While every actor dreams of working on film’s and TV shows they love, you’ll struggle to find any big-name performers who haven’t starred in a few duds along the way.
Over the years, actors have become more vocal about the projects they didn’t enjoy working on – whether due to the content of the script, their experience on set or the way the film or show was critically received.
Some wait until filming is over, the project’s been released and any contracts have expired to open up about their dislike of their work. Some on the other hand (here’s looking at you, Robert Pattinson) have no problem with saying exactly how they feel about their worst films, even if they’re still yet to be released.
Here are stars who famously hated their most iconic roles – and the reasons why...
Robert Pattinson has never exactly hid his hatred of Twilight. The actor may have achieved hearththrob status as the fresh-faced, heavily quiffed vampire Edward Cullen in the franchise, but was already saying he’d “mindlessly hate” the films if he wasn’t in them before the franchise was over. “It is weird being part of that – kind of – representing something you don’t particularly like,” he said at the time.
Katherine Heigl – Knocked Up
Playing a woman who gets pregnant after a one night stand, Katherine Heigl starred in this 2007 Judd Apatow comedy opposite Seth Rogen, but admitted in a 2008 interview that she felt the role (and the film itself) was “a little sexist”. “It paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys,” she said. “I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women?” However, she later said that she didn’t completely hate the film, adding: “I just didn’t like me.”
Marlon Brando – A Streetcar Named Desire
Marlon Brando played many an iconic role throughout his career, one being that of Stanley Kowalski in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando had actually already played the role on Broadway and earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, but later admitted that he hated both the character and the sex symbol status it gave him. In his 1994 autobiography, the actor called the character a “Neanderthal” and a “blue-jeaned slobbermouth”.
Jason Segel – How I Met Your Mother
Playing a character on a TV show presents different challenges to film, especially if you end up in a sitcom that lasts nine seasons and more than 200 episodes. This was the challenge faced by Jason Segel when playing Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother, who was well aware that it was the “greatest problem in the world” to have. “When your idol is Peter Sellers, playing one character for eight years isn’t what you’re trying to do,” Segel said in 2010, admitting that he didn’t feel like he had “much more to offer” as Marshall.
Christopher Plummer – The Sound of Music
When Christopher Plummer died earlier this year, many fans looked back on his performance as Von Trapp family patriarch Georg in The Sound of Music as his finest role. However, the actor admitted in a 2011 interview that he considered his turn opposite Julie Andrews in the 1965 movie musical to be one of his toughest roles, namely because “it was so awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humour into it.”
Halle Berry – Catwoman
Not every actor has it in them to go up and accept a Golden Raspberry award (given to the year’s worst films), but Halle Berry was in agreement when she was awarded the prize for Worst Actress for Catwoman in 2006. “I want to thank Warner Bros for giving me the opportunity to take part in this terrible film,” she told the crowds. “This is what my career needed: going from the top to the very bottom.”
Alec Guinness – Star Wars
Alec Guinness famously hated his performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy so much that even doubling his pay didn’t keep him happy. He described George Lucas’s writing as being “rubbish”, adding: “None of it makes my character clear or even bearable.” He also described the filming process as being “tedious to a degree – hot, boring and indecisive”. Yikes...
Faye Dunaway - Mommie Dearest
When Faye Dunaway agreed to play Joan Crawford in the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, she hoped to give viewers a “window into tortured soul”. Instead, she said in a 2016 interview, the film was played as “camp”, with Dunaway worrying that viewers assumed she was like the silver-screen star. “I think it turned my career in a direction where people would irretrievably have the wrong impression of me – and that’s an awful hard thing to beat,” she said. “I should have known better, but sometimes you’re vulnerable and you don’t realise what you’re getting into. It’s unfortunate they felt they had to make that kind of movie.”
Blake Lively – Gossip Girl
Blake Lively made a name for herself playing teenage It girl Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl, a mid-Noughties drama that’s still loved by fans today. However, the actor has previously listed the show as one of her least favourite roles, saying that she found the work “unstimulating” and hated the character and the messages put forward by the show. “People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising,” she admitted in 2015. “You want to be putting a better message out there.” Here’s hoping the Gen Z reboot might get that element a bit more right.
Cher – Burlesque
In 2010 musical Burlesque, Cher made her return to acting to star opposite Christina Aguilera as a woman who runs a (you’ve guess it) burlesque bar. The project was considered something of a critical flop and Cher has been vocal about her dislike of the film, saying that both director Steve Antin and the film’s script were “really terrible” in a 2018 interview. She also lamented the lack of story or romantic plot for her character, adding: “In Burlesque, which was horrible, I had no love interest, I was running this [troupe], that’s who I was… It could have been a much better film. It was always sad that it was not a good film.”