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Actors Who Hate The Character That Made Them Famous

Some actors spend their entire careers in search of a defining role that never comes, but not everyone who lands their long-awaited breakthrough looks back fondly on the part that made them famous. It stands to reason that an actor would have nothing but love for the character that catapulted them to stardom, but most actors don't have much choice over the parts they play when they're starting out, and sometimes they grow to despise them. For some of the actors on this list, these famous characters were simply a means to an end; for others, the roles started out with high hopes, only to end in deep regret.

Kate Winslet (Rose DeWitt Bukater, Titanic)

Kate Winslet put herself firmly on Hollywood's radar when she made her debut in Peter Jackson's Oscar-nominated psychological thriller Heavenly Creatures as a teen, but it was her turn as troubled socialite Rose in James Cameron's Titanic that made her a global star. The film won a record-tying 11 Academy Awards and opened up some big doors for Winslet, though she admitted that she actively avoided "big" movies later, fearing she would have "burned out by the age of 25" if she didn't. 

Looking back on Titanic 15 years later, Winslet revealed that she hated her performance and would love a do-over. "Every single scene, I'm like 'Really, really? You did it like that? Oh my God,'" she lamented in 2012. "Even my American accent, I can't listen to it. It's awful. Hopefully it's so much better now. It sounds terribly self indulgent but actors do tend to be very self-critical. I have a hard time watching any of my performances, but watching Titanic I was just like, 'Oh God, I want to do that again.'"

Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars)

Harrison Ford has always had a complicated relationship with the Star Wars franchise and his character Han Solo (he's called him dull and once mockingly referred to him as "Ham Yoyo"), but he's been known to change his tune periodically. One Star Wars actor whose negative opinion of his character never faltered during his lifetime was Sir Alec Guinness, who hated Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi with a passion. His authorized biography (excerpted by Dangerous Minds) contained some telling notes that Guinness exchanged with an associate during the casting and filming process.

He wrote novelist and friend Piers Paul Read to tell him he'd been offered a role in a "Paul Lucas" film (he was apparently bad with names, also referring to Harrison Ford as Tennyson Ford) but was concerned about the genre. "[It's] science fiction, which gives me pause," he said. "Fairy-tale rubbish, but could be interesting perhaps." Later correspondence shows that he didn't find the experience interesting—far from it, in fact. "Can't say I'm enjoying the film," he wrote during the 1977 shoot. "New rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper, and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable."

Sean Connery (James Bond)

"I have always hated that damned James Bond," Sean Connery once said. "I'd like to kill him." 

Connery made his debut as the British spy in 1962's Dr. No and would go on to reprise the role on six occasions—including the first five Bond films, the last of which, You Only Live Twice, left him thoroughly disgruntled. Connery already felt as though he wasn't being paid handsomely enough to make up for the amount of work and intense levels of media attention, and when photographers followed him into a public bathroom while he was shooting on location in Japan, he'd had enough.

Connery quit the role but returned to it twice, once for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever and again for 1983's Never Say Never Again, which was made independently of producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli. The two had a bitter disagreement over salary and royalties, and Connery didn't even attend Broccoli's funeral. "Sean still feels aggrieved by how he was treated by Cubby over the years," an associate of the actor told the New York Daily News. "He felt that he was never well financially rewarded for his early work, and after his departure his work was used to generate tens of millions of dollars."

Daniel Craig (James Bond)

Sean Connery often tops polls ranking the best Bonds, but there's no doubt as to who's been the most successful in terms of box office returns. Daniel Craig's outings as 007 have pulled in giant stacks of cash worldwide and his name is now synonymous with the character, though his overall experience with the franchise may have been less than positive. When asked if he'd be interested in returning for a fifth outing, he didn't mince words. "I'd rather break this glass and slash my wrists," he told Time Out. "I'm over it at the moment. We're done. All I want to do is move on... If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money."

Craig explained that playing Bond had become "a drag" for him because he was expected to be smooth and smart at all times, which became a distraction for him on set. "The best acting is when you're not concerned about the surface," he said. "Bond is the opposite of that. You have to be bothered about how you're looking. It's a struggle. I know that how Bond wears a suit and walks into a room is important, but as an actor I don't want to give a f*** about what I look like." Of course, all that being said, the franchise's producers eventually convinced Craig to come back for a fifth and final time; as he later put it, "I just want to go out on a high note."

Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen, Twilight)

The hearts of teenage girls everywhere shattered collectively when news broke that Twilight star Robert Pattinson actually couldn't stand playing Edward Cullen, the franchise's 108-year-old hunky vampire. Once the cat was out of the bag, R-Patz (a nickname he also hates with a passion) didn't let up with his criticisms of the character and the story in general. Twilight author Stephenie Meyer told MTV that she and Pattinson disagreed about how Edward should be portrayed from the moment they met, and the actor would later air his grievances publicly.

"Girls often say that Edward's 'sooo perfect,' but he's not," he told fans at an event in Brussels. "I do not like people who try to exert control in a relationship, when there is an imbalance. This is very wrong and very strange." Pattinson went on to insist he was nothing like the overly serious Edward Cullen in real life and argued that his character's romance with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) was "the most awful relationship in the world." Yikes.

Blake Lively (Serena van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl)

She wasn't always comfortable with the way it was promoted, but Blake Lively will always be remembered for playing Upper East Side socialite Serena van der Woodsen in the CW series Gossip Girl. The show was marketed as a teen drama, but Lively (who appeared in all 121 episodes) felt the content wasn't always suitable for viewers of that age group, something she expressed guilt and frustration over after Gossip Girl came to an end.

"People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising—you want to be putting a better message out there," she told Glamour (via Teen Vogue). "When parents would say, 'My teenager is watching your show,' I wanted to say, 'Hold on, why? Are you having a talk with them after?' From the drug use to the point where we're killing people, it's sexual and salacious."

Lively's transition to the big screen looked a sure thing after her turn in Ben Affleck's critically acclaimed 2010 thriller The Town, but her career trajectory faltered when 2011's The Green Lantern underperformed. She's since made her mark in indie films, however, rebounding with the shark thriller The Shallows and enjoying a subsequent career resurgence.

Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp, The Sound of Music)

When Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer sat down with Vanity Fair in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, the latter actually had some mildly positive things to say about the film—which marked a pleasant change for the actor, who once referred to the classic musical as "The Sound of Mucus" and has never been particularly complimentary about Captain von Trapp, the character that wound up defining his movie career. He did pay respect to director Bob Wise, who he credited with keeping the film from "falling over the edge into a sea of treacle."

Speaking a few years earlier during a star-studded roundtable chat hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, Plummer revealed that his role in The Sound of Music was the most challenging one he'd ever taken, not because of the singing scenes or because he had to work with a cast of children (one of whom had a crush on him), but because it was all so cheesy. "It was so awful and sentimental and gooey," he said. "You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it."

Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana)

Miley Cyrus still had enough love for Hannah Montana to celebrate the Disney show's 10th anniversary on social media in 2016, but she's made no secret of what playing her most famous character cost her. "I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show," she told Marie Claire. "I was made to look like someone that I wasn't, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn't on that show, it was like, 'Who the f*** am I?'"

Playing Hannah Montana also cost her financially. Cyrus revealed during an interview with Elle that the Mouse House took advantage of her with low wages, underpaying her in the full knowledge that, as the star of show, she deserved a lot more. "I did not grow up spoiled in any way, I just wanted to be on TV," she said. "I mean, at one point—they'll probably kill me for saying it—I was probably the least-paid person on my cast because I didn't know any better. I was just like, 'I can be on Disney? Yeah, I want to do it!'" The controversial pop star later shot down any hopes of a Hannah Montana reboot during an interview on the Zach Sang Show.

Maxwell Caulfield (Michael, Grease 2)

Grease 2 didn't make anywhere near as big of an impact as the original, but for actor Maxwell Caulfield, who starred as foreign exchange student Michael, it never really went away. After appearing opposite a young Michelle Pfeiffer in the sequel, the British theater actor's promising career in the film business suddenly went stagnant. "I learnt a pretty harsh lesson early on," he told The Yorkshire Post. "After Grease 2, the films I'd been promised never materialized."

Caulfield went on to praise Pfeiffer for taking a calculated risk with her next role. "Michelle was smart," he added. "Right afterwards she did Scarface with Al Pacino. That showed that she had range, that she was versatile. Me? Well, I was stuck for a while with a reputation as a bubblegum actor." Times got so bad for Caulfield in the years that followed that he almost quit acting on several occasions, coming very close to accepting a job at a car dealership at one point. Thankfully for him it never came to that, but making his breakthrough in such a widely panned movie meant he'd always struggle to be taken seriously as an actor.

Marlon Brando (Kowalski, A Streetcar Named Desire)

One of the biggest criticisms that the late Marlon Brando faced during his lifetime was that he only knew how to play variations on himself—an accusation he hated. The dedicated Method actor first came to the attention of casting directors while playing Stanley Kowalski in a stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire that ran for two years on Broadway in the late 1940s. After receiving an offer he couldn't refuse, he made the transition to moving pictures and reprised the role of Kowalski in the 1951 film adaptation of Streetcar.

There seemed to be a misunderstanding of what Method acting actually was at the time, and the public blurred the line between Brando's performance as the volatile Kowalski and his real-life persona. In a 2008 feature on him, The New Yorker said Brando "hated Stanley" and that he spoke of the character "with a disgust." "Kowalski was always right, and never afraid," the actor once said in an interview (via CBS). "He never wondered, he never doubted. His ego was very secure. And he had the kind of brutal aggressiveness that I hate. I'm afraid of it. I detest the character."

George Reeves (Superman)

Of all the actors who've reportedly hated the character that made them famous, perhaps none were unhappier than George Reeves, whose most well-known role is said to have driven him to suicide. 

The classically trained Reeves made his feature film debut as one of Scarlett O'Hara's (Vivien Leigh) suitors in 1939's Gone With the Wind, and he appeared to have a bright future in the industry. When he was offered the lead role in the Adventures of Superman TV series (1952-1958) he accepted, but refused to play the hero's alter ego Clark Kent as the bumbling reporter of the comics, insisting that the show deal with adult themes.

The studio initially agreed, but they soon realized that their ideal target audience was children and decided to alter the show's content accordingly—much to Reeves' frustration. According to The Telegraph, he once raised a glass to the actress playing Lois Lane at the time and said "Here's to the bottom of the barrel, babe." It would be the last role Reeves would ever play, as he was forever typecast as the Man of Steel. In 1959, he was found on his bed with a gunshot wound to the head. Police ruled it a suicide, though many conspiracy theorists still believe Reeves was murdered.