Being a movie star seems easy. You make millions of dollars, travel the world, and have crowds of adoring fans. But for celebrities, embarrassing TV or movie roles can make even A-listers regret their life choices. Whether it’s a hit-character they can never escape from, an ill-advised sequel or a comedy co-starring a dinosaur, these are the most regrettable movie and television roles that stars still cringe about today.
Christopher Plummer, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music
Though the beloved musical starring Julie Andrews is considered a classic, Christopher Plummer deemed it one of his most regrettable movie roles. Playing the hard-nosed Captain von Trapp who learns to love music again, Plummer found The Sound of Music script to be cheesy, to say the least.
Often calling it “The Sound of Mucus,” Plummer also said the musical’s script was “so awful and sentimental and gooey.” Though he admitted recently that he doesn’t completely hate the Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite, don’t expect to see him belting out tunes in movie musicals any time soon.
Ben Affleck, Daredevil
“I hate Daredevil so much,” said Ben Affleck in a 2016 interview about his former movie roles. The 2003 big budget comic adaptation of the story of Matt Murdock, blind attorney by day, blind crime fighter by night, was a box-office bomb. Ratings were poor from critics, audiences, and apparently, the star himself.
Affleck said that Daredevil was the only role he truly regretted taking. That means a lot from the star of Reindeer Games and Gigli. Daredevil didn’t stop Affleck’s affinity for superhero roles, as he donned the cowl to play Batman in Batman v Superman. Though since he’s rumored to be trying to leave the DC Universe, Affleck might soon add Batman to his list of regretful roles.
George Clooney, Batman & Robin
Speaking of Batman, George Clooney wasn’t too thrilled with his turn as the caped crusader. The 1997 Batman & Robin was known for its cheesy lines, tacky visuals, and nippled suit. Oh, those infamous Bat-nipples.
Both director Joel Schumacher and Clooney have apologized for Batman & Robin. Clooney joked that his role got him disinvited to Comic-Con for about 20 years and that he was afraid his nipple-suit had ruined the character forever. Fortunately, Christopher Nolan came along to reinvigorate the character and Clooney became an Oscar winner, acclaimed director, and tequila billionaire.
Alec Guinness, Star Wars
An Oscar winner with a 50-year career, Alec Guinness should be known for a range of legendary films. Instead, he’s best known for sporting a lightsaber as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.
While filming Star Wars, Guinness was unimpressed, calling the script “mumbo jumbo” with “bloody awful lines.” After the film became a phenomenon, Guinness resented the fact that Star Wars defined his movie roles. Allegedly, a child once asked Guinness for an autograph, saying he’d seen Star Wars hundreds of times. Guinness said he’d sign the autograph, only if the kid promised to never watch the film again.
Kelly Clarkson, From Justin to Kelly
Hot off her win as the very first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson got to star in a film with her Idol runner-up, Justin Guarini. Unfortunately, that movie was From Justin to Kelly, a lame musical with dull songs, a nothing plot, and a skirt made out of ties.
Turns out that Clarkson never wanted to take on the role of Kelly. “I cried for a solid hour on the phone with the creator of American Idol and pleaded to be let out of the contract that said I had to film From Justin to Kelly,” she said in US Weekly. Luckily, the 2003 flop didn’t hurt her career, just don’t expect a lot of Clarkson films in the near future.
Sally Field, The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man was not an amazing time for Sally Field. As Peter Parker’s Aunt May, Field was given exciting scenes of giving quiet advice, looking worried, and folding laundry. Needless to say, the Oscar winner wasn’t happy about the role.
Field later admitted she took the part as a favor and told Howard Stern that she tried to give the flat role some life but, “you can’t put ten pounds of s*** in a five-pound bag.” Though apparently, Field’s colorful expression of regret wasn’t enough to deter another A-lister from trying out the part: Marisa Tomei gamely took up the torch as Spidey-Aunt in 2016’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Bill Murray, Garfield
Bill Murray’s involvement in the 2004 CGI-assisted Garfield gave us all a very important lesson: Know your Co(h)ens! The Garfield script was written by Joel Cohen. Murray thought that meant he was getting an offer to work with one of the Coen brothers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men, etc.) when he accepted one of his most embarrassing movie roles to date.
Unfortunately, the Garfield Joel had an “h” in his name and no history of quirky, Oscar-winning films (to be fair, Joel Cohen did write Toy Story…and Evan Almighty). Murray already agreed despite the Coen/Cohen mix-up and didn’t seem to enjoy his time as the lasagna-loving cat.
Michelle Pfeiffer, Grease 2
Though Grease helped make John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John household names, Grease 2 didn’t make much of a splash. Playing Stephanie, a Rydell high schooler who’s just looking for a “Cool Rider,” Michelle Pfeiffer does not look back on her Pink Lady days fondly.
“I hated that film with a vengeance and could not believe how bad it was,” said Pfeiffer. “At the time, I was young and didn’t know better.” Fortunately, Grease 2 didn’t hurt her career, becoming a Hollywood A-lister and probably the most famous Catwoman before Anne Hathaway showed up. Pfeiffer she even went on to star in another movie musical, Hairspray.
Whoopi Goldberg, Theodore Rex
Whoopi Goldberg didn’t just regret signing up for cop-dinosaur buddy comedy Theodore Rex. She sued to get out of it! And based on the film’s IMDB description, we don’t blame her: “In an alternate futuristic society, a tough female police detective is paired with a talking dinosaur to find the killer of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.”
Unfortunately for Goldberg, the producers insisted she fulfill her contract or pay millions of dollars in fines, so she had to suck it up and play scenes against a guy in a dinosaur suit. Ultimately, the film cost $35 million, was released direct-to-video, and has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Jessica Alba, Fantastic 4
“Cry pretty, Jessica,” said the director of Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer to star Jessica Alba. Throughout the film, Alba was pretty much told to just stand there and look pretty. The director even said they’d CGI in the tears to avoid her having an “ugly” crying face.
The condescending direction made the superhero sequel extremely unpleasant. In fact, she almost quit acting because of her bad experience as Sue Storm. For better or worse, Alba has continued to appear in movies like Little Fockers, The Love Guru and the Entourage movie. Alba also runs The Honest Company, a nearly billion dollar health and wellness brand.
Mariah Carey, Glitter
Meant to be Mariah Carey’s launch to movie stardom, Glitter became the biggest bomb of her career. With a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was criticized for being cliche, maudlin, and “Heroically bad.”
Carey hated the film so much, she made people call it “the G-word” and said it’s the biggest regret of her career. Since then, Carey received good reviews for supporting roles in Precious, The Butler and Girls’ Trip, but Billie Frank still haunts her. Fortunately, Carey can always fall back on her day job as the third best-selling female artist in history, second only to Madonna and Rihanna.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Virus
Remember 1999’s Virus? Probably not. And Jamie Lee Curtis is perfectly fine with that. In an interview for the 2018 Halloween, Curtis went out of her way to call this movie a “piece of s***.”
Starring Curtis, William Baldwin, and Donald Sutherland, Virus is about an alien species looking to turn humans into cyborgs. Curtis really regretted saying yes to the movie. “It is so bad that it’s shocking,” she told an interviewer. “That’s the only good reason to be in bad movies. Then when your friends have [bad] movies you can say ‘Ahhhh, I’ve got the best one.’ I’m bringing Virus.”
Angus T. Jones, Two and a Half Men
Angus T. Jones, the kid in the highly-rated Charlie Sheen sitcom Two and a Half Men was not a fan of his own show. Though not technically a movie, we think Jones’ plight deserves an honorary mention, since he starred in the series for twelve years before begging people to stop watching it.
Before the tenth season (after Sheen’s scandal and video ramblings), Jones posted a video calling the show “filth.” He said he no longer wanted to be part of the CBS program and urged viewers to watch anything else. Oddly enough, Jones continued with the show for two more years. Maybe it became less filthy. Or maybe he was happy making at least $350,000 an episode.
Johnny Depp, 21 Jump Street
The 1987 TV series 21 Jump Street made Johnny Depp a star. But he never wanted to be on it. Even before he was famous, he never wanted to do TV and only auditioned for the cop drama because he was “broke.”
Despite having a horrible flu, Depp nailed the audition and became a major star. But he still hated the role of Tom Hanson. “I felt I was in a prison creatively,” said Depp, so he trashed his trailer and did whatever he could to get out of his contract early. Still, it didn’t stop the actor from reprising his role as Officer Tom Hanson in 2012’s 21 Jump Street movie.
Will Smith, Wild Wild West
Will Smith was getting used to having a major box office success every 4th of July until Wild Wild West came to town. Though the film made back its budget, it was far from the success of Independence Day and Men in Black. Plus, critics hated it.
Years after the film, Smith admitted that he made Wild Wild West because he thought it would be a huge hit. Now, he tries to pick films based on quality, rather than global box office. “I have to be in tune with [the fans] needs and not trick them into going to see Wild Wild West,” said Smith.
Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights
Though Boogie Nights brought Burt Reynolds critical acclaim and a much-needed career boost, Reynolds himself never liked the movie. On set, he clashed with director Paul Thomas Anderson and later said he’d never work with Anderson again. As for the film itself, Reynold never saw it.
Supposedly, the movie made him uncomfortable and once said, “It’s not my kind of film.” Reynolds hated the experience so much, he fired his agent that got him the Oscar-nominated role. Ironically, he’s never expressed that kind of resentment for some of his other less-acclaimed roles in movies like Dukes of Hazzard, Cannonball Run II or Meet Wally Sparks.
Roy Scheider, Jaws 2
Jaws is considered to be the first summer blockbuster. It made tons of money, had fans galore, and Roy Scheider was critically praised for his leading role. None of those things can be said about Jaws 2. Though the sequel did well financially, it was a critical dud.
Scheider only did the film because of a contractual obligation. He was supposed to film the lead role in The Deer Hunter, but had problems with the character and dropped out. Since he owed the production company a movie, he was forced to do Jaws 2, though he never liked the script.
Josh Brolin, Jonah Hex
Josh Brolin was acclaimed for bringing to life Marvel comic book characters of Cable and Thanos in Deadpool 2, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War. But he was not so acclaimed for the big screen adaptation of Jonah Hex. Brolin wanted to make a low budget Western but got a CGI disaster instead.
In an interview, Brolin said “Oh Jonah Hex, hated it. Hated it. The experience of making it – that would have been a better movie.” And that’s saying something, coming from the man who agreed to star in Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy.
Blake Lively, Gossip Girl
Though Gossip Girl made Blake Lively famous, she was not always a fan of her character. Lively complained about getting new pages of the script minutes before filming. And as the show went along, she felt like she was just part of a machine, rather than creating something worthwhile.
Since the CW show, Lively has gone on to star in Age of Adaline, The Town, A Simple Favor, Cafe Society and The Shallows…all while raising two kids and probably helping Ryan Reynolds memorize his Deadpool lines. After all, the two did meet on the set of another comic book movie, Green Lantern.
Janeane Garofalo, The Truth About Cats and Dogs
The 1996 rom-com The Truth About Cats & Dogs put indy darling Janeane Garofalo into the mainstream. Though the film brought Garofalo great success, she does not enjoy it. “I have no idea why that film appeals to anyone. I can’t stand that film,” said Garofalo.
According to the actress, the film was originally meant to be an indie without a happy ending but was changed into a sappy studio venture when Uma Thurman signed on. Garofalo has enjoyed success ever since, with major roles in 24, Wet Hot American Summer (and it’s subsequent Netflix prequel series), Metalocalypse and Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.
Chevy Chase, Community
Though the NBC sitcom Community revitalized Chevy Chase’s career and gave him the opportunity to make fans in a whole new audience, Chase had nothing but disdain for the program. Along with fighting with co-stars Yvette Nicole Brown and Donald Glover, Chase saved his true ire for creator Dan Harmon.
Chase famously ranted to Harmon, “It’s just a f***ing mediocre sitcom! I want people to laugh, and this isn’t funny.” He is a notoriously difficult actor and doesn’t have a kind word to say about anyone. This includes such notables as President Ford, Will Ferrell, Johnny Carson, Bill Murray and Howard Stern (among others).
Denise Crosby, Star Trek: The Next Generation
“I was miserable. I couldn’t wait to get off that show. I was dying,” said Denise Crosby about her year on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Crosby found the character unfulfilling and was scared to death of the idea of standing around in that uniform for years and years to come.
Since then, Crosby’s appeared in shows including The Walking Dead, Scandal, Dexter, Mad Men and Star Trek: New Voyages. She was a producer for both the documentary Trekkies and its sequel, Trekkies 2. Additionally, the actress lent her vocal talent to the Star Trek: Armada and Star Trek Online video games.
Mandy Patinkin, Criminal Minds
Though Mandy Patinkin seems to enjoy his Emmy-nominated role on Showtime’s Homeland, he deeply regrets his small screen turn on CBS’ Criminal Minds. The crime procedural had Patinkin dealing with grisly, violent subject matter every day. And he didn’t like it.
“The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds,” said Patinkin. Apparently, dealing with fictional terrorism is a lot more pleasant than dealing with make-believe serial killers. Not to mention that while Homeland has landed the actor four Emmy nominations and one for a Golden Globe, Criminal Minds netted Patinkin…exactly zero.
Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman
Sure, she might be considered the greatest living actor, but even Meryl Streep herself isn’t happy with all her filmed roles. Was she displeased with her turn in the Roseanne Barr vehicle She-Devil? Nope, Streep’s only regret is The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Streep doesn’t disparage the film itself but thinks she did the part a disservice. She felt disconnected from the character and remains embarrassed by her performance. Apparently identifying with a reanimated corpse (Death Becomes Her), the world’s worst mom (August: Osage County, The Manchurian Candidate) and a literal witch (Into the Woods) were a comparative cakewalk.
Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Sylvester Stallone is the first to admit that he’s made played pretty bad roles (his turn as a country singer in Rhinestone comes to mind). But one movie tops his list – Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
The curious punctuation in the title alone makes the film difficult, but the script is even worse. Stallone once said “If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes.” You know what? We’re just going to take Rocky’s word on that one.
Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Bros.
British actor Bob Hoskins appeared in over 100 film and TV roles during his career. You might recognize the British actor from his work in Brazil, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook, Nixon or Enemy at the Gates. But he hated nothing as much as he hated playing the titular character in Super Mario Bros.
The Nintendo game adaptation was supposed to be a big summer hit, but due to constant script changes, inexperienced directors, and a screaming Dennis Hopper, the film was a complete disaster. When Hoskins was asked about his biggest disappointment and worse job, he pointed to that film. When asked if he could go back and change anything in his life, he answered: “I wouldn’t do Super Mario Bros.”
David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
After appearing in two Alvin and the Chipmunks movies, you’d think David Cross would have grown accustomed to the role of Ian in the CGI family films. The third time wasn’t the charm for Cross since Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was “literally, without question, the most unpleasant experience I’ve ever had in my professional life.”
It’s not clear what made the last movie in the trilogy so unbearable for Cross, but regardless, don’t expect to hear him talking to any high voiced rodents again. (Though he did lend his vocal talents to Lakeith Stanfield in 2018’s Sorry to Bother You.)
Keanu Reeves, The Watcher
The Watcher is a pretty forgotten thriller from the year 2000, which is fine by Keanu Reeves since he was tricked into appearing in the film in the first place. Reeves never found the serial killer role interesting but had to appear in the film due to a forgery.
A friend of Reeves forged his signature on an agreement for The Watcher. Reeves couldn’t prove that his friend faked his autograph and he didn’t want to get sued, so Reeves begrudgingly joined the cast. It only got worse when his role kept getting bigger while he made more than $1 million less than his co-star, James Spader.
Zac Efron, High School Musical
When Zac Efron looks back on his breakout role in High School Musical, he doesn’t see a future star. He sees a guy he’d like to beat up. When asked about his turn as Troy Bolton, Efron said “I still want to kick that guy’s a** sometimes.”
Efron later refused to attend a 10-year anniversary of the film and seems to want to leave his basketball/musical theater days behind him. Hopefully, his floppy hair and highlights will stay in the past, too; after all, his next role will be portraying serial killer Ted Bundy in the upcoming bio-doc, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Carrie Fisher, Star Wars
Over the years, Carrie Fisher had mixed emotions about Star Wars. She loved that girls looked up to Princess Leia, but she hated that the film became such an overwhelming phenomenon. “I would never have done it. All I did when I was really famous was wait for it to end,” said Fisher in an interview.
Though the actress was never fully able to escape her iconic turn as the intergalactic leader of the rebellion, she used it as material for her later memoirs. Ultimately, Fisher couldn’t disappoint her fans and returned to the role twice more before her untimely death in 2016.