Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Actors Who Regret The Role That Made Them Famous

For many actors, there can be a fine line between taking roles that bring in paychecks and those that bring in prestige. Sometimes, we get Daniel Day-Lewis, who seems like he becomes the front runner for the Oscars every time he steps on screen. Other times, we get Nicolas Cage, who has to fund his habit of buying dinosaur skulls somehow.

Oftentimes, however, one role becomes the role of an actor's career, regardless of why they chose it. Anthony Hopkins is an amazing actor with almost 150 roles to his name, yet he will always be Hannibal Lecter. Hopkins has played Shakespearean leads, the Pope, Chris Hemsworth's dad, and some of the greatest writers and artists of all time, but he will always be known for enjoying some very particular fine dining with a nice Chianti.

Today, we're looking at a specific type of iconic role — the kind that the actors themselves regret doing. It's easy to say that once you've cashed the check, but these performers have made no bones about wishing they had turned down the role that made them famous.

Kate Winslet - Titanic

Kate Winslet was the lead role in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time and, to hear her tell the tale, it was an awful experience. Winslet has discussed how much she hated doing the nude scene in Titanic, confessing that nude scenes are "a profoundly bizarre thing to do" and that she finds them "unethical." But there are plenty of other aspects about her performance as Rose that she dislikes.

In fact, Winslet thinks her entire performance in the film is dreadful. At the 2012 premiere of Titanic's 3D re-release, she revealed her disdain for her own "awful" American accent. For such an iconic role, she's pretty hard on herself.

However, it wasn't just her own performance that Winslet hated about Titanic. In an interview with the LA Times, the actress dished on the awful set conditions of the film. She almost drowned on one occasion, and she cited James Cameron as a "nice guy," but with "a temper like you wouldn't believe." She concluded the interview by saying, "I'd never do a shoot for that length of time again. It's hard to hang on to your integrity, your train of thought, what you feel about your character. And for the first time in my life on a film set I was thinking, 'I wish I wasn't here.' Some days I'd wake up and think, 'Please, God, let me die.'"

Carrie Fisher - Star Wars

For many, Star Wars is the defining piece of pop culture. It is one of the most valuable movie franchises ever created, but very few people involved knew exactly what they'd be getting into when George Lucas came calling in the '70s. The late, great Carrie Fisher was one such person.

Fisher wished the film had not blown up in quite the way it did. The always outspoken actress told Today that, if she knew how huge the film would get, "I would never have done it. All I did when I was really famous was wait for it to end." Granted, she was a 19-year-old actress (who was told by some, at 5'1" and 105 pounds, that she was "too fat" for the role) looking for her big break. Star Wars certainly provided it.

One scene in particular stood out as the subject of Fisher's ire: Princess Leia's infamous gold bikini in Return of the Jedi. She told NPR, "When [Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding and it made me very nervous... What redeems it is I get to kill him, which was so enjoyable... I sawed [Jabba the Hutt's] neck off with that chain that I killed him with. I really relished that because I hated wearing that outfit... and I couldn't wait to kill him." Audiences weren't the only ones cheering when she murdered that space slug, apparently.

Harrison Ford - Star Wars

Et tu, Solo? Harrison Ford also did not relish the direction the Star Wars films took, and seemed to think that his character, Han Solo, wasn't as interesting as some of the other roles that he eventually took on. The Huffington Post wrote an entire feature on how Ford's mindset towards the character changed over the course of the original trilogy, eventually leading him to ask George Lucas to kill Solo off at the end of the third film.

Ford was not even supposed to be up for the role, as Lucas did not want to cast anyone in Star Wars who had been in his previous film, American Graffiti. The actor was ultimately too perfect for the role, however, and as his stardom grew, so did his dislike for Han Solo.

When his character was finally killed off in The Force Awakens, Ford was asked about "passing the baton." He reportedly said, "I don't know that I thought of it that way at all. I was there to die. And I didn't really give a rat's ass who got my sword."

It does appear that much of Ford's antagonism towards the character came about the time Return of the Jedi was filming, but we don't have a great clue as to why. Considering Ford's prickly nature regarding questions about Star Wars, it's doubtful we'll get a clear explanation any time soon.

Robert Pattinson - Twilight

From one classic franchise to another (bear with us), we've got to talk about Twilight. Don't worry — star Robert Pattinson, who played sparkly vampire Edward, is just as confused about some of the aspects of the films as you are. Pattinson has never hesitated to question Twilight's logic, and has spoken out about how little sense the plot makes. He told W Magazine, "I mean, if it hadn't been so successful, I think people would have thought it was really weird. It's a really weird story. But I think once it becomes mainstream, it's difficult for people to see how strange the story is."

Even fans of Twilight could probably tell you how bizarre the story is, but Pattinson has also made no qualms about how much he doesn't like the film. In an interview with Moviefone, when asked if he would enjoy the films if he hadn't been in them, he couldn't even pretend to be excited about (the then-upcoming) Breaking Dawn Part I. He responded, "I think I am a judgmental and cynical person who would just mindlessly hate it without having seen anything. I just think I'm a bad person."

The producers surely loved that one.

Christopher Plummer - The Sound of Music

Quick — think of a punny way to make fun of 1965 classic The Sound of Music. Was it "The Sound of Mucus?" Because that's how Academy Award winning actor Christopher Plummer, who starred as Captain Von Trapp in the film, apparently refers to it. Plummer saw The Sound of Music as silly and, even though he was only 36 at the time he was cast in the film, was already quite an accomplished stage actor. That silly little movie launched him into Hollywood stardom, however, and he doesn't hesitate to unleash on The Sound of Music whenever he gets the chance.

Case in point: at a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, Plummer (who was 82 at the time) was asked about the most challenging role he ever played. He surprised everyone by claiming it was Von Trapp. When pressed about why, he laughed and responded, "Because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it."

Michelle Pfeiffer - Grease 2

Even by musical comedy standards, Grease 2 has a completely bananas plot. If, for some bizarre reason, you ever decide to sit down and watch this forgettable sequel, you may think you're in for a treat when you discover that it stars Michelle Pfeiffer. Do not be deceived. You will not be in for a treat.

Michelle Pfeiffer hates the film and her role in it so much that she actually has floated the idea of remaking the original Grease with her playing the role of Principal McGee to atone for her performance as Stephanie in Grease 2. Of her experience in the unnecessary follow-up, Pfeiffer said, "I hated that film with a vengeance and could not believe how bad it was. At the time, I was young and didn't know better... I hear it's a cult movie now."

Considering some of the amazing roles Pfeiffer has gone on to play in her career, it's a good thing Grease 2 helped launch her to stardom. We're glad she can't "Turn Back the Hands of Time" on that one.

Sean Connery - James Bond

Watching the evolution of Sean Connery's relationship to James Bond is a bit like watching a car wreck in slow motion. The actor has always been outspoken, uncompromising, and extremely private, so hearing him discuss the process of helping to establish the origin of one of the most famous roles in all of film is fascinating stuff.

In 1963's Dr. No, Connery relished the chance to take on the role of the deadly, womanizing spy. However, he thought he was miscast, and The Independent claims it took him three films to really come into his own in the part. By that time, he seemed to dread the notoriety that came with being one of Hollywood's leading men.

In a 1964 New York Times interview, Connery stated, "I would never deny that Bond made me, and I'll be everlastingly grateful to him. But that doesn't make me a Bond‐slave. I can cut the shackles free any time I want to. And they aren't made of steel chains any longer, either, but smoothest silk." He later 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."

Fed up is a bit of an understatement, as Connery had this to say after filming Diamonds are Forever: "I have always hated that damned James Bond. I'd like to kill him." 

That escalated rather quickly.

Viola Davis - The Help

Viola Davis had taken on some meaty roles before starring in 2011's The Help as Aibileen Clark, but that role bagged her an Oscar nomination for Actress in a Leading Role and some serious clout in Hollywood. Davis would eventually get an Oscar (for a supporting role in 2016's Fences), but she looks back on The Help with a few twinges of regret.

In a New York Times interview, Davis specifically called out The Help for ignoring the plight of its black characters and instead focusing on its central white character. The film has been blasted for falling into "White Savior" tropes, and Davis tends to agree. She told the Times, "I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn't the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They're my grandma. They're my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, 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."

Betsy Palmer - Friday the 13th

Betsy Palmer was an established name before her completely table-turning role in Friday the 13th, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who remembers her as anything besides "Mrs. Voorhees" at this point. And Palmer certainly wished that wasn't the case. In a behind-the-scenes interview for the documentary Return to Crystal Lake, Palmer revealed that she thought the film was a "piece of [awkward silence]" and that she only took the role because she wanted to buy a new car.

It really is incredible to watch Palmer discuss her role as Pamela Voorhees. "I had a Mercedes... and it broke down on the Connecticut turnpike. So I said to myself, 'I need a new car, universe,'" she recalled. "The phone rang and my agent said, 'How would you like to do a movie?' and I said, 'Great. That will pay for the car that I want to buy.'" 

When her agent told her it was a horror film, Palmer accepted with something of a shrug. "So, the script came and I read it and I said, 'What a piece of...' And I said, 'No one is ever going to see this. It will come, and it will go, and I will have my Scirocco.'"

There are, as of this writing, 12 Friday the 13th films. There were comics, novels, a TV series, and merchandising tie-ins. Jason Voorhees is one of the most iconic horror villains of all time. Whoops.

Megan Fox - Transformers

Megan Fox seems like she regrets her harsh words now, but she was extraordinarily critical of her star-making role as Mikaela Banes in Michael Bay's Transformers franchise. She was especially critical of Bay himself, claiming (and this is all in a single interview) that he has no social skills, that she could beat him up because "if Michael Bay ever was in a fight, he would drop to the ground immediately in the fetal position," and even invoking Godwin's Law by comparing him to Hitler.

Not surprisingly, Fox was replaced in the next Transformers film, Dark of the Moon.

She can reflect now and, in an interview with Cosmopolitan, called her behavior and the subsequent consequences "the low point of [her] career." She continued, "But without 'that thing,' I wouldn't have learned as quickly as I did. All I had to do was apologize — and I refused. I was so self-righteous at 23, I couldn't see [that] it was for the greater good. I really thought I was Joan of Arc."

Even though she regrets both the role and the way she acted towards it, it's good to know that she learned from the experience. Maybe we'll eventually see her return in Transformers 18: Dear God, The Robot Now Transforms Into a Planet or Something.