14 Actors Talk About The Downsides Of Being In A Huge Movie Franchise
Imagine being an actor and having the opportunity to be in a Marvel movie, Lord of the Rings film, or get to play Bond, James Bond. Behind the blockbuster appeal rests some significant drawbacks. Read what these famous actors had to say about the downsides of being in huge movie franchises.
Most of these blockbuster movie franchises take a lot of time to film. The average film production lasts 2-3 months. A typical Marvel movie is double that time. Plus, an actor may need to commit to other Marvel movies like the Avengers.
These actor interviews reveal the potential negatives that inherently come with movie franchises. Make your voice heard. Vote up the worst aspects of being a blockbuster star.
- Photo: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers / Warner Bros. Pictures
Sir Ian McKellen is a classically trained Shakespearean actor. There aren't any green screens to contend with at the National Theatre of Great Britain or in working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. McKellen agreed to play arguably the biggest role of his career as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Unfortunately, playing the wise wizard often put the Brit in front of green screens instead of acting alongside other actors.
It all became too much for him while filming a scene for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. McKellen explained:
In order to shoot the dwarves and a large Gandalf, we couldn't be in the same set. All I had for company was 13 photographs of the dwarves on top of stands with little lights - whoever's talking flashes up.
Pretending you're with 13 other people when you're on your own, it stretches your technical ability to the absolute limits.
I cried, actually. I cried. Then I said out loud, ‘This is not why I became an actor.’ Unfortunately the microphone was on and the whole studio heard.
The whole experience almost caused McKellen to quit the movie. “It was so distressing and off-putting and difficult that I thought, 'I don't want to make this film if this is what I'm going to have to do,'" said McKellen.
- Photo: No Time to Die / Universal Pictures
There's a price to pay for playing the world's most famous spy in one of cinema's most beloved franchises. Craig starred as 007 in five Bond installments before calling it a day: Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time to Day. The British actor has fully realized that there are a lot of expectations that come with any new Bond movie, especially from die-hard fans.
“I don’t go on the Internet anymore,” said Craig. “I think if you’re famous, the Internet is evil. I really think that. If you’re famous, it makes you paranoid. Or it makes you more paranoid than you already are. Because if you’re famous and you go on the Internet for half an hour, you realize people are talking about you. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, some of that will make you paranoid. I just don’t do it anymore. It’s the enemy of creativity.”
Craig's advice for the next Bond:
Don’t be sh*t! Go for it. Embrace it. Some clichéd line like that. But no, just make sure you’re great. You’ve got to push yourself as far as you can. It’s worth it, it’s James Bond.
- Photo: Logan / 20th Century Fox
Hugh Jackman first played Wolverine in 2000's X-Men. The Aussie actor has gone on to play the totally ripped mutant in nine additional films, including two standalone Wolverine installments. Jackman not only had to commit to a grueling workout schedule to play Wolverine, but he also had to consume loads of calories.
"You actually have to eat a LOT, and I'm quite a skinny person," Jackman said in 2013. "So I'm eating ridiculous amounts of food. I quite like everything I ate, but it’s more bland. Chicken breasts, but steamed, no salt. And steamed spinach."
The actor talked about how timing is key to adding muscle:
When you're bulking, you're just eating so much food. What I do is I eat in an eight hour period, it's all the rage this diet now. It's called the 16-8 diet. For sixteen hours of the day, I fast, so I don't eat. Between ten in the morning and six o'clock at night … I eat 5,000 calories. And then I eat nothing … it's more about, 'This is a disgusting amount of food, I can't eat another bite.' I literally talk to myself like I'm training – 'One more mouthful, c'mon man! You can do it! Just one more mouthful! Half a chicken breast to go and then you've got it! Just two meals left!'
Between the stints of Christian Bale and Robert Pattinson in their solo Batman franchises, Ben Affleck played Bruce Wayne and his alter ego in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Suicide Squad, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The production and post-production on Justice League was famously torturous, and the entire process burned the actor/director out on onscreen superheroics, as he said, “Those stories became somewhat repetitive to me and less interesting.”
In a 2023 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Affleck explained at length:
I was going to direct a Batman, and [Justice League] made me go, “I’m out. I never want to do any of this again. I’m not suited.” That was the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business which is full of some sh***y experiences. It broke my heart. There was an idea of someone [Joss Whedon] coming in, like, “I’ll rescue you and we’ll do 60 days of shooting and I’ll write a whole thing around what you have. I’ve got the secret.” And it wasn’t the secret. That was hard. And I started to drink too much. I was back at the hotel in London, it was either that or jump out the window. And I just thought, “This isn’t the life I want. My kids aren’t here. I’m miserable.” You want to go to work and find something interesting to hang onto, rather than just wearing a rubber suit, and most of it you’re just standing against the computer screen going, “If this nuclear waste gets loose, we’ll …” That’s fine. I don’t condescend to that or put it down, but I got to a point where I found it creatively not satisfying. Also just, you’re sweaty and exhausted. And I thought, “I don’t want to participate in this in any way. And I don’t want to squander any more of my life, of which I have a limited amount.”
Still, Affleck did return to the character, briefly but repeatedly, and he said:
Yeah, I did finally figure out how to play that character [Batman], and I nailed it in The Flash. For the five minutes I’m there, it’s really great. A lot of it’s just tone. You’ve got to figure out, what’s your version of the person? Who is the guy that fits what you can do? I tried to fit myself into a Batman. And by the way, I like a lot of the stuff we did, especially the first one [Batman v Superman].
- Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Chris Evans starred as Steve Rogers/Captain America in three standalone Captain America films and eight additional Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. However, it's not the arduous production of those blockbuster movies that makes Evans feel the pressure; it's the never-ending promotion tours and media circus. “This is the most outside asks you can incorporate into a movie,” said Evans. “I love acting – but that’s not all you’re asking me to do."
“It’s nice to talk about the work with people who are interested – but I freak out when I hear stupid questions about stupid things, and you’ve gotta act like you give a f*ck," added Evans. Evans initially turned down Marvel when they asked him to commit to a nine-picture contract. “It’s nuts… if you make a big movie like Independence Day, they’ll lock you up for three movies. But nine is insane. We got it down to six."
Then, Disney worked its magic and got Evans for three additional MCU installments. Evans may or not return to the MCU in the future. The actor has said that he's both done with Marvel and also that he's interested in returning.
- Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Dave Bautista made a smooth transition from the world of professional wrestling into acting. He landed the role of Drax the Destroyer in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and went on to reprise the role of the intergalactic criminal in six additional Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Bautista decided to step away from the MCU following Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, saying he was “grateful” to play the character but was ready to move on.
“[Working on the James Gunn-directed franchise] wasn’t all pleasant. It was hard playing that role,” said Bautista. “The makeup process was beating me down. And I just don’t know if I want Drax to be my legacy — it’s a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff.” The former WWE champion isn't looking to live the glamorous Hollywood life. Bautista is interested in becoming a better actor. He added:
Honestly, I could give a f*ck [about being a movie star]. I don’t live a great big glamorous life. I live here in Tampa. I don’t care about the spotlight, I don’t care about fame. I just want to be a better actor. I want respect from my peers…It’s about the experience, about knowing that I accomplished something.