Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


It's never a happy moment walking out of the theater after seeing a woeful effort from one of Hollywood's biggest stars. In the 2000s it happened quite a bit, with a stunning amount of bad movies making their way to cinemas. But put yourself in the shoes of that actor for a moment and imagine the feeling of having been at least partially responsible for the poor product up on the screen. While most actors can chalk it up to one bad movie in a larger filmography, some have expressed more than a mere shrug at their 2000s failures.

In fact, some actors have come out to publically denounce a previous film from that era, eager to let everyone know it's not something they're proud of. If they could go back and do it all over again, they'd have done things differently, perhaps never signing on to the movie in the first place. For some, it's not even about how bad the finished product turned out, but how uncomfortable or unpleasant the making of the movie was. Sure, many actors can find ways to learn from their bad experiences, but others just want to erase them forever. From TV superstars who wish they'd never gone to the big screen to movie legends who want to undo their biggest flop, this is a list of actors who regret their 2000s movie roles.


Tom Hardy in Star Trek: Nemesis

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


Released in 2002, "Star Trek: Nemesis" is the movie you forgot starred Tom Hardy. Not only was it his first big Hollywood movie, it's the film he probably wishes he'd never made. The British star who played the villain Shinzon — a twisted Romulan clone of Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard — rarely talks about the role, but when he has, he's said it was a terrible experience … and the fact that it was a dismal failure just makes it worse.

As described by Patrick Stewart, Hardy wasn't a friendly sort on the set, rubbing most of the cast the wrong way. But there's a good reason for that, according to Hardy. "I was terrified," he told Total Film in 2013 (via Games Radar). "Every day on that set, I was terrified — which worked for the character anyway," he explained, referring to Shinzon, a bitter and reclusive villain who seeks out Picard to steal his blood. But while it may not have hurt his performance too much, his discomfort didn't make the production easy. "You can't hide that, the camera will pick it up. I was genuinely out of my depth. The whole thing was, 'How can I do this?' I took it very seriously."

Ultimately, "Nemesis" became a mere career footnote for Hardy. And not only was it a regrettable role, but it was also the worst-performing "Star Trek" movie ever made.


Jessica Alba in the Fantastic Four fims

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


For all of her fame, Jessica Alba hasn't starred in many good movies, with only three in her catalog ever reaching "fresh" status on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Yet for all the failures and flops she's starred in, there may only be one role that she actually regrets: Sue Storm — aka the Invisible Woman — in the two "Fantastic Four" films from 2005 and 2007. 

More than just poorly reviewed, the "Fantastic Four" movies were disappointments financially, not living up to "Spider-Man" or "X-Men" standards. And to make matters worse, Alba claims that working on them was such a dreadful ordeal that she nearly quit Hollywood altogether. "I wanted to stop acting. I hated it. I really hated it," she told Elle Magazine (via Far Out). 

Alba recounted an infamous incident when, while filming her character's death scene, director Tim Story wanted her to "cry pretty." For Alba, that moment made her re-evaluate her entire career. "It all got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? … And so I just said, 'F**k it. I don't care about this business anymore.'"


Channing Tatum in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


After "Transformers," many in Hollywood must have wondered if "G.I. Joe" could be a blockbuster movie hit, and Channing Tatum seems to have been one of them. An emerging superstar at the time, Tatum signed up to play Duke, the main character of the franchise, but quickly came to regret it. In fact, he hated "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" so much that he asked to be killed off when it came time for the sequel.

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"Look, I'll be honest. I f***ing hate that movie. I hate that movie," Tatum told Howard Stern (via The Guardian). He also claimed that he didn't even want to play Duke at all, and he was forced into it. "The script wasn't any good … I didn't want to do something that was, one, bad and, two, I just didn't know if I wanted to be G.I. Joe." Nevertheless, having signed a three-picture deal with Paramount Pictures years before, he wasn't given much of a choice, with the studio telling him, "You're doing this or we're gonna sue you." Duke was promptly killed off at the beginning of the sequel, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," which added Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock and Bruce Willis as Joe Colton.


Charlize Theron in Reindeer Games

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


Charlize Theron took home an Academy Award for best actress thanks to her leading role in 2003's "Monster" from writer-director Patty Jenkins. The film made her a Hollywood A-lister and one of the most sought-after leading women. It was a major turnaround for her, though. Just a few years earlier she was in one of the worst movies of the 2000s, the lifeless action-thriller "Reindeer Games" where she starred as Ashley, a slippery thief and career criminal opposite Ben Affleck.

"That was a bad, bad, bad movie," she told Esquire in 2008. Theron's part as Ashley doesn't seem to be one that she had even been all that interested in, though, with the star saying she was instead attracted to the project because of its director. "Even though the movie might suck, I got to work with John Frankenheimer," she told the outlet. "I wasn't lying to myself — that's why I did it. I mean, he directed 'The Manchurian Candidate,' which is like the movie of all movies." 

But while many actors who hate a former flop had bad experiences during production, that wasn't the case with Theron. She may lament the role, but not the experience of making the movie. "F*** regret. Just f*** it."


Ben Affleck in Daredevil

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


Sadly, "Reindeer Games" wasn't the only flop of the decade for Charlize Theron's co-star Ben Affleck. Just a few years later, the "Chasing Amy" star was chosen to play Marvel's blind superhero in 2003's "Daredevil." On the surface, he seemed like the perfect pick: Young, handsome, square-jawed, and steely-eyed. It looked like Fox might have another "X-Men"-esque hit on their hands. But the results were far from spectacular.

In 2013, Affleck had just signed up to play another superhero in DC's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," and he talked about his history with comic book movies, admitting that "Daredevil" is the one role he'd be better off without. "The only movie I actually regret is 'Daredevil,'" Affleck told Playboy in a wide-ranging interview (relayed by Latino-Review). "It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got f***ed up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that's part of the motivation to do Batman." Today he looks back with regret on both roles, as he's more recently opened up about how awful "Justice League" was.


Mark Wahlberg in The Happening

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


The 2000s saw Mark Wahlberg expand his filmography with action comedies like "The Italian Job" and sci-fi romps like "Planet of the Apes." His entry in the horror genre was 2008's "The Happening" auteur director M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to the two-time Razzie Award-winning "Lady in the Water." Wahlberg's role in "The Happening" was as science teacher Elliot who, along with his wife Sarah (Zooey Deschanel), gets caught up in a mysterious global disaster. And it's the one movie he regrets making.

"F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it," Wahlberg said in an expletive-laden rant during an interview with Collider in 2010, referring to the big plot twist in the movie that revolved around deadly plant life trying to destroy mankind. "You can't blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher," he said. "At least I wasn't playing a cop or a crook." 

"The Happening" was Shyamalan's second bomb in a row, continuing a woeful losing streak. It seems Wahlberg learned his lesson, though, because he has yet to star in another movie from the former "Sixth Sense" filmmaker.


Edward Norton in Kingdom of Heaven

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


Early in his career, Edward Norton had a run of critically acclaimed favorites including "Primal Fear," "American History X," and "Fight Club." The next phase of Norton's filmography wasn't quite as successful, with a few poorly received efforts like "Keeping the Faith" and "Death to Smoochy." There's only one role from this period that Norton outright regrets, however — the part of King Baldwin in Ridley Scott's ill-fated 2004 epic "Kingdom of Heaven."

In a 2007 interview with The Guardian, Norton looked back at the film after the release of the director's cut, which restored some 45 minutes worth of action. "It was a really wonderful script, and it should have been a three-hour film. It was one of those classic Hollywood dynamics … It was all the worst kind of corporate decision-making." He admits though that he wasn't really all that interested in the film itself, but rather in being part of a massive production by one of Hollywood's most respected directors. 

"I just wanted to see someone make a movie on that scale," Norton admitted. But while he did get the learning experience, he looked back with a bit of disgust at the whole affair, reflecting, "I suppose I could have just gone and visited." Saving him from worse embarrassment, thankfully, is the fact that his role went uncredited in the film and he wasn't a part of the movie's promotion, so some audiences may forget that he was even involved in it.


Gwyneth Paltrow in View from the Top

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


An Oscar-winner for the 1998 drama "Shakespeare in Love," Gwyneth Paltrow was one of the biggest stars heading into the new millennium. But she also had a run of awful movies, highlighted by "The Love Guru" and Ben Affleck's "Bounce." Still, the one role she really regrets is her 2003 effort "View from the Top," where she played Donna, a young woman from a broken home who sets out to build a new life as a flight attendant.

In a scathing roast of the film, Entertainment Weekly said the entire production was little more than an excuse for "guys to drool over Gwyneth and girls to debate whether she looks better with her skirts cut to mid-thigh or to within an inch of her butt." A massive bomb, it was torn to shreds by critics, and Paltrow doesn't disagree with them, telling The Guardian it was "a terrible movie." But worse is that she says she was convinced to do it by producer Harvey Weinstein, against whom she later made damning accusations of sexual assault (with Weinstein being convicted of similar charges against other victims in 2020).

As early as 1998, Paltrow was publicly commenting on Weinstein's behavior, demonstrating that she already had no love for the powerful producer. This suggests that it wasn't a positive experience making the film, even aside from its disastrous debut, providing plenty of reason for Paltrow to walk away with regret.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).


Zac Efron in High School Musical

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


Years before he was starring in the Netflix true-crime thriller "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, Zac Efron was a Disney prince. In his first major role, Efron led the TV movie "High School Musical" as Troy Bolton, a role he reprised in two sequels, the latter of which was released theatrically in 2008. But in spite of all of the success those films achieved — with "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" raking in an eye-watering $274 million on a minuscule $11 million budget — it's a role that Efron isn't happy with.

Over the years, Efron hasn't held back about how he really feels about the "High School Musical" films. When talking to Men's Journal in 2016, Efron admitted that the role of Troy Bolton has weighed him down. "I step back and look at myself [in the past] and I still want to kick that guy's ass sometimes," Efron told the magazine. "Like, f*** that guy. He's done some kind of cool things with some cool people … but, I mean, he's still just that f***ing kid from ['High School Musical']."

According to some, Efron has even privately said that he wishes he could go back in time and tell his younger self not to take the role. But whether he'd change his personal history or not, it's safe to say that playing Troy isn't something he looks on back with pride.


Colin Farrell in Miami Vice

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


Like any other actor, Colin Farrell has movies he'd probably like to forget, from the doomed epic "Alexander" to the aforementioned Ben Affleck comic book clunker "Daredevil." But even though Farrell hasn't expressed any regrets over the bad reviews for his Marvel mishap, another movie from the 2000s was the subject of his remorse. Farrell didn't hold back when talking to Total Film in 2010 (via the Irish Independent) on the subject of "Miami Vice," the big-screen remake of the '80s TV classic that he made with Jamie Foxx. In it, he took the iconic role of Detective James Crockett, once played so indelibly by Don Johnson on television. 

"I didn't like it so much — I thought it was style over substance and I accept a good bit of the responsibility," he said. While he admits that the movie certainly wasn't going to be an award-winner or fan favorite, he acknowledges that it was a huge fumble. "It was never going to be 'Lethal Weapon,' but I think we missed an opportunity," he concluded. It's not just that the movie was bad, but that he was in a dark place personally when he made it, too, as he entered rehab after production shut down, giving him very little to enjoy about the project, then or now. When all was said and done, the role of Detective James Crockett made him rethink his career. "I think I'm done playing cops," he said.


Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


It's not all that often that you hear of a major star regretting a beloved smash hit, but that's the case with Katherine Heigl and her role as the uptight and unexpectedly pregnant Allison in Seth Rogen's 2007 comedy "Knocked Up." Despite racking up just shy of a billion dollars in theaters and scores of rave reviews, Heigl regrets being a part of the film because — while it was a pleasant enough production — the film's sexist script rubbed her the wrong way.

"It was a little sexist," she told Vanity Fair in 2008. "It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days." While calling the shoot an "amazing experience," Heigl said that it was the movie's unlikable female characters — especially her own — that frustrated her the most. "I'm playing such a b**** — why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you're portraying women?"

Heigl did take some responsibility, admitting that she improvised at least some of Alison's attitude, but the larger mean-spiritedness of the script still has her looking back with a cringe. "It was hard for me to love the movie."


Robert Pattinson in Twilight

Actors Who Regret Their 2000s Movie Roles


It may be difficult to imagine a star regretting one of their biggest hits, let alone the movie that helped make their entire career. Well, look no further than Robert Pattinson, who has never been shy about his regret for playing the lead role of vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" movies. Since the first film was released in 2008, Pattinson has been surprisingly candid about his dislike of the series and his part in it, going so far as to mock the original books as well.

"It was like reading [the author's] sexual fantasy, especially when she said it was based on a dream," Pattinson told E! (per Yahoo). "And sometimes you would feel uncomfortable reading this thing." Worse still, Pattinson even trashed the movie's fans, unable to understand why anyone was enjoying them. "That's crazy to me. I think people really just like being part of a crowd," he told Vanity Fair a few years later. But just as nothing could stop the diehard Twilighters from fawning all over him, neither could anything make him proud of the film. Still, while he may have hated the films at one point, it seems his disgust with Edward Cullen had softened somewhat by 2022. 

"It's not even cool to be a hater anymore," he said while speaking to People Magazine that year. "That's so 2010."


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