Audiences and critics are not the only ones who can decide whether or not they like an actor’s movies. The actors themselves can have a say, too, since film is a collaborative medium and someone else can ruin a movie or there can be other factors or misguided creative decisions. Actors are not always fans of their own movies. In fact, a lot of them can’t even watch themselves without cringing at their own performances and questioning their own choices. But there’s hating your own performance and then there’s hating your own movie. There’s hating your own performance and then there’s making a snarky “don’t make the super suit green or animated” in your next movie. Here are 10 actors who famously despised their own movies.
10. George Clooney and Batman & Robin
The first and only movie in which George Clooney played the role of the Caped Crusader was panned by critics for being way too camp. Joel Schumacher’s bright, colorful, ridiculous movie killed the franchise as it had existed until then and put it on hold until the mid ‘00s when director Christopher Nolan could come in and retool it in a darker and grittier way with no nipples on the Batsuit or homoerotic overtones or gratuitous closeups of the male anatomy. Clooney has said that he is “always apologizing” to people for having made the movie at all. The actor snidely said of his decision to take on the part of the Dark Knight in the movie, “I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. Um, it wasn’t.” Still, he has said that the terrible decision of making it was the most important of his career, because it influenced all of his subsequent career moves and made him more careful. “Up until that moment, I was an actor only concerned with finding work. After the failure of that film creatively, I understood that I needed to take control of the films I made, not just the role. My next three films were Out of Sight, Three Kings, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
9. Matthew Goode and Leap Year
In this 2010 romantic comedy movie, Matthew Goode stars alongside Amy Adams. It’s a terribly formulaic Hollywood romcom that a lot of people hated and you might wonder why someone who has some dignity and creative integrity would agree to have any part of it. Adams remains unaccounted for, although she does have some explaining to do, since she is hailed as the modern generation’s answer to Meryl Streep and yet she agreed to star in this crap heap. Goode, however, has explained himself. It turns out that he had just had a new baby and the movie was shooting pretty close to his house, so he could come home when he wasn’t shooting and spend time with his family. That was it. He didn’t take it for the auteur in the director’s chair or the artistic opportunities that the nuances of the character would offer him – he just wanted to be able to go home. That’s sweet, right? Goode explained, “The main reason I took it – so that I could come home at the weekends. It wasn’t because of the script, trust me. Do I feel I let myself down? No. Was it a bad job? Yes, it was. But you know, I had a nice time and I got paid.”
8. Sally Field and The Amazing Spider-Man
A lot of the movies on this list are superhero movies. Thanks to all the hype and popularity that surround those movies, they probably seem like good ideas at the time, and it’ll be tough to see which ones will be good and which ones will suck. Sally Field hated playing Aunt May in the Andrew Garfield starring Spider-Man movies. She said, “It’s not my kind of movie. But my friend Laura Ziskin was the producer, and we knew it would be her last film [as she was suffering from breast cancer at the time, which took her life in 2011], and she was my first producing partner, and she was a spectacular human. It’s really hard to find a three dimensional character in it, and you work it as much as you can, but you can’t put ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.” That’s an interesting way of putting it, Sally. Marisa Tomei has taken the role from her for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has been playing it wonderfully. She’s likable and funny and just delightful as the new Aunt May. That’s not to say that Sally Field was no good. Even though she didn’t get the whole superhero thing and struggled to reckon with the character, she was sweet and warm in the role and always a joy to watch.
7. Mark Wahlberg and Boogie Nights
Paul Thomas Anderson’s first truly epic drama movie starred Mark Wahlberg as a porn star named Dirk Diggler who rises in popularity throughout the 1970s and then falls with the porn industry in the 1980s. It was an extremely popular movie, both with critics and with audiences, that bagged itself three Academy Award nominations. It was described as “a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg,” since it made them both stars. Ever since that movie, Anderson has been able to direct whatever movie he wants to make and Wahlberg has been able to star in or produce any movie that he has wanted to lead. But as it turns out, Wahlberg himself is not a fan of his own movie. He said, “I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past. Boogie Nights is up there at the top of the list.” Top of the list?! What about The Happening? Or that Planet of the Apes remake? Or those Transformers movies he did? One critic wrote, “The movie’s special gift happens to be Mark Wahlberg, who gives a terrifically appealing performance.” How can he disagree with them?
6. Matt Damon and The Bourne Ultimatum (not The Great Wall)
The third Bourne movie grossed over $400 million worldwide and was adored by the critics, who called it “an intelligent, finely tuned nonstop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.” Still, not a lot of the reviews directed praise at the writer Tony Gilroy’s screenplay for the movie, and if you ask Matt Damon, that was the weakest part about the movie. He found the script to be sort of a lemon, milking the cash cow for a quick buck. He hasn’t held any punches in criticizing Gilroy’s script, and he says that it has made the film unwatchable for him. He said, “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career ender. I mean, 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.” Maybe that’s what made Damon decide to finally return to the role of Jason Bourne in a 2016 sequel.
5. Jim Carrey and Kick-Ass 2
The first Kick-Ass movie starred Aaron Taylor Johnson as the costumed vigilante created by Mark Millar. It was a terrific satire of the genre and also an earnest portrayal of what the realities of putting on a costume and trying to do the right thing would actually be like. For the sequel, which came out three years later, Jim Carrey joined the cast to play the role of baseball bat wielding maniac Colonel Stars and Stripes who, suitably, kicks a lot of people’s asses. He roams the streets of New York every night and smashes his way through Russian mafia poker games and sex trafficking dens in the pursuit of justice. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Carrey suddenly decided against the use of violence in the media for entertainment and, worse still, as a source of humor, and so he suddenly turned on his own movie and refused to promote it. He said, “I did [the Kick-Ass sequel] a month before Sandy Hook, and now, in all good conscience, I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it, but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
4. Robert Pattinson and Twilight
These teen vampire romance movies made Robert Pattinson a huge star and gave him the opportunities to make smaller, more intimate, more human indie pieces. He needed to play Edward Cullen in order to get his career to that point, but as he has since revealed, when he first read the YA novels by Stephenie Meyer that he helped to bring to the big screen, he was creeped out. He said, “When I read it, I was convinced that Stephenie was convinced that she was Bella. It was like it was a book that wasn’t supposed to be published, like reading her – her sort of sexual fantasy. Especially when she says that it was based on a dream, and it’s like, ‘Oh, then I had a dream about this really sexy guy,’ and she just writes this book about it. I was just convinced that this woman is mad – she’s completely mad – and she’s in love with her own fictional creation.” So, he happily cashed all the checks and took all the opportunities that the franchise provided for him, but as far as he was concerned, the whole story was flawed from the very beginning. His sentiments reflect those of a lot of people.
3. Kate Winslet and Titanic
James Cameron’s movie about the sinking of the RMS Titanic became the highest grossing movie of all time back in 1997, a record that it would hold for more than a decade until Cameron beat himself with his next movie. It was the first movie in the history of cinema to gross more than $1 billion at the global box office, and this was in 1997 dollars. The movie catapulted Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into super stardom and made Oscar history with a record number of wins and nominations. It’s a beloved classic about love and death and tragedy. But not everybody loved the movie. Unlike pretty much everyone else in the world, though, Winslet can’t stand watching the movie. She said of the experience of going back to rewatch it now, “Every single scene, I’m like, ‘Really, really? You did it like that? Oh my God.’ 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 [that one again], I was just like, ‘Oh, God, I want to do that again.’”
2. Megan Fox and Transformers
You may have wondered why Megan Fox was only in the first two Michael Bay helmed movies based on Hasbro’s line of ‘robots in disguise’ toys before being replaced by Rosie Huntington Whiteley. Well, it’s because Fox and Bay didn’t have the best of relationships. For starters, she dragged the director through the mud when she blamed him for why she was “terrible in it.” She said, “It’s my first real movie, and it’s not honest and not realistic. The movie wasn’t bad. I just wasn’t proud about what I did…But unless you’re a seasoned veteran, working with Michael Bay is not about an acting experience.” That would’ve been fine. But she got herself fired from the franchise when she compared Bay to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. “He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous, madman reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So, he’s a nightmare to work for, but when you get him away from set, and he’s not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality, because he’s so awkward – so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all. And it’s endearing to watch him.”
1. Ryan Reynolds and Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds has not hidden the fact that he regrets donning the Power Ring and taking on the iconic DC Comics role of Green Lantern. He’s been very vocal about it, especially in joking about it in his own movies and in interviews. In his new superhero role as the fourth wall breaking Merc with a Mouth, Reynolds has mocked his regretful decision to play Green Lantern. In the latest movie in which he plays Deadpool, his character went back in time to when Ryan Reynolds first received the script to play the role of Green Lantern and blew his own brains out all over the cover page. The movie has a 26% score on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t great, but it certainly doesn’t make it the worst movie ever made. The way Reynolds talks about it, you’d think his movie was tantamount to the Holocaust. He hasn’t ever seen it. He said, “Look, I’ve never seen the full final version of [the Green Lantern movie]. I saw a very late stage rough cut of the film. Now, that isn’t to say that I didn’t want to see it because I didn’t like it. I have movies that have been received pretty well that I haven’t seen, and then I have movies that I have seen a hundred times that people don’t like but I just like.”