“What are your biggest regrets?” This might be one of the more obvious questions a journalist can ask an actor, but the answer can often be hugely revealing.
Many actors have spoken negatively about their time spent as a superhero, playing a teenage heartthrob or starring in films they believed had been written by somebody else (see: Bill Murray).
Others, including Charlize Theron, have said they took a job solely due to a director’s filmography – only to then be let down by the final results of their collaboration.
Below, The Independent looks at 25 actors who have admitted to disliking films they have starred in.
George Clooney – Batman & Robin (1997)
Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck – some of Hollywood’s best-known actors have played the Caped Crusader on screen. However, only one wore a suit with Batnipples – and that was George Clooney. “Let me just say that I’d actually thought I’d destroyed the franchise until somebody else brought it back years later and changed it,” he once said of the role. “I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. It wasn’t.”
Halle Berry – Catwoman (2004)
Halle Berry remains one of the few actors to accept her Razzie award in person. “Thank you so much. I never in my life thought I would be up here,” she told the audience, before spoofing her own Oscar acceptance speech and thanking her manager. “He loves me so much that he convinces me to do projects even when he knows that it is s***.” She recently said she has been “carrying the weight” of the film’s failure, telling Jimmy Kimmel: “Whatever success it had or didn’t have somehow seemed like it was all my fault. But it really wasn’t my fault.”
Ben Affleck – Daredevil (2003)
If you hate Daredevil, Ben Affleck hates it more. “Daredevil didn’t work at all”, the actor told Entertainment Weekly in 2007. “If I wanted to go viral, I would be less polite.” He’d give the superhero genre another go, accepting the role of Bruce Wayne for Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman, with better, if underwhelming, results.
Brad Pitt – The Devil’s Own (1997)
There are many films Brad Pitt could arguably regret making (the awful 1992 flick Cool World comes to mind), but speaking to Newsweek in 1997, the actor named his personal worst: The Devil’s Own. He called the Alan J Pakula film a “disaster” and “the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking, if you can even call it that, that I’ve ever seen”.
Jessica Alba – Fantastic Four (2005)
While superhero movies may now be Oscar Best Picture contenders (Black Panther), there was a time when playing a spandex-wearing hero was anything but prestigious. Jessica Alba was one of the first people to jump on the superhero boom of the mid-Noughties, playing Invisible Woman in Fantastic Four. The experience, though, left her wanting to quit acting altogether. “I hated it. I really hated,” she told Elle. “I remember when I was dying in Silver Surfer. The director was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica’.”
Bill Murray – Garfield: The Movie (2004)
Bill Murray only voiced animated car Garfield because of a misunderstanding: he thought Joel Coen, of the Coen brothers fame, had written the script. In fact, it was written by Joel Cohen (Cheaper by the Dozen,Monster Mash: The Movie). “I was exhausted, soaked with sweat, and the lines got worse and worse. And I said, ‘Okay, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we’re dealing with,’” he told GQ. “So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, ‘Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the f*** was Coen thinking?’ And then they explained it to me: it wasn’t written by that Joel Coen.”
Channing Tatum – GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
“I’ll be honest, I f***ing hate that movie,” Channing Tatum said of GI Joe. “I was pushed into doing it. The script wasn’t any good. And I didn’t want to do something that I – that I was a fan of since I was a kid and watched every morning growing up – and didn’t want to do something that was, one, bad. And two, I just didn’t know if I wanted to be GI Joe.”
Michelle Pfeiffer – Grease 2 (1982)
“I hated that film with a vengeance and could not believe how bad it was,” Michelle Pfeiffer said of the sequel to Grease. “At the time I was young and didn’t know any better.” Thankfully, Pfeiffer’s nose for a good script improved rapidly, with her next film being Brian De Palma’s classic Scarface.
Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern (2011)
Ryan Reynolds has never watched Green Lantern all the way through. However, has seen enough of it to know it was a disaster. He let his feelings be known in 2016 film Deadpool, in which the character shoots fictional version of himself in the head for taking on the role. Ouch.
Viola Davis – The Help (2011)
Viola Davis was nominated for an Oscar for The Help. Yet, the actor deeply regretted playing the maid Aibileen Clark, saying her character’s voice is not heard enough in the final film. “Have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list,” she told The New York Times of Tate Taylor’s film. “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.”
Josh Brolin – Jonah Hex (2010)
Before playing Thanos in Avengers, Josh Brolin portrayed another comic-book character on screen: Jonah Hex. Unlike the Avengers films, Hex was not well received by critics – or indeed Brolin himself. “I think it deserved that bashing for reasons that those critics will never know,” he told Total Film in 2014. “We were almost ready to drop [the film] when this kid [director Jimmy Hayward] came up. He was an interesting young guy full of energy and he was obsessed with Jonah Hex. I thought, ‘This is either a really bad decision or a brilliant decision.’ [It was] really bad.”
Jim Carrey – Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Jim Carrey distanced himself from the violent Kick-Ass sequel. “I did Kick-Ass a month before Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” he wrote on Twitter, denouncing the film. “My apologies”.
Katherine Heigl – Knocked Up (2007)
Knocked Up remains one of Katherine Heigl’s best-known roles, despite the actor having said she found the whole thing “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 told Vanity Fair. “It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days.” She eventually issued a public apology to the film’s director, Judd Apatow, for her comments.
Colin Farrell – Miami Vice (2006)
Few actors are quite as straight talking as Colin Farrell, who said of the 2006 blockbuster Miami Vice: “Miami Vice? I didn’t like it so much. I thought it was style over substance and I accept a good bit of the responsibility.” The Michael Mann film has been reappraised by fans in recent years, with many believing it didn’t get a fair ride upon its release. It’s unknown whether Farrell has changed his mind.
Sarah Jessica Parker – Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Although Sarah Jessica Parker will forever be best known for playing Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, that does not mean liked the second film. “I can see where we fell short,” she told an audience at Vulture festival, addressing the criticism. “I understand, I actually get it. I will say, I also understand how much frickin’ money it made. I feel like that is forgotten in the discussion.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Red Sonja (1985)
“It’s the worst film I have ever made,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said of the fantasy film Red Sonja. He revealed he thinks the film is so bad that it inspired his favourite punishment. “When my kids get out of line, they’re sent to their rooms and forced to watch Red Sonja 10 times. I never had too much trouble with them.”
Charlize Theron – Reindeer Games (2000)
In Charlize Theron’s mind, her worst film to date is Reindeer Games. “That was a bad, bad, bad movie,” she told Esquire in 2007. “But even though the movie might suck, I got to work with John Frankenheimer. I wasn’t lying to myself – that’s why I did it.”
Alec Baldwin – Rock of Ages (2012)
There are some actors who know they’re making a disaster midway through filming. “It was a complete disaster,” Alec Baldwin told The Wrap when asked about Rock of Ages. “A week in you go, ‘Oh God, what have I done?’” The critics – and audiences – agreed when it was released in 2012.
Paul Newman – The Silver Chalice (1954)
Paul Newman had such high standards that, before the release of The Silver Chalice, the Oscar-winning actor took out adverts in the trade press urging people to not watch the television broadcast of the film. He later called it “the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s”.
Sylvester Stallone – Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
As one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors, Sylvester Stallone will always be loved for bringing the world Rocky and Rambo. His fans will try to forget Stop, or Mom Will Shoot, the 1992 buddy-cop comedy that teamed Stallone with Estelle Getty. Sly also hates it; speaking about the film in 2006, he called it “maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system, including alien productions we’ve never seen”.
Megan Fox – Transformers (2007)
The Transformers franchise may have grossed billions of dollars at the box-office, but critics have never looked kindly upon the films. Neither has Megan Fox, who told Entertainment Weekly that “people are well aware that this is not a movie about acting”. She also previously took aim at director Michael Bay, saying: “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is, so he’s a nightmare to work for.” Fox later retracted the comment, calling it “righteous anger” that should have not been made public.
Robert Pattinson – Twilight (2008)
Most actors who regret taking on roles would wait a few years until publicly bemoaning their experience on set. Not Robert Pattinson. Before the final Twilight film was in cinemas, the Batman actor said of playing the vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen: “It’s weird kind of representing something you don’t particularly like.” A few weeks later, he said he would have “mindlessly hated” the series had he not appeared in it.
James Franco – Your Highness (2011)
Director David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and James Franco struck gold with their stoner-comedy Pineapple Express. Unfortunately, their attempt to make another laugh-out-loud film was a mess. “Your Highness? That movie sucks,” Franco told GQ, adding: “You can’t get around that.”
Sandra Bullock – Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Sandra Bullock singled out Speed 2 as the film she was “embarrassed” to have been a part of. Speaking alongside her The Lost City co-star Daniel Radcliffe for TooFab, Bullock said: “I have one [film that] no one came around to and I’m still embarrassed I was in. It’s called Speed 2… Makes no sense. Slow boat. Slowly going towards an island.”
She added: “That’s one I wished I hadn’t done and no fans came around that I know of.”
Oscar Isaac – X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Wile refusing to “disown” the film, Oscar Isaac opened up about his experience filming Bryan Singer’s superhero flop in a New York Times interview in 2022.
After previoulsy callig the experience ‘excruciating”, Isaac said: “I know exactly what I went in there wanting to do and the reasons why. There were these amazing actors involved that I really wanted to work with, [James] McAvoy and [Michael] Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. I collected X-Men growing up, and I loved Apocalypse, I just found him such a freaky, weird character.
“And then you get there and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got all these prosthetics on. I’ve got a suit on. I can’t move. I can’t see anybody. All these actors I wanted to work with – I can’t even see who they are.’”