There are many reasons why actors take a certain role. The money was good, the character was interesting, or the part could be a leap to the big time. Yet sometimes, a single role can destroy your life.
Check out this list of actors and the movie roles that impacted their lives for the worse. Did one of your favorite movies make the cut?
Star Wars Episodes II & III – Hayden Christensen
When Hayden Christensen got the role of Anakin Skywalker, it seemed like a jackpot. The Star Wars franchise was back in business and he’d be the main face of the prequels. He would forever be cemented as the man who became Darth Vader.
And that’s the problem.
With Christensen as the centerpiece of a critically panned series of films (at the time), he has had difficulty finding other roles due to being linked to the Dark Side of a beloved franchise. Reciting awkward dialogue such as “I don’t like sand. It’s all coarse, and rough, and irritating. And it gets everywhere. Not like you” to his love interest didn’t help, either.
Snow White – Adriana Caselotti
Adriana Caselotti was cemented into public memory with her role in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Even if you do not recognize her name, you can definitely recognize the voice of Snow White. Sadly, that recognition caused more trouble than a poisoned apple.
In spite of being the fairest of them all, Caselotti had trouble getting roles after Snow White because of her distinctive voice. Many producers and directors hesitated hiring her, because no matter what character she’d play, they would hear Snow White as soon as she opened her mouth.
Scooby-Doo – Freddie Prinze Jr.
The tongue-in-cheek comedy of the live-action Scooby-Doo films brought a lot of smiles to a certain generation that were critically mixed but embraced by fans. Scoob and the gang solved the mystery in two successful movies. Yet it was no mystery to anyone that star Freddie Prinze Jr. was miserable.
During production of these films, Prinze was reportedly frustrated and felt jaded about acting, both in the Scooby movies and in general. He briefly retired from acting to write and produce content for World Wrestling Entertainment. Prinze eventually returned to act on TV shows, but in more personally rewarding roles.
The Love Guru – Mike Myers
In the late-90s into the 2000s, nothing could stop comedian Mike Myers. After finding success with the Wayne’s World movies, Myers hit a gold mine with his Austin Powers spy comedies. The funnyman could seemingly do no wrong.
Then came The Love Guru.
The Love Guru did so poorly among critics and at the box office that it destroyed all of his momentum. Afterwards, Myers has slowly built traction back up in his acting career, taking small roles in films like Inglourious Basterds and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Showgirls – Elizabeth Berkley
The kid-friendly Saved by the Bell TV show introduced millions of viewers to Elizabeth Berkley. After the show ended, Berkley wanted to expand her roles beyond characters suitable for Saturday morning sitcoms. Saying “yes” to the lead role in the adult-themed Showgirls, however, was too much change, too quickly.
The harsh change of Berkeley’s public image backfired, and the bad reviews for Showgirls didn’t help her career either. She does continue to work in TV, including a stint on Dancing With the Stars, but she never got a major role on a notable movie again.
Die Hard – Bruce Willis
Die Hard? Really? How did this movie ruin his life? Bruce Willis was a television actor at the time, and this movie cemented him as an action hero. To this day, people get into shouting matches over whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
If only Bruce could hear them.
While Die Hard certainly gave Bruce Willis a film career, he had to sacrifice his hearing for stardom. An accident during filming left him partially deaf in his left ear. John McClane was an important role for Willis, but losing 2/3rds of his hearing in an ear probably wasn’t worth it.
Abduction – Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner was one of the hottest stars coming out of the Twilight series. To strike while the iron was hot, Lautner tried to transition from teen idol to leading man in 2011’s Abduction. Unfortunately, Lautner would wish the film itself was abducted.
Abduction did poorly at the box office, and critics skewered Lautner’s acting ability. Lautner’s close association with the Twilight franchise didn’t translate into an audience outside of that fanbase. He would have trouble getting leading roles in films afterward, but now frequently teams up with Adam Sandler in movies like Grown Ups and The Ridiculous 6.
Syriana – George Clooney
Syriana was a very impactful film in George Clooney’s life. The geopolitical thriller was critically praised, and was on several critics’ top ten lists for the best movies of 2005. Clooney also nabbed an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe for his performance, but at a heavy cost to his brain.
Clooney experienced a traumatic brain injury while on set, leading to long-term severe headaches and neurological side effects. It was so extreme and painful that Clooney contemplated taking his own life. Fortunately, he recovered after a few successful brain surgeries and regular therapy.
The Wizard of Oz – Judy Garland
Heralded for generations of movie fans, The Wizard of Oz was a milestone in cinema. The shift from black-and-white to color film, the great costuming, and the imaginative world was the stuff of dreams for film goers.
Too bad that the movie was a nightmare for its lead actress, Judy Garland.
The producers and director constantly pressured Garland to lose weight, forcing her to take amphetamines, smoke cigarettes, and follow a restrictive diet to keep her weight down. Her male co-stars would also ignore her and wouldn’t speak with Garland on set. It was downright abusive.
Corky Romano – Chris Kattan
In the late-1990s, Chris Kattan was a celebrated performer on Saturday Night Live. Much like other SNL alumni, Kattan got parts in various films during breaks, but eventually left the cast to to try his hand at being a leading man. His first and last big attempt was Corky Romano.
Corky Romano was a box office bomb that was torn apart by critics, currently sitting at a 6% score on the Rotten Tomatoes website. Kattan’s career got a cork stuffed in it after the film’s release. While still getting bit parts, he hasn’t had a major role in a widely-released motion picture ever since.
Cutthroat Island – Geena Davis
Geena Davis was praised for her performances in movies such as Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own. Those roles even got her nominated for several awards. That’s when, at the peak of her box office powers, her career got raided and keelhauled by a pirate movie called Cutthroat Island.
The film bombed, and critics would rather walk the plank than watch it. The film’s failure also put some strain on Davis’ marriage to director Renny Harlin, leading to their divorce in 1998. Being the face and star of a major studio flop also made producers wary of casting her in future roles.
Son of the Mask – Jamie Kennedy
Comedian Jamie Kennedy had it made in the early 2000s. He was the host of a successful prank show The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and got some buzz with the comedy movie Malibu’s Most Wanted. Then he took a role that forced him to follow in Jim Carrey’s footsteps.
Eleven years after the hit Jim Carrey comedy The Mask came out, Jamie Kennedy starred in its prequel The Son of the Mask. The film reportedly cost $84-$100 million to make, but only got $54 million from audiences. The movie’s negative reception inspired Kennedy to co-create Heckler, a documentary examining critics and hecklers.
The Crow – Michael Massee
Michael Massee’s role in the movie The Crow haunted him for years. For a scripted scene, Massee had to shoot a prop gun at his co-star, Brandon Lee. Unfortunately, the prop gun was improperly prepared with a live round, not a blank. The scene cost Brandon Lee his life.
While it was in no way his fault, Massee was traumatized with nightmares of Lee’s death, and took a year off from acting due to his horrifying experience. Today, Massee is a successful working actor, having gotten recurring roles on hit TV shows such as 24 and Rizzoli & Isles, among others.
Star Wars Episode I – Jake Lloyd
On paper, being in Star Wars sounds like a dream for a child. Jake Lloyd got to experience the childhood dream of young sci-fi fans when he was cast as the young Anakin Skywalker for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Sadly, it was also the role that made him quit acting.
After the Phantom Menace was released, Lloyd was picked on at school due to the awkward dialogue he delivered and the overall initial disappointment Star Wars fans had with the movie. The constant bullying lead to Lloyd quitting acting entirely, even throwing away all the Star Wars memorabilia he owned.
G.I. Jane – Demi Moore
With movies such as A Few Good Men and Indecent Proposal under her belt, Demi Moore had plenty to brag about. Reportedly, her on-set attitude led her to being labeled a difficult diva during the production of G.I. Jane. But she was a star! She had nothing to worry about. Right?
The film did terribly at the box office and broke Moore’s star-power, ending her career as a leading lady in Hollywood. The film’s poor performance hit Moore hard, leading her to retreat to Idaho and go on a multi-year hiatus from acting, until eventually coming back in 2000.
Superman – George Reeves
As the Man of Steel, George Reeves had a successful, regular gig on The Adventures of Superman television series in the 1950s. For six seasons, he got to portray an American icon of truth and justice. But Reeves’ experience behind the scenes was anything but super.
Due to the acting contracts at the time, Reeves was unable to capitalize on the show’s popularity, and had to turn down other film roles that would conflict in the Superman show’s schedule. Also, whenever Reeves did do a film, such as From Here to Eternity, test audiences would only recognize him as Superman, which lead to his scenes being cut from the movie.
Swept Away – Madonna
While mostly recognized as pop singer, Madonna had some acclaim as an actress in movies like A League of Their Own and Evita. It wasn’t until her role in 2003’s Swept Away, directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie, that audiences and filmmakers harshly questioned her talents.
The movie was a box office bomb, getting less than $600,000 in theaters while costing $10 million to make. Madonna would also win Worst Actress and Worst On-Screen Couple awards at the Golden Raspberry Awards. Madonna hasn’t been taken seriously as an actress since, and vowed to never act in a movie again.
Last Tango in Paris – Maria Schneider
Playing the love interest of Marlon Brando should have been a career boost for Maria Schneider, but the experience was anything but pleasant. In fact, Schneider literally ran screaming from the premiere of Last Tango in Paris. She was so distraught that she attempted to take her own life. What happened?
On top of tense exchanges with Brando during production, Schneider was set up by the director. The infamous “butter scene” was a genuine surprise to Schneider, who was not warned or consulted about it prior to filming. The abuse she went through was captured and featured in the movie, triggering her intense reaction.
Napoleon Dynamite – Efren Ramirez
In 2004, the streets were flooded with “Vote For Pedro” t-shirts referencing the cult hit film Napoleon Dynamite. While Efren Ramirez was a successful working actor, his role as Pedro gave him a higher profile and bigger roles on film and TV. Too bad his twin brother decided to cash in, too.
After Napoleon Dynamite blew up in popularity, Ramirez’s twin, Carlos, began making public appearances posing as Efren. This lead to a falling out between the brothers, with Efren suing Carlos for $10 million. Of all the movies to break up families, who would have thought of Napoleon Dynamite?
Star Wars Episodes I, II, & III – Ahmed Best
Ever since the Star Wars prequels came out, fans around the world debated their merit. But there was one point nearly everyone agreed on: Jar Jar Binks is the worst character in the franchise. Whether that is true or not doesn’t matter to actor Ahmed Best. He totally hates what the character did to him.
Best had difficulty separating himself from Jar Jar, so he took a lot of the fan criticism and insults to heart. As a result of all the hatred, Best suffered a long bout of depression and contemplated taking his own life. Fortunately, Best recovered, and is now a voice actor for several video games and TV shows.
Pinocchio – Roberto Benigni
Roberto Benigni struck a gold mine with his film Life is Beautiful. As the director and star of the film, Benigni was universally praised, winning several awards and the opportunity to create whatever he wanted. So he decided to make Pinocchio, starring himself as the title character.
Did we mention he was turning 50 at the time?
The bizarre take of the classic fairy tale was slammed in North America, with its English language version sitting at 0% among critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The film was so hated that Benigni wasn’t able to recover audiences in the U.S. market again.
The Godfather: Part III – Sofia Coppola
When Francis Ford Coppola was casting The Godfather: Part III, he really wanted his daughter, Sofia Coppola, as the leading lady opposite Andy Garcia. Sofia was unsure if she even wanted a career in acting, but she accepted the role. After the film debuted, she never wanted to act again.
Sofia Coppola’s acting ability was widely, publicly, and harshly criticized in the press. The poor performance reviews and cries of nepotism made by film critics ended Sofia’s budding acting career before it could truly begin. Sofia did give up acting, but stepped into her father’s footsteps, becoming a respected filmmaker herself.
Soul Man – C. Thomas Howell
The plot of 1986’s Soul Man was trouble from the beginning. The film features a young white man swallowing copious amounts of tanning pills in order to pass as an African-American to get a minority scholarship for college. This required the film’s white actor C. Thomas Howell to perform in blackface for the movie.
The film and Howell himself were criticized and protested heavily by the African-American community, including filmmaker Spike Lee. While Howell has said in interviews that the film meant no harm and that he has no regrets making it, his participation in blackface diminished offers for leading roles in movies.
The Passion of the Christ – Jim Caviezel
Embodying the role of a figure like Jesus Christ can be a risk for any actor. However, for Jim Caviezel, depicting Jesus in The Passion of the Christ was an opportunity to star in a film that would challenge his skills as an actor. And lightning doesn’t twice. Wait, it actually did.
Caviezel was struck by lightning not once, but twice during filming. He also fought through bouts of hypothermia and pneumonia during the shoot. After all of that suffering, Caviezel also had trouble getting other roles later on due to being widely recognized as the face of Jesus Christ on film.
John Carter – Taylor Kitsch
2012 was not a kind year for Taylor Kitsch. While a celebrated actor on TV’s Friday Night Lights, his transition to the big screen was slammed with flops. That year, Kitsch’s starring roles in Battleship, Savages, and especially John Carter all failed at both the box office and with critics.
John Carter hurt Kitsch the most, as it was his highest profile role, and the film didn’t make its $300 million budget back in ticket sales. As a result of one bad year, Hollywood executives stopped taking Kitsch seriously, seeing him as box office poison. Kitsch mostly does television work now, on series like True Detective.
Rollerball – Chris Klein
Known for his role in the American Pie comedy franchise, Chris Klein was ready to expand and decided to take the lead role in a remake of the 1975 sci-fi cult classic Rollerball. It was slammed by the critics and tanked at the box office, leading Klein into a depressive spiral.
After Rollerball, Klein’s film career stalled, and the circumstances fed into his addiction to alcohol. Fortunately, he went to a rehab facility and got released in 2010. While he’s no longer a leading man in film, he has maintained a successful career as a working TV actor.
Freddy Got Fingered – Tom Green
From the late-1990s into the early-2000s, audiences enjoyed the wild nature of comedian Tom Green. The do-it-yourself attitude and shocking-yet-goofy humor of The Tom Green Show got producers excited to do a Tom Green movie. For Green’s Freddy Got Fingered, he was given creative control; writing, directing, and starring in the film, not unlike what he did for his show.
When the film was released, audiences and critics were either puzzled, grossed-out, or both. Freddy Got Fingered tanked, and made several “Worst Movie Ever Made” lists. It killed Green’s career as a comedic filmmaker. Today, though, some critics look back upon it with reverence as a surrealist comedy.
Town & Country – Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty is a Hollywood icon, starring in major film roles since 1961. During his lengthy career, Beatty would be nominated for 14 Academy Awards, including two films he produced, directed, and starred in. You’d figure it would take a lot for him to quit acting.
Actually, all it took was a single bad romantic comedy.
Production of 2001’s Town & Country was such a terrible experience for Beatty it made him quit acting for 16 years! Making the film required several reshoots, and it didn’t help that it bombed pretty hard when it was released. Beatty called it quits for over a decade, until returning in Rules Don’t Apply in 2016.
Waterworld – Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Fresh off of a Best Director Oscar for Dances with Wolves, the sky seemed like the limit.
Turns out, the water was the limit.
Costner’s expensive adventure epic Waterworld tanked at the box office and was thrown overboard by critics. The production, which was filmed entirely at sea, was plagued with delays and problems, including (allegedly) the star’s own ego.
Costner never quite regained his mega-star status after the high-profile flop.
Janet Leigh – Psycho (1960)
Apparently, you were not the only person scared of showers after experiencing Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The horror classic, which bruised audiences with its graphic violence and twist ending, traumatized its lead actor, Janet Leigh, for the rest of her life.
In the film, Leigh is attacked while taking a shower at Bates Motel. It’s the movie’s most iconic sequence. And Leigh walked away from it unable to take showers ever again. Instead, she took baths, kept her curtain open, and locked all of her doors and windows.
The Great Dictator – Charlie Chaplin
The Great Dictator is considered by critics and film fans alike as one of the best political-satires ever put on celluloid. Charlie Chaplin’s condemnation of fascism and Adolf Hitler was equal parts hilarious and powerful. Yet the film’s impact on Chaplin’s life was anything but funny.
While the film was praised and nominated for several awards, the final five minute speech was considered anti-climactic, and was seen as overly preachy by audiences. It also got the attention of the FBI, who questioned Chaplin’s political views. He was so heavily scrutinized that when he left the country, he was banned from re-entering the U.S.!
Ghostbusters – William Atherton
When Ghostbusters arrived in theaters in 1984, it was a bonafide hit. The big laughs, great characters, and spooky special effects helped the movie crush the box office with the strength of a skyscraper-high marshmallow man. Bustin’ made everyone feel good, except for actor William Atherton.
In the movie, Atherton was the bureaucratic villain that was insulted on-screen by the Ghostbusters. In real life, Atherton was an actor that was insulted for years off-screen by Ghostbusters fans. Getting swears tossed at him daily got to Atherton, leading him to pick a fight with the film’s director Ivan Reitman years later.
The 30 Most Filthy Rich Actors and Actresses, Ranked
Most of us, at one point or another, have longed for greater fortunes. A bigger house, a nicer car. Or, at the very least, enough to pay the bills. Hollywood is chock full of loaded stars.
Not all of them have made the bulk of their dough performing in front of the camera. And some have opted to spend their earnings on some most peculiar things.
Let’s count down the richest living actors and actresses. We bet you’ll be shocked at how much some of them are worth.
The 30 Worst Performances From Typically Great Actors
There’s nothing like discovering a new favorite actor. A talented thespian who delivers consistently excellent performances. Until… they boink up. And they all boink up.
Here are the worst performances from 30 otherwise incredible actors. You know what? Everyone makes mistakes!
Classic Movies That Were A Nightmare to Make
Classic movies are a blast to watch, but many of them weren’t so fun to make.
Some of the most famous movies of all time were grueling experiences for the cast and crew. Read on to see which of your favorite movies were a total nightmare behind-the-scenes.