Anyone who has even a casual knowledge of films can name at least a few bad movies, but as fans, we tend to assume the actors were happy to do the work. Nope, that’s not always the case. Let’s just say it takes a supreme level of terrible to make actors who were paid handsomely risk burning career bridges to trash the movies they hated.
The reasons actors end up in bad movies vary. A few actors have been forced by binding contracts to play particular characters or make a specific number of movies. Others end up caught in situations where script rewrites or poor directing ruined what they thought would be good movies. Check out these top movies that starring actors ended up hating.
Bob Hoskins | Super Mario Brothers
Actor Bob Hoskins, best known for his role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, is infamously known for playing Mario in the 1993 Super Mario Brothers movie. He went on record with The Guardian saying it was not only the worst job he had ever done but also that it was his “biggest disappointment” as an actor.
Hoskin’s issues with the movie are not surprising, considering he had numerous problems while filming it. He was quoted multiple times making snarky and sarcastic statements about the production. Furthermore, he frequently drank whiskey between takes during the production.
Mark Wahlberg | Boogie Nights
Mark Wahlberg is well known for having a Hollywood career that emulates a roller coaster with many highs and lows. What may surprise cinephiles is that his biggest cinematic regret actually earned him a lot of critical praise. The movie in question is Boogie Nights.
Wahlberg’s main two reasons for his regret over the role are a combination of his faith in God and his status as a father. With time to reflect, he feels that he made poor choices on certain roles, and he hopes God is both a movie fan and forgiving.
Sylvester Stallone | Escape Plan 2: Hades
Sylvester Stallone has had a long and eclectic career that began with softcore pornography and moved into action roles like Rocky and Rambo that made him a household name. With a career dating back to the late 1960s, it’s no surprise that he has made films that he regrets.
One of the films he considers to be his worst is Escape Plan 2: Hades. Despite the film having the star power of Stallone, Dave Bautista and 50 Cent, it wasn’t enough to salvage what was considered both a terrible production and a terrible story.
Dennis Hopper | Super Mario Brothers
One famous actor who is also on record for being unhappy with the production of Super Mario Brothers: The Movie was Dennis Hopper. Better known for his role in Rebel Without a Cause — and for being difficult to work with — Hopper was openly vocal about why he was involved with Super Mario Brothers: a hefty paycheck.
Never one to be shy in any situation, one infamous day on set, Hopper spent three hours screaming at the husband and wife co-directors, Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, over the endless number of script changes that occurred while filming. Perhaps his behavior contributed to Hoskins’ negative experience.
Halle Berry | Catwoman
Catwoman is known as one of the worst movies of all time, and Halle Berry’s role is known as her worst — one she definitely regrets taking. One of the more colorful anecdotes to come out of the disaster was Berry attending the Razzie Awards to accept her “award” for Worst Actress.
In recent years, she has admitted that there were good things to come out of her involvement in the film. Due to taking the role, she got to learn two forms of martial arts — which served her well in X-Men — meet new people and make enough money for it to change her life. So, there’s that.
Dev Patel | The Last Airbender
Dev Patel shot to international stardom, thanks to his role in the Oscar award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. As a result, a lot of attention was given to his next part, which was in M. Night Shyamalan’s production The Last Airbender.
Years after The Last Airbender tanked at the box office, Patel went on record apologizing to fans of the original Nickelodeon show. In multiple interviews, he expressed how the experience in the movie turned him off work on mainstream Hollywood productions due to feeling ignored by the director.
Sylvester Stallone | Stop or My Mom Will Shoot
Stop or My Mom Will Shoot is famous for a couple of reasons. One of the main ones is how much effort Sylvester Stallone has put into distancing himself from the production. He literally called it “maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system.”
Another reason for its fame is that Stallone took the role based on Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly faking interest in the film. During that time, Schwarzenegger and Stallone were locked in a tight action hero competition, so he did it to provoke Stallone into taking a role guaranteed to be terrible.
Sally Field | The Amazing Spider-Man
It’s no secret that we’re living in a time when comic book movie adaptations have found mass audience appeal worldwide. This breakthrough has led to movie icons like Anthony Hopkins and Robert Redford taking on iconic roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, Oscar winner Sally Field has expressed regret for taking the role of Aunt May in the 2012 Spider-Man film, The Amazing Spider-Man. Initially, she took the part as a favor for a friend, but she was dismayed to find there was little substance to the role.
Robert Pattinson | Twilight
It may break the hearts of legions of Twilight fans to find out that the actor who portrayed Edward, Robert Pattinson, has said in interviews that he loathed the part he played. He complained that the character lacked substance, and he had no opportunities to do any actual vampire things. Bloodthirsty much, Rob?
However, now that the intensity surrounding the films has decreased, Pattinson has said that he can better appreciate fan’s enjoyment of the series. He also complimented the films’ soundtracks, feeling that they were ahead of their time.
Daniel Radcliffe | Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Daniel Radcliffe is a household name, thanks to being cast in the role of Harry Potter at 11 years old and starring in the eight movies that followed as the titular character. Radcliffe has stated that he enjoyed working on every movie up until the sixth one.
He explained that he disliked the sixth movie, because he was able to see himself grow as an actor up until that production. One of the most likely contributions to this lack of progress is that he began to drink heavily after turning 18 — according to his own admission.
Kate Winslet | Titanic
Titanic is a film that is equally known for shattering box office records and for being a critical darling. So, it may come as a surprise that lead actress, Kate Winslet, hates her performance in the film. She has admitted to having difficulty watching her performances in general, but Titanic was the worst offender to her.
Winslet has gone on record saying that she wishes she could revisit the role and redo every single scene in the film. This is certainly a surprise because of how difficult the shoot was for her, including almost drowning.
Jessica Alba | The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Jessica Alba’s experience on The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was so terrible that she almost quit acting. The director, Tim Story, was so harsh in his critique of her that he caused her to doubt her ability to act and her choice of career.
The specific scene in question involved Alba crying, and the director dismissed her acting because he felt her tears were “too real” and, instead, she needed to cry in a way that was prettier. This experience acted as a catalyst for her to move beyond movies and start her own business.
Brad Pitt | The Devil’s Own
In recent years, Brad Pitt has become just as famous for his former marriage to Angelina Jolie as his acting. However, during the 1990s, he was known for being an iconic movie star who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind about the roles he played.
One role he is known to be quite critical of was in the film The Devil’s Own. His fiery comments revolved around the production starting with one script, being forced to stop using that script and continuing production without it. The cast and crew were told to simply make something up as they filmed. What?
Shia LaBeouf | Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Indiana Jones franchise is known for being a great series of movies — except for 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. One of the frequent reasons cited for this movie being subpar in comparison to the original trilogy is the casting of lead actor Shia LaBeouf.
LaBeouf is on record blaming both himself and director Steven Spielberg for “dropping the ball” as far as the film goes. The actor feels the movies are dated and lack any substance. Having left movies behind, he has now centered his career around performance art.
Jamie Lee Curtis | Virus
Jamie Lee Curtis has starred in several well received movies, but the critical and commercial blunder she hates to this day is a movie called Virus. This film is about a tugboat crew that stumbles upon an abandoned ship that later turns out to contain robots and aliens. So, not a virus?
While she has been open about how much she hates the movie, she has managed to find a bright side. In 2012, Curtis told IGN that when she and her friends compare the bad movies they have been in, she always wins, thanks to her performance in Virus.
Michelle Pfeiffer | Grease 2
Michelle Pfeiffer has had a long career in Hollywood, so it’s no surprise there are a couple of films she doesn’t look back on fondly. One of these films was her first major role as one of the leads in Grease 2.
First, Grease 2 was considered both a commercial and critical failure, and it ended up making it difficult for Pfeiffer to find roles for more than a year following its release. She is on record stating that she not only hated the movie with a vengeance but was shocked at how terrible it turned out.
Ben Affleck | Daredevil
Ben Affleck has had a mixed career full of controversies both on and off set, but of all the terrible movies he has been in, the 2003 film version of Daredevil is the one that he hates the most. While the movie was poorly received by critics and the public, Affleck’s hatred for the movie is personal.
Later in his career, he auditioned for the role of Batman and cited his reason for auditioning as finally having the opportunity to make a good superhero movie. Sadly, this didn’t happen, as the result was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Arnold Schwarzenegger | Red Sonja
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s film career began in the late ’60s, but he didn’t break through to the mainstream until 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. It’s no surprise that there are several movies the actor would like to forget.
One of those is the reprisal of Schwarzenegger’s barrier-breaking role, Conan, returning in Red Sonja. The sexist film itself performed poorly enough to prevent a third Conan movie from getting made. Schwarzenegger has joked that if his kids ever misbehave, they are sent to their rooms to watch the film 10 times.
Viola Davis | The Help
Viola Davis is a critically acclaimed actress who has earned many awards, including an Emmy, a Golden Globe, an Oscar and two Tony awards. With so much critical acclaim under her belt, it makes sense to pay attention when she criticizes her work.
Davis is on record for criticizing the way the film The Help turned out. The movie was supposed to show black women in 1963 becoming part of the Civil Rights Movement. Davis says the film failed to accurately tell the story it promised to tell.
Natalie Portman | Thor: The Dark World
Back when Natalie Portman first signed on to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it helped to add major star power to the series. When it came time for Thor: The Dark World, she used some of her star power to try and steer Marvel in a more feminist-friendly direction.
Portman helped get director Patty Jenkins at the helm of the project, but this was short-lived. After a brief clash over creative direction, Marvel fired Jenkins and forced Portman to continue in her role. This soured her experience, and she has yet to reappear in the series.
Alec Baldwin | Rock of Ages
Alec Baldwin has never been one to keep quiet about his opinions and feelings, especially when it comes to his work. Out of all the unusual things he’s done, the film he seems to hate the most is the film adaptation of the musical Rock of Ages.
Early on, Baldwin began to sense that the movie was going to do poorly. Within the first week, he attempted — and failed — to get out of his contract. He tried to use the excuse of an illness, but the production company didn’t buy it and forced him to remain in the movie.
Channing Tatum | G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
One of Channing Tatum’s greatest movie regrets is a film that he did everything possible to get out of making. When he was first sent the script for the live-action G.I. Joe movie, he found the script so bad that he told his agent he wouldn’t do it.
However, due to signing up for a three-picture deal, Tatum was told to either act in the movie or face a lawsuit. Although his career eventually recovered, he had to endure acting in a second G.I. Joe movie that he hated — but only briefly, as his character suffered a quick demise in the sequel.
Jennifer Garner | Elektra
While the movie Daredevil was nothing to be proud of, the movie studio felt that it deserved a spin-off. The result was Elektra, starring Jennifer Garner reprising her role from Daredevil. Initially, things seemed like they were going in a positive direction, with the director wanting to bring in Kevin Smith to help with screenwriting.
However, he ended up getting fired instead, and the result was a mess that ended up bombing. Garner was very vocal about how much she hated the final product. She eventually said the only reason she was in the movie was contractual obligations.
Mike Myers | The Cat in the Hat
Another instance of an actor being forced to take on a role he hated, thanks to contract complications, was Mike Myers playing the title role in The Cat in the Hat. After the success of the first Austin Powers film, Myers was asked to write and star in another comedy.
At some point, there was a communication breakdown, and Myers refused to use the script he had penned, causing a lawsuit and then a countersuit. The end of the legal action saw Myers playing a creepy-looking version of the Cat that did poorly.
Edward Norton | The Italian Job
Apparently, there’s a trend in Hollywood to offer actors multiple film contracts and then using that as leverage to force them to act in movies they hate. Edward Norton only appeared in The Italian Job after a lengthy process involving threats of lawsuits.
After its release, the movie performed well financially and critically, but Norton is known to have disdain for the film. There has been a sequel trapped in development hell for 15 years, but if it does ever get made, don’t expect Norton to return to his role.
Bill Murray | Garfield: The Movie
Bill Murray has been quite vocal about how much he hates the Garfield movies, thanks to their poor writing and direction. You’re probably thinking, “But he signed on, right?” Well, the reason he ended up cast in the role of Garfield is pretty much like a comedy (of errors) itself.
Murray was sent the script, and when he saw it was written by Joel Cohen, he assumed it was Joel Coen (of the legendary Coen brothers) and didn’t bother reading it before signing up. By the time Murray realized his mistake, he was already contractually trapped in a sound booth for two movies.
Emily Blunt | Gulliver’s Travels
Emily Blunt rose to fame, thanks to her appearance in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Due to that performance, several studios came calling on her, including Marvel, who wanted to cast her as Black Widow. Can you imagine that?
However, as soon as Fox heard that Marvel was interested in Blunt, they invoked her contract with them and forced her to star in the upcoming film adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels. While the movie ended up bombing, it didn’t destroy her career, as she was able to move on to more success. Needless to say, Blunt does not have fond memories of this movie.
Keanu Reeves | The Watcher
Keanu Reeves was already a star when the first Matrix movie took him to new heights. However, the superstardom wasn’t able to save him from a “friend” who forged Reeves’ signature to get the actor to appear in the movie The Watcher. What?
While Reeves initially fought the contract, he was unable to produce evidence that the signature was forged, so he appeared in the movie. However, when it was released, he did nothing to promote it. As soon as the 12-month NDA expired, Reeves came out with the truth about why he appeared in the film.
Roy Scheider | Jaws 2
Roy Scheider skyrocketed to international stardom after his appearance in the 1975 movie Jaws. However, he hated the first movie, so he had no desire to appear in the sequel. Universal had other plans and decided to invoke the actor’s contract to have him star in Jaws 2.
Scheider ended up being the only original cast member of Jaws to appear in the sequel. After being legally coerced to participate, it’s safe to say the actor didn’t have a pleasant experience and had no kind words to spare for Jaws 2.
The Entire Cast | Movie 43
It takes a special movie for the entire cast to not only refuse to do press for it but also denounce the film as a huge regret. This terrible movie is known as Movie 43. It’s presented as a comic anthology written by 20 people and filmed over several years by 14 different directors. Sound problematic?
The resulting movie is a mess of 14 different plot lines that are impossible to follow. By some miracle, this embarrassment of a film managed to not only recoup its costs but make a small profit at the box office. No one was more surprised than the cast, which included greats like Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler and Chris Pratt.
George Clooney | Batman & Robin
Batman & Robin, the sequel to the Tim Burton produced Batman Forever, saw George Clooney donning the cape of Gotham’s infamous vigilante. Previously, the live-action franchise had seen both Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer take a stab at playing Bruce Wayne, so Clooney had some big shoes — or boots — to fill. As Batman, Clooney faces off with Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), but, in real life, he faced the consequences of making a truly terrible film.
The film was met with overwhelmingly negative reception, so much so that the cast and crew — including Clooney and director Joel Schumacher — have tried to disown, and apologize for, Batman & Robin. “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,” Clooney said. “I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. It wasn’t.” As the Batman vet noted, we’re just very grateful for the Chris Nolan Dark Knight reboot.
Sir Alec Guinness | Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope — Plus Episodes V & VI
Although many movie-goers will recognize Sir Alec Guinness from his role as the Jedi Master-turned-hermit Obi-Wan Kenobi, cinephiles know that Guinness, a lauded stage actor, made a name for himself in classics like Lawrence of Arabia and Great Expectations. In 1957, he nabbed both the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Actor thanks to his performance in The Bridge on the River Kwai.
That said, Guinness was ultimately shocked — and a tad annoyed — by the newfound fame Kenobi afforded him. “Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film,” the actor said while shooting 1983’s Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi, the third entry in the series. “I like them well enough, but it’s not an acting job, the dialogue — which is lamentable — keeps being changed and only slightly improved.” Regardless of Guinness’ thoughts on the script, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the first film, Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope.
Nicole Kidman | Australia
When Nicole Kidman teamed up with fellow Aussie filmmaker Baz Luhrmann for 2002’s Moulin Rouge!, she ended up with one of her most iconic performances. It even nabbed Kidman her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress. A few years later, Kidman starred opposite Hugh Jackman in Luhrmann’s epic Australia — and the results were decidedly not as good as the duo’s first outing.
Set against the backdrop of the events that occurred in northern Australia between 1939 and 1942 — including the bombing of Darwin during World War II — Australia is, at its core, a love story, both a romance and a story about a chosen family. “It’s impossible for me to connect to [the film] emotionally,” Kidman told a Sydney radio station. Even though the film is the third highest grossing Australian movie of all time, just behind Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), the Oscar-winning actress insists that she “can’t look at this movie and be proud of what [she’s] done.”
Matt Damon | The Bourne Ultimatum
Loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel, 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, which was preceded by The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004), was initially meant to close out the action-thriller trilogy. In Ultimatum, Matt Damon reprises his role as former CIA assassin (and amnesiac) Jason Bourne as he searches for information about his past — and becomes an assassination target himself.
As with previous installments, Tony Gilroy wrote the screenplay (this time alongside Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi), but, in Damon’s opinion, it wasn’t Gilroy’s best work. Although Ultimatum holds the highest rating out of the first three installments on Rotten Tomatoes, Damon told GQ that “[the script] was unreadable. … [A] career-ender. …I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.” Damon remarked, however, that he didn’t blame Gilroy for just “taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in.” Yikes.
Michael Fassbender | Assassin’s Creed
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed is one of the video game industry’s greatest success stories. As of 2019, the franchise, which has produced numerous spin-offs and sequel entries, has sold over 140 million copies, making it one of the highest selling video game franchises of all time. Looking to capitalize on that success, Ubisoft green lit a film adaptation, which landed Michael Fassbender as its star.
When the Assassin’s Creed movie hit screens in 2016, it had truly dismal box office returns — and critics weren’t too impressed either. When asked by Movie’n’co about the film’s lackluster performance, Fassbender agreed that “we missed an opportunity there a little bit.” That’s generous for a movie that cost a whopping $125 million to make, for very little return. (The film had a lower than expected gross of roughly $240 million worldwide.) “I would make it more entertaining [if I could do something differently],” Fassbender said. “I think it took itself too seriously and I would get to the action a lot quicker.”