was relieved—it meant that there was no pressure to make a sequel.

Portrait image of Emilia ClarkeDenis Makarenko, Shutterstock

Mark Wahlberg/Dirk Diggler

Boogie Nights was a breakout hit for director Paul Thomas Anderson and much of the film’s cast. Though Mark Wahlberg’s co-stars, particularly Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds, netted dozens of nominations and awards for their performances, Wahlberg wasn’t so lucky. He ended up nominated for the Stinkers Bad Movie Award for Worst On-Screen Couple, alongside his prosthetic appendage. But that wasn’t his only problem with the movie.

Dirk Diggler in Boogie NightsNew Line Cinema, Boogie Nights (1997)

Critic’s Choice

The awards committees might have ignored Wahlberg—but the critics did not, and many of them praised him for his performance as Dirk Diggler. Rolling Stone called it his breakout role and no less a figure than Gene Siskel said Wahlberg "couldn't be better". However, it was a performance that Wahlberg almost immediately regretted.

Image of Dirk DigglerNew Line Cinema, Boogie Nights (1997)

Better To Ask For Forgiveness Than Permission

Thanks to his commitment to Christianity, Wahlberg worried that God would disapprove of his participation in a film about the adult industry. He said “I’ve made some poor choices in my past. Boogie Nights is up there at the top of the list.”

portrait image of Mark WahlbergTinseltown, Shutterstock

Penn Badgley/Joe In You

Casts of hit teen TV shows don’t always have an easy go of it when their shows end—think of Mischa Barton after The OC or Taylor Kitsch after Friday Night Lights. So, when the show You took off in popularity, it seemed like a win for former Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley. There was just one problem.

Penn Badgley in the film YOUWarner Bros. You (2018–2024)

It Ain’t Easy Being Sleazy

Badgley’s character, Joe, isn’t exactly a hero. Or even really an antihero. After all, he’s a cold-blooded killer—more of a villain than anything. As a result, Badgley has been pretty blunt when it comes to talking about his character, calling Joe “reprehensible”. But all that aside, there’s one particular reason why the character drives him crazy.

image of Penn Badgley wearing hatWarner Bros. You (2018–2024)

Don’t Yuck Their Yum

Badgley is particularly disturbed by the fact that so many fans of the show seem to have developed crushes on his downright-evil character. And considering what happens throughout the seasons of You, we can’t really blame him.

portrait photograph of Penn Badgleylev radin, Shutterstock

Viola Davis/Aibileen Clark In The Help

Viola Davis is an absolute powerhouse in Hollywood. She’s one of only three actors to achieve both the EGOT and the Triple Crown of Acting (Emmy, Oscar, and Tony wins). Her breakthrough in film came in 2008’s Doubt, which netted her an Oscar nom. This was followed up by another critically acclaimed film, The Help—but Davis has her qualms about the film.

Aibileen Clark in the film The HelpDreamWorks, The Help (2011)

Walk A Mile In Her Shoes

Davis got the Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Aibileen Clark in The Help, but when she looked back, she wasn’t satisfied with its portrayal of the film’s Black characters. Davis said “if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”

portrait image of Viola DavisDFree, Shutterstock

Halle Berry/Catwoman

No one can say that Halle Berry isn’t an actress who owns her wins and losses in showbiz. But it wasn’t easy for her to get there. Berry became involved in Catwoman after another project she was excited about was shelved. She hoped that the movie would be a “great chance for a woman of color to be a superhero”. But when she stepped on set, she knew things weren’t right.

close up portrait of CatwomanWarner Bros. Catwoman (2004)

The Plot Thickens

In contrast to the superhero movies that preceded it, Catwoman didn’t really have a plot about saving the world like Superman—or even saving the city like Batman. Instead, it featured a plot where, as Berry put it, Catwoman is “just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off”.

Cat woman walking on the streetWarner Bros. Catwoman (2004)

A Good Sport

Ultimately, the Razzie Awards nominated Halle Berry for her turn as Catwoman—and when she won the award, she actually accepted the award herself, saying “I want to thank Warner Bros for casting me in this […] god-awful movie. It was just what my career needed—I was at the top, now I’m at the bottom”.

Portrait image of  Halle BerryDFree, Shutterstock

Jennifer Lawrence/“Mother” In Mother!

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky was coming off the high of Black Swan and the low of Noah when he began productions on another biblically-inspired film, 2017’s mother! Jennifer Lawrence played the lead, but even her star power couldn’t save it from flopping.

image of Jennifer LawrenceParamount, Mother (2017)

Your Mother!

Though critics seemed to favor mother!, audiences mostly found it confusing—and they were the only ones. When asked how much she understand the plot on a scale of one to “totally confused,” Lawrence replied “Five? …or a four”. But she attributed at least some of that to her, ahem, personal connection to the film.

Jennifer Lawrence with closed eyesParamount, Mother (2017)

Mother Knows Best

Soon after mother! wrapped filming, it came out that Lawrence had started dating director Aronofsky, 22 years her senior. While Lawrence was effusive about Aronofsky during their relationship, she later joked about their year-long romance and the confusing plot of mother!, saying, “Well, I was sleeping with the director, so I had CliffsNotes”.

Portrait of Jennifer LawrenceAndrea Raffin, Shutterstock

Megan Fox/Mikaela Barnes In Transformers

Transformers was something of a surprise hit and a breakout film for stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox—but the whole experience was miserable for Fox, from start to finish. She clashed with director Michael Bay, and later claimed that he made her clean his Ferrari and had her on a tanning and diet regimen.

portrait image of Megan FoxDreamWorks, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Keeping The Wolves At Bay

After starring in two Transformers films, Fox disparaged both Bay and the movies themselves, likening the director to Napoleon and saying “People are well aware that this is not a movie about acting”. Unfortunately, she paid the price for it.

portrait image of Megan FoxDreamWorks, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

My Boss’s Boss

Though she began rehearsals for the third Transformers film, seemingly with Bay’s blessing, but according to Bay, his boss, executive producer Steven Spielberg, demanded that Fox be fired and replaced. Spielberg denies this story, saying they parted ways amicably. Ever since, Fox has had a reputation for being “difficult,” and has had trouble getting cast in films.

image of Megan Fox holding flowersDreamWorks, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Dave Bautista/Drax The Destroyer

Dave Bautista’s prolific wrestling career led him to acting, and he had small parts in a few films and TV shows before being cast as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. It was a huge hit, and fans clamored for a sequel.

image of Drax The DestroyerMarvel, Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Guardians Of The Gunn

When GotG director and MCU mainstay James Gunn got caught up in a Twitter scandal in 2018, Bautista and his castmates stood up for him. Bautista went on to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. But he also branched out…

Comic Character from MarvelMarvel, Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Destroying Drax

Bautista’s fantastic performances led to roles in more critically acclaimed fare like Blade Runner 2049 and Dune. It appeared that more prestige films have seduced Bautista away from the MCU, as he said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will be the last time he appears as Drax—and he didn’t mince words about it.

image of Dave BautistaColumbia Pictures, Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Playing Nice

Bautista made it clear he has no interest in continuing with the character, saying Vol 3 was “going to be the end of Drax”. Later, he clarified that it was all in good fun, joking, "By the time G3 comes out I'll be 54 yrs old for gods [sic] sake! I'm expecting everything to start sagging any second now”.

image of Dave Bautistalev radin, Shutterstock

Zoe Saldana/Gamora

Bautista isn’t the only Guardians of the Galaxy cast member who never expected to spend so much time in their role. Zoe Saldana said that she would no longer play Gamora after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. With so many departures, it seems to set the franchise up for a reboot…

image of GamoraMarvel, Avengers: Infinity War (2018)


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