8 actors who hate their iconic roles

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Because you aren’t the only one who hates Edward Cullen.

For many actors struggling in the industry, looking for that iconic role or major breakthrough performance is near impossible, with the vast majority never making it there. Recently, in an interview with the Independent, Daniel Radcliffe described his performance in the Harry Potter series as “not very good.” This got me to thinking of other actors who got their big break with, or were to become synonymous with, a particular role, but that they themselves weren’t too fond of.

 

Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in the Twilight saga (2008-2012)

twilight edward cullen

We’ve already covered this, so I won’t go into too great detail, but I will say the accompanying link does provide some humorous and honest recollections of the Twilight saga from the man himself. To be fair, Pattinson’s performance isn’t awful; it was the poor material and the terribly executed experimentation with the vampire mythos that made Edward Cullen awful. With unintentionally hilarious dialogue and only a few moments of directorial competency, this was a role where the world could agree upon its awfulness.

 

Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965)

sound of music christopher plummer

The same actor who called Terrence Malick’s writing pretentious has been equally honest in his contempt for the film – and his role in – The Sound of Music. The character of Captain von Trapp was essentially a military individual who had stringent rules when it came to disciplining his children. However, to Plummer, trying to make the character interesting was comparable to flogging a dead horse; it simply didn’t work. Such was his unabashed contempt, Plummer referred to The Sound of Music as “that movie” for years, doing his best to distance himself from what he would eventually come to call The Sound of Mucus. In his 2008 memoir, Plummer regularly refers to the film as “S&M”, aptly summarising his tortuous ordeal.

 

Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes in Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2007-2009)

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The role that made Megan Fox into a sex symbol – via a kid’s toy franchise – didn’t require much. Fox’s role was simply to run and scream at CGI robots whilst also serving as masturbatory eye-candy for teenage boys; remember, Michael Bay himself states he makes movies with teenage boys in mind. This tyrannical director also has a reputation for being a control freak, but Megan Fox took it a step further and compared him to the likes of Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte. Fox claims that unless you’re a seasoned veteran of Bay’s work ethics, it’s difficult to grow as an actor – “I’m terrible in it…I just wasn’t proud of what I did” said Fox of her turn as Mikaela Banes. To be fair, if all you’re doing is running and screaming from giant robots, no one’s expecting complexity.

 

Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars episodes IV-VI (1977-1983)

star wars a new hope alec guinness

The late Sir Alec Guinness once recited the story of a young Star Wars fan boasting that he had seen the film over 100 times. Guinness’s response was, “Can you promise me never to watch Star Wars again?” Guinness dismissed Star Wars as “fairytale rubbish” with “rubbish dialogue…none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.” It was only the inclusion of American Graffiti’s director, whom he referred to as “Paul Lucas”, that made Guinness even consider the role. Such was his disdain and lack of confidence in the film, Guinness declined a flat rate and insisted on a points scheme of 2% on all gross royalties; to this day, 14 years after his passing, Guiness’s estate still accumulates millions of royalties via box office, merchandise and any corporate tie-ins.

 

Sean Connery as James Bond (1962-1967, 1971, 1983)

from russia with love connery

While the late Guinness was an established actor, having won an Oscar for a prior film, retired actor Sean Connery only had bit-parts and uncredited extra roles before landing his big break playing one of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema. His views on his character aren’t too difficult to decipher: “I have always hated that damned James Bond. I’d like to kill him.” Even after his third film as the misogynistic, womanising super-agent, Connery became “fed up…with the whole Bond bit”. Not content with the character’s lack of growth and the series’ over-reliance on gadgetry, Connery left after You Only Live Twice, only to return for Diamonds are Forever in 1971. Then again for unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again in 1983.

 

Katherine Heigl as Alison Scott in Knocked Up (2007)

Stills from the upcoming romantic comedy Knocked Up

A mature story dealing with the responsibility of pregnancy as a result a drunken one night stand is the typically poignant set up of an early Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow movie. Knocked Up featured on many top ten lists on the year and has a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, co-star Katherine Heigl didn’t share the same enthusiasm, as she called the film “a little sexist”, claiming it “paints women as shrews, as humourless and uptight.” And she wasn’t too fond of her character either: “I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?

 

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic (1997)

titanic kate winslet

James Cameron’s epic romantic disaster film about the sinking of the Titanic would become the highest grossing film as well as the most expensive film of all time upon initial release, while simultaneously propelling the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. However, Winslet has admitted that she cringes whenever she watches herself in the film, criticising her acting choices and her American accent. Even the iconic naked scene still haunts her. Winslet’s also not too fond of Celine Dion’s iconic Titanic theme song My Heart Will Go On, claiming she “feel[s] like throwing up” whenever she hears it, something many of us can agree with.

 

Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

a streetcar named desire marlon brando

Only his second feature, A Streetcar Named Desire would not only land Marlon Brando an Oscar nomination, but also make him an icon of 20th century cinema. Streetcar’s Stanley Kowalski was arrogant, abusive and assertive, qualities seldom seen in Hollywood movie characters prior. But Brando did not share the glowing reception of his character, saying “he had the kind of brutal aggressiveness that I hate…I detest the character”. Furthermore, Brando didn’t like the sexy outlaw archetype reputation his character was gaining, making the transition to stardom more troublesome for the already troubled actor. Still, Brando played the character on Broadway for two years as well as in the movie. He couldn’t have hated it that much, then.

 

Read more: 10 great superhero films not adapted from comic books

 

Featured image: United Artists

Inset images: Summit Entertainment; 20th Century Fox; Paramount; 20th Century Fox; United Artists; Universal; 20th Century Fox; Warner Bros

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