13 Celebrities Who Openly Regret The Iconic Roles That Made Them Famous

"There’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself."
As an actor in Hollywood, there has got to be a level of difficulty when it comes to signing your life away to a film, that you are contractually obliged to support.
And if the film grows to become an iconic moment in your career, then you’ll sure’y be forced to listen to endless references of it for the rest of your life. However for some, there are many projects that they have come to regret. 

Whether it is the controversial message behind the project or distasteful experiences on-set, some stars find it difficult to back said iconic films, having publicly disagreed with them on many levels.
Below, we’ve rounded up an array of celebrities who publicly regret taking part in iconic films, which for some, were the pivotal in their success.

Zoe Saldana in Nina

Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana. (Credit: Getty)

While many found issue with Zoe Saldana‘s portrayal of Nina Simone in the 2016 self-titled biopic, Saldana has officially come out to apologise for her part in the film. Addressing her role on an Instagram Live, the actress apologised for participating in a film that required her to wear a prosthetic nose and skin-darkening make-up for the role.

“I should have never played Nina. I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago, which was a different leverage, but it was leverage nonetheless,” she said.

“I should have done everything in my power to cast a black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman.”

Anna Kendrick in Twilight

Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick (Credit: Getty)

Twelve years after shooting the first instalment of The Twilight Saga, Anna Kendrick opened up in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2020, about her experience filming the movie, likening it to a “hostage situation”.

“The first movie we filmed in Portland, Oregon, and I just remember being so cold and miserable,” she said.

“And I just remember my Converse being completely soaked through and feeling like, ‘You know, this is a really great group of people and I’m sure that we would be friends at a different time, but I want to murder everyone'”.

“Although, it was also kind of bonding. There was something about it, like if you go through some trauma event. Like you imagine people who survive a hostage situation, and you’re kind of bonded for life.”

Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up

Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl (Credit: Getty)

When looking back at the 2007 comedy Knocked Up, actress Katherine Heigl opened up to Vanity Fair in 2008 about her regrets on making the film. Claiming that the film was “a little sexist”, she admitted that she wasn’t fond of the way her character came across to audiences.

“[Knocked Uppaints the women as shrews, as humourless 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. I’m playing such a b***h ; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women?”

After her comments on the film, Heigl went on to apologise to former co-star Seth Rogen and writer Judd Apatow, she went on to clarify that her problem was with her character more than the film itself.

Viola Davis in The Help

Viola Davis
Viola David (Credit: Getty)

Viola Davis has publicly regretted her iconic role in The Help multiple times, and it’s easy to understand why.

In an interview with Vanity Fair in July 2020, Davis opened up about how the film depicts the marginalization of Black maids and its “white saviour” narrative. 

“There’s no one who’s not entertained by The Help,” she said. “But there’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to [tell the whole truth].” She adds that the film was “created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism.”

She also mentioned that there is “not a lot of narratives are also invested in our humanity”. Continuing, she admits that Hollywood isn’t “invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but…it’s catering to the white audience. The white audience at the most can sit and get an academic lesson into how we are. Then they leave the movie theater, and they talk about what it meant. They’re not moved by who we were.”

Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades Of Grey

Dakota Johnson
Dakota Johnson (Credit: Getty)

Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba (Credit: Getty)

While there are many who weren’t fans of 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but apparently Jessica Alba isn’t one either. Admitting that the film made her want to quit acting, she revealed her struggles on set with director Tim Story, in an interview with Syfy

“The director was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica. Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.’”

She revealed that it was the director’s choice to veer her character away from “being a person” that made her hate the film.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hall

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow (Credit: Getty)

Gwyneth Paltrow may be known for her love of wellness through her lifestyle brand Goop, but her affinity for health has existed for quite some time.

Paltrow expressed disdain towards her role as Rosemary in Shallow Hall, in an interview with her friend Kevin Keating. Referring to it is “a disaster”, she went on to refer to it as her least favourite role she’s played. In the controversial comedy, Jack Black plays the superficial Hal, who after hypnosis, falls in love with Rosemary, who is overweight. Paltrow played both the physical ideal seen only by Hal, and wore a bodysuit to play the physically larger Rosemary. Critics claimed that the film “laughs at fat discrimination”.

However, this isn’t the first time Paltrow has expressed regret over the role. In a 2001 interview with W magazine, she said: “The first day I tried [the fat suit] on, I was in the Tribeca Grand and I walked through the lobby. It was so sad; so disturbing. No one would make eye contact with me because I was obese. I was wearing this black shirt with big snowmen on it.”

She continued, “For some reason the… clothes they make for women that are overweight are horrible. I felt humiliated because people were really dismissive.”

Halle Berry in Catwoman

Halle Berry
Halle Berry (Credit: Getty)

Three years after Halle Berry won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball, she took on the role of Catwoman, for the film of the same name. However, she waited until she accepted her Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performance in the movie, where she spoke out about her regret. 

In her thank you speech, she called out Warner Bros., saying:

“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.”

Kristen Stewart in Twilight

Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart (Credit: Getty)

Since The Twilight Saga endedKristen Stewart has been very open about how the franchise had a negative impact on her life, especially since she started filming when she was only 17-years-old.

In an interview with E! News Stewart revealed that, while it had its positives, the franchise was a “huge lifestyle shift” and brought “a whole lot of other baggage” with it. Definitely not helping the situation was that her relationship with Robert Pattinson became a cultural phenomenon, something Stewart, a self-described introvert, had issues with.

“I hated it that the details of my life were being turned into a commodity and peddled around the world”, she even said in an interview with the Huffington Post, regarding her very public relationship with Pattinson, which was only amped up by the historic success of the films.

Her recent roles have been notably different, and represent an apparent effort to escape from The Twilight Saga‘s teen-friendly stigma.

Carrie Fisher in Star Wars

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher (Credit: Getty)

While it may come as a shock, Carrie Fisher has expressed her regrets over her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Speaking to The Today Show in 2008, Fisher was asked if she had known how famous she would become for playing the iconic role. She responded, saying that she wish she “would have never done it.”

When Time Magazine asked Fisher why she even returned for 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she replied very forwardly. She explained that she took on the role because “it’s difficult to get work after [turning] 30” for women in Hollywood.

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct

Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone (Credit: Getty)

Sharon Stone’s performance as Catherine Tramell in the 1992 thriller Basic Instinct is easily one of her most iconic roles to date. Unfortunately, Stone admitted that she never gave her consent for the infamous interrogation scene. She recalls that she was left stunned when she watched the film for the first time with a cinema full of people.

When filming the scene, Stone admitted that she was initially reluctant to remove her underwear, but director Paul Verhoeven assured her that nothing would be seen. She says: “When we did it, it was going to be an innuendo and the director said, ‘We’re seeing the white of your underwear, I need you to take them off.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t want you to see anything and he’s like, ‘No, no you’re not going to.'”

“So when I saw it in the theatre, with a bunch of other people, I was [in shock]. When the film ended I went in the booth and I slapped [Verhoeven] and I said, ‘You could have showed this to me by myself’.”

Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus (Credit: Getty)

When Miley Cyrus got her start in Hollywood playing Disney’s Hannah Montana, after the series was over, it took a lot of effort on Cyrus’ part to rid herself of her squeaky-clean image.

When asked to reminisce on the show during the 10th anniversary of the premiere, Cyrus didn’t have many positive things to say.

She admitted that being in the public eye at such a young age caused her to develop body image issues, and it caused her to experience an identity crisis. She also said that being on the show sparked anxiety attacks and hot flashes.

Megan Fox in Transformers

Megan Fox
Megan Fox (Credit: Getty)

Due to conflict between Megan Fox and director Michael Bay during filming for Transformers, convinced Fox to leave the franchise for good. Fox was recorded saying of Bay, “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and so he is.”

Additionally, Fox felt that the film didn’t challenge her or display any skill especially after she became aware that the film was meant to highlight her looks, and not her talent.

Related stories