Actors choose the roles they play on a multitude of criteria. Sometimes it is to work with a certain director or other actor, sometimes it is to play a particular character and other times it is for cold hard cash.
Most actors will admit to having favourite roles that they have played, or roles that they feel have been pivotal to their career. It is rarer for actors to speak negatively about the roles that they have portrayed or to deride films that they have starred in, and it is generally seen as bad practice to do so.
This list looks at some actors who did not like the lead role that they played in a film, or series of films. The reasons for their dislike or dissatisfaction vary, but it goes to show that no matter whether an actor has starred in a massively successful franchise or a box office flop, they can still be unsatisfied with their role.
1. Daniel Craig – Spectre (2015)
Originally, the casting of Daniel Craig as film’s most well-known spy was not a popular one. The announcement of Daniel Craig as the next James Bond in 2005, was met with much criticism and controversy. Many felt that he was not the right actor for the role, stating a variety of reasons from his lack of a debonair quality to his being too blonde. During production of Casino Royale, there was even a campaign to remove Daniel Craig from the role or fans would boycott the film.
However, his debut in 2006’s Casino Royale was met with much praise, and his grittier take on the character was lauded by both audiences and critics. Casino Royale subsequently became the highest grossing James Bond film of all time, until the later release of Skyfall in 2012. Daniel Craig has gone on to play James Bond in a further three James Bond films.
But after four films as 007, Daniel Craig has said that he would “rather slash his wrists” than reprise the role. It was reported that he had butted heads with director Sam Mendes at times during filming, and had also not been happy with the physical demands of the role. During the press tour for Spectre, Craig often spoke disparagingly about the role. You can imagine the panic in the Sony Press Office after Craig called Bond “a misogynist” and told an interviewer that there was “nothing” that people could learn from James Bond. Craig admitted that he would only ever consider reprising the role for the money.
Recently it has been announced that Craig is in fact returning for one last hurrah in Bond 25 (the currently untitled twenty fifth Bond film). But with reports of a pay check of $100 million, it seems as though money may well have been the deciding factor in Daniel Craig deciding to return to the role.
2. Christopher Plummer – The Sound of Music (1965)
A veteran actor who has been active for over fifty years and has had more than a hundred film roles, Christopher Plummer is still best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. The character and the film are both much loved, and were universally popular with audiences and critics. You could get away with saying that everyone likes this film – apart from one person. And that person is Christopher Plummer.
The Sound of Music was released in 1965, and went on to have financial and critical success all over the world. It won five Academy Awards, and grossed $283 million at the box office. The Sound of Music still continues to generate revenue today, and has gone on to be preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry as a film that is “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
Plummer hated the character of Captain Von Trapp, calling him a massive bore and that trying to make the character interesting was “like flogging a dead horse.” He also described the role of Captain Von Trapp as “so awful and sentimental and gooey. He has said that he hated all aspects of making the film, apart from working with Julie Andrews. He has often avoided calling the film by its proper name, giving it a myriad of other names such as “The Sound of Mucus” and “S&M.”
Plummer declined to be involved with the 40th Anniversary cast reunion. He finally relented in 2010, when he agreed to be a part of the 45th Anniversary cast reunion. He appeared with the full cast on The Oprah Winfrey show. Although Plummer still has no love for his role of Captain Von Trapp, he has since admitted that The Sound of Music is a good film.
3. Halle Berry – Catwoman (2004)
Catwoman was stuck in development hell for many years, with a number of different actresses attached to the project. Finally, in 2003, Halle Berry was chosen and production on the film began. The film opened in 2004, and was universally panned by critics and audiences alike. The film grossed $82 million against a budget of $100 million, and was considered a box office flop.
In the early 2000’s Halle Berry was one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. She had recently won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball, been a Bond Girl in Die Another Day and completed two highly successful films in the X-men Franchise to name a few. Catwoman was the first film she had done, where her performance was largely panned. One film critic even suggested that Halle Berry should give back her Academy Award.
Catwoman was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Actress for Halle Berry. Halle Berry won in her category, and arrived in person to collect the award. She made her speech whilst holding her Razzie in one hand and her Academy Award in the other. In her acceptance speech, she thanked Warner Brothers for “casting me in this piece of s**t god-awful movie.” She also advised her agent to “read the script next time.”
Halle Berry has since admitted that she felt that Catwoman derailed her career, and sent it in a direction that she did not want.
4. Harrison Ford – Star Wars (1977 – 2015)
Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the most successful film franchises of all time. It all started back in 1977 with the release of Star Wars (later titled Episode IV: A New Hope) which was hugely successful, and made stars out of its three lead actors. Harrison Ford became a household name for his portrayal of cynical pilot and smuggler Han Solo. Ford went on to play Han Solo in a further three Star Wars’ films – The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Han Solo became such an iconic character that there is even a spin-off film centred on the character currently in production, and due for release in 2018.
Ford has always had a strange relationship with the role. In some interviews, he has been reluctant to discuss Han Solo, whilst in others he has been more than willing to. There seemed to be a perceptible shift in Ford’s attitude towards the role after The Empire Strikes Back and whilst he was promoting Return of the Jedi.
By this time, Ford had completed Raiders of the Lost Ark and Blade Runner. He felt that the characters in those films were infinitely more interesting than that of Han Solo. After completing Return of the Jedi, Ford said “Three is enough for me. I was glad to see the back of that costume.” And in interviews for years afterwards, Ford confirmed that he wanted Han Solo killed off so that he did not have to return to the role again.
The announcement that Ford was onboard for Star Wars Episode VII came as a welcome surprise to fans, and Ford was given his wish of killing off the character.
5. Robert Pattinson – Twilight Saga (2008 – 2012)
Robert Pattinson was propelled to worldwide fame after he was cast as Edward Cullen in the Twilight films. The Twilight films, which are based on the global bestselling books of the same name, went on to gross over $3 billion at the box office and made Pattinson one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors.
Although the Twilight films launched Pattinson’s career into interstellar orbit, he has never been complimentary about them and has made derogatory remarks about the character, books, author and fans on numerous occasions.
On the subject of the books, Pattinson said of Twilight “it seems like a book that wasn’t meant to be published.” He also said that Twilight author Stephenie Meyer was creepy and clearly in love with the character. The main focus of Bella and Edward’s relationship was another sore point for Pattinson, with him stating that “there’s definitely something wrong with her, and there’s obviously something wrong with me.”
When speaking on his process of playing Edward, Pattinson said this: “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,”
When the franchise came to an end, no one was more relieved than lead star Pattinson. In an interview with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Pattinson was asked if the franchise ending was bittersweet. Pattinson shrugged, and said “for them” pointing at the audience.