Regrets. We’ve all got them. Whether it’s the person you didn’t ask to prom or the job you didn’t apply for, it’s hard to go through life without being able to think back to at least one decision you would have done differently. If there’s one good thing you can say about regrets, though, it’s that most of them are easy to keep to yourself if you choose to do so. Unless you did something particularly stupid that put you in a national or global spotlight, your regrets remain something that you just ultimately have to live with.
Famous actors don’t always enjoy this luxury when it comes to their career regrets. Even in cases where their regrets are tied to movies that not a lot of people saw, we’re still talking about regrets made available to millions of people that typically played out on a fifty-foot wide theater screen. While many actors are perfectly happy letting their career regrets fade away as much as possible, many others were so overcome with regret that they simply had to share with the world that they wish they'd never agreed to take on some of their most famous - or infamous - roles.
Here are 15 Roles Famous Actors Regret Taking.
15 Bill Murray - Garfield
Remember that scene in Zombieland when Bill Murray confesses that appearing in Garfield may be his only life regret? As it turns out, that scene isn’t too far removed from reality. Some years ago, Murray told a reporter that the only reason he agreed to do Garfield is that he thought Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers was writing it. Whether or not that’s true or just an elaborate joke Murray loves to tell remains up for debate.
But yes, Murray does regret appearing in Garfield. In a Reddit AMA, he stated that part of the problem was that they shot the live-action parts of the film before he came in to read his lines. Because of this, it was hard for him to improv his way out of the bad script because so many of the scenes involved Garfield needing to say specific things.
14 Halle Berry - Catwoman
There are actually quite a few instances of famous actors regretting their roles in comic book movies, and it’s not hard to understand why that is the case. In the dark ages of comic book film adaptations, studios had little regard for the source material and just wanted to sucker fans in. Actors got pulled in by the promise of getting to play some of their favorite characters while starring in a major motion picture, but the heroes that ended up on screen were distant departures from their comic book counterparts.
As for why Halle Berry agreed to do Catwoman, that remains something of a Hollywood mystery. As far as anyone can tell, Berry may have been suckered in by the promise of the film’s original script - Catwoman was originally going to be directed by Tim Burton as a spin-off of Batman Returns - and was unfortunately committed by the time filming began. While accepting her 2005 Razzie Award for Worst Actress, Halle Berry infamously said, “First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of ****, god-awful movie... It was just what my career needed."
13 Kate Winslet - Titanic
This one requires a small disclaimer. At the end of the day, Kate Winslet probably wouldn’t go back in time and break her agreement to star in one of the most successful, beloved, and critically acclaimed movies ever made. That would just be ludicrous. However, Winslett does harbor some very specific regrets regarding her role in Titanic.
Namely, Winslet would really like to take back that famous nude scene. In multiple interviews, Winslett confessed that she didn’t expect her nude scene to follow her around for as long as it has and kind of wishes that photos and clips of the scene were not so prominent. That said, we do find it funny that she flashed Leonardo DiCaprio the moment she heard she was going to have to be naked in front of him. Winslet has also stated that she finds it hard to watch Titanic because she can’t stand hearing her own American accent.
12 Ben Affleck - Daredevil
We don’t often get the chance to say this with the utmost sincerity, but you do have to feel sorry for Ben Affleck. Sure, the man is absurdly handsome, insanely wealthy, and ridiculously talented, but he has no luck when it comes to starring in comic book movies, even though he loves comic books so much. Of course, while Affleck’s first appearance as Batman was a controversial one, it's nothing compared to the disaster that was Daredevil.
Affleck has confirmed that Daredevil stands as his lone career regret, and it’s really not hard to understand why. He got involved with the Daredevil project because he’s such a big fan of the character, but he quickly discovered that everyone involved with the film seemed to be on a different wavelength regarding what the movie was supposed to accomplish. Affleck has long asserted that he refrains from telling people what he really thinks about the film’s production in order to just put it behind him.
11 Matt Damon - The Bourne Ultimatum
Ben Affleck’s childhood pal Matt Damon has also enjoyed a long career in Hollywood highlighted by several memorable roles. For instance, Damon’s turn as Jason Bourne helped revitalize the market for sci-fi films and proved to be a huge influence on the revitalized James Bond series.
While Damon doesn’t regret ever playing Jason Bourne, he most certainly regrets his role in the trainwreck that was The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon was contractually obliged to appear in that movie, but he wasn’t obliged to speak well of it. In an interview, Damon said of the film’s script “I don't blame Tony [Gilroy] (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.”
10 Mark Wahlberg - The Happening
M. Night Shyamalan is enjoying a bit of a career resurgence at the moment. His last two films, The Visit and Split, have been described as undeniably flawed but undeniably intriguing, which is certainly a step up from some of his post-Sixth Sense efforts. In the minds of many, the director’s career low point came when he released The Happening upon the world and left audiences wondering whether the movie was a brilliant parody or just the worst thing ever.
The Happening star Mark Wahlberg has no such doubts regarding the intent and execution of the film. Wahlberg regrets ever agreeing to star in the film, and admits that part of the reason he decided to take the role had to do with his desire to not play a cop or a crook yet again. That aside, he has said of The Happening, “F*** it. It is what it is. F****** trees, man. The plants. F*** it.”
9 Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan - Fifty Shades of Grey
It’s not often that young actors regret agreeing to star in adaptations of bestselling novels. After all, such projects tend to launch very lucrative careers. It’s especially rare that two young actors regret starring in such a movie, but that certainly seems to be the case with Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, and the Fifty Shades series. To be fair, Johnson has stated that her regret “comes in waves.” There are times when she is embarrassed to be associated with the awful adaptations of the dime store S&M novels, but she also does admit that it helped her move on to better things, career-wise.
Jamie Dornan is less enthused about his work on the films. While he also admits that he took the role in order to increase his notoriety, he is downright ashamed of much of the work he did throughout the series, and expressed tremendous relief when he finally wrapped up filming. As an aside, director Sam Taylor-Johnson also regrets ever agreeing to work on the first film.
8 Katherine Heigl - Knocked Up
This is a bit of a strange one. After all, many of the films on this list are so horrible that there’s really no doubt about why an actor would regret starring in them. Knocked Up is different. It’s not an Oscar-winning classic, but it is a tremendously well-done comedy that featured a lot of very talented people.
So why does Katherine Heigl regret starring in it? Well, it has more to do with her character than the film itself. Shortly after Knocked Up was released, Heigl gave an interview to Vanity Fair in which she slammed the movie and suggested that her shrewd and joyless character was fundamentally sexist. The quick turnaround of her remarks, combined with some other comments Heigl made later that year about Grey's Anatomy, contributed to Heigl’s "hard to work with" image. In recent years, Heigl has backed off her statements somewhat, and admits that she just wishes she would have given a little more input regarding the direction of her character.
7 George Clooney - Batman & Robin
Well, you probably saw this one coming. Whether or not you consider Batman & Robin to be the worst comic book movie ever made is really a matter of preference. However, Batman & Robin has become something of a poster child for the whole concept of awful comic book movies. As such, many of the people involved with it have come to regret it over the years.
In typically charming George Clooney fashion, the actor has become the leading apologist for the film. In fact, Clooney has apologized so much for the film that you really just want to give him a hug. Clooney has said that he truly believed that the movie would ultimately kill the Batman character and went so far as to contact Adam West to apologize to him for what they had done. As you might imagine, Clooney agreed to take the role because he thought it was a natural career move.
6 Will Smith - After Earth
Will Smith has actually enjoyed a remarkably consistent film career pleasantly devoid of many major missteps. Even some of the actor’s lesser movies possess a certain charm that elevates them above the level of sheer trash. In fact, Will Smith claims that the only movie he truly regrets is 2013’s After Earth.
While that’s not too surprising - it is a truly awful film - what is somewhat of a shocker is the extent of Smith’s regret. Smith compared After Earth to Wild Wild West and stated that the former was a far worse personal failure because he had dragged his son along with him for the ride. He was so devastated by how awful the movie was that he later confessed that much of his drive stemmed from some early childhood trauma and that After Earth made him realize that acting was not going to fill that hole alone. That’s some true regret.
5 Jessica Alba - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
We’re not entirely sure why it’s been so hard for The Fantastic Four to star in a remotely watchable film, but the cinematic adventures of Marvel’s fearsome foursome up until this point are best described as “degrees of eye-bleedingly bad.” As much as you may hate movies like 2007’s Rise of the Silver Surfer, though, you can bet that Jessica Alba hates the movie even more.
Now, as you might imagine, Alba hates the movie because it’s awful just like the rest of us hate the movie because it’s awful. However, Alba’s hatred of the movie has much more to do with the fact that director Tim Story was reportedly a nightmare to work with. Story would do things like ask Alba if she can be prettier when she cries and even went so far as to say that she just focus on her face and they’ll CG the tears in later. Her experience shooting the sequel was so bad that she legitimately considered quitting acting for good.
4 Alec Guinness - Star Wars: A New Hope
Technically, a few people involved with Star Wars have expressed their regret over ever agreeing to appear in the movie. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, for instance, have shared their frustration regarding the film’s rabid fanbase and have lamented the fact that their names are so closely tied to the film above all else. Eventually, both Ford and Fisher came around and embraced the role Star Wars played in their lives.
Alec Guinness, meanwhile, never stopped hating Star Wars. The extent of Guinness’ regret may even be as epic as the Star Wars franchise itself. He expressed doubt about starring in such “fairy-tale rubbish” when he was first offered the role, and criticized the movie while it was being filmed. Guinness was thrilled to have made so much money off the movie, but was never comfortable with the phenomenon the series became. In a letter, he recalls meeting a small boy who told Guinness that he’d seen Star Wars a hundred times. Guinness asked the young boy to please never watch the movie again.
3 Robert Pattinson - Twilight
At the risk of offending the Twilight fanbase and getting them all riled up before bedtime, we’ll just say that the Twilight series isn’t meant for everyone. While that statement is true of the original books, it’s especially true of the film adaptations, which streamlined events of the novels in order to hit certain demographic pleasing keynotes.
Much of the Twilight cast has trashed the films at one point or another, but Robert Pattinson has certainly been the most outspoken of the movies' many critics. Pattinson’s numerous looks at the films’ many plot holes and creative shortcomings are well-worth seeking out, but we’re particularly amused by his confusion regarding why a 108-year-old man would ever want to go back to high school and how he stated that the only thing he wanted to take from the Twilight set was his dignity. Furthermore, Pattinson has always been bothered by how the films turned him into an instant celebrity.
2 Shia LaBeouf - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Whether you love Shia LaBeouf or just can’t stand him, you have to admit that the actor’s eccentric actions have been the source of much amusement over the last few years. LaBeouf became disillusioned with Hollywood culture at some point in his career, and that disillusionment led to the famous actor saying a lot of things that typically kill an acting career.
LaBeouf’s most notorious career killing statement came shortly after the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. After the film was met with a decidedly hostile reaction and LaBeouf became the target of much social media ridicule, the young actor embraced the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach and placed much of the blame on Steven Spielberg. He stated that Spielberg was “less a director than he is a ******* company” and that his involvement with Crystal Skull is a big part of the reason why he stopped signing on for blockbusters.
1 Sean Connery - The James Bond Films
The history of the James Bond film franchise is riddled with actors plagued by regret. Burt Reynolds regrets passing on the James Bond role. George Lazenby regrets not doing more Bond films. Pierce Brosnan regrets not doing more with the roles, and Daniel Craig seemingly regrets signing up for so many of them. Roger Moore...actually, Roger Moore was quite pleased with his work in the films.
That leaves the man who some consider the definitive 007. As you may have deduced from the premise of this article, Sean Connery absolutely hates James Bond. Now, we don’t just mean that Connery hates the Bond movies themselves, although he certainly does. The actor requested both absurd paydays and sizeable donations to his favorite charities in order to continue participating in the franchise. However, Connery’s displeasure extends to his utter hatred of the 007 character. Connery has gone on to say that he would gladly kill James Bond if given the chance to do so.
What other actors came to regret one of their most infamous roles? Let us know in the comments.
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