From rough scripts to actors getting typecast for taking the same role over and over, even these A-listers have their regrets. You’ll find members of the golden era of movies as well as shiny new stars.
Christopher Plummer — “The Sound of Music”
During a roundtable interview with “The Hollywood Reporter,” Christopher Plummer called this classic 1965 musical awful, sentimental, and gooey. As Captain Von Trapp, he found all aspects of making the film unpleasant, with the exception of working with Julie Andrews.
He even avoided using the name, calling it “that movie,” “S&M,” or “The Sound of Mucus.” He told “The Boston Globe” that they (the actor and the crew) did as much as they could to make the character of Captain Von Trapp interesting, but it just didn't work out for him. He is, however, still somewhat proud of the movie.
Halle Berry — “Catwoman”
Halle Berry isn't the only one who thought that she could have chosen a better role for 2004 than the Batman spin-off “Catwoman.” See, for instance, everyone who watched the film, everybody who worked on the film, and everybody who voted for the movie at the Razzies.
Nothing in the movie worked, but Berry's performance was at the top of the list when it came to bad elements. It powered through the Razzies, “winning” worst picture, worst actress, worst director, and worst screenplay. Berry accepted her Razzie in person, stating that “winning” was exactly what her career needed – it kept her humble.
Kate Winslet — “Titanic”
You're probably asking yourself how Kate Winslet could have anything negative to say about a movie that broke all sorts of records and made Winslet a household name. However, even in this iconic and near-perfect movie, the main actress wishes she could have done something better. Specifically, it was her American accent, which she went on record saying was awful in every scene she spoke.
In addition, she wishes she hadn't let so much of her appear on-screen during the “draw me like one of your French girls” scene. She stated that she was young dumb and wanted to prove her worth.
Carrie Fisher — the “Star Wars” Series
During her interesting life, Carrie Fisher was nothing if not candid, especially about her roles in the famous “Star Wars” movies. In particular, she has some not-so-nice things to say about the infamous metal bikini she wore in “Return of the Jedi.”
The outfit was famously skimpy, and according to Fisher, if you stood behind her and looked down, you could see, quote, all the way to Florida. She's also said if she knew how famous the movies would become, she would have turned it down. She also warned her spiritual successor Daisy Ridley to be wary of any costume choices.
Sting — “Dune”
Musician Sting has gone on record saying that the only reason he joined the cast of “Dune,” the 1984 film based on the classic science fiction novel, was that he wanted to work with director David Lynch. It was an enormous movie with a lot of very strange choices (see, for instance, the infamous bikini) and is still now a watchword for turning sprawling fantasy epics into movies – it's tough.
Despite Sting's desire to work with Lynch, he also realized how huge the movie was, how much work it was, and how difficult it would be to fulfill his end of the bargain. Still, Sting manfully finished the film.
Viola Davis — “The Help”
“The Help” was met with critical acclaim, and Viola Davis got an Oscar nomination for her performance as a 1960s housemaid. However, recent events have prompted people to analyze the movie again, including Viola Davis herself.
The movie is certainly entertaining, but Davis feels that it didn't actually tell enough of the truth. It was showing what it was like for people living like the character she played, but it seems more like an academic lesson than something that was actually about the people.
Jessica Alba — “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”
Jessica Alba appeared as Susan Storm, the invisible woman, in two films. While the first, “Fantastic Four,” was positive, she didn't enjoy the sequel as much. The bad taste in her mouth was, according to her, because it seemed like the director was just interested in her looking pretty – insulting, especially for an actress that was as capable as Alba.
In fact, the entire experience was so poor for Alba that she considered giving up acting for good after the film but decided to stick with it, going on to make much more, such as “The Eye.”
Burt Reynolds — “Boogie Nights”
Burt Reynolds' single Oscar nomination came from Paul Thomas Anderson's “Boogie Nights.” However, this famous actor doesn't have much positive to say about the movie, saying in an interview with Conan O'Brien that it just wasn't his kind of film.
It took the producers approaching him for the role a total of eight times before he finally said yes. He didn't win the Oscar, but he did get plenty of other hardware for his acting in this popcorn flick. He also had some criticism of director Paul Thomas Anderson, calling the work unoriginal. In fact, he seemed to have hated Anderson and flatly refused to work with him on “Magnolia.”
Sylvester Stallone — “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot”
Stallone is famous for his role of Rocky the boxer and plenty of other great parts, but “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” is definitely not one of his better choices.
Plenty of other people agreed – he won a Golden Razzie for Worst Actor. He's gone on record saying that the film is maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system, including productions from other planets.
Arnold Schwarzenegger — “Red Sonja”
The big muscle man who told everyone he would be back in the “Terminator” movies has been in lots of schlocky action flicks, but few of them are worse than “Red Sonja.”
Arnold had gone on record saying that it was the worst film he had ever made and that when he was a father of young children, he would threaten the tots with having to watch the movie if they misbehaved. Apparently, they didn't act up too much. The film was nominated for three Razzies and won one, which was Worst New Star, won by Brigitte Nielson.
Marlon Brando — “A Streetcar Named Desire”
For the movies that launch actors and actresses to stardom, one of the most famous was “A Streetcar Named Desire.” As soon as the movie hit screens, Marlon Brando was a star, and he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. However, he told “Time” that he detested his character.
Well, he's probably grateful for how much the movie did for his career. And the movie itself was a massive hit – it earned millions, has gotten a place in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, and has been buried in praise from Roger Ebert and Rotten Tomatoes to Woody Allen.
Katherine Heigl — “Knocked Up”
Heigl is pretty well known for having opinions about the roles she takes on. One part that she does not have a good opinion of is “Knocked Up.” The film has her appearing as an up-and-coming reporter that finds herself in a family way thanks to Seth Rogan's character.
It's one of the actress's biggest regrets when it came to films. Still, the film did plenty well – grossing over two hundred million against a budget of thirty million. Heigl has said that the film made women seem humorless and uptight, while men appeared goofy and fun-loving.
Harrison Ford — the “Star Wars” Series
Harrison Ford didn't hate his role in the “Star Wars” series – he embodied the lovable rogue so much that he's still basically a stereotype when it comes to that kind of character. However, after the first movie, it was pretty much assured that Ford was going to have a long and successful career in Hollywood, and he was itching to get started.
He thought that his character should have died at both the end of both “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi.” He was quite glad when the series ended (you know, the first time it ended) after asking George Lucas to kill the character off several times.
Sean Connery — “Dr. No” and the Bond Series
There are lots of examples of actors and actresses disliking for one reason or another the role that made them famous. One such example is Sean Connery and his famous James Bond character.
He starred in a total of eight Bond films, starting with “Dr. No” in 1962 and concluding with “Never Say Never Again” in 1983. However, he was getting fed up with the character and the series, despite it being the big reason anyone knows his name today. According to an interview with “The Observer,” he had always hated the role.
Michelle Pfeiffer — “Grease 2”
“Grease” broke big ground when it came to the box office. It began in earnest the careers of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and earned almost four hundred million dollars at the box office. The sequel, on the other hand, did none of those things and almost buried Michelle Pfeiffer before she could get her feet under her.
When the movie came out in 1982, it was a flop, earning a mere fifteen million. Pfeiffer, the leading lady, said that she hated the movie with every fiber of her being and couldn't believe how bad it was – but she was young, desperate for roles, and didn't know any better.
George Clooney — “Batman & Robin”
It shouldn't really come as a surprise that Clooney regrets his involvement in this superhero stinker. Past comic book movies were nowhere near the force they are today, but they had been growing thanks to the Batman movies. This one, however, put the kibosh on the industry.
It's amazing the movie came out in 1997 – it looks like it was made in 1990. Clooney told “Total Film Magazine” in 2011 that it was not a good movie and that, in the end, it was hard to actually act well in it just because of how poorly it was put together.
Matt Damon — “The Bourne Ultimatum”
Damon went from a pretty-boy actor to serious action star thanks to the Bourne series. While the first two movies were good experiences for him and helped seal him into the role, he ended up hating the third and final film in the trilogy.
The script was something of a mess, according to him – quote, really embarrassing. He thought the movie was going to be so bad that it would be a career-ender for him. Thankfully that wasn't the case, and while the movie paled in comparison to the first two, it still ended up doing well enough.
Harrison Ford — “Blade Runner”
It's common that big, famous movies had contentious sets or tough productions, and the neo-noir science-fiction film “Blade Runner” is no exception. Harrison Ford, who has been in dozens of movies and is on this list more than once, said that it was rough working on this famous film.
He and director Ridley Scott butted heads during the filming. Ford was confused by a lot of the choices for the film, primarily the voice narration. He was taken aback by the narration and quality of it. It turns out that financiers rewrote the narration so that nobody got lost.
Alec Guinness — the “Star Wars” Series
Alec Guinness didn't have many good things to say about the big sci-fi series he was a part of near the end of his life. He not only called it rubbish – fairytale rubbish – but also said that the writing and lines were so bad that he could barely go on acting with them.
He tossed out fan mail from fans of the series unopened. He was tired of being known as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Once when a young fan asked him for an autograph, he gave it on the condition that the young fan never watch the movies again.
George Reeves — “Superman”
Most of us recall a different Reeve(s) as the big blue boy scout, but George appeared in “Adventures of Superman,” a TV show running from 1952 to 1958. Apparently, this strong actor felt that the role was silly and beneath him.
However, it wasn't because of the subject material – it was because of the format. He thought that TV was unimportant and that few people would see his work. In just a few years, every home had a television, but since he was hired in 1950, he didn't have that knowledge. He did get the chance to appear as the Last Son of Krypton in a few feature films, too.
Sharon Stone — “Basic Instinct”
We're going to be talking about a specific scene from this tense thriller. Really, a specific shot. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you know which one it is. If you don't know which one it is, go finish your homework. The shot angered Stone, who thought it would be unseen or just innuendo.
When she watched it at the premiere, however, she found herself revealed without her knowledge or consent. After the showing was over, she went over and slapped the director, who had pushed for the scene to be shot that way.
John Cusack — “Better Off Dead”
“Better Off Dead” wasn't a critical or commercial success when it came out in 1985, but it's since reached a cult-like status. The surrealist teen black comedy genre isn't exactly bursting with choices, so there are some people out there that really appreciate it. John Cusack, the lead actor, isn't one of them.
During the first screening, he stood up and walked out, but not before confronting the director. He told the director, Savage Steve Holland, that it was definitely the worst thing he had ever seen, that he will never trust the director with another project, and that the director should never try to speak with him again.
Woody Allen — “Manhattan”
Woody Allen is the neurotic king of New York movies, but even he has put out some movies he isn't proud of. His 1979 film “Manhattan” was well-received by critics and the movie-going public, but he ended up not being much of a fan.
He told “Associated Press” that the script was too preachy and self-righteous. When he saw the finished project, he decided he wasn't all that crazy about it. He still remembers it as a disappointment. Such is the way of the artist. If he ever has the chance to redo it, step one would be to rewrite the script.
Emilia Clarke in “Terminator Genisys”
Clarke is famous as the bloodthirsty queen Daenerys Targaryen. While the end of that show is particularly contentious, Clarke enjoyed her time during the entire process. She's now found her way to plenty of shows and movies and doesn't have many regrets except for “Terminator Genisys.”
The 2015 movie had poor directing, according to her. She's also gone on record saying that the mood on the set was always tense. Filming the role was difficult and unpleasant. The finished project was nothing much to speak of, either, meaning she went through all that for not all that much.
Molly Ringwald — “The Breakfast Club”
In 2018, Molly Ringwald wrote an article for “The New Yorker,” looking at her own films and the roles they played in creating the culture of graphic, R-rated content.
Apparently, her daughter had wanted to watch her 1985 film “The Breakfast Club,” but Ringwald was hesitant due to the more intimate scenes. While the movie was a big hit and an important part of the eighties movie culture, Ringwald says that she felt compelled to look into the roles that certain movies have played in our culture and what they could now mean.
Alec Baldwin — “Rock of Ages”
It only took a week into filming the 2012 musical comedy “Rock of Ages” for Alec Baldwin to realize he was wrong for his role. He played Dennis Dupree, a club owner who is desperate to save his club from bad tax debt.
Baldwin still deeply regrets his involvement in the movie. Regret seems to be a pretty good way to describe the movie as a whole since it ended up being a box-office bomb, accruing a total of only sixty million in ticket sales against a budget of seventy-five million. It still managed to have the seventh-highest opening ever for a musical, which really tells you something.
Dev Patel — “The Last Airbender”
Dev Patel isn't the only one who hated “The Last Airbender,” the movie version of the famous “Avatar: The Last Airbender” cartoon from Nickelodeon. The movie had famous director M. Night Shyamalan and was filmed for 3D, but nothing turned out well.
In addition, Patel said that while he was acting as Prince Zuko, he felt like his voice wasn't being heard, and when he watched himself at the premiere, it felt like there was a stranger on the screen. The whole experience was so bad that it forced Patel to lose faith in big-budget movies. He's still done some bigger films, but most of his work now is independent.
Bill Murray — “Garfield”
Bill Murray has been in all sorts of movies, so him lending his voice as the famously acerbic cat for the live-action “Garfield” movies wasn't all that spectacular. Murray agreed to the project because the movie was written by Joel Coen, a veteran filmmaker and one-half of the Coen brothers, responsible for famous flicks like “Fargo.”
However, it was only after signing on that he realized the film was actually written by Joel Cohen. While Cohen was still a veteran filmmaker, it was for movies such as “Cheaper by the Dozen.” Murray has been vocal about his experience, including in the film “Zombieland.”
Edward Norton — “The Italian Job”
Alongside a passel of other A-list actors, Edward Norton got a part in the remake of the legendary humorous crime film from 1969. However, Norton never actually wanted the role – his five-year contract with Paramount Pictures basically said that he would take the part of Steve Frazelli in the 2003 remake, or he would be sued.
He really had no choice, and to his credit, he delivered a well-regarded performance despite hating having to be part of the movie. The movie itself received largely positive reviews thanks to the action, performances, and humor.
Ben Affleck — “Daredevil”
Despite how much some fans were looking forward to it, not many people ended up liking the 2003 “Daredevil” movie. One of the biggest reasons was Affleck's acting in the film.
There's a pretty easy reason why – Affleck hated every second of it. He's even said on record that, at the time of the interview, the film was his only career regret. He resolved to do right by the comic book community, leading him to audition for the role of Bruce Wayne and Batman. He certainly did better there, despite those films not being regarded as much better. At least we got the television show, fellow Daredevil fans.
Nicole Kidman — “Australia”
Alongside fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman played in the 2008 film “Australia,” an adventure drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film itself received mixed reviews and succeeded at the box office, but Kidman wasn't fond of her work on the film, openly admitting that her performance wasn't very good.
She's also said that she wishes she had never auditioned for the role, saying that it was impossible for her to connect with it on an emotional level. Some reviewers praised Kidman, though many ultimately agreed with her – her character was thin and pale compared to some others, being more melodramatic than dramatic.
Jennette McCurdy — Almost Anything
She got plenty of eyes on her thanks to her role on “iCarly,” but this young actress has decided to pretty much quit acting. She's been embarrassed by most of her roles, but it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
She apparently auditioned for the lead in “Because of Winn-Dixie,” but her agent told her they wanted an ethereal beauty, and Jennette reads as homely. Her agent said that! McCurdy has now decided to switch to directing and hasn't broken out just yet, but we're rooting for her. No doubt, before long, she'll be able to get some success under her belt.
The Marx Brothers — “The Cocoanuts”
This famous comedy group's first film, while massively successful, was an embarrassment for the bros. It led to many more, and much better, Marx Brothers projects. Groucho has said of the two directors of “The Cocoanuts,” one didn't understand English and the other didn't understand comedy.
Groucho and his siblings tried to buy the film from the distributor to prevent its release but were unsuccessful. Groucho also wasn't a fan of their final film, “Love Happy,” calling it terrible and not even mentioning it in his autobiography. As far as Groucho was concerned, the final Marx Brothers film was “A Night in Casablanca.”
Idris Elba — “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”
From the very beginning of working on the “Ghost Rider” sequel, Idris Elba knew that the film was trash. Elba has been on lots of cool projects, including being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he still knows trash when he sees it.
The movie did okay at the box office, but critical reception was nowhere near as good – the movie has settled at a Rotten Tomatoes rating of eighteen percent. Was this weird part of the Marvel comic book universe just another paycheck for Elba? No – he joined the project for one reason and one reason only: to meet and work with Nicolas Cage.
Zoe Saldana — “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”
Despite how outrageously popular and well-received the PotC movies are, there are still some issues. Zoe Saldana appeared in the first movie as a member of Captain Jack Sparrow's crew, the only female pirate aside from, technically, Elizabeth Swann. However, her character disappeared between films.
Saldana has stated that she didn't have any fun making the film, and she wasn't treated very well by the filmmakers. She was little more than an extra, and due to the huge number required, none of them were treated very well either. She got the last laugh, however, appearing in three of the five top-grossing movies in the world.
Michael J. Fox — “Teen Wolf”
During a break in filming for his popular television show “Family Ties,” Fox decided to try out for more films. 1985 saw the release of “Back to the Future” as well as “Teen Wolf,” but while the latter has retained cult status and was a success, Fox wasn't very happy with the finished product.
The shoot was just quick enough to fit into a shooting brake for his show. Fox refused to do the sequel, which ended up causing a lot of problems since he was the title character. To get past this issue, the sequel cast Jason Bateman as the same character – thankfully, they looked similar enough.
Courtney Love — “Straight to Hell”
Courtney Love is best known as a musician and as part of Kurt Cobain's life, but she's done a bit of acting, too. However, she'd be plenty happy if you thought that her first film was “Sid & Nancy.” The first film she was ever in was actually “Straight to Hell,” which came out in 1987.
It was an affectionate parody of spaghetti Westerns and starred lots of punk rockers. They filmed it after their tour was canceled. When asked about the film, Love laughed and said that nobody should see it. Everybody who's seen the film agrees – it was one of the worst films of the year. Grace Jones was in it, too, weirdly.
Faye Dunaway — “Mommie Dearest”
There are a lot of reasons Dunaway regrets appearing in this 1981 film adaptation of the 1978 memoir. To her, it felt like a one-sided account of the events since scenes that explained some of Joan Crawford's actions had been cut, turning her into a deranged cartoon character.
She also wasn't happy with Frank Perry's direction and the way the film was marketed. Dunaway also felt like she couldn't shake the presence of Crawford at the end of each shooting day. With all of these things combined, Dunaway is reluctant to speak about her time on the film with anyone.
Robert Pattinson — the “Twilight” Series
This bunch of vampire romance movies has plenty of detractors (and for good reason), and one of the most vocal is none other than the main male lead. He's gone on record stating that he hates his character and has also called Stephanie Meyer insane.
He was on his way up when he joined the cast, but his career has stagnated somewhat ever since. It seems the other lead, Kirsten Stewart, isn't overly fond of movies either. It's possible to find pictures of her looking bored to the point of exhaustion while at the premiere of the final movie.
Jared Padalecki — “New York Minute”
Starring the Olsen twins and Eugene Levy, this is the film that brought the twins back down to Earth. It was savaged by critics and performed terribly at the box office.
Actor Padalecki, one of the male leads, denounced his role in the film, although he does it mostly in jest. However, he has said that out of all his work, it's the one thing he would erase from his resume if he could. Even the Olsen twins have said that they acted in the film purely for contractual obligations, and it was to their detriment. It was the last film they were in.
Christopher Lee — “Dracula”
It was the film that made him a historic horror icon, but after years of making the legendary vampire his, Lee disowned the name Dracula. He was increasingly typecast as monsters and wanted to expand his roles.
One of the biggest reasons, according to Lee, was that Hammer Film – the company behind the schlocky horror films like “Dracula” – refused to pay him what he was worth. They essentially guilt-tripped him by saying they couldn't pay him anymore, or all the crew members that Lee appreciated so much would be out of a job. It's no surprise he turned his back on the character.
Orson Welles — “Citizen Kane”
This movie has been voted “the best movie ever made” numerous times, but during Welles's life, he started to get more and more annoyed with the movie. He never hated it – in fact, he said it was so good because no executives ever tried to meddle with it – but people thought it was his only success.
It made it difficult for him to get funding on new projects, and it became the only thing that people wanted to talk to him about. He considered his later films “The Trial” and “Chimes at Midnight” to be much better films.
Jerry Lewis — “The Day the Clown Cried”
You haven't seen this film. Maybe you've watched a lot of movies, but you haven't seen this. Nobody, except for a few people, including Lewis himself, has seen this movie.
It features Lewis as an inept German clown during World War II. He ends up entertaining the people on the other side of the fence – i.e., the Jewish prisoners. Lewis had his own VHS copy locked away, but a few years before he passed, he donated a print to the Library of Congress, so we may have the chance in the future.
Jeremy Renner — “The Avengers”
None of the principal actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are upset about where the series has ended (or, at least, reached), but Renner was unhappy with the first big crossover film. According to him, he was led to believe that Hawkeye would have a much bigger role and more characterization in the film.
Eventually, he joked that he wouldn't have minded much with Hawkeye getting killed. The character went on to get much heavier parts and a lot more characterization in the later Avengers films, so Renner is happy he stuck with it. Hard not to be happy when the series is the most successful thing in movies ever.
Ryan Reynolds — “Green Lantern”
Both lead actor Reynolds and director Martin Campbell dislike this addition to the DC Comics movie universe. Reynolds has stated that he is unlikely to do any other movies as the character. The biggest thing to Reynolds was the editing, which ended up removing lots of parts that would have made the movie much stronger.
Reynolds hates the movie so much that he not only got a line bashing it in “Deadpool,” but a line bashing it in the TRAILER to “Deadpool.” The end of “Deadpool 2” even has Deadpool going back in time specifically to kill Ryan Reynolds, the actor, in order to stop him from making “Green Lantern,” as well as the twisted version of Deadpool from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Richard Beymer — “West Side Story”
Richard Beymer played Tony in the film version of this famous musical, but he wasn't happy with how his performance came out. He wanted to play Tony rougher and tougher, like how an actual street kid in a gang might act, but the director made him act like the nicest guy on the west side.
Beymer didn't feel like the character was genuine, and he had trouble saying some of his lines with a straight face, especially the romantic ones. It ended up being his most famous role, but he walked out of the London premiere of the film.
Charlize Theron — “Reindeer Games”
When Theron signed on to play the female lead in this Christmas-themed action movie, she had no reason to think it would be anything better than a stupid, schlocky film to laugh at with friends.
Indeed, the film sank at the box office, bringing in a little over thirty-two million against a forty-two million budget. So, why would Theron, who knows a good or bad project when she sees it, join this film? She really only wanted to work with director John Frankenheimer. And since she knew that it was a bad film right out of the gate, she probably got to have some fun with it.
Andrew Garfield — “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Thanks to a huge amount of executive meddling, Garfield isn't a fan of this spider sequel. However, the film's lead loved the original script, and he thought that if the movie had stuck to it, the critics and viewers would have received it much better.
A Sony email hack revealed that the then-head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige and Marvel Entertainment Alan Fine didn't anticipate the movie doing very well, including outright predicting the problems that people did ultimately find with the movie. Sally Field even said that taking the role of Aunt May was a favor to her friend, producer Laura Ziskin.
Sean Penn — “The Tree of Life”
Famous actor Sean Penn got second-billing on the famous Terrence Malick film “The Tree of Life,” but he barely appeared at all in the film. He felt that the movie could have used a clearer narrative and that a lot of the emotional weight the original script had was lost during filming and editing.
This film was quite divisive, with lots of people wondering why the tense fifties family drama had to be broken up by shots of the world beginning and dinosaurs roaming the landscape. Penn appears heavily at the start and end of the film, but most of the narrative is when his character was a child.