Even the best actors in the world appear in films that, on reflection at least, they wish they hadn't; so much so that some of the most distinguished performers in Hollywood have gone on record to pan their cinematic howlers. That said, some actors have defended their stinkers, most notably Ben Kingsley, the Academy Award-winning actor who still stands by his dreadful performance as the weird sex guru Tugginmypudha in the 2008 turkey, The Love Guru.
Thankfully, not every actor is as up their own ass as Kinglsey. Here are 10 famous actors who weren't afraid to look back and admit that some of their movie roles were truly awful.
1. Brad Pitt- The Devil's Own
Brad Pitt is more than just a pretty face. As well as being one of the most famous heartthrobs ever to grace a cinema screen, Pitt is also one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors, with roles in classic movies such as Fight Club and 7Seven cementing his reputation as an icon of the silver screen. However, even when his film career was on the up in the 1990's, he wasn't immune to bad scripts- something he made clear to the press 8 weeks before The Devil's Own premiered.
So disappointed was Pitt with Alan Pakula’s IRA thriller that he told Newsweek, “We had no script. Well, we had a great script but it got tossed for various reasons. To have to make something up as you go along—Jesus, what pressure! It was ridiculous. It was the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking—if you can even call it that—that I've ever seen.”
2. George Clooney- Return Of The Killer Tomatoes
George Clooney’s like a fine wine, he looks better with age, and in many ways, the same can be said for his body of work. Just take his comments about Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, which he actually apologized for as he believed he "destroyed" the role. He also admitted that "no one had a good time" filming it.
However, his howlers extend beyond cinematic blockbusters. He also starred in the 80's movie Return of the Killer Tomatoes, a title so bad you'd be forgiven for thinking that the director of the film had only just got out of Kindergarten.
Speaking about his past howlers at Newsweek’s 2012 Oscar roundtable, Clooney admitted that while the film was bad, he needed the money. "As an actor all bets are off if you need money,” he said. “I've done really [crappy] movies or [crappy] jobs when I was broke, and people go, ‘Why did you do Return of the Killer Tomatoes?’ Because I got the job!”
3. Julia Roberts- I Love Trouble
“America’s Sweetheart” may appear perfect in everything she does, but don't be fooled; Roberts hasn't got the best CV in Hollywood. Along with Nick Nolte, Roberts fell woefully short of replicating the Hepburn/ Tracy chemistry of the slapstick romcom when they teamed up for the Charles Shyer movie; I Love Trouble.
Instead, Roberts and Nolte couldn't stand each other, and word soon got out to the press. Speaking to The New York Times in 1993, Roberts even said, “From the moment I met him we sort of gave each other a hard time and naturally we get on each other's nerves. [While he can be] completely charming and very nice, he's also completely disgusting. He's going to hate me for saying this, but he seems go out of his way to repel people. He's a kick."
4. Halle Berry- Catwoman
Halle Berry's career has been nothing short of magnificent, with her performances in films such as Monster cementing her status as one of Hollywood's most iconic actresses of the 21st century. However, just 3 years after her famous Oscar win, Berry traded in powerful indie movie roles for tight leather when she donned the renowned catsuit in the cinematic bomb that was Catwoman. But being the star she is, Berry didn't let her lousy performance affect her. Instead, she did what most actors wouldn't even think of and attended the Razzie Award ceremony after being nominated for Worst Actress.
Berry also won the award, which led her to say in her acceptance speech, “You know, I’ve got so many people to thank, because you don’t win a Razzie without a lot of help from a lot of people ... First of all, I want to thank Warner Bros. Thank you for putting me in a piece of sh*t, god-awful movie. You know, it was just what my career needed, you know? I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom.” Yes, Berry let rip at everyone responsible for her starring in that film, which just goes to show that more often than not, agents and managers don't care about your career, they care about your pay packets.
5. Michael Caine- Jaws: The Revenge
Michael Caine is a screen legend, but even he isn't immune to poking fun at some of his past roles. A two-time Oscar winner, whose career has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years thanks to Christopher Nolan casting him in the Batman trilogy, Sir Michael's career hasn't always been the stuff of fairytales. In the 1980's, Cane's career very much took the mould of what Nicolas Cage's career now is, with the British actor starring in a series of perplexing, and critically panned films.
Just take the year 1986, where Caine was unable to accept his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters because he was filming Jaws: The Revenge! Writing about his experiences working on the film in his 1992 autobiography, What’s It All About, Caine admitted it was an awful movie, but that the paycheque more than made up for it. "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
6. Christopher Plummer- The Sound of Music
Christopher Plummer was a fairly known actor before The Sound of Music made him a global name, but he doesn't see the film that essentially made him in a positive light, often referring to the much-loved classic in interviews as “The Sound of Mucus,” “S&M” or “that movie.” Talk about being both honest and unappreciative!
In 2010, Plummer, who recently replaced Kevin Spacey in the Ridley Scott movie, All The Money in the World, told The Boston Globe: “I was a bit bored with the character. Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse. And the subject matter is not mine. I mean it can’t appeal to every person in the world. It’s not my cup of tea." Lesson learned: Plummer doesn't like musicals... even if they made him filthy rich.
7. Gwyneth Paltrow- View from the Top
For someone who can seemingly do no wrong, Gwyneth Paltrow's career hasn't been as rosy as you may have imagined. Indeed, while Paltrow is very much someone who likes to think of herself as all-knowing and perfect, the Oscar-winning actress wasn't too pleased with her roles in Shallow Hal the flight attendant flick, View from the Top.
So embarrassed was Paltrow, that she went as far as calling the latter film "shite" and "terrible" when speaking with The Guardian.
Perhaps the same could also be said of her cookbooks.
8. Bob Hoskins- Super Mario Bros
Yes, they actually made a Super Maris Brothers film which is crazy enough, but the way it turned out had many people joking that the directors and producers were perpetually high during its production. But they weren't- it was just a god awful movie. Sadly, one of the film's stars, Bob Hoskins, passed away in 2014, but he never once tried to sweep this so-bad-its-good movie under the rug.
In 2007, The Guardian asked him about his worst movie, to which he replied, “The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Bros. It was a [freaking] nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set!”
Starring alongside Hoskins as one of the villains was Oscar nominee Dennis Hopper, who pretty much echoed Hoskin's sentiments on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. “I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my 6-year-old son at the time—he's now 18—said, ‘Dad I think you're probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ And I said, 'Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes.' And he said, 'Dad, I don't need shoes that badly.’”
Asked by Nintendo Life to describe the production, co-director Rocky Morton said, "humiliating." Enough said!
9. Charlize Theron- Reindeer Games
Charlize Theron has starred in many great films, including her chilling Oscar-winning performance in Monster's Ball. However, the 2000 action film Reindeer Games was anything but Oscar-worthy! Also starring Ben Affleck and Gary Sinise, the John Frankenheimer movie- despite a promising script- failed to win over critics, and it also lost a lot of money at the box office.
In the words of Theron herself, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”
It appears Ben Kingsley could learn a thing or two from Theron!
10. Mark Wahlberg- The Happening
Mark Wahlberg was definitely an odd choice for the lead role in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 flop The Happening. Certainly putting Wahlberg out of his comfort zone by asking him to play a science teacher, the Boston actor was certainly going against type, and it didn't pay off.
Years later, when the actor and producer was doing press for his Academy-award winning movie, The Fighter, he recalled a conversation with a fellow actor about a film she dodged- a movie that just happened to be the one Wahlberg took on.
"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie, and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright, The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop."
Eloquently said as ever, Mark! But you're right- the film sucked. Big time.