17 Movie Roles That Brought More Problems Than Benefits
In the world of acting, highs and lows are commonplace. While certain roles can catapult performers to superstardom, others can generate a great deal of negative attention. In some instances, these circumstances can even lead stars to take a break from or abandon their careers altogether. It’s both astounding and unfortunate that an actor’s greatest role may also be their downfall.
Meg Ryan, Proof of Life
At the end of the 90s, Meg Ryan was widely known as the queen of romantic comedies after the success of films like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. The charming persona of her characters and chemistry with a male lead attracted millions of viewers to the big screen. However, her image took a hit in 2000 when she starred in Proof of Life. The film received poor reviews and Ryan was involved in a romance with co-star Russell Crowe, while still being married to actor Dennis Quaid.
The scandalous situation had a negative impact on Ryan’s reputation and she struggled to land big roles in similar films, with Kate & Leopold being her only notable exception. Later on, she mostly appeared in independent movies.
Jared Leto, Morbius
In 2022, Morbius was considered one of the biggest failures in cinema despite being a commercial success due to its negative reviews, particularly Jared Leto’s performance.
Interestingly, the movie’s scenes went viral and became memes after its initial release, prompting the creators to re-release it in theaters. However, the audience remained unimpressed, but Jared Leto is determined to participate in the sequel, hoping for a better outcome.
Camila Cabello, Cinderella
Camila Cabello rose to fame at a young age as part of the pop group Fifth Harmony, which became one of the most successful bands in history. She later found success as a solo artist, with her songs reaching the top of charts in countries like the US, UK, and Canada.
In 2021, she made her film debut in Cinderella, which unfortunately was a critical and commercial failure, and remains her only film role to date. Despite her strong singing abilities, she struggled to convincingly portray the character and was criticized for a flat and inconsistent performance. Cabello has since returned to her music career and will also serve as a judge on the next season of The Voice US.
Madonna, Die Another Day
After making a huge name for herself in the music industry, Madonna decided to try her hand at acting. She had some notable successes, such as Evita and Desperately Seeking Susan. However, her career took a major hit when she landed 2 consecutive bad roles in 2002, in Guy Ritchie’s Swept Away and Die Another Day. As a result, she received two Golden Raspberry awards.
Critics and audiences alike were convinced that Madonna simply lacked acting skills and should stick to music. Madonna took their advice and returned to her music career. She has made a few screen appearances since then, but only in small roles and cameos.
Emile Hirsch, Speed Racer
Emile Hirsch’s career was on the rise when he was offered a role in a Wachowski sisters’ film. However, the movie, Speed Racer, turned out to be a complete failure. The young actor later revealed that this role shut the doors to big movie offers for a while.
Despite this setback, Hirsch managed to turn the situation around. In the years that followed, he took on roles that he wouldn’t have considered if it weren’t for his experience in Speed Racer. He appeared alongside Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe and Paul Rudd in Prince Avalanche.
David Schwimmer, Friends
David Schwimmer’s iconic portrayal of Ross Geller on Friends became a hurdle for his future career. Despite taking on vastly different roles following the show’s end, he couldn’t shake off the association with Ross. The constant recognition from fans also took a toll on him, leaving him feeling like he wanted to disappear.
Pamela Anderson, Barb Wire
The action movie Barb Wire is believed to have been the downfall of Pamela Anderson’s career. Surprisingly, Anderson was excited when she first read the script and hoped that the role would earn her an Oscar.
She even got a tattoo of barbed wire on her shoulder to better embody the character, making the job of the makeup artists simpler. However, her ambitions were not fulfilled, as the film received poor reviews and Anderson was awarded the Golden Raspberry Award.
January Jones, X-Men: First Class
After the release of X-Men: First Class, the performance of the actress portraying Emma Frost was heavily criticized. Even her colleagues suggested that she should stick to TV series and give up on movies.
Adding to this, rumors of a romance between January Jones and the film’s director, Matthew Vaughn, stirred up controversy. Consequently, Jones appeared in only a few films afterward, the last one being released in 2014. However, after a long hiatus, she is making a comeback on the big screen. She is set to star in a crime drama directed by Nick Cassavetes.
Michael Bakari Jordan, Black Panther
Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of the Marvel villain in Black Panther was unique, as viewers empathized with his character’s history and motivations. However, the role came at a great cost to the actor. He found it challenging to play an antagonist to Black Panther and had to undergo therapy for the psychological effects it had on him.
Jordan revealed that he had never played a character for such a prolonged time, and the character was so dark, lonely, and painful that it took a toll on him. He hoped that cutting his hair and returning home would restore his mental well-being.
Dev Patel, The Last Airbender
Dev Patel rose to fame after his breakthrough role in Slumdog Millionaire. However, his decision to play a villain in The Last Airbender proved to be a misstep, and he vowed never to do superhero movies again.
The film was both a commercial and critical flop, and it holds the dubious distinction of being the lowest-rated Nickelodeon Movies production of all time. Patel worked diligently in the ensuing years to rectify his error.
Jessica Alba, An Invisible Sign
In the early 2000s, Jessica Alba enjoyed great popularity, appearing in a wide range of films from comedies to action movies. She even made it to the list of 10 most beautiful women in the world. However, at some point, she vanished from the limelight.
Towards the end of the decade, she starred in a series of unsuccessful movies, one of which was An Invisible Sign, which was given a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Although many people were responsible for the failure of the film, Alba was largely blamed for it. As a result, she began to take on fewer projects.
Hugh Grant, Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Hugh Grant took a 3-year-long break from acting after his performance in Did You Hear About the Morgans? was critically panned. The film’s poor reception, and the lack of chemistry between Grant and co-star Sarah Jessica Parker, led to a significant hit to his reputation.
Grant admitted that this movie had a negative impact on his career and left him feeling like a less sought-after actor. However, he was able to redeem himself in 2012 with his role in Cloud Atlas, where he played 6 different characters.
Mischa Barton, The O.C.
Mischa Barton starred in one of the most famous teenage series of the 2000s for over 3 years. However, her outstanding performance in the series led to her global recognition, which became too overwhelming for her to handle. She not only left the show but also took a hiatus from Hollywood for several years. She returned to the screen 3 years later for her next project.
Jessica Chastain, The 355
Jessica Chastain pitched the idea for a female-led spy movie to director Simon Kinberg, and it was agreed upon. Chastain was cast in the film and also served as a producer.
However, critics found The 355 to be forgettable, and the role wasn’t seen as a good fit for Chastain. To move on from the film quickly, she has started working on new projects such as James Gray’s Armageddon Time and Michel Franco’s Memory.
Faye Dunaway — Mommie Dearest
In 1981, a biographical movie titled Mommie Dearest was released, which portrayed the Hollywood star Joan Crawford. Faye Dunaway, who played the lead role, blamed this movie for the decline of her career. The actress expressed her regret about taking on the role multiple times, as it had a significant emotional impact on her. She even felt the presence of Crawford with her after filming was completed.
However, there may be another reason why her career declined after Mommie Dearest. Her colleagues recall that she was extremely difficult to work with on set. She humiliated everyone, and her unpleasant behavior was well-known throughout Hollywood.
Angelina Jolie, Eternals
Angelina Jolie is known for starring in successful films, and Marvel movies are typically box office hits. However, the 2021 release of Eternals proved to be an exception. The film was criticized by reviewers as the worst Marvel movie due to a boring and underdeveloped storyline.
Jolie’s acting in Eternals also received negative feedback, with viewers claiming she performed poorly and potentially regretted taking on the role. In recent years, Jolie has shifted her focus to directing and has not appeared on screen as frequently as an actress. Some media outlets suggest that her acting career’s peak may be behind her, but only time will tell if she can make a comeback. For now, Eternals marks Jolie’s most recent film appearance.
Greta Garbo, Two-Faced Woman
Greta Garbo, at the peak of her career, took a risk by playing a role completely different from her previous works in the film Two-Faced Woman. In the movie, she showcased her dancing, skiing, and swimming skills but was still met with negative criticism.
This experience was very difficult for her, and she has since expressed that this role was the reason for the end of her career. Despite being only 36 years old, Two-Faced Woman became her last film.
Bonus: Adriana Caselotti, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Adriana Caselotti’s career took an unexpected turn after she landed the role of Snow White in the famous Disney cartoon. Although the actress was just starting out in the industry, her portrayal of the iconic character became her legacy. Walt Disney himself went so far as to forbid Caselotti from taking on other on-screen or voiceover roles, ensuring that she would forever be associated solely with Snow White. Unfortunately, this effectively ended her career.
Angelina Jolie’s unique family rules, which include a non-traditional educational approach, freedom in dietary choices, and a focus on celebrating diversity, have shaped her distinctive parenting style.