These Actors Regret Taking On Their Most Iconic Roles

When you think about the big movies that launched various actors’ careers, you probably assume that these actors were grateful for the opportunity. Their lives have changed so much because of a single movie role and now they have adoring fans, a whole bunch of money, and a career in an industry that’s very hard to break into. Well, some actors aren’t so happy about every role they’ve ever played.

The actors on this list ended up regretting some of their most iconic roles for a variety of reasons. Some hated the film while others hated the character. Whatever the reasons are, watching these actors onscreen will never be the same.

George Reeves Thought Playing Superman Killed His Career

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ABC/MovieStillsDB
ABC/MovieStillsDB

The first actor for play Superman on the small screen was George Reeves in the 1950s show The Adventures of Superman. While Reeves took the part very seriously because he knew the impact he would have on kids, he absolutely hated it.

He constantly referred to the role as “beneath his dignity” and said that getting into costume was like wearing a “monkey suit.” Reeves didn’t even appreciate the fame it gave him because, for years afterward, he’d have entire roles cut because directors thought his famous face would distract audiences.

Alec Guinness Didn’t Like His Star Wars Character

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Lucasfilms/MovieStillsDB
Lucasfilms/MovieStillsDB

Alec Guinness was already a British film legend in 1977 when he begrudgingly agreed to take the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars film. He only took the role after his pay was doubled which should have been a red flag for George Lucas.

Then, from letters at the time, you can see him writing about how Obi-Wan and the entire film franchise was “fairy-tale rubbish.” Star Wars does not have a good reputation with its actors.

Michelle Pfeiffer Should Have Turned Down Grease 2

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Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Even though Pfeiffer went on to be known for many other iconic roles, we first got a taste of her as Stephanie in Grease 2. The spin-off was highly successful in the ’70s, but has since been considered a terrible flop. Pfeiffer wasn’t exactly happy with it either had hates to be reminded of it.

In fact, she calls acting in Grease 2 “a bad dream” that she wants “erased from her memory.”

Molly Ringwald Doesn’t Love The Breakfast Club

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Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB

The Breakfast Club might be the most iconic ’80s Rat Pack film. It defined an entire generation. Now, more than 30 years since the film came out, Molly Ringwald is saying that she actually didn’t like her character or the film that much. In 2017, during the rise of #MeToo, Ringwald reexamined the movie and said some scenes make her feel “deeply uncomfortable.”

She even said that she regretted staying silent at the time and letting those scenes go on as written.

Will Smith Regrets After Earth

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Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB

At least Will Smith is on the same page as us with this one. He’s a fantastic actor with a heck of a career. His highlight reel is full of amazing television shows and movies. After Earth is not on his highlight reel. After the movie came out Smith said that it was “the most painful failure” of his career and a valuable lesson for him.

He probably just wanted to work with his son again and this movie gave him an opportunity to do so. He didn’t pay enough attention to the script.

Sean Connery Isn’t Sure About His 007 Character

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/MovieStillsDB
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/MovieStillsDB

While most actors would kill for the chance to play James Bond, the original one couldn’t care less. In an interview with The Guardian, Connery said he was so sick of even talking about the role and that he’s “always hated that damned James Bond…I’d like to kill him.”

When Connery first landed the role, he thought he was being underpaid. By the end of his sixth and final appearance as James Bond, he was donating his entire salary to charity.

Kate Winslet Doesn’t Like Her Titanic Performance

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Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

While Winslet doesn’t regret the character or the movie, she can barely watch herself in scenes from Titanic. She once told CNN that she’ll criticize how she acted in every single scene. The worst part for Winslet? Her “awful” American accent. She says it’s hard to even listen to.

While Winslet had acted in numerous movies before Titanic, none of them required a different accent. She definitely felt in over her head with that role.

Marlon Brando Wanted To Be More Than A Pretty Face

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Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB

Brando is known for different roles by different generations, but his portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire shot him into fame. Despite being the role that made him, Brando once told Time magazine he “detests the character” because for a long time it branded him as a “sexy outlaw” archetype.

It took a few decades but Brando eventually shook the label when he landed the lead role in The Godfather.

Jessica Alba Hated The Experience Of Filming Fantastic Four

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Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB
Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB

The first Fantastic Four film was panned by critics, but for some reason, they still made a sequel. The sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer was even worse and scarred her for life. She said that during filming she considered stopping acting because she hated it.

Apparently, the final straw came when the director told her she looked “too real” when crying and that she should just focus on looking pretty, and they’d “CGI the tears in.” Yikes.

George Clooney Thinks He Made A Bad Batman

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Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB

No one, not even the main actor, enjoyed the 1997 film, Batman & Robin. More than 15 years after the film’s release, George Clooney joked that he’d “been disinvited from Comic-Con for 20 years” and that he saw Adam West and apologized to him.

Clooney as a superhero should have been a slam dunk but those darn nipples on the bat-suit really ruined everything. At least we got to see Arnold Schwarzenegger as Freeze.

A Clockwork Orange Ruined Malcolm McDowell’s Life

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Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB

Apparently, the genius behind Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange didn’t resonate with the film’s star, Malcolm McDowell. He said that thanks to playing Alex, he wasn’t able to land a good new role for at least ten years.

McDowell fully admits that he resented the film and everyone involved in it for those ten years and that rewatching it today still irritates him. Luckily, he’s been a highly successful actor after the brief drought.

Angus T. Jones Just Decided He Hated Acting

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The WB Television Network/MovieStillsDB
The WB Television Network/MovieStillsDB

You might recognize Jones best as the “half man” from Two And A Half Men. He played the role of Jake Harper on the show for ten years until, suddenly one day, he completely denounced the role. Jones uploaded a video that said he hated the show, didn’t want to be on it, and that he wanted people to stop watching.

It seems that not only did he hate the role that made him famous, but he hated the entire industry. He’s stepped away from Hollywood and hasn’t acted since 2016.

Burt Reynolds Hates The Movie That Earned Him An Oscar Nomination

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New Line Cinema/MovieStillsDB
New Line Cinema/MovieStillsDB

The first generation of Burt Reynolds fans know him from Smokey and the Bandit, but Reynolds’ career was revived with the 1997 film Boogie Nights. His role as Jack Horner even landed him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Despite the rejuvenated career, Reynolds outspokenly hated the character and the film. He even refused to appear in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film because he hated the experience that much.

Cher Wasn’t Thrilled About Burlesque

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Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Cher had her heyday back in the 1980s, which means that she was already an incredibly well known and bankable star when she decided to take on a role in the 2010 musical film Burlesque. That means that she totally didn’t need the role and could have turned it down. According to her, she should have turned it down.

Cher openly told The Guardian that it could have “been a much better film” but that the director didn’t care about Cher’s input and told her he just wanted her to “shoot the dance numbers.”

Daniel Radcliffe’s True Feelings About Harry Potter

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Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB

Daniel Radcliffe is very thankful for landing the role of the boy who lived way back in the early 2000s. Unlike most child stars, Daniel Radcliffe has actually made the most of the early start to his career. He’s chosen interesting and varied projects and he continues to prove that he’s an actor worth watching. While he enjoyed playing Harry, he finds it difficult to look back at his sub-par acting skills from when he was a kid.

Radcliffe told Playboy in 2015 that his acting in The Half-Blood Prince “is very one-note” and that he felt he just got “complacent” with the character. Clearly he’s his own worst critic.

Carrie Fisher Wasn’t A Fan Of The Star Wars Fame

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Lucasfilms/MovieStillsDB
Lucasfilms/MovieStillsDB

Carrie Fisher had a tough life, and a lot of her struggles stemmed from the fame she received as a result of playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies. Back in 2008, she told The Today Show that she “would have never done it” if she had known how famous it would make her.

Her fame led her down a dark path of substance abuse that she was still struggling with in 2008. Even so, she reprised her role as Princess Leia in the 2015 Star Wars reboot.

Harrison Also Had Issues With Star Wars

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Lucasfilms/MovieStillsDB
Lucasfilms/MovieStillsDB

Harrison Ford didn’t mind the fame that came with starring in such a beloved franchise. He did, however, have some issues with the amount of work that was required of him. Han Solo has a lot of screen time in the films. Ford actually wanted his character to be killed off at the end of Return of the Jedi but George Lucas didn’t grant his wish.

Ford reprised the role in the 2015 franchise reboot solely on the condition that his character would finally die.

Harrison Ford Had Even Stronger Feelings About Blade Runner

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Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros./MovieStillsDB

Even though Ford hated playing Han Solo, he hated playing Rick Deckard in Blade Runner even more. He complained that Deckard was a “detective who did not have any detecting to do” and that the script was difficult to read. He also hated having to do voiceover work.

As with Star Wars, Ford managed to get over his feelings after some time had passed. He agreed to star in the 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049.

Christian Bale Doesn’t Like Musicals

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Walt Disney Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Walt Disney Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Christian Bale is now known as a chameleon in the acting world. He can transform himself into almost any character. He also has an Academy Award and four Oscar nominations under his belt. When he was first getting into acting, he took on some less serious roles.

Bale came to prominence when he was 17 years old for his role in the musical Newsies. While the film was well-liked by critics, Bale has commented that he felt like the role didn’t help him when he was gunning for a respectable and serious acting career.

Christopher Plummer Hated The Sound Of Music

Actor Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp in The Sound Of Music
Photo Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Even though it made him a star, the actor who played Captain von Trapp “disliked almost every aspect of” The Sound Of Music. Plummer said that there was nothing to make his character interesting and that his attempts felt like “flogging a dead horse.” Ouch.

Maybe Plummer just isn’t into romantic, happy endings because years later in 2009 he also called the film “awful and sentimental and gooey.” It may have made him a household name, but apparently, it wasn’t worth it.

Katherine Heigl Had Some Choice Words To Say About Knocked Up

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Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Heigl was doing pretty well for herself before Knocked Up. She had already won an Emmy for her work on Grey’s Anatomy. Still, Knocked Up was a huge part of her transition from television star to romantic comedy sweetheart. Heigl has actually gotten into some hot water over the years for appearing to be ungreatful to the people who gave her her biggest breaks.

When promoting the film in 2007, she called it “a little sexist.” Later on, she expended the comment and said the film painted her as “shrew, humorless and uptight.”

Dakota Johnson Doesn’t Have The Hots For Fifty Shades Of Grey

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Focus Features/MovieStillsDB
Focus Features/MovieStillsDB

Fifty Shades of Grey is quite a polarizing franchise. People either love it or hate it. There’s very little in between. Apparently, Dakota Johnson is part of the “hate it” camp. Dakota Johnson isn’t exactly a fan of Anastasia Steele or the entire Fifty Shades of Grey series. She told Glamour magazine in 2017 that she has a troubling love-hate relationship with her character that “comes in waves.”

Johnson also said that the fame from the role put her life on a path that she “didn’t plan to go down.”

Megan Fox Knows Why She Was Cast In Transformers

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Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

While teenage boys love Fox’s character Mikaela Banes in the Transformers franchise, the actress hated it. She told Entertainment Weekly that it didn’t take long for her to realize the director wanted her for her looks, not her acting.

As such, it became a fun game for her to “act” in the film. Fox felt the film didn’t appreciate her skills or challenge her whatsoever. It makes more sense now why she left the franchise after the second installment.

Zac Efron Regrets Playing Troy Bolton

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Disney Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Disney Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Efron is definitely thankful for the fame and opportunities that High School Musical and Disney gave him, but he doesn’t have to like it. The actor told Men’s Fitness that he actually hates his character when he’s watched the film at home.

Efron’s biggest regret is that many people have a hard time separating him from the character. He has gone on to have a wildly successful career and tackle many different roles, but if you were a teenager in 2006, he’ll always be Troy Bolton.

Robert Pattinson Is Better Than Twilight

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Summit Entertainment/MovieStillsDB
Summit Entertainment/MovieStillsDB

The British actor has never hidden his hatred for both the character Edward Cullen and the entire Twilight franchise. In 2008 during filming, he said, “the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy.” It affected his acting too. Since Pattinson hated the character, he played Edward as a “manic-depressive who hates himself.”

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, Pattinson also said the sound of screaming Twilight fans is “the sound you hear at the gates of hell.”

Matt Damon Hated The Final Jason Bourne Script

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Universal Studios/MovieStillsDB
Universal Studios/MovieStillsDB

The role that turned Matt Damon into a certified action star was stretched too thin for his liking. Damon played Jason Bourne in the trilogy but began to hate the character and the franchise after the final film, The Bourne Ultimatum. He said the script was so terrible that he thought it would be “a career-ender.”

Oddly enough, the third film ended up being the most critically acclaimed of the series.

Kelly Clarkson Should Have Stuck To Singing

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19 Entertainment/MovieStillsDB
19 Entertainment/MovieStillsDB

Let’s take a trip back to 2003. Kelly Clarkson just won the first season ever of American Idol, and on the coattails of her fame, she’s decided to star in a terrible romantic musical comedy called From Justin To Kelly. We all knew it was bad and so did Clarkson.

Years later she was jokingly asked if she’d burned all her copies and she responded, “No, I think I would have to own it first.” Clarkson has also instructed her nanny to never show her kids the film.

Edward Norton Didn’t Want To Make The Italian Job

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Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

The 2003 remake of The Italian Job had a devoted fan base to work with and an A-list cast so it was guaranteed to be well-liked, right? Wrong. Edward Norton didn’t actually want to sign on to do the film but he had a contract with Paramount Pictures. If he didn’t take the role, he could have been sued.

You can’t tell from his excellent performance but Norton says he regretted every second he spent on the set.

Bill Murray Hated Voicing Garfield

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Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB
Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB

If you paid attention closely in Zombieland you might have caught Bill Murray’s character of Zombie-Bill-Murray say that he regretted doing Garfield. That wasn’t a line in the script, that was real life.

Murray explained that he signed on for the role because he knew Joel Coen—one half of the iconic Coen Brothers—was writing the script so it must be good. As well all know, it wasn’t good. Murray said the film felt like a waste of his talents.

Sia LaBeouf Thinks He Didn’t Do A Good Job In Indiana Jones

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Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Everyone was pretty excited when the reboot of the Indiana Jones series was announced featuring Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf. It ended up being a huge critical flop and LaBeouf largely says it’s because of his dislike of the character.

LaBeouf believed he let the character down because he didn’t like the script or the role. As a result, the movie was a flop and is one of his biggest regrets.

Channing Tatum Shouldn’t Have Taken On G.I. Joe

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Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of G.I. Joe in 2009 that suckered all of us, even the film’s star, into thinking it would be good. Years after the franchise ended, Tatum told Howard Stern that he hated the movie and “was pushed into doing it.”

Tatum, like all of us, was a fan of the television show as a kid. Unfortunately, he said after reading the script he didn’t want to be G.I. Joe but couldn’t turn back.

Ryan Reynolds Has Mixed Feelings About Deadpool

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Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB
Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB

Today, everyone knows Reynolds to be the hilariously inappropriate Deadpool from the standalone movies. Before that though, he played Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it was just plain terrible. Reynolds has a deep love for the character and said that he was told if he didn’t play the part they would “get someone else to.”

Reynolds didn’t want anyone else to take on the character so he swallowed his pride, but from the start knew “it’s the wrong version” of the character.

Miley Cyrus Hates Hannah Montana

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Disney Enterprises/MovieStillsDB
Disney Enterprises/MovieStillsDB

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus probably wouldn’t be where she is today without her breakout role on the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana. Cyrus began the show when she was 11 and it wasn’t until the show ended that she found her real voice.

While Cyrus doesn’t hate what the show did for her career, she hates how insecure the role made her. She told Marie Clair that she was a “fragile little girl” who always had to play a part and couldn’t be herself.

Shailene Woodley’s First Major Role

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CityTV/MovieStillsDB
CityTV/MovieStillsDB

Woodley says that her time on The Secret Life Of An American Teenager made her question her integrity. She told Flaunt magazine that by the final season, she was anxious about what the “young adults across the country” would be learning about life from the show.

It seems that she’s moved on though. Now Woodley is best now known for her activism and dramatic movie roles that are much more aligned with her morals.

Andrew Lincoln Wants To Move On

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Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Nowadays, kids would recognize Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. Long before he landed that major role though, Lincoln debuted as Mark in Love Actually, AKA, the guy holding the signs for Kiera Knightly.

Even though the bit part made him a recognizable face, Lincoln says that his character was the “weird stalker guy.” Apparently, even at the time, he was worried about coming off as “creepy.”

Adam Brody Is Tired Of Being Seth Cohen

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The WB Television Network/MovieStillsDB
The WB Television Network/MovieStillsDB

Any teenager growing up in the early 2000s had a major crush on the nerdy outcast Seth from The O.C. While he may have had girls fawning over him, the actor who played Seth is tired of being asked questions about him. It has been nearly fifteen years and Brody still apparently gets asked only about his role as Seth.

Brody even related his hatred of Seth Cohen to Harrison Ford’s hatred of Han Solo.

Blake Lively Felt Her Gossip Girl Role Was Personally Compromising

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The CW Television Network/MovieStillsDB
The CW Television Network/MovieStillsDB

Much like Shailene Woodley, Blake Lively has had troubled remedying the character that made her famous with her own personal morals. Playing Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl definitely put Lively on Hollywood’s A-list, but at what price?

Lively explained her dislike of the character is because she’d never do the malicious things Serena did like give “someone the cocaine that made them overdose.” Lively even said she didn’t understand why people love the character so much.

Mark Wahlberg Hates His Musical Roots

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Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images
Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images

You could argue that playing the “role” of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch was a long-lost hated character. Wahlberg looks back on the early stage of his career with complete embarrassment. The actor told Sports Illustrated that he “thought he was so cool back then” when in reality he “was such an a**.”

It’s alleged that as part of his contracts, film sets aren’t allowed to play any of his Marky Mark hits.