Regrets, I’ve Had A Few: When Actors Diss Their Own Flicks

June 28, 2016
Will Smith has been loudly lambasting his 1999 turkey, Wild Wild West, in the press lately…and he’s certainly not the first actor to lay the smack down on their own unimpressive body of work.

super-mario-bros-1BOB HOSKINS SLAMS SUPER MARIO BROS. “It’s not my life; it’s how I earn my living,” the late Bob Hoskins declared of being an actor to FilmInk in 2006. “People ask me what my favourite roles are – that’s like asking a plumber to remember his favourite pipes! Fuck that! When you’re a short, fat, middle-aged man with a bald head, you take everything you’re fucking given.” One of Britain’s all-time great character actors, Bob Hoskins – despite always having a healthy disdain for the pretentiousness that hovers around the craft of acting – delivered astounding performances in the likes of Mona Lisa and The Long Good Friday. But this fine actor’s tendency to take roles solely for the money (“Fuck me, I’m getting skint here! I better do this job,” he laughed to FilmInk of how he often picks his roles) hurt him badly, most notably when he donned a tool belt for the appalling 1993 video game adaptation, Super Mario Bros., helmed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, neither of whom have directed for the big screen since. A dire film that roped in other impressive-talents-who-should-have-known-better such as Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo, Super Mario Bros. stands as Hoskins’ biggest regret…on a resume that also includes Michael and Hook. When asked in a 2011 Q&A by The Guardian for his worst job, his biggest disappointment, and what he would change about his past, the actor replied “Super Mario Bros.” to all three questions. He was even more forthcoming in a 2007 interview with the same newspaper. “It was a fuckin’ nightmare,” Hoskins howled of Super Mario Bros. “The directors were a husband-and-wife team, and their own agent told them to get off the set! Fuckin’ nightmare. Fuckin’ idiots.”

Garfield_610BILL MURRAY PUSSIES OUT ON GARFIELD After breaking out on Saturday Night Live in the seventies, and following that up with big screen stardom via Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters, the bone-dry Bill Murray is now an unlikely figure of low-energy cool. His late-career work with Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, and Jim Jarmusch has seen Murray reinvent himself as a middle aged hipster, which makes his decision to provide the voice for the world’s most sarcastic cartoon cat in the big screen version of Garfield all the more baffling. Was it the money? Not according to a 2010 GQ interview. “I didn’t make that for the dough,” Murray said of Garfield. “Well, not completely. I thought that it would be fun, because doing a voice is challenging, and I’d never done that. Plus, the script said, ‘So-and-so and Joel Coen.’ I thought, ‘Christ, well, I love those Coens! They’re funny.’ So I read a few pages, and thought, ‘Yeah, I’d like to do that.’ I had these agents at the time, and I said, ‘What do they give you to do one of these things?’ And they said, ‘Oh, they give you $50,000.’ So I said, ‘I don’t even leave the fuckin’ driveway for that kind of money.’” Murray was actually offered a lot more than $50,000 to do the voice work, but more importantly, he had the wrong writer. Garfield was co-written by Joel Cohen (Toy Story, Cheaper By The Dozen), and not one half of The Coen Brothers. Though he reappeared for the sequel, the Garfield films obviously still sting Murray. In the 2009 horror comedy, Zombieland, Murray famously cameos as himself, and when asked on his deathbed if he has any regrets, he groans, “Well, maybe Garfield.” Ouch!

rs_1024x759-141016112857-1024.Katherine-Heigl-Knocked-Up.jl.101614KATHERINE HEIGL KNOCKS KNOCKED UP Though pretty and talented, Katherine Heigl has unquestionably starred in some of the most sickeningly saccharine movies of the last ten years, churning out even more intolerable romantic comedies than Kate Hudson. 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It, New Year’s Eve, Jenny’s Wedding…the list goes on. In a particularly perverse twist of irony not usually associated with the one-time Grey’s Anatomy star, Heigl publicly criticised what is quite possibly her only truly good movie, dropping the hammer on Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2007. “It paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as loveable, goofy, fun-loving guys,” the actress said. “It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women? 98% of the time, it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.” While appearing on a US radio show to promote their 2009 film, Funny People, Heigl’s Knocked Up writer/director, Judd Apatow, and co-star, Seth Rogen, good naturedly expressed their confusion at the actress publicly voicing her disappointment with the hit film. “We never had a fight with Katherine Heigl while filming,” Apatow said. “Seth always says that it doesn’t make any sense anyway, because she improvised half her shit. She could not have been cooler. She was probably doing six hours of interviews that day, and kissing everyone’s ass, and then just got tired and slipped a little bit. You’d think that at some point I’ll get a call saying. ‘Sorry, I was tired’ but the call never comes.”

a1ce677a3758f4eba3942ce1665b7d3cHALLE BERRY GETS HER CLAWS INTO CATWOMAN  There are many movies that give big screen comic book adaptations a bad name (Elektra, Batman & Robin, The Spirit…and so on, and so on), but none have the utterly excruciating superpower of 2004’s Catwoman, a catastrophically wrong-headed effort by French visual-effects-master-turned-director, Pitof (who hasn’t directed another film since), to kick-start a new franchise based on Batman’s titular nemesis, most recently played at that time in 1992 by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. But thanks to a silly script that veers so far from the character’s mythology as to make her practically unrecognisable, and the shoddy, uncertain direction from Mr. Pitof, Catwoman still stands as a disaster of nightmarish proportions. Taking on the lead role after winning an Oscar for Monster’s Ball, and helping to initially legitimise the superhero movie as part of the ensemble for the mighty X-Men, Halle Berry is profoundly awful, and justly received a Razzie Award for her “efforts.” In a bold and hilarious move, the actress actually turned up at The 25th Annual Razzie Awards to collect her award, and scratched Catwoman bloody in her acceptance speech. “I want to thank Warner Bros. for putting me in a god-awful-piece-of-shit movie,” she announced. “It was just what my career needed. I was at the top, and it plummeted me to the bottom.” Berry also thanked her manager (and asked him to actually read scripts before sending them to her), “all twenty” of the writers, the director (“You know, that one-named French guy”), and the cast. “To give a performance as bad as mine, you need a lot of really bad actors around you,” the actress said in her speech, which still stands as the only amusing or entertaining thing associated with Catwoman.

the-flockCLAIRE DANES STRAYS FROM THE FLOCK  Though currently acclaimed thanks to her powerful work as a deeply conflicted government agent on the acclaimed television series, Homeland, and her Golden Globe-winning title performance in the HBO telemovie, Temple Grandin, Claire Danes’ career has had its fair share of ups and downs. Mildly but only temporarily turned off the craft of acting and making movies, this gifted performer even bowed out of the profession to attend university for three years, before returning to the screen in 2007 with the unconventional fantasy, Stardust. While talking to FilmInk to promote the film, Danes discreetly made reference to a range of career choices that she wasn’t always happy with. “[During my three-year break] I’d find myself in a video store, and I’d see one of my shockers and think, ‘Oh no! I can’t afford to be appalled anymore,’” Danes reasoned of films that we could only guess included the likes of Mod Squad and Polish Wedding. While stating that she wanted to make better decisions, Danes admitted that an actor’s influence in the scheme of things is fairly minimal. “I have to make educated guesses in choosing roles, but as long as I go in with sound assumptions, then I can sleep well,” she said. One film that the actress appears to have true disdain for is the little seen 2007 thriller, The Flock (directed by Hong Kong action maestro and Infernal Affairs helmer, Wai-Keung Lau), in which she plays a rookie government agent teamed with Richard Gere’s veteran to track down a serial killer. When FilmInk asked Danes about the film, the friendly actress went suddenly cold. “I haven’t got anything to say about that film,” she said in no uncertain terms. Case closed.

an-american-werewolf-in-parisJULIE DELPY PUTS THE BITE ON AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS “I had problems when I started in the business,” Julie Delpy told FilmInk in 2007. “I was stating my mind, and a lot of people didn’t like that. There was an agreed thing in France that people would keep quiet, but I wouldn’t. So, I got in trouble in the business. People were saying that I was a pain in the butt because I was taking on these sixty-year-old men [directors] when I was fourteen. People were saying, ‘What’s wrong with her!? She’s crazy!’” She might not be crazy, but French actress, writer, and director, Julie Delpy, is certainly one of the most outspoken figures in modern film, offering her often unconventional opinions in no uncertain terms. The actress didn’t hesitate in throwing a metaphorical punch when asked by The Guardian about one of her few out-and-out commercial endeavours: the desultory 1997 horror flick, An American Werewolf In Paris, in which she starred opposite Tom Everett Scott for director, Anthony Waller (Mute Witness). “The experience was so unpleasant,” Delpy said. “It was so tacky, and the director was very mean and didn’t work much after that. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s what a Hollywood film is!’ I stayed away after that.” The actress has stayed true to herself, featuring in only interesting films for interesting directors, with her only real commercial blow out being a small role in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. “I’m not going to audition for cheesy TV pilots,” Delpy told FilmInk in 2007. “There were times when I’d lost faith in myself completely. But I’m not going to do it anymore. I’d rather never work again than be treated like a commodity by people who don’t give a shit about you. They don’t see that you’re a good actress, and they don’t know the movies that you’ve done.”

008HPN_Mark_Wahlberg_009MARK WAHLBERG WISHES THAT THE HAPPENING NEVER HAPPENED Mark Wahlberg has more regrets than most actors. He still beats himself up publicly for doing time in prison while he was a youth scrapping out an existence in petty crime on Boston’s mean streets (“Assault and battery, attempted murder, dangerous weapons, possession of drugs…I have a pretty long rap sheet, so that’s what I got sentenced for,” he told FilmInk in 2005), and also laments an adolescence smeared with drug abuse (“I had a pretty serious cocaine problem,” he told FilmInk). Career-wise, there are also transgressions, such as becoming famous for dropping his pants on stage while performing in his hip hop guise as Marky Mark, and also for becoming a poster boy for Calvin Klein underwear. There are also a handful of films (Planet Of The Apes, Max Payne, The Truth About Charlie) that he shouldn’t exactly be proud of either, but there’s only one that Wahlberg has publicly slammed. While at a press conference for his acclaimed 2010 drama, The Fighter, a question about whether he’d met his co-star, Amy Adams, before, led Wahlberg into a brutal appraisal of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 thriller, The Happening, in which he plays a schoolteacher caught up in a botanically forged apocalypse. “We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie, and it was a bad movie that I did,” Wahlberg said. “She dodged the bullet. I don’t want to tell you what movie…alright, it was The Happening. Fuck it. It is what it is. Fucking trees, man. The plants. Fuck it. You can’t blame me for wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”

franco5JAMES FRANCO NOT SO HIGH ON YOUR HIGHNESS “I’ve tried to make a movie that is simultaneously outrageous yet emotional,” co-writer/director, David Gordon Green, told FilmInk upon the release of Your Highness. “It doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are very funny sequences, and the pacing with the characters is hilarious. It’s basically about taking a traditional medieval-style, fantasy-type movie, and then putting the wrong guy as the lead character. Danny McBride’s Thadeous is a guy who would never be on an adventure like this, which all of a sudden makes it a comedy.” On paper, Your Highness has all the ingredients for comedy gold: it’s a parody of eighties sword-and-sorcery flicks; it’s got a great cast in the aforementioned Danny McBride, James Franco, Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman; and a rock-solid director in David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express). Somewhere along the way, however, the magic fizzled out of this medieval gag-fest. The reviews were bad, audiences stayed away, and regret was in the air. Your Highness is like a weird comic pratfall for a creative team that nearly always gets it right, rating as a rare miss-hit for McBride and Franco, so much so that it features in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s meta-comedy, This Is The End, in which McBride and Franco appear as demented versions of themselves. “What am I insecure about? What can I go after them about? How do I act toward Franco?” McBride mused in GQ about how to improvise while “playing himself” in the film. “Like, do we have any ill will because of the Your Highness flop?” Franco then piped in during the interview to make his feelings clear. “Your Highness? That movie sucks,” the actor said. “You can’t get around that.”

Shiahandinjury_featured_photo_gallerySHIA LABEOUF TRANSFORMED BY TRANSFORMERS “I’m done,” Shia LaBeouf told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “There’s no room for being a visionary in the studio system. You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers, and he’s fucked. There’s no way for him to exist in that world. The studios give you the money, come to the set, stick a finger up your ass, and chase you around for five months.” The young actor was speaking about his desire to concentrate on making independent films after going supernova with Michael Bay’s bang-batter-and-crash Transformers trilogy. Indeed, LaBeouf’s is a case of an actor not just criticising or distancing themselves from a past movie, but actually re-engineering their entire career because of it. Though he remained tight-lipped about the first film, LaBeouf let loose on Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. “I wasn’t impressed with what we did,” he told The Associated Press in 2010. “There were really wild stunts in it, but the heart was gone. It became too big, and we lost the anchor of the movie…we lost a bit of the relationships. Unless you have those relationships, the movie doesn’t matter. Then it’s just a bunch of robots fighting each other.” Hmm, that appeared to be exactly what the first film was too, but anyway, LaBeouf has stayed true to his word, helping John Hillcoat’s blood-soaked gangster flick, Lawless, make it to the screen, and starring in outré fare such as Lars Von Trier’s upcoming Nymphomaniac. “I would just like to make movies about people now,” LaBeouf has said. “Shia’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Gary Oldman told FilmInk of his young co-star’s work in Lawless. “This is his opportunity. He wants to move away from the whole Transformers thing.” And he certainly has, with some increasingly strange off-screen behaviour…

megan_fox_transformers_revenge_of_the_fallen_6MEGAN FOX TRASHES TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN “I can’t shit on this movie because it did give me a career, and it opened all these doors for me,” Megan Fox told Entertainment Weekly while promoting Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. “But I don’t want to blow smoke up people’s ass. People are well aware that this is not a movie about acting. And once you realise that, it becomes almost fun because you can be in the moment and go, ‘Alright, I know that when he calls ‘action’, I’m either going to be running or screaming, or both.” Though she claims that she didn’t want to shit on Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, or the 2007 predecessor that made her an instant sex symbol, the notoriously outspoken Megan Fox seemingly couldn’t help herself when “promoting” the blockbuster sequel. In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, she said that “working with [director] Michael Bay is not about an acting experience” and then went on to further chip away at the flick during an interview with television network, CBS. “I’m in the movie, and I read the script, and I watched the movie, and I still didn’t know what was happening,” she said. “If you haven’t read the script and you go and understand it, you may be a genius.” Then, when asked by Entertainment Weekly what she hoped to be doing in five years, Fox responded, “If I’m still making Transformers five years from now, I might not be so uber-excited.” Well, she might not be making Transformers, but Fox has patched up her considerable differences with the voluble Michael Bay (who she infamously compared to Hitler), appearing in two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies for the blockbuster maestro producer.

M8DSTOR EC002SYLVESTER STALLONE KNOCKS OUT STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT “I’ve made a few bad decisions, no question about that,” recent Creed comeback king, Sylvester Stallone, told FilmInk in 2006. “I’ve made some good ones and some bad ones.” Since launching himself into the Hollywood stratosphere with his script and leading performance in 1976’s masterpiece, Rocky, Stallone has indeed made a slew of horrible career choices, negating minor action classics like First Blood, Nighthawks, Victory, Cobra, The Expendables and Tango & Cash with shockers like Rhinestone, Over The Top, Oscar, Judge Dredd and Get Carter. His worst effort, however, is undoubtedly 1992’s Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot…and Stallone knows it. When asked by The Sun about the comedy (in which Stallone’s tough cop is constantly irked by his meddlesome mother, played by The Golden Girls’ Estelle Getty), the actor didn’t hesitate in replying with complete honesty. “I made some truly awful movies,” Stallone admitted. “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after fifteen minutes. When I tried to play characters that strayed from who I am, it ended in disaster. People didn’t expect to see me in comedies or musicals.” Films like this, however, forced Stallone to reassess himself personally and professionally. “I started to look around movie sets and think, ‘What is the difference between me and the other guys – the crew?’ They earn $600 a week and I’m making zillions,” Stallone told FilmInk in 2003. “Does that make me better than him? No. I just had a little luck. Acting is an easy job. It’s not making roads, and it’s not going into countries and trying to cure diseases.” Amen!

MCDPAPL EC004MICKEY ROURKE HAS NO PASSION FOR PASSION PLAY…OR MUCH ELSE  “Terrible,” Mickey Rourke wailed to New York Magazine of Passion Play, his little seen 2010 crime drama. “But with all the movies that you make, you’re going to make dozens of terrible ones.” Indeed, Mickey Rourke – never really one to give a good god damn about studio politics and the art of promotion – is probably the most prolific actor in the business when it comes to publicly denigrating his own work. A quick flick through Bart Mills’ 1988 biography, Mickey Rourke, throws up a number of scathing appraisals, several of which the mercurial actor appears to have gone back on in the intervening years. Even some of his best work cops a left hook. How does he feel about The Pope Of Greenwich Village? “The movie has problems,” Rourke says in the book. “There are things about the movie that I like, and things that I have a lot of problems with. It was as good as possible under the circumstances.” 91/2 Weeks? “The director wanted to make it more commercial. I had no say in the matter.” A Prayer For The Dying? “I’m ashamed that I made it.” When asked during an interview for the US DVD of Angel Heart what led him to take on the role, Rourke replied that he needed to pay off his house. Of his villainous turn in Iron Man 2, the actor later sneered, “It’s frustrating when you care so much and you try so hard. At the end of the day, you’ve got some nerd with a pocketful of money calling the shots. [Director Jon] Favreau didn’t call the shots. I wish he had.” And how about the thriller, 13? “A really bad movie.” All hail the king!

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