Actors Who Hated Their Famous Roles
Some of these will surprise you.
Acting isn’t all red carpets, autographs and accolades. Sometimes it’s a downright awful job. Just ask the talented actors on this list, who gave their all to a certain performance only to end up hating their work when it was all over.
We found a long list of actors who have publicly distanced themselves from some of their most popular performances, no matter how many other people may have been fans of them.
Whether it was a dislike of the character they played or disappointment in themselves in the role, here are some actors who’ve put down their own work.
The Role: Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest” (1981)
When Oscar-winner Faye Dunaway took the role of legendary movie star Joan Crawford in the movie “Mommie Dearest,” she thought she was making a very different film than what ended up coming out. Dunaway’s serious but extremely over-the-top performance as Crawford, who abused her daughter for years, ended up being taken comedically by audiences and the film’s producers, who marketed the film as a piece of camp instead of a legitimate drama. Dunaway refused to acknowledge “Mommie Dearest” for decades until admitting in 2016 that she felt it severely damaged her career.
The Role: Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler in “Boogie Nights” (1997)
The period drama “Boogie Nights” is seen as a breakout moment for Mark Wahlberg, earning him plenty of praise and acclaim as an actor early in his career, but he’s since said it’s a job he’d never take today. The movie was set in the world of 1970s pornography, and Wahlberg played a young man who gets into the business and becomes a “big, bright, shining star.” In 2017, the actor called the role a “poor choice” and said it goes against his faith and will be difficult to explain to his children.
The Role: Rose DeWitt Bukater in “Titanic” (1997)
The 1997 historical drama “Titanic” is one of the most popular movies in history and helped announce Kate Winslet as one of the best actors of her generation. However, Winslet might be the only person on Earth who thinks her performance as Rose was a shipwreck of its own.
In 2012, Winslet slammed her American accent as “awful” and went on to say that she dislikes her entire performance in the blockbuster. “Every single scene, I’m like, ‘Really, Really? You did it like that? Oh my God.'”
The Role: Kate Austen in “Lost” (2004-2010)
ABC’s “Lost” was one of the most popular shows of its era, and its stellar cast was one of its biggest strengths, but not all of them felt their parts were created equally. Evangeline Lilly, who starred as the mysterious Kate, has been open about her disappointment in her role in the years since “Lost” went off the air in 2010. In a 2018 interview, Lilly ripped the show’s writers, saying Kate started out as an interesting character but “irritated the s— out of [her]” in later seasons because of her weak storylines and motivations.
“As the show went on, [Kate] became more and more predictable and obnoxious,” Lilly said.
The Role: Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey” (2015)
The movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” made more than $500 million at the box office in 2015 and was just the first in a popular trilogy of films. Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan became a major star by starring in them as Christian Grey, a businessman who literally ropes a young girl into an intense sexual relationship. Dornan ripped the character in the press, saying he wouldn’t want anything to do with him in real life.
“[He’s] not the sort of bloke I’d get along with,” Dornan told GQ Australia. As far as the BDSM that Christian practices in the bedroom?
“It doesn’t float my boat,” Dornan said.
The Role: Troy Bolton in “High School Musical” (2006)
When Zac Efron was just a teenager, he became a massive heartthrob thanks to his starring role in Disney Channel’s “High School Musical.” He played Troy Bolton, a popular student who was an athlete and singer, but he was apparently not a fan of his work in the hit made-for-TV movie.
“Like, f— that guy,” Efron told Men’s Journal of his teen self when reflecting on it about 10 years later. “I step back and look at myself and I still want to kick that guy’s a– sometimes.” Efron would star in three movies in the teen musical franchise before moving on to more mature roles.
The Role: Serena van der Woodsen in “Gossip Girl” (2007-2012)
In the CW’s “Gossip Girl,” Blake Lively became a star for her portrayal of bad girl Serena van der Woodsen. The role is undoubtedly Lively’s most famous so far, but it might also be her least favorite. She’s spoken out about how much she loathed Serena and the messages presented by the popular series.
“People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising,” Lively told Allure in 2015. “You want to be putting a better message out there.” She also revealed to the Los Angeles Times that the role didn’t “stimulate” her in later seasons and became “bad-habit muscle memory”
The Role: James Bond (1962-1983)
James Bond has been one of the world’s most beloved movie characters for more than 50 years, and a lot of that can be traced back to Sean Connery’s iconic performances in the first of this series of spy movies. Connery has spoken about the character a lot over the years, flipping his position on Bond numerous times but, in 1964, after having played the role three times already, Connery told The New York Times, “He’s not my kind of chap at all.”
In 1965, after yet another performance in the role, Connery told Playboy, “Bond’s been good to me, so I shouldn’t knock him, but I’m fed up to here with the whole Bond bit.”
The Role: Jason Gideon in “Criminal Minds” (2005-2007)
Unlike some others on this list, Mandy Patinkin has had a long acting career that has included several popular and noteworthy roles. The one he wishes he could take off his resume, however, was his starring role in the first three seasons of CBS’s “Criminal Minds,” which he left in 2007.
Patinkin was brutally honest about being a part of that series, telling New York Magazine in 2012 that it was his “biggest public mistake.” He said the endless stream of storylines that involved murders and rapes of women “was very destructive to my soul and personality.”
The Role: Joffrey Baratheon in “Game of Thrones” (2011-2014)
Playing a villain could be fun but it would also have to wear on you, especially when you’re tasked with playing someone as vile as King Joffrey Baratheon. Jack Gleeson was just a teenager when he landed his most famous role, and he disliked the experience so much that it drove him to quit screen acting for a while. When his run on “Game of Thrones” ended in 2014, Gleeson walked away from acting, telling People, “it’s just not what I want to do.”
The Role: Claire Standish in “The Breakfast Club” (1985)
Saying that Molly Ringwald hates her part in the iconic ’80s teen flick “The Breakfast Club” might be a bit harsh, but she’s certainly gotten more uncomfortable with it in recent years. In 2018, Ringwald wrote an essay for The New Yorker revisiting one of her most famous roles as the popular teen Claire Standish, who is stuck in detention with several other kids. She said it made her feel squeamish to watch “The Breakfast Club” with her daughter because of the behavior shown by Claire and Bender, the character she ends up with romantically.
“I can see now, Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film,” the actor wrote. “But, nonetheless, he gets the girl in the end.”
The Role: Jeanne in “Last Tango in Paris” (1972)
Definitely the saddest case of a hated role on our list, French actor Maria Schneider was only 19 years old when she starred in the intense drama “Last Tango in Paris,” and it nearly ruined acting for her. She said numerous times over the years that director Bernardo Bertolucci took advantage of her during filming, including during a violent sex scene that was done without her consent, a fact which the director later admitted was true. Schneider’s performance alongside co-star Marlon Brando was acclaimed, but it made her much less trusting of the movie business and led her to attempt suicide multiple times.
The Role: Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951)
Maria Schneider’s co-star from “Last Tango in Paris,” the legendary Marlon Brando, announced himself as one of Hollywood’s best talents with his starring role in 1951’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In that acclaimed film, Brando played a brutish man named Stanley Kowalski, and he was so natural in the role that people who saw it started confusing the actor with the role. The two-time Oscar winner would come to resent the role and reveal that he hated Stanley as a character, referring to him as “a blue-jeaned slobbermouth” and a “Neanderthal man.”
The Role: Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana in “Hannah Montana” (2006-2011)
Child acting is not for the faint of heart, and Miley Cyrus found that out the hard way when she was starring in the hit Disney Channel series “Hannah Montana” starting when she was in her early teens. The role of Miley Stewart, a regular girl who lived a double life as a pop star named Hannah Montana, certainly launched Cyrus’ career, but she has said that it came at a heavy price.
“I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show,” she told Marie Claire in 2015, adding that the role likely caused her to suffer from “body dysmorphia.”
The Role: Mark in “Love Actually” (2003)
British actor Andrew Lincoln has become a massive star due to his work in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” but he loathed one of his early movie roles. In the 2003 rom-com classic “Love Actually,” Lincoln played the role of Mark, a guy who professes his love to his best friend’s wife. The actor has since admitted that, while the role was lighthearted in nature, he’s not a fan of the character and considers him a “stalker.” He told TheWrap in 2016 that he was quite glad Mark didn’t get the girl in the end.
The Role: Marnie Michaels in “Girls” (2012-2017)
Personally, if Allison Williams was going to hate one of her characters, it should be the girl from “Get Out,” but she has had some choice words for another of her famous parts. For six seasons, she starred in HBO’s “Girls” as Marnie, a New Yorker who consistently makes questionable choices in life. The role earned her acclaim, but Williams has since said that she isn’t a fan of her character, telling Buzzfeed in 2014, “Marnie would drive me crazy if we were friends in real life.”
She added that her frustration with the character hit its boiling point in season two, when Marnie had sex with a particular character.
“I thought Marnie was better than that, but she wasn’t,” Williams said.
The Role: Amy Juergens in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (2008-2013)
Before she became an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated star, Shailene Woodley started her career as a teen actor on ABC Family’s series, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” She starred in the series for five seasons as Amy, a 15-year-old girl who finds out she’s pregnant. Woodley revealed in 2013, following the show’s ending, that she was frequently disappointed with the messages presented by its stories.
“The things that we were preaching on that show weren’t really aligned with my own integrity,” the actor told Flaunt magazine. She admitted she would’ve liked to have walked away from the show but said, “when you’re in a contract, unfortunately, you can’t do that.”
The Role: Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” (1965)
Easily one of the most beloved movies on this list, “The Sound of Music” was a cultural phenomenon that made tons of money and won five Oscars — but it wasn’t one of star Christopher Plummer’s “favorite things.” In 2011, the actor told The Hollywood Reporter that it was his toughest role, but not because of the dramatic muscle he had to flex.
“Because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey,” Plummer said with a laugh. “You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it.”
The Role: Edward Cullen in Twilight series (2008-2012)
There’s no question that Robert Pattinson owes his status as a star to the Twilight movie series, in which he played the smoldering vampire Edward Cullen. There’s also no question that he thought all the movies were trash, based on what he’s said in interviews. BuzzFeed actually put together an entire video showing all the times Pattinson has ripped the series over the years, and it’s not pretty.
“There’s very obviously something wrong with [Edward],” Pattinson says in one of the clips, talking about his character’s personality and borderline psychopathic tendencies. He also made it very clear, when talking to Jimmy Fallon in the clip, that he was glad to see the series come to an end.
The Role: Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman in “Supergirl” (2015-Present)
David Harewood is a highly respected actor in his native England, but he doesn’t have much respect for one of his most famous roles. Since 2015, he’s played the role of Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman in CBS/The CW’s “Supergirl.” Harewood ripped the role in a 2017 interview, saying, “I don’t like playing Cyborg Superman. It’s boring.” The actor blamed the show’s writers for his hatred of the part.
“They didn’t really flesh it out, they didn’t really write for the character,” Harewood said. “Whenever I’m walking to my trailer and I see that costume, I just switch off because I know it’s going to be a rather boring day.”
The Role: Alison Scott in “Knocked Up” (2007)
In 2007, Katherine Heigl was already well known as a star of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” but the hit comedy “Knocked Up” gave her one of her first major starring roles on the big screen. In it, she played a career woman who got pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy who’s a total loser. Shortly after the film hit theaters, Heigl said she enjoyed it but thought the women characters in it, including hers, were written “as shrews, as humorless and uptight.” She told Vanity Fair she was disappointed to be “playing such a bitch” in an otherwise fun movie.
The Role: Mikaela Banes in “Transformers” (2007) and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009)
Another high-profile star who hated a major role she played in 2007 was Megan Fox. The young actor caught a big break by co-starring in the massive blockbuster “Transformers,” but she wasn’t happy with her role as Mikaela, the super-cool love interest of the main character. Fox’s criticisms of the movie in general and her role in it have been well documented, with her telling Entertainment Weekly in 2009 that it “is not a movie about acting.” She slammed the writing of the film series and the way women in Hollywood are “merchandised” as products selling sex.
The Role: Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars series (1977-2017)
This one isn’t so much about an actor hating the writing of a character but rather how integral that role became in their life. In the late 1970s, Carrie Fisher became a beloved icon for her confident portrayal of Princess Leia Organa in “Star Wars” and its sequels, but she apparently disliked the whole journey. In 2008, the famously honest star told NBC’s “Today” that she would’ve turned down the role if she’d have known how popular it would become.
“I would never have done it,” Fisher said. “All I did when I was really famous was wait for it to end.”
The Role: Tom Hanson in “21 Jump Street” (1987-1990)
Before Johnny Depp was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, he made his name as the lead of a Fox police series called “21 Jump Street,” where he played a police officer who goes undercover as a teenager. Depp has stated that, while grateful for the boost that job gave him, he actively tried to get fired from the series because of the way he was being marketed.
“They were trying to sell the television series and here’s this image that had nothing to do with me,” Depp told “Today” in 2014. He eventually got out of the series after four seasons, which satisfied his contractual obligations.