Actors Alec Guinness and Mark Hamill on the set of 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.'

50 times actors hated their own movies

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January 5, 2021
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50 times actors hated their own movies

Actors and actresses have the unique gift of being able to embody characters who exist in a film universe that looks nothing like their own. Sometimes, however, not all creative ventures are pleasant ones, and the finished product isn't always great. Thespians have to conceal their personal distaste for a film they star in, perhaps only admitting their unfavorable opinions about the project in interviews years after its release.

The reasons that Hollywood A-listers have detested their own work have varied widely. With "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," Channing Tatum was roped into a studio contract. Mark Wahlberg found the premise of "The Happening" silly and the material low-quality. Zac Efron came to resent the shadow his iconic role in "High School Musical" cast over his career.

Stacker compiled a list of 50 times actors hated their own films by sourcing and linking direct interview quotes from various media outlets over the years. In order to qualify for this list, actors had to have given a quote specifically saying that they disliked the movie they starred in—indirect testimonies or anonymous sources stating their opinions were not eligible. We also ensured that each actor featured on the list played a significant role within the movie they're discussing, rather than simply acting as an extra or someone vaguely involved with its production. The list spans 52 years, providing a diverse pool of actors and genres that surveys film's rich history and cultural impact over the previous century and into this one.

Sit back and enjoy some Hollywood gossip, from Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp in 1965's "The Sound of Music" to Jennifer Lawrence as Mother in 2017's "Mother!," as we look at 50 times actors hated their own movies.

The Sound of Music (1965)

This Oscar-winning musical may be beloved by millions, but Christopher Plummer (who played Captain von Trapp) never believed the hype. The actor reportedly referred to it as "The Sound of Mucus" in 1966, and in 2011, he told The Hollywood Reporter, "It was so awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it."

Star Wars (1977)

After a legendary acting career, English actor Alec Guinness didn't have the same awestruck reaction to being in "Star Wars" that many actors involved with the franchise do now. He expressed regret at taking the role in his book "A Positively Final Appearance" and even agreed to give a young "Star Wars" fan an autograph on the condition that the boy never watch the film again.

Blade Runner (1982)

Although the landmark sci-fi film "Blade Runner" features one of Harrison Ford's most famous roles (to which he returned for 2017's "Blade Runner 2049"), he doesn't have super-favorable feelings about Ridley Scott's movie. "I didn't like the movie one way or the other, with or without," Ford admitted in 1999. "In terms of how I related to the material, I found it very difficult."

Grease 2 (1982)

Although Michelle Pfeiffer is a three-time Oscar nominee, she still has a few regrets about her acting resume—particularly her early role as Stephanie in the musical sequel "Grease 2." "I hated that film with a vengeance and could not believe how bad it was," the actress said in a 2007 interview with "At the time, I was young and didn't know any better."

Back to the Future (1985)

Crispin Glover, who portrayed Marty McFly's dad George in "Back to the Future," didn't like how things ended for the family. He told director Robert Zemeckis, "I think if the characters have money, if our characters are rich, it's a bad message," according to a 2012 interview with The A.V. Club. "That reward should not be there."

Newsies (1992)

The New York-set musical "Newsies" eventually became a cult favorite, but star Christian Bale didn't love the commercial flop. "At 17, you want to be taken seriously—you don't want to be doing a musical," he said in a 2007 Entertainment Weekly interview. "Time healed those wounds. But it took a while."

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (2004)

In the underperforming action comedy, Sylvester Stallone played a cop who takes his mom along after she accidentally witnesses a series of murders. Stallone later told Ain't It Cool News that the movie was "maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system, including alien productions we've never seen."

Batman and Robin (1997)

Critics and fans alike haven't been kind to the campy 1997 sequel "Batman and Robin," and although star George Clooney appreciates how it impacted his career, he also isn't particularly happy with it. "'Batman' is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it," he told Total Film in 2011. "I don't know what I could have done differently."

The Devil's Own (1997)

Before his 1997 thriller "The Devil's Own" even hit theaters, Brad Pitt panned it during an interview with Newsweek. "We had no script," the actor said. "... It was the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking—if you can even call it that—that I've ever seen."

Titanic (1997)

Kate Winslet doesn't seem to hate "Titanic" so much as she hates her breakout performance in it. "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," the actress said in a 2012 Telegraph interview.

Reindeer Games (2000)

Oscar-winner Charlize Theron will openly admit that her 2000 thriller "Reindeer Games" (in which she plays a woman who falls in love with a prison inmate penpal) is bad. "That was a bad, bad, bad movie," Theron admitted in a 2008 interview with Esquire. "But even though the movie might suck, I got to work with [director] John Frankenheimer. I wasn't lying to myself—that's why I did it."

Glitter (2001)

Mariah Carey, who starred in "Glitter," didn't enjoy the film's impact on her career. "It was a horrible couple of years," she told Andy Cohen on a 2013 episode of "Watch What Happens Live." "And I had to get my momentum back for people to let it go."

Shallow Hal (2001)

The Gwyneth Paltrow-led comedy "Shallow Hal" hasn't held up well, especially due to its fatphobic attitude toward its protagonist. Paltrow eventually told Netflix that the movie was a "disaster," adding that she felt especially bad while wearing a fat suit for it. "For some reason, the clothes they make for women that are overweight are horrible. I felt humiliated because people were really dismissive."

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

British actress Miriam Margolyes, who plays Hogwarts teacher Professor Sprout, isn't the biggest "Harry Potter" fan. While filming a Cameo birthday message in which she introduced herself as the character, she said, "I've never seen a film, I've never seen the books, I've never read them. I just pocket the money when it comes in, and I'm very grateful for it."

Daredevil (2003)

In a 2016 TimesTalk interview, Ben Affleck revealed that his disdain for his 2003 film "Daredevil" inspired him to later play Batman in a series of DC films. "Part of it was I wanted for once to get one of these movies and do it right—to do a good version," the actor said. "I hate 'Daredevil' so much."

From Justin to Kelly (2003)

Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson led this rom-com musical after becoming the respective runner-up and winner of the first season of "American Idol." However, Guarini later called the movie "abysmal" in a 2013 episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?," although he added that he enjoyed making it.

Love Actually (2003)

"Love Actually" has become a beloved Christmas rom-com, yet star Andrew Lincoln still has sour feelings about his character, Mark, as he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. "In one of the most romantic movies of all time, I got to play the only guy who doesn't get the girl. ... I got to be this weird stalker guy."

Alfie (2004)

Jude Law took over Michael Caine's title character in the 2004 "Alfie" reboot, but the movie ultimately received lukewarm reviews and low box-office returns. The actor owned up to its poor quality at 2007's Venice Film Festival, saying, "When I was approached originally to work on the new version of 'Alfie,' it seemed like a brilliant idea because the original was so successful. But from my point of view, it didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to."

Catwoman (2004)

The 2004 movie "Catwoman" received notoriously bad reviews, and star Halle Berry certainly agrees with critics. "I want to thank Warner Bros. for casting me in this piece-of-s---, god-awful movie," she said when accepting her 2005 Razzie Award for worst actress. "It was just what my career needed—I was at the top, now I'm at the bottom."

Stealth (2005)

While promoting his 2007 movie "The Kingdom," Jamie Foxx admitted that he felt inclined to lie about the quality of his forgettable 2005 military sci-fi film "Stealth." "Sometimes you do a movie and you have to go promote it, so on 'Stealth' I was like, 'Yeah this is the greatest.' And people would see me after seeing the movie and say, 'I can't believe you lied to me like that,'" Foxx explained to

High School Musical (2006)

"High School Musical'' protagonist Troy Bolton was an important character in many people's childhoods, but in a 2016 interview with Men's Journal, actor Zac Efron noted that he sometimes resents the character for casting such a large shadow over his professional reputation. "I step back and look at myself, and I still want to kick that guy's a-- sometimes," he said. "He's done some kind of cool things with some cool people—he did that one thing that was funny—but, I mean, he's still just that f---ing kid from 'High School Musical.'"

Miami Vice (2006)

"Miami Vice" star Colin Farell agreed with critics of the 2006 film adaptation of the popular TV series. "I didn't like it so much—I thought it was style over substance, and I accept a good bit of responsibility," he said in a 2010 Total Film interview.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Although the final installment in the Bourne film trilogy was overwhelmingly praised by critics, star Matt Damon isn't so pleased with it. "I don't blame [screenwriter] Tony [Gilrow] for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in," the actor told GQ in 2011. "It's just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender."

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

In a 2010 interview with Elle, actress Jessica Alba revealed that working on the superhero movie almost made her quit acting. She noted that she had a hard time working with director Tim Story, who asked her to "be prettier when you cry."

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

In this 2007 film, Lindsay Lohan plays a woman who claims to be someone else after she returns from a traumatic kidnapping. Later, when a Twitter fan claimed to have watched it twice in one night, Lohan responded, "Two times too many!"

Knocked Up (2007)

Although actress Katherine Heigl played one of the leads in the 2007 comedy "Knocked Up," she wasn't a fan of how the movie portrayed its female characters. In 2008, Heigl explained to Vanity Fair that in her opinion, it "paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. ... Why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you're portraying women?"

Transformers (2007)

Megan Fox found her breakthrough role as Mikaela Banes in the first two "Transformers" movies, but she was ultimately fired before the third after calling director Michael Bay "a nightmare to work with" and "a tyrant" on set. Fox added that she isn't a fan of her performance in the first movie, saying, "I just wasn't proud of what I did. … But unless you're a seasoned veteran, working with Michael Bay is not about acting experience."

Australia (2008)

Although Nicole Kidman gave one of her most iconic performances in Baz Luhrmann's 2001 musical "Moulin Rouge," she wasn't fond of their follow-up collaboration, the 2008 romance "Australia." "I can't look at this movie and be proud of what I've done," she said during a Sydney radio interview to promote the film. "It's just impossible for me to connect to it emotionally."

The Happening (2008)

Director M. Night Shyamalan's films have been pretty hit-or-miss with critics—and sometimes even with his own lead actors. One major dissenter is "The Happening" star Mark Wahlberg, who wasn't too happy about leading a movie about killer trees. During a 2010 press conference for his film "The Fighter," the actor said that actress Amy Adams "dodged a bullet" by not getting cast in "The Happening" and described it as "a bad movie that I did."

Twilight (2008)

Actor Robert Pattinson's name is pretty much synonymous with "Twilight" vampire Edward Cullen, but he's made his distaste for parts of the franchise clear from the beginning. In 2008, he told E!News that Stephenie Meyer's original novel read like "a book that wasn't supposed to be published." The same year, Pattinson criticized the character of Edward in an interview with Empire Magazine, saying, "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."

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009)

Star Channing Tatum signed onto a three-picture deal with Paramount Studios in 2005, but he wasn't too thrilled about having to do 2009's "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra" as part of his contract. "I'll be honest, I f---ing hate that movie. I was pushed into doing it," the actor told Howard Stern in 2015. "The script wasn't any good."

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

In 2014, "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe told The Daily Mail that he feels the sixth movie contains his worst performance. "I'm just not very good in it. I hate it," the actor admitted. "My acting is very one-note, and I can see I got complacent, and what I was trying to do just didn't come across."

Burlesque (2010)

Legendary singer Cher also has a strong acting career (and even an Oscar for "Moonstruck"), but those two talents didn't ultimately translate to the critically panned musical "Burlesque." The star wasn't a big fan, either, calling director Steve Antin a "really terrible director" in a 2013 interview with The Guardian. "It could have been a much better film. It was always sad that it was not a good film," she added.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

This 2010 fantasy remake of the 1981 movie wasn't well-received on any front. Even lead actor Sam Worthington ultimately disliked it, telling Moviefone in 2012, "I think the first one, we kind of let down some people. ... I think I can f---ing act better, to be honest."

The Last Airbender (2010)

M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" has always been mired in controversy, from its whitewashed casting to its flat rendition of the beloved animated series on which it's based. Dev Patel, who played Prince Zuko in the film, also doesn't remember it fondly. "I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn't being heard," Patel told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016.

Leap Year (2010)

The rom-com "Leap Year" was criticized for being unfunny and full of genre clichés, but lead actor Matthew Goode was plenty happy to admit that he didn't do the movie because he thought it would be good. "The main reason I took it—so that I could come home at the weekends," the British actor explained to the Telegraph UK in 2010, noting the set's proximity to his home. "Do I feel I let myself down? No. Was it a bad job? Yes, it was."

Sex and the City 2 (2010)

At 2017's Vulture festival, "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker admitted that the cast had somewhat missed the mark in the show's second film sequel. She noted that she "can see where we fell short. ... I will say, I also understand how much frickin' money it made."

Your Highness (2011)

Actor James Franco has openly admitted that one of his least favorite jobs was "Your Highness," a parody of medieval fantasy stories. "That movie sucks," the actor admitted to GQ in 2013. "You can't get around that."

Rock of Ages (2012)

The 2012 musical comedy isn't one of Alec Baldwin's better-known movies, and he seems content to keep it that way. The same year it was released, he called it "a complete disaster" in an interview with The Wrap.

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Superhero action-comedy "Kick-A-- 2" came out less than a year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, star Jim Carrey (who played Colonel Stars and Stripes) was compelled to apologize for his involvement on Twitter. "I did 'Kick-A--' a month before Sandy Hook, and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence," he tweeted.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Sally Field, who played Aunt May in the "Spider-Man" movies starring Andrew Garfield, said in a 2016 "The Howard Stern Show" appearance that she didn't care for the second installment. "It's really hard to find a three-dimensional character in it, and you work it as much as you can, but you can't put 10 pounds of s--- in a five-pound bag," she said.

Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

Actor Jason Bateman was dismissive of this comedy, confessing to The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, "The second one was garbage, as far as box-office goes. Who knows whether it was on the merits or when they released it, but it did not do any money."

Pan (2015)

Rooney Mara's casting as the Native American character Tiger Lily in 2015's "Pan" was a major whitewashing controversy. She later told The Telegraph that she hates being "on that side of the whitewashing conversation," and that she "can understand why people were upset and frustrated."

Paper Towns (2015)

Cara Delevingne may have been lighthearted during a promotional interview for her 2015 young-adult film "Paper Towns," but she had an unfavorable comment about her character, Margo. When asked if she has anything in common with the heroine, the actress responded, "No, I actually hate her."

Spectre (2015)

Although Daniel Craig will star as James Bond one last time in 2021's "No Time to Die," he initially never had any plans to return. When Time Out asked him if he'd do another movie in the franchise in 2015, he responded, "I'd rather break this glass and slash my wrists. ... All I want to do is move on."

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Although Emilia Clarke starred in this "Terminator" spin-off in an attempt to kickstart a film career apart from her iconic TV role on "Game of Thrones," she ultimately told Vanity Fair in 2018 that she got "eaten and chewed up on 'Terminator.'" She also noted her relief that the movie never spawned any sequels.

Assassin's Creed (2016)

The 2016 film adaptation of the video game series Assassin's Creed received a ghastly 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and star Michael Fassbender later agreed that it could've been much better. "For sure, it wasn't ideal. … I think we missed an opportunity there a little bit," the actor told Movie'n'co in 2016. "... I think [the film] took itself too seriously, and I would get to the action a lot quicker."

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

"Batman v. Superman" was panned for its bleak tone and torturous worldbuilding, and actor Jeremy Irons (who played Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred) wasn't a fan, either. "It was sort of overstuffed," he said when The Daily Mail brought up its poor reception. "It was very muddled."

The Emoji Movie (2017)

After leaving the popular show "Silicon Valley," actor TJ Miller was dissatisfied with his next project, 2017's maligned "The Emoji Movie." The actor later told The Hollywood Reporter, "Instead of dying, like everybody in my family would love, I go and make 'The Emoji Movie.' It's worse for American culture."

Mother! (2017)

Jennifer Lawrence starred in this polarizing, artsy horror film (which was directed by her then-boyfriend Darren Aronofsky), but after seeing the movie, she told Variety that she felt "we took it too far. … We have a message and if we watered it down to make people comfortable, then what's the point?"

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