Moviemaking is one of the most glorified professions around, and that makes sense. The final product is one of the most ubiquitous forms of entertainment on the planet, and movies have a tendency to push their way into the zeitgeist to become pop culture touchstones.
It stands to reason that a performer would enjoy watching the final product. After all, when the movie is being made, they film scenes out of order, perform in clips that are cut or modified, and they don't have a clue as to what the final special effects will look like. You'd think they would be jonesing to see the final product at the premiere, but there are some actors who absolutely can't watch themselves on the silver screen.
Whether it's because they don't like what they've done or feel self-conscious about their performance, some actors and actresses simply refuse to watch their own material. Whatever their reason, these actors can't watch their own movies.
- Photo: CBS Films
Adam Driver can legitimately be considered a superstar. From his work on Girls, he moved up to become Kylo Ren in the new Star Wars trilogy, and that's just scratching the surface of this actor's impressive career. His work on Inside Llewyn Davis was particularly noteworthy, but if you stop him on the street and ask him about the finished product, he won't have anything positive to say about it.
Driver refuses to watch his own work, and it's because of his performance on Inside Llewyn Davis that he feels this way. Watching himself in the scene where he performed bozo backup vocals on the song "Please Mr. Kennedy" made him vow never to watch his own work again.
But Driver didn't have a choice when Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered. He had to go into the theater and watch himself, and he became sick to his stomach. Driver explained his issues with watching himself in an interview with The New Yorker: "I just went totally cold because I knew the scene was coming up where I had to [off] Han Solo, and people were, like, hyperventilating when the title came up, and I felt like I had to puke."
- Photo: Joker/Warner Bros.
Joaquin Phoenix is certainly one of the most impressive actors working in Hollywood, and his performances over the course of his 35-plus year career are filled with award nominations and wins. He recently took home the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work on Joker, but the actor hasn't bothered to watch the movie.
In an interview with Time Out, Phoenix was asked about his known penchant for refusing to watch the films he's been in, specifically asking if he watched Irrational Man. His response:
I haven’t. Paul Thomas Anderson [the director] got me to watch The Master, and I saw Her. Those are the only two I’ve seen. I thought I might be mature enough to watch and learn. To think: These are the mistakes that were made. But it’s still something I struggle with... Oh, this sounds stupid. Who gives a s***?
For a man with such a prolific career, only (reluctantly) watching two of his films is rather impressive.
- Photo: AMC
For nine seasons, Andrew Lincoln played central protagonist Rick Grimes on AMC's The Walking Dead. He left the series in 2019, and while he was working on it, he never watched a single episode. Lincoln sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss the role, and he was asked to explain why he doesn't watch the show.
"The original reason is the fact that I don’t actually enjoy looking at myself," he replied. When the interviewer pressed for more, Lincoln explained that he becomes too critical of the directorial choices:
"Oh, I like it when I do that. That’s kind of cool.” And then, “Oh, I don’t like it when I do that.” And that defeats the object of what I want to do as an actor, which is to try and be in the role and not be self-conscious. I watch great actors, great actors that I admire beyond all things, and I see them replicate, and it’s very hard not to. I don’t want to do that. I just want to leave myself alone as much as I can. It breaks the spell, it breaks the magic somewhat.
He did admit to watching the series' pilot once it was finalized, but his interest in doing so was to see how it all turned out. Once that was over and done with, he never looked back.
Julianne Moore has been wowing audiences with her incredible performances since 1981, and over the course of her nearly 40-year career, she's acted in countless feature films. While millions upon millions of people have happily watched her work over the years, she can't count herself as one of them. Moore simply has no interest in watching movies.
In an interview with Britain's Daily Express, she was asked about this trait, to which she replied, "I haven’t seen any of my own movies... I can’t sit there for a premiere or anything. I like being in the movie more than I like watching them. That’s my big thrill, rather than seeing the finished product."