29+ Actors We Never Expected To Be Embarrassed by Their Iconic Roles


| LAST UPDATE 05/16/2022

By Lily Tipton

Although their breakout roles are what made us fall in love with them, many actors are ashamed of those on-screen moments for various reasons. From Star Wars to Sex And the City, here they are.

Harrison Ford - Star Wars

Star Wars changed Harrison Ford's life and turned him into a Hollywood Star. Despite the incredible impact his character had on his career, Harrison Ford didn't have much love for Han Solo.

Harrison Ford, Star WarsHarrison Ford, Star Wars
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Talking to USA Today, Ford referred to Han as "dumb as a stump!" and merely "the foil between the other more compelling elements of the film." So tired of the character's lack of depth, he begged George Lucas to kill him off. *Spoiler alert* in episode VII, his wish was finally granted.

Shia LaBeouf - Indiana Jones

Unlike many on this list, Shia LaBeouf is not looking to blame anyone but himself for the role he's not proud of. The actor who played Mutt in Indiana Jones told the LA Times he believed he did not produce his best work for the film - and let the franchise's legacy down as a result.

Shia LaBeouf, Movie CareerShia LaBeouf, Movie Career
Lucasfilm/Paramount Pictures/Kobal via Shutterstock

In the interview, he discussed his performance. "You get to monkey-swinging and things like that, and you can blame it on the writer, and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg]. But the actor's job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn't do it. So that's my fault. Simple."

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George Clooney - Batman & Robin

George Clooney is so embarrassed by his Batman portrayal that he has taken the time to publicly apologize for it. The movie's main star and director recognizes it as a cheesy and tacky attempt at a superhero film. Clooney and most critics agreed he was the worst Batman in the franchise's history.

George Clooney, Batman RoleGeorge Clooney, Batman Role
Christine Loss/Warner Bros/Kobal via Shutterstock

"Let me just say that I'd actually thought I'd destroyed the franchise until somebody else brought it back years later and changed it. I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. It wasn't," he told Variety. From then on, Clooney chose his roles carefully, earning him a handful of Oscar nominations.

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Sarah Jessica Parker - Sex And the City 2

Sarah Jessica Parker knows that Sex and the City 2 didn't win over the fans or the critics, and she understands why. However, while she wishes she could have given her iconic character, Carrie, a better portrayal, she doesn't necessarily regret taking on the project because it benefited her in other ways.

Sarah Jessica Parker, SATCSarah Jessica Parker, SATC
New Line Cinema/Hbo/Village Roadshow/Kobal via Shutterstock

At Vulture Festival, she admitted she "can see where we fell short. I understand; I actually get it." That being said, she knows what's really important in Hollywood, and that's her paycheck. "I will say, I also understand how much frickin' money it made. I feel like that is forgotten in the discussion." Fair enough. 

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Robert Pattinson - Twilight

This entry came as no surprise because Robert Pattinson has made no secret of the fact that he hated his vampire character Edward Cullen in the Twilight movie franchise. Despite being the role that launched his entire acting career, Pattinson does not understand why people love the films and characters so much.

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Elisabetta A. Villa / Contributor via Getty Images

"He's the most ridiculous person," he told Empire. "The more I read the script, the more I hated this guy... Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin, so he's obviously got some issues there." In terms of the franchise as a whole, he admitted to Moviefone that he would have "mindlessly hated" it if he hadn't been in it. Yikes.

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Shailene Woodley - The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Nowadays, it seems that any project Shailene Woodley touches turns into gold. So much so that it's hard to imagine that before she found Hollywood success, she was playing Amy in the less critically acclaimed TV show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Shailene Woodley, Career MoviesShailene Woodley, Career Movies
IMDB - The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008) via Brendavision

Although many criticized the cast's acting skills, Shailene was more upset about the show's message. "There were belief systems that were pushed that were different than my own. Yet legally, I was stuck there. To this day, it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," she told Bustle. 

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Megan Fox - Transformers

Megan Fox is here to teach actors an important message. If an actor plans to criticize a role or project in general, they should definitely wait until production has finished. Megan didn't have a problem per se with her Mikaela Banes role in Transformers; she just disapproved of the director and his directions for the character.

Megan Fox, Transformers DramaMegan Fox, Transformers Drama
Moviestore via Shutterstock

Before filming had begun on the next movie in the franchise, Megan told Wonderland that director Michael Bay was "a nightmare to work for. I'll say, 'Who am I talking to? Where am I supposed to be looking at?' And he responds, 'Just be sexy.' I get mad when people talk to me like that." Before she knew it, she had been fired.

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Channing Tatum - G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

They say one shouldn't meet their heroes, but there are no words of advice about playing them in a movie. When Channing Tatum was approached to play G.I. Joe, he was hesitant to take it on because he had been a big fan of the character since he was young. He worried whether they would be able to do it justice.

Channing Tatum, G.I. JoeChanning Tatum, G.I. Joe
Skydance Productions/Kobal via Shutterstock

Ultimately, he ended up being forced into the role, and looking back, he regrets the project immensely. Tatum told Howard Stern, "I'll be honest. I f****** hate that movie. The script wasn't any good. And I didn't want to do something that I was a fan of since I was a kid and watched every morning growing up." 

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Zac Efron - High School Musical

After landing the role of the dreamy high school basketball star Troy Bolton in High School Musical, Zac Efron realized that being a Disney Star wasn't what it's all cracked up to be. These parts often set an actor up for a lifelong career of playing romantic leads, but Zac wasn't keen to be typecast in this way.

Zac Efron, HSM RebootZac Efron, HSM Reboot
Disney/Kobal via Shutterstock

Talking to Men's Journal, he reflected on the experience: "I was like 17. And I said, 'Guys, you know this is not at all what I want to do?' And they were like, 'Really?'" His feelings towards the movie were confirmed further by the fact he was the only cast member not to attend the HSM virtual reunion during the pandemic. 

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Halle Berry - Catwoman

One bad role has the potential to ruin an actor's career completely. Halle Berry believes her time as Catwoman is responsible for her professional demise, and she's understandably not pleased with that fact. In recognition of its critical failure, Berry was awarded a 'Worst Actress' Golden Raspberry Award for her part in it.

Halle Berry, Catwoman MovieHalle Berry, Catwoman Movie
Warner Bros/Dc Comics/Kobal via Shutterstock

While most accept this parody reward with grace and laughter, Halle used her time on stage to clap back at the film's producers. "I wanna thank Warner Bros. for giving me the opportunity to take part in this terrible film. This is what my career needed: going from the top to the very bottom." Ouch.

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Andrew Lincoln - Love Actually

Love Actually is often referred to as the most romantic movie of all time, adored by all the hopeless romantics out there. One iconic scene is when Mark turns up at Juliet's door to declare his love for her with note cards. Although fans saw his efforts as the ultimate declaration of love, the actor behind it wasn't too sure.

Andrew Lincoln, Love ActuallyAndrew Lincoln, Love Actually
Moviestore via Shutterstock

"Do you not think we're sort of borderline stalker territory here?" Andrew asked the director Richard Curtis, according to The Wrap. Richard, however, told the actor that with him playing the character, there was no chance of it coming off wrong. Based on the audience's reaction, it would appear he was right. 

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Meryl Streep - The French Lieutenant’s Woman

While Meryl Streep has a long list of iconic roles and awards associated with her acting career, one project managed to slip through the cracks of her almost-perfect record - and she has regretted it ever since. While she believes The French Lieutenant’s Woman is a well-made film, she had a problem with her part in it.

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United Archives / Contributor via Getty Images

Talking on The Graham Norton Show, Streep discussed her portrayal of the characters, Sarah and Anna. "I was young and new at this," she recalled. "I wasn't as pleased as I could… I didn't feel like I was living it." Being the Hollywood legend she is, she was still awarded an Academy Award for her work. Not too shabby. 

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Amanda Seyfried - Les Misérables

Singing and acting simultaneously can be challenging for even the best actors. With all the musical numbers in Les Misérables, the cast had their work cut out for them. Amanda Seyfried, who played Cosette, didn't have an issue with her acting in the film... it was her singing that concerned her.

Amanda Seyfried, Les MisérablesAmanda Seyfried, Les Misérables
Working Title Films, Kobal via Shutterstock

"I have had a lot of moments where I just felt complete regret. I wish I could redo Les Misérables completely because of the live singing aspect. I still have nightmares about it," Amanda told Vanessa Kirby in Variety's Actors on Actors segment. "I was very weak," she insisted.

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Pierce Brosnan - James Bond

Despite most actors dreaming of one day taking on the iconic role of James Bond, Pierce Brosnan wasn't too pleased with his take on the character. In fact, he'd probably go as far as to vote himself the worst of the 'James Bond's. Despite the fame and recognition he received, he doesn't look back on the experience fondly.

Pierce Brosnan, James BondPierce Brosnan, James Bond
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Brosnan told Entertainment Weekly that he "loathed" 007's infamous one-liners. He later told The Telegraph that he feels he let the character down with his performance. "I have no desire to watch myself as James Bond. 'Cause, it's just never good enough… It's a horrible feeling," he expressed. 

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Matt Damon - The Bourne Ultimatum

Matt Damon has no regrets playing Jason Bourne in the Bourne movie franchise. That being said, he is embarrassed by the third movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, which he feels was let down by its screenplay. The actor told GQ that he thought the script was "unreadable. This is a career-ender. It's terrible. It's really embarrassing."

Matt Damon, Bourne UltimatumMatt Damon, Bourne Ultimatum
Jasin Boland/Universal, Kobal via Shutterstock

While he may have been correct about the film's storyline not going over well with the critics, he was certainly wrong about it being a career-ender. Not only did he continue to appear in more Jason Bourne films, but he also went on to star in some of Hollywood's most successful movies!

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Sean Connery - James Bond

As the second James Bond entry on this list, it seems that playing the iconic 007 does not guarantee the career satisfaction it suggests. Sean Connery's take on the character had the fans voting him the best Bond of all time. Connery himself, however, pretty much hated the role.

Sean Connery, James BondSean Connery, James Bond
Moviestore via Shutterstock

Despite sticking it out for seven movies, the actor told The Guardian he's "always hated that d*mned James Bond." Finally, all the action got too much for the actor, and he put his suit away for good. By the end, he told Playboy, he was "fed up to here with the whole Bond bit."

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Kate Winslet - Titanic

The Titanic movie had everyone in tears. Even its star, Kate Winslet, can't watch it back without getting emotional. For Winslet, however, it's her acting performance rather than the tragic storyline that has her worked up. "Every single scene, I'm like, 'Really, really? You did it like that?'" she told the Telegraph.

Kate Winslet, Titanic Role Kate Winslet, Titanic Role
20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal via Shutterstock

"Oh my God ... even my American accent, I can't listen to it. It's awful," she continued. "Watching Titanic, I was just like, 'Oh God, I want to do that again.'" Despite being just 21 at the time, she still feels she should have done better. That being said, she looks back on the project fondly.

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Ben Affleck - Daredevil

Ben Affleck "hates Daredevil so much." Although he's technically a superhero, Affleck doesn't think there's anything super about the character, and he has openly expressed his regret over the project. He believes his acting was stiff, and he didn't successfully bring the character's full personality to life.

Ben Affleck, Daredevil MovieBen Affleck, Daredevil Movie
Moviestore via Shutterstock

Affleck credits this negative experience as the reason he took on the role of Batman in 2016. He told TimeTalks he wanted to rewrite his wrongs and make up for his disservice to the comic-book community. "Part of it was I wanted for once to get one of these movies and do it right – to do a good version."

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Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter

Daniel Radcliffe became a household name at the age of just eleven when he landed the highly sought-after role of Harry Potter. Eight blockbuster films later, and he's doing pretty well for himself. However, for Daniel, his performance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince still haunts him to this day.

Daniel Radcliffe, Harry PotterDaniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter
IMDB - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) via Warner Bros.

In an interview with Playboy, the actor admitted, "I'm just not very good at it. I hate it... my acting is very one-note, and I can see I got complacent, and what I was trying to do just didn't come across. My best film is the fifth one [Order of the Phoenix] because I can see a progression."

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Sally Field - The Amazing Spider-Man

After winning an Oscar, it's pretty much expected that from then on, these actors will be offered only the best roles Hollywood has to offer. So when Academy Award-winner Sally Field was offered the role of Peter Parker's Aunt May, other actresses believed they had lost out on the part of a lifetime.

Sally Field, Spider ManSally Field, Spider Man
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Sadly, the role lacked the depth she was craving as an actor. Required to act worried, do household chores, and offer a few words of advice to her nephew, Field struggled to give it her all, despite her best attempt. "You can't put ten pounds of s*** in a five-pound bag," she told Howard Stern. 

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Miley Cyrus - Hannah Montana

Miley Cyrus has been a little more subtle than others on this list when it comes to talking about a role she wished she had never taken on. While not admitting outright that she regrets playing Hannah Montana, she has spoken on multiple occasions about the role's negative impact on her life.

Miley Cyrus, Hannah MontanaMiley Cyrus, Hannah Montana
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Cyrus told Marie Claire that the character gave her a misguided idea of what she should look like, and she struggled with her identity. "I was made to look like someone that I wasn't, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then it was like, Who the f*** am I?"

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Jamie Dornan - Fifty Shades of Grey

Most actors prefer to take on characters who are significantly unlike themselves. Whether it's for the acting challenge or a chance to be someone they're not for a while, it's often one of the greatest appeals of a role. Jamie Dornan, however, struggled with the fact that he was so different from his Fifty Shades character.

Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades
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"I don't think I'll ever play a ­character who's less like me," he told Jay Rayner on his podcast. He explained that because he could not relate to Mr. Grey's life, he found it hard to get inside the character's head and was ultimately disappointed with his performance.

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Katherine Heigl - Grey’s Anatomy

She played the lovable Doctor Izzie Stevens on the popular medical show Grey's Anatomy, but Katherine Heigl wasn't a fan herself. For Heigl, it was not her portrayal of the character that bothered her but rather the storylines she was given and the writing behind them. Despite this, she was nominated for an Emmy in 2008.

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YouTube via The List

Famously, however, Katherine withdrew herself, stating, "I did not feel I was given the material this season to warrant a nomination." In a later interview, she clarified, "I was a little defensive about my season because I thought I hadn't had a great one. And a lot of that had to do with me and my performances."

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Alec Guinness - Star Wars

Believe it or not, there is another actor who regrets their part in the Star Wars movies. Despite being one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time with a passionate cult following, this was not enough for some of its stars, who would go back and turn down the role if they could. 

Alec Guinness, Star WarsAlec Guinness, Star Wars
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Like Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness was not impressed by the film's writing. In his autobiography, A Positively Final Appearance, he admitted he regretted playing Obi-Wan Kenobi because of the lack of character development and confusingly awkward dialogue.

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Michelle Pfeiffer - Grease 2

It's no secret in Hollywood that movie sequels are often a bitter disappointment to their predecessor. Unfortunately for its leading actress Michelle Pfeiffer, Grease 2 was no exception. After the original saw its stars, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, shoot to fame, many were desperate for the sequel's lead role.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Grease MovieMichelle Pfeiffer, Grease Movie
Moviestore via Shutterstock

However, Grease 2 did not receive much praise, criticized for lacking the energy and imagination of the first film. "I hated that film with a vengeance and could not believe how bad it was," Pfeiffer agreed with the critics. "At the time, I was young and didn't know better." Fair to say, her career managed to bounce back.

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Jessica Alba – Fantastic Four

Jessica Alba doesn't look back on her role in Fantastic Four as a bad performance on her behalf. Rather, she has negative associations with this role because of the actions of her director. Her experience on set was so awful that she considered quitting acting altogether - so what went down?

Jessica Alba, Fantastic FourJessica Alba, Fantastic Four
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Kobal via Shutterstock

Talking to Elle, she recalled the abuse she received, which made her doubt whether she was good enough. "The director was like, 'It looks too real. Cry pretty, Jessica.' He was like, 'Don't do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.' And I'm like, but there's no connection to a human being."

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Daniel Craig - James Bond

At this point, we're beginning to think that the James Bond movie franchise is cursed because there is yet another Bond actor who hated his time as 007. Like his predecessors, Daniel Craig has openly admitted he is now not a big Bond fan and did not enjoy the process of making the films.

Daniel Craig, James BondDaniel Craig, James Bond
Danjaq/Eon Productions/Kobal via Shutterstock

When asked if he would return to the franchise, he told Time Out, "Now? I'd rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That's fine. I'm over it at the moment. We're done. All I want to do is move on." Someone better warn the next James Bond about what's in store...

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Katherine Heigl - Knocked Up

As Katherine Heigl's second entry on this list, it seems she is not a fan of her acting resume. This time, it was a movie character that she was not pleased with. In the fan-favorite, hilarious comedy Knocked Up, Heigl plays Alison, a woman who discovers she's pregnant after a one-time fling.

Katherine Heigl, Knocked UpKatherine Heigl, Knocked Up
Suzanne Hanover/Universal/Kobal via Shutterstock

In an interview with Vanity Fair, she described the movie as "a little sexist," saying she had a hard time with it because "it paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight." "I'm playing such a b****, why is she being such a killjoy? It was hard for me to love the movie," she admitted. 

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Gwyneth Paltrow - Shallow Hal

When Gwyneth Paltrow sat down for an Interview with Netflix, she admitted that Shallow Hal was her least favorite performance as an actress, referring to it as a "disaster." For Paltrow, the message of the movie bothered her more than anything else. It hinted that fat people are something to laugh at, which she disagrees with.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Shallow HalGwyneth Paltrow, Shallow Hal
Moviestore via Shutterstock

Forced to put on a fat suit to play an overweight woman, Gwyneth explained this was when she realized how badly overweight people are treated and portrayed in Hollywood. “For some reason, the clothes they make for overweight women are horrible. I felt humiliated because people were really dismissive,” she told W Magazine.

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Ryan Reynolds - Green Lantern

The financial and critical failure of Green Lantern left its main star Ryan Reynolds reeling. Thankfully, he can now look back at it and laugh. When asked to rate the movie by Andy Cohen, with ten being the highest, he said it how it is. "I would give it a scant, four, maybe. Three or four. It didn't work…. A one. It's a one!"

Ryan Reynolds, Green LanternRyan Reynolds, Green Lantern
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While we understand Ryan's frustration with making a movie he wasn't proud of, he met his wife, Blake Lively, on the set of the film. For this reason alone, something tells us if he could go back, he would still agree to put on the green suit and mask. Oh, the things we do for love...

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