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Actors Talk About The Roles They Regret Taking

Updated January 26, 2021 293.8k views14 items

Not every acting project can be a home run. And sometimes a particular acting experience was so bad, the actor regrets ever taking the role in the first place. Maybe the movie was a box office failure. Perhaps it was a critical flop. Chances are most of the movies on this list were total disasters all around. In at least one case, a star passed on a classic role to star in a notorious summer dud. Then again, at least these actors got paid handsomely for their efforts.

Find out which actor slammed his Oscar-winning movie. Which actress couldn't even describe the plot of the movie she starred in? And, which A-List star turned down the lead role in The Matrix in favor of an infamous sci-fi movie that swept the Razzie Awards?

Regrets - we've all had a few. These movies were all horrible enough to mention. Here are 14 actors talk about the roles they regret taking.

  • Eddie Murphy was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1980s and '90s. After that, not so much. Murphy took a gamble on sci-fi comedy in 2002 with The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The movie went on to become one of the biggest box office flops in film history. The big-budget, special effects-laden movie reportedly cost $100 million to make and brought in only $7 million worldwide. That means the movie lost an astronomical 93%.

    Of the notorious box office flop, Murphy joked: "I know the two or three people that liked this movie."

    That movie wasn't the only regret of Murphy's career. He pinpoints three movies in particular for which he'd like a mulligan:

    Pluto Nash, that breaks me down, that breaks me all the way down. Then I put on Meet Dave. That tears me apart... And then if I really want to cry, I'll put on Imagine That.

    All three movies were made in the 2000s. It shouldn't be a surprise now to figure out why Murphy seemed to take a bit of a step back from the movie business in the 2010s.

    • Age: 60
    • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
  • George Clooney did something that few actors could do: He became a huge star on television (ER), then left the series at the height of its success because he wanted to make films. His turn as the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher's 1997 Batman & Robin was such a disaster that it could have wrecked his movie career before it got started. Thankfully, once he did leave the hospital drama in 1999, he made better film choices. 

    Schumacher's Batman & Robin was critically panned for a number of reasons. One of Clooney's personal qualms about the movie was the Batsuit, with its infamous nipples. He talked about his costume regret at the New York Comic-Con in 2011:

    I just met Adam West there [referring to behind the NYCC main stage] and I apologized to him. Sorry about the nipples on the suit. Freeze, freeze, I apologize for that.

    • Age: 60
    • Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America
  • The western comedy Wild Wild West won a number of major awards in 1999. Unfortunately, those awards were Razzies. The big-budget flop won the Razzie for worst picture, director, screenplay, song, and screen couple (Will Smith and Kevin Kline). Golden Raspberry Foundation President John Wilson said of Wild Wild West: "It swept, to the surprise of no one who saw it. It personifies what you need to do to win a Razzie in modern Hollywood - spend too much, entertain no one, and fall flat on your face."

    Adding fuel to the fire is that Smith, one of the biggest movie stars of his generation, turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix. That movie became a classic, and the trilogy it spawned was one of the most successful franchises in science-fiction movie history.

    The Late Show host Stephen Colbert asked Smith what he would say to his younger self if he could go back and give him some advice. Smith replied:

    Hey man, don't do Wild Wild West... I would say, 'Dude, do Neo.'

    • Age: 53
    • Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez met on the set of Gigli in 2002. They started dating, and the media tabbed the hot couple "Bennifer." From then on, their daily lives for the next two years seemed to become endless tabloid fodder. 

    The crime romance comedy Gigli hit the big screen in 2003. It was immediately panned by critics and audiences. It went on to win every major Razzie award, including worst picture, worst actor (Affleck), worst actress (Lopez), worst screen couple (Affleck and Lopez), and worst director and screenplay (Martin Brest).

    But was Gigli really that bad? Or, was it more about the massive hype surrounding "Bennifer?" In 2016, Affleck argued that the media attention had a lot to do with the movie's negative press:

    It could have been a bad movie no one cared about. Angelina Jolie had a bad movie that year and no one cared. But it was because I was dating Jennifer Lopez that made it a big f*cking deal. So not only was it just a bad movie, but 'they dated each other.'

    Affleck added:

    There was a reporter doing stand-up in front of the theater that Friday morning, [saying] 'Here I am outside of Gigli, and as you can see, no one is here in line.' I was like, 'What is this, hurricane coverage?'

    • Age: 49
    • Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States of America