12 Stars Who Hated Their Biggest Role
"Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse."
As glamorous as being a movie or TV star may seem from outside of Hollywood looking in, for a lot of actors, it's really just a job. And while most of them surely love that job, not every gig they get is a passion project—even the ones that end up being the roles they're most known for. In fact, more than a few celebrities who have gone on record about the fact that they aren't proud of or didn't like playing their career-changing roles—and in some cases, they downright hate them. Read on for 12 stars who loath their most famous character and why.
Robert Pattinson, Edward Cullen
The Batman star Robert Pattinson hated playing forever-teenage vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight series so much that there's no shortage of memes on the subject—despite the fact that the role propelled him into stardom almost instantly. There are enough quotes about his distaste for the fantasy-romance franchise to fill a book, but when talking to Variety about the movies in 2019, he really didn't hold back.
"It's a weird story, Twilight. It's not just like—it's strange how people responded a lot to it. I guess the books are very romantic, but at the same time, it's not like The Notebook romantic," he said. "The Notebook is very sweet and heartbreaking, but Twilight is about this guy, and he finds the one girl he wants to be with, and he also wants to eat her. I mean, not eat her, but drink her blood or whatever. It's not that other people are telling them they can't be together, it's his own body telling him that."
George Reeves, Superman
George Reeves played the title hero in the series The Adventures of Superman, which aired from 1952 to 1958. But despite how many actors would love to play some iteration of Clark Kent, Reeves just wasn't into it, mostly because it resulted in him being typecast.
"The only rub in playing Superman is that I have a tough time finding other roles. Most movie producers feel I'm too closely identified with Superman, so won't use me," Reeves told the Akron Beacon Journal in 1956, via Closer Weekly.
And according to what Gary Grossman, author of Superman: Serial to Cereal, told the outlet, the late actor Reeves also once told his Superman co-star, Jack Larson, that he didn't love being on a kids show. "If I only knew I had adult fans, I'd feel better. I'd be happy," he supposedly said.
Sean Connery, James Bond
Though Sean Connery went on to have a successful career until his death in 2020, many fans will always think of him as James Bond. After all, he did portray 007 in the franchise's first six movies. As reported by The Guardian, Connery once said, "I have always hated that [expletive] James Bond. I'd like to kill him."
It seems as though Connery's distaste for the role may have been more about the business side of making the Bond films over any issue with the character, however.
"It can be done, you see, if there's money at stake. I'd been frigged about too much on other Bond pictures. There's so much [expletive] that comes from bad decisions being made at the top," he said of his exit, according to Express. "I admire efficiency, like watching a good racehorse or the way Picasso works, where everything functions perfectly within its capacity. But talking to some of these moguls about it is like trying to describe to someone who has never taken exercise what it is like to feel fit when you do exercise. They don't understand."
Christopher Plummer, Captain von Trapp
Of playing the dashing Captain von Trapp in 1965's The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer told The Boston Globe in 2010 that he didn't like anything about making the movie—minus working with the now-legendary Julie Andrews.
"I was a bit bored with the character,'' Plummer, who died in February 2021, said at the time. "Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse. And the subject matter is not mine. I mean it can't appeal to every person in the world. It's not my cup of tea.''
Blake Lively, Serena van der Woodsen
Blake Lively is one of the most famous women in Hollywood, today, but when she was cast in the original version of the teen soap Gossip Girl, which premiered in 2007, she was still just beginning her career. As big as playing Serena van der Woodsen was for career, however, Lively felt that the role was "personally compromising."
"You want to be putting a better message out there," she told Allure in 2015, via Harper's Bazaar. "It's a weird thing when people feel like they know you really well, and they don't… I would not be proud to be the person who gave someone the cocaine that made them overdose and then shot someone and slept with someone else's boyfriend."
Halle Berry, Catwoman
Halle Berry has been a hot Hollywood get since the 1990s and even has an Oscar. But her bid to lead a major comics franchise both began and ended with the 2004 flop, Catwoman. Despite giving it her all, Berry was quick to join in with the haters in poking fun at the badly received movie, even appearing in-person to accept the Razzie for Worst Actress of the year and encouraging the audience to "read the script" before taking on a project in her speech.
"First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers for putting me in a piece-of-[expletive], godawful movie," Berry said at the Razzies. "It was just what my career needed! I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom. Love it! It's hard being on top. It's much better being on the bottom."
In a 2021 interview with Vanity Fair, Berry revealed that she set her Razzie on fire as a way to move on from the disappointment.
Kate Winslet, Rose DeWitt Bukater
Kate Winslet had already earned some rave reviews for earlier roles, but nothing could compare to the attention she received for the record-smashing 1997 blockbuster Titanic and her role as stifled rich girl Rose DeWitt Bukater. Watching it back, the star can't help but question some of her own acting choices, however.
"Every single scene, I'm like, 'Really, really? You did it like that?'" she told CNN in 2012. "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.'"
Jason Segel, Marshall Eriksen
How I Met Your Mother fans found it easy to fall in love with Ted Mosby's best friend Marshall Eriksen. Jason Segel was initially fond of him too, but in a 2010 interview with GQ, he admitted that, though he felt like "the luckiest guy in the world" being cast, he felt the story had run its course. The show would run for four more seasons after he made those comments.
"When your idol is Peter Sellers, playing one character for eight years isn't what you're trying to do. I don't really feel like I have that much more to offer with this character," the actor said at the time.
Viola Davis, Aibileen Clark
The Help was a big moment in Viola Davis' career. While she'd found success as a stage actor before that, the 2011 movie launched her into big-screen stardom and even landed her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. But the film, based on the novel of the same name about Black maids and white housewives in '60s Mississippi, isn't viewed in a positive light by everyone—and that includes its star. Davis told Vanity Fair in 2020 that she regrets taking the role because the movie was "created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism."
"There's no one who's not entertained by The Help," she said. "But there's a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn't ready to [tell the whole truth]."
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George Clooney, Batman
Putting on Batman's cowl might be a dream job for many actors, but the bubble burst for George Clooney after the release of 1997's Batman & Robin. On multiple occasions, the star has openly maligned his one-and-done performance as Bruce Wayne.
"The only way you can honestly talk about things is to include yourself and your shortcomings in those things," he told GQ in 2020. "Like, when I say Batman & Robin's a terrible film, I always go, 'I was terrible in it.' Because I was number one. But also because then it allows you the ability to say, 'Having said I sucked in it, I can also say that none of these other elements worked, either.' You know? Lines like 'Freeze, Freeze!'"
Penn Badgley, Joe Goldberg
It can't be easy or comfortable to get in the mindset of a character who's a stalker and a killer, but that's exactly what Penn Badgley has to do to play Joe Goldberg in the Netflix series You. He's not always happy about it, though, and he's more than eager to remind fans who crush on Joe that he is, in almost every sense of the word, a monster.
"There's a lot I don't enjoy about him. To be honest, I don't enjoy nearly everything about him," he told Digital Spy in 2019, adding that he still attempts to "humanize" the character as much as possible.
Jamie Dornan, Christian Gray
Jamie Dornan's portrayal of Christian Gray—a businessman with some spicy bedroom proclivities—in the 50 Shades of Gray movies, set lots of hearts pumping. The actor's was not one of them. The Belfast star admitted to British GQ that he was "relieved" to have originally lost the role to Charlie Hunnam. But when Hunnam walked away from the project, the responsibility of fulfilling what readers of the book series had in their heads fell to Dornan anyway.
"I was very reluctant. I still remain reluctant. I didn't say no. I auditioned for it and then went down the path of that and then someone else got it," he said in 2021. "I was like, "[Expletive], that's great, what a nightmare for that guy [Hunnam]. He's going to have all this scrutiny. Before anyone's heard him do anything, he's gonna be really hated.' And so many people rage against the casting of it alone. Anyway, he dropped it and then I filled in and felt that wrath of hatred."