Let’s be honest here: a lot of us have dreamed of making a living as a famous, respected actor. For one thing, if you make it in “show business”, you make a lot of money. It would take the average teacher a century to make as much money as certain movie stars make for one film. You also get to hang out with really attractive people, and it is easy to get people to follow you on Twitter.
Many actors are defined by one role in particular, and that role really helped them achieve the sort of stardom most of us can only dream of. You’d think they’d love that one character they portrayed, right? Not all of them do.
In fact, several actors positively despise the characters that truly made them famous.
1. Alec Guinness (Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi)
Obi-Wan Kenobi was, in the opinion of this writer, a great character. Almost everyone in the developed world can quote the scene where good old Obi-Wan confronts Darth Vader and threatens to become more powerful if struck down. Spoiler alert: Darth Vader kills Obi-Wan in a duel.
Guinness absolutely loathed the character. It is worth pointing out that he was an established actor when he portrayed Obi-Wan. He called the Star Wars story “fairy tale rubbish” and also called the dialogue “rubbish” in writing. He didn’t find the experience remotely interesting, and didn’t find the iconic character he portrayed in film even bearable.
You’d think that starring in a Star Wars film would be the highlight of one’s life, but Guinness wasn’t the only actor who had an issue with his character in the popular film series. Harrison Ford, who portrayed Han Solo in four of the movies, admitted that he wanted his popular character to die at the end of Return of the Jedi and made that quite clear to George Lucas. Also, in 2010, he told the press that the character “wasn’t interesting” to him.
2. Robert Pattinson (Twilight’s Edward Cullen)
Pattinson portrayed the century-old vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight films, and it is certainly fair to say he owes a great deal of his fame to those movies. He loathed playing Edward, and even argued with the author of the series about how he should portray the vampire. Those arguments and his grievances were eventually aired in a public way.
Pattinson made it clear that he is nothing like Edward, adding that the relationship between his vampire character and the character of Bella was the most “awful in the world”. He didn’t like that young girls thought Edward was perfect; as Pattinson rightfully pointed out, Edward was in no way perfect.
3. Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music’s Captain von Trapp)
Toronto-born actor Christopher Plummer is well known to most of us for portraying Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Even if you’ve never actually sat down to watch that film, you can likely hum at least one of the songs from it. It was truly an iconic film, and the role of Captain von Trapp was iconic for Plummer. The problem, as you’ve likely guessed, is that Plummer despised the character that defines him. Hilariously, he once called the musical “The Sound of Mucus”. He called the film sentimental and gooey—which, admittedly, it was—making it one of the most challenging roles of his career.
For years, he was extremely reluctant to even talk about the hit musical.
Also, it is super weird that the actress who played his character’s eldest daughter had a crush on him during the filming of the movie, but that was apparently the case.
4. Sean Connery (star of multiple James Bond films)
Sean Connery played secret agent Bond in the first five of the James Bond films, and then again in two more after that. It is definitely fair to say that Connery grew sick of the character. He once said that he always hated the character, adding that he’d like “to kill him”.
He was probably making a great deal of money to portray the secret agent 007, but apparently Connery felt he wasn’t getting enough, at least when considering the work involved and the unwanted attention he was receiving. Apparently, at one point, photographers had the nerve to follow him into a bathroom while he was shooting a film in Japan, and that’s when Connery decided he had enough of the super spy. He quit the series, only to return later, but has never felt adequately compensated. He resented the producer of the first five films so much—due to arguments over royalties and salary—that Connery refused to attend the man’s funeral.
The last time Connery portrayed Bond was in 1983; his first appearance as the iconic character was in 1962. Connery may hate the character, but he is nonetheless the actor many of us think of when imaging the fictional spy doing his spy thing.
5. Miley Cyrus (star of Hannah Montana)
For those unfamiliar with the show, Hannah Montana is about an average teenage girl who also happens to be a famous recording artist. Her father, portrayed by the actress’ real life father Billy Ray Cyrus, was also a character on the show. It aired from 2006 to 2011.
Now in her mid-twenties, Miley Cyrus has made it quite clear that she wasn’t particularly fond of the role that made her a teen idol. She blames the show—at least in part, anyway—for her body dysmorphia; she also doesn’t think she made enough money, accusing the Disney Channel of intentionally ripping her off. She claims that it is possible she was paid less than anyone else in the cast of the show, which was very popular back when it first aired. She just wanted to be on television and didn’t really care about the money at the time.
Fortunately for her, Cyrus was able to transcend the role that made her famous. She just put out an album in 2017, and she was also a coach on the United States television series The Voice. MTV even declared her the artist of the year in 2013, and she was on the Time 100 list of most influential people as recently as 2014.
Chances are that she’ll never again portray Hannah Montana, even though there are probably people out there who would like her to do so.
6. Daniel Craig (star of multiple James Bond films)
Remember how we mentioned that Sean Connery absolutely despised the character of James Bond and wasn’t really comfortable playing him?
Apparently Daniel Craig, who has portrayed James Bond four times, isn’t a huge fan of the character either. But hey—he signed a contract!
These days, it is hard to think of Bond without thinking of Craig, but the actor has admitted his experience portraying the spy has been far from positive. As he once put it, he’d rather slit his wrists than play Bond a fifth time. He added at the time that he’d only play Bond again for the money, which probably isn’t a great reason to portray such a well-known, loved, and iconic character. All he wants to do, he says, is “move on”.
So why does he hate portraying the character of James Bond, who is the sort of character a lot of little boys (and girls!) probably dream of playing. After all, James Bond is suave, smart, and sophisticated, right? That was sort of what Craig hated about having to be Bond. He hated having to be smooth and all that on set, as it became something of a distraction for the actor. He didn’t like having to care so much about how he looked, either.
All that said, portraying Bond wasn’t so much of a drag that Craig couldn’t be convinced to return to the film series. He wants to go out “on a high note”, and the fifth and (probably) final Bond movie starring Craig is due out in the United States in November of 2019.
7. Blake Lively (Gossip Girl’s Serena van der Woodsen)
Gossip Girl was a show about adolescents from Manhattan who had more money than most people will ever make in 10 lifetimes. Over 120 episodes were produced, and it ran from September of 2007 to December of 2012.
One of the show’s main characters was Serena van der Woodsen, who was portrayed by actress Blake Lively, who happens to be the wife of popular actor Ryan Reynolds. She appeared in every episode.
The show was considered a teen drama and was well liked by many; it wasn’t terribly well liked by Lively, however. Why not? In short, she didn’t really think much of the content was appropriate for the target age group, so she felt a bit compromised. As she put it, the show was both sexual and salacious. There was drug use and people were getting killed; basically, the actress’ concern was understandable. It probably wasn’t the most appropriate thing for adolescents to watch.
Recently, Lively starred in a horror film called The Shallows about surviving an attack from a great white shark. It was released in 2016; it got positive reviews, and it was also a box office success.
8. Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2’s Michael)
I don’t know a single person who saw Grease 2, which was released in 1982. Until recently, I was completely unaware that there was such a film. Apparently enough people saw it, however, that the career of Maxwell Caulfield—who portrayed the character of Michael—was almost ruined.
He acted opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in the film, and he gives her credit for her post-Grease 2 role choices and decisions. After Grease 2, which wasn’t received very well (to put it mildly), Pfeiffer starred in Scarface.
His choices weren’t so good, however, by his own admission. He ended up typecast in a way he wasn’t too happy with, and he almost decided to quit acting altogether and go to work for a car dealership.
His career hasn’t been stellar, per se, but Caulfield did recently appear as a king in the television movie A Prince For Christmas. Like two other people on this list, Caulfield portrayed James Bond; however, he did so in the 2002 video game James Bond 007: Nightfire, which was released for the PlayStation 2, Gamecube, and XBOX. Pierce Brosnan’s likeness was used for the character, but Caulfield provided the voice of the character.
9. Kate Winslet (Titanic’s Rose DeWitt Bukater)
Winslet became one of the biggest movie stars in the world after starring in the 1997 film Titanic, which has made over $2 billion dollars since its release. It is fair to say that Titanic is one of the most popular and successful films of all time; at the time of its release, it was also the most expensive film ever created.
It wasn’t the character of Rose that Winslet hated, exactly; instead, looking back, Winslet couldn’t stand her performance, to the point she wishes she could do scenes over when forced to watch them again. She even hates the accent she used in the film.
In her defense, Winslet was really relatively young when Titanic was filmed over 20 years ago, and she’s definitely grown as an actress. It is worth noting that while she hates her performance in the film, it did earn her an Academy Award nomination, so it definitely couldn’t have been as bad as she seems to think it is. She actually won the Best Actress Award in 2008 for the film The Reader.
10. George Reeves (Superman from the Adventures of Superman)
Maybe it is just me, but I think being Superman would be awesome. You can fly, you basically can’t be killed, and almost everyone loves you for saving the city and/or world on a regular basis.
George Reeves, who portrayed Superman back in the 1950’s on the Adventures of Superman, positively loathed playing the superhero. He didn’t like the way the character’s alter ego was written and grew immensely frustrated with the direction of the show.
What’s so very tragic about the case of George Reeves is that he was never able to go on to portray roles he actually liked; true, he had a career of sorts before Superman, but Superman would be the last character he would ever play due to being typecast. He was found dead of a gunshot wound in 1959, not long after Adventures of Superman stopped airing. It was ruled by police as a suicide, but it is possible he was actually murdered. We will likely never know the truth.
11. Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire’s Kowalski)
Marlon Brando first starred as the character of Stanley Kowalski on Broadway in the 40’s, and he reprised his role in the 1951 film. If he hated the character, he wouldn’t have reprised it, right? Well, things got a bit complicated.
Audiences were perhaps a bit less sophisticated 60 plus years ago, and they seemed to confuse the volatile character with the actor who portrayed him, which Brando didn’t like so much.
As a result, the actor was disgusted with the character. In 2008, Brando literally said he “detested” Kowalski.
That may have been the case, but that film is probably the reason Brando became such a famous movie star; he was more-or-less an unknown actor prior to appearing in it. The film was well received by the critics, winning four Academy Awards.