It’s no surprise that fans and even some critics are fascinated by the pivotal roles that propelled their favorite actors to stardom or led them down unexpected paths. However, here’s the twist: some of these actors were far from thrilled with their own performances, found the roles to be incredibly challenging, or simply couldn’t stand the characters they portrayed.
Whether these roles were intended to catapult their careers or deviate from their typical on-screen personas, this captivating list unveils the actors who openly voiced their disdain for the iconic roles they reluctantly took on.
1. Blake Lively Wasn’t A Fan Of People Assuming She Was Like Her ‘Gossip Girl’ Character
Blake Lively gained fame for her portrayal of Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl. While she received praise for her performance as the privileged and troubled teenager, Lively expressed that the public sometimes mistook her acting for her true self:
“It’s a strange situation when people think they know you intimately, when in reality, they don’t. It felt somewhat compromising for me. I always wanted to convey a more positive message through my work… I wouldn’t want to be identified as the person who supplied someone with drugs that caused an overdose, or as someone who engaged in violence or betrayed someone’s trust by sleeping with their partner.”
2. Andrew Lincoln Called His Part In ‘Love Actually’ His ‘Weird Stalker Guy’ Role
Many Love Actually fans might see Andrew Lincoln’s character as a “lovestruck sap,” but Lincoln himself has a different perspective on his role in the romantic comedy. The star of The Walking Dead shared:
In this incredibly romantic film, I had the opportunity to portray the only guy who doesn’t end up with the girl. The story explores various aspects of love, and my character’s experience was that of unrequited love. So, essentially, I got to play this strange stalker-like guy…
Filming the iconic scene in the doorway was surprisingly effortless for me. All I had to do was hold up cue cards and pretend to be in love with Keira Knightley. Oh, and by the way, those were actually my own handwritten cards – thank you for noticing. However, I kept expressing my concerns to Richard Curtis, the film’s writer-director, asking him, “Are you sure I won’t come across as a creepy stalker?”
3. Meryl Streep Was ‘Miserable’ Going Method As Miranda Priestly In ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
Working with Meryl Streep on The Devil Wears Prada was an honor for her co-stars, but it seems that she didn’t quite enjoy her role as Miranda Priestly, the elitist magazine editor. Emily Blunt described Streep as “slightly terrifying” during the filming, as it was one of her first attempts at Method acting.
To fully embody the ice queen character, Streep kept her interactions with the cast to a minimum on set. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she revealed that it was a terrible experience for her. She found herself miserable in her trailer, while she could hear her co-stars having a great time and laughing. Streep admitted feeling depressed about it and jokingly said, “Well, it’s the price you pay for being boss!” From that point on, she decided to steer clear of any further Method acting attempts.
4. Robert Pattinson Thought The ‘Twilight’ Plot Was So Awful It Shouldn’t Have Been Printed
Twilight launched Robert Pattinson into the Hollywood spotlight, but he never quite understood the obsession fans had with the film’s storyline. During an interview for the Breaking Dawn installment, Pattinson expressed his thoughts:
“I would love to say that I am [a fan] because all the people who… don’t like it are generally the people who haven’t seen it. And they’re like all judgmental and stuff and cynical people. But I think I am a judgmental and cynical person who would just mindlessly hate it without ever having seen anything… I just think I’m a bad person.”
In another interview, Pattinson further questioned the initial book’s worthiness of being published:
“When I read it, I was convinced [author] Stephenie [Meyer] was convinced she was Bella, and it was like it was a book that wasn’t supposed to be published. It was like reading her sexual fantasy, especially when she said it was based on a dream and it was like, ‘Oh, I’ve had this dream about this really sexy guy,’ and she just writes this book about it. Like some things about Edward are so specific, I was just convinced, like, ‘This woman is mad. She’s completely mad and she’s in love with her own fictional creation.’ And sometimes you would feel uncomfortable reading this thing.”
Pattinson even theorized in yet another interview that his disdain for the character actually helped him land the role:
“When you read the book, it’s like, ‘Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.’ I mean, every line is like that. He’s the most ridiculous person who’s so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn’t do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that’s how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he’s a 108-year-old virgin, so he’s obviously got some issues there.”
5. Marlon Brando Said Stanley Kowalski Had Traits He Feared And Despised
Marlon Brando’s role as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire had a significant impact on the way actors approached their craft on set. It is widely regarded as his “breakout” performance. Despite being nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal, Brando openly expressed his dislike for the character:
“Kowalski was always right, and never afraid… He never wondered, and 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.”
6. Penn Badgley Finds His Character In ‘You’ ‘Reprehensible’
Penn Badgley’s portrayal of Joe Goldberg in the hit series You has earned him recognition and multiple seasons on Netflix. Despite the fame that comes with being a leading man, Badgley admits that he doesn’t enjoy playing the villainous character:
“He’s a pretty reprehensible guy. You start to discover his true motives pretty early on – eight minutes into the show. And he’s a guy who’s capable of stalking, he’s a guy who’s capable of murder, he’s a guy who’s capable of a lot of manipulation and abuse.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair discussing the second season of You, the actor further explained his take on the character:
“He’s always saying, ‘If only I could show you who I really am.’ Up until that point, he’s never been able to do that…Then he gets it, and he’s a total d*ck about it. That was when I was like, ‘Joe, I’ve never liked you less! I’ve never liked you less.'”
In Season 4, viewers may have noticed a decrease in the number of love scenes involving Joe. Badgley revealed that this was a change he specifically requested and a problem he had with playing the character:
“That aspect of Hollywood has always been very disturbing to me – and that aspect of the job, that mercurial boundary – has always been something that I actually don’t want to play with at all… It’s important to me in my real life to not have [those scenes]… My fidelity in my relationship. It’s important to me. And actually, it was one of the reasons that I initially wanted to turn the role down. I didn’t tell anybody that. But that is why.”
7. Miley Cyrus Blamed ‘Hannah Montana’ For Her Body Dysmorphia
Miley Cyrus gained fame through her role in Disney’s Hannah Montana series, where she played a teenage girl with a secret identity as a popular pop star. Reflecting on her experience on the show, she compared it to the reality show Toddlers & Tiaras, where she felt pressured to portray a version of herself that she wasn’t:
“At the age of 11, I was being told that as a pop star, I had to conform to certain standards. I had to be blond, have long hair, and wear tight, glittery outfits. Meanwhile, I was just a fragile little girl pretending to be a 16-year-old, wearing a wig and tons of makeup. It felt like I was on Toddlers & Tiaras. I even had to wear fake teeth…”
Being on that show, I was constantly told what a girl was supposed to be. I was made to look like someone I wasn’t, and this probably contributed to my struggles with body dysmorphia. After playing a pretty character every day for so long, I questioned my own identity when I wasn’t on set anymore. It was like, who the hell am I?
Every morning, I had coffee forced down my throat to wake me up. I had to keep pushing through, be tough, be strong. Everything happened to me while I was on that set.
8. Brad Pitt Was Forced Into Playing Achilles In ‘Troy’
Troy was a turning point in Brad Pitt’s career, but not for the reasons fans may have expected. In an honest admission, the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor revealed that he had initially pulled out of another movie and had to do Troy as a replacement for the studio’s sake. While it wasn’t a painful experience, Brad realized that the way the movie was being told didn’t align with his vision, and he made his own mistakes in it.
What bothered Brad the most about Troy was his inability to escape the middle of the frame. This drove him crazy, especially after having worked with David Fincher and becoming accustomed to a different style. He clarifies that this is not a criticism of Wolfgang Petersen, as Das Boot is undeniably one of the greatest films of all time. However, somewhere along the way, Troy became more of a commercial project, with every shot emphasizing the hero without any sense of mystery. It was at this point that Brad made a conscious decision to only invest in quality stories, leading him to the next decade of his film career.
9. Sean Connery Wanted To Kill James Bond By The Time He Was Finished With The Role
Sean Connery starred as James Bond in seven films based on the novels. However, he didn’t actually enjoy playing the character. Throughout the years, Connery expressed his dislike for the films on several occasions. During the production of Goldfinger in 1964, he described Bond as a “dull, prosaic English policeman” without all the exotic elements.
A year later, he expressed his frustration with the Bond persona, stating that he was “fed up to here with the whole Bond bit.” By 1971, Connery had grown disillusioned with the Bond franchise and had conflicts with the producers. He felt that he had been mistreated on previous Bond films and criticized the decision-making process at the top.
To make it abundantly clear, Connery openly admitted his deep dislike for James Bond, stating, “I have always hated that damned James Bond. I’d like to kill him.”
10. Keira Knightley Felt ‘Stuck’ Playing Elizabeth Swann In ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’
Fans instantly fell in love with Keira Knightley when she played Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean. However, despite the fame and success it brought her, Keira was only 17 when she took on the role, which had some uncomfortable consequences for her career.
According to Keira, the sudden fame thrust her into the adult world, and she found it quite overwhelming. She explained, “There’s this strange expectation for women to fit into a certain mold publicly, and I never felt at ease with that. It was a major shock to my system.”
As Elizabeth Swann, Keira portrayed a character who was desired by everyone. She acknowledged that although her character had a strong spirit, it was a stark contrast to her own tomboyish nature. Keira felt confined and trapped by the image projected onto her, saying, “I felt very restricted, like I was stuck in a box I couldn’t comprehend. So, the roles I pursued afterward were all about breaking free from that mold.”
Looking back, Keira admits that she struggled to express her feelings at the time. She felt trapped and constrained but couldn’t quite articulate why. It was a confusing period for her, as she tried to navigate her way out of the expectations and limitations that fame had imposed on her career.
Full Cast of Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End Actors/Actresses