Typically, when you think of an actor or actress, you picture them in a particular role. It could be the role in which you first saw them, the one you associate with them the most, or the one the world has recognized them for; it's something we all do. That being said, few professional actors are content with being remembered for a single part they have played, even if the character is what jumpstarted their career.
Most would prefer to talk about a current or upcoming project, while others flat-out refuse to discuss their previous work. It's understandable, after all: Would you want to be known for a single event in your decades-long career, forsaking everything else, or would you prefer that people engage with you in regard to your recent accomplishments?
- Photo: A New Hope/20th Century Fox
Harrison Ford first starred as Han Solo more than 40 years ago, and there's no shortage of Star Wars fans who are eager to ask him all about it. Ford famously disliked aspects of the character from the original trilogy, and he was more than happy to exit the franchise - it just took 30 years for that to finally happen.
He spoke about Han Solo's painful demise in Star Wars: The Force Awakens during an interview with USA Today while promoting Blade Runner 2049: "I wanted him to die for a long time. So I finally talked them into it. [His demise] was not to just dispose of him. But to ennoble his participation. And give the whole tune some bottom. A bass note."
Ford shared a similar sentiment during an AMA for Entertainment Weekly's Tumblr, where he said, "I've been arguing for Han Solo to die for about 30 years, not because I was tired of him or because he's boring, but his sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight."
It's easy to see why Ford would like to move on from Solo. Since playing the character, he's headlined several franchises, including Indiana Jones, the Jack Ryan films, and many more.
Back in 1965, Christopher Plummer played Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, and as long as the film's legacy lives on, so does his as the Captain. Back in 2011, The Hollywood Reporter asked Plummer what his most difficult role was, and he surprised them by saying, "I think the part in The Sound of Music was the toughest."
Plummer explained, "Because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it."
Plummer gained fame from The Sound of Music, but it's hardly the only memorable role on his CV. In addition to playing Captain Von Trapp, he has starred as Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King, Mike Wallace in The Insider, Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, and many more.
- Photo: Titanic/Paramount Pictures
Kate Winslet was a relatively well-known actor before starring as Rose in James Cameron's Titanic, but after that movie came out, she skyrocketed to international stardom. While the world loved her work in the movie, Winslet wasn't pleased with her performance. In an interview with the The Telegraph, she said:
Every single scene, I'm like "Really, really? You did it like that?" Oh, my God... Even my American accent, I can't listen to it. It's awful. Hopefully, it's so much better now. It sounds terribly self-indulgent, but actors do tend to be very self-critical. I have a hard time watching any of my performances, but watching Titanic I was just like, "Oh God, I want to do that again."
No actor wants to revisit a performance they aren't proud of, and Winslet is no exception. Since starring in Titanic, she's been seen in Quills, Iris, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Steve Jobs, the Divergent franchise, and The Reader, which earned her a BAFTA and an Academy Award for Best Actress.
- Photo: Dr. No/United Artists
Sean Connery has retired from acting, and that's not something his fans can hold against him, seeing as he kept with it for so many decades. He performed in a ton of movies, won a plethora of awards, and is known for many things, but the one role he's most often associated with is James Bond. Connery was the first to play Bond in 1962's Dr. No, and he continued for 21 years, having appeared in every James Bond film between 1962 and 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. He returned once more in 1983's Never Say Never Again, which served as a non-canonical remake of Thunderball.
That's a long time to play a character, and his longevity in the role ultimately became a problem for him. Speaking about the same thing for decades is bound to get on someone's nerves after a while, and that's exactly what happened to Connery. For years, he would have to answer the same insipid questions, over and over again, pushing him to his limit. When he did speak about playing James Bond, he didn't indicate a great love for the character. In 1964, he said, "I would never deny that Bond made me, and I'll be everlastingly grateful to him. But that doesn't make me a Bond-slave. I can cut the shackles free any time I want to. And they aren't made of steel chains any longer, either, but the smoothest silk."
The following year, he gave an interview to Playboy, where he said, "Bond's been good to me, so I shouldn't knock him, but I'm fed up to here with the whole Bond bit." Eventually he just flat-out refused to discuss the character any further.