12 Actors Who Slammed Their Own Movie Before Release


Look at the CV of your favourite actor or actress and you can bet they’ll have a fair few turkeys on it, which is an almost unavoidable reality of the business. Nobody sets out to make a terrible movie – not even Adam Sandler – but even a promising script can go horribly awry during production and creative differences can lead to a stillborn movie; just look at the Fantastic Four reboot.

That’s why even the most talented actors have a few duds they’d like to forget about, and if ever knock them it’s usually years after the fact when their comments can’t impact it anymore. The ever professional Michael Caine waited years before tearing strips off of The Swarm or Jaws: The Revenge and George Clooney has been known to offer refunds to people who tell him they saw Batman & Robin.

Some actors aren’t so kind and have no issue throwing stones at a movie before it’s even gotten a proper release. It’s usually a case of sour grapes when this happens; maybe they had a miserable time making it and want the world to know, or they were contractually forced to appear in it.

Whatever the case, it can be fun to see it play out in public.


12. Brad Pitt – The Devil’s Own

Columbia Pictures

It was an open secret that Brad Pitt hated working on The Devil’s Own, a 1997 thriller where he played an IRA man with a not terribly convincing Irish accent. The movie was something of a pet project for Pitt for years, but when it finally got made it got rewritten into oblivion and Pitt tried to back out.

The studio apparently threatened to sue for quite a bit of money if he tried, so he slogged on with filming, despite finding the new script to be “dogs**t.” Constant rewrites didn’t improve his mood onset, and it’s said he didn’t exactly gel with co-star Harrison Ford either.

He later said of the experience in Newsweek – just before the film came out – that it was “the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking – if you can even call it that – that I’ve ever seen.” Hardly a glowing endorsement, but the film went on to be a modest hit. Ford didn’t seem all that excited about it either, but then again, when does he?

11. Marlon Brando – The Freshman

TriStar Pictures

By the time Marlon Brando starred in The Freshman he’d been effectively retired for nearly a decade, and when he launched a tirade against it in a pre-release interview with the Toronto Globe And Mail – calling it a “bomb”, a “turkey” and a “stinker”- the press took notice.

So it was strange that he turned around a month later and praised the movie, calling it really funny and that he’d love to do a sequel. Something was clearly up, and as was typical for Brando in his later career it came down to one thing; money. Brando believed he was owed overtime money for the part, and when the producer refused to pay he threatened to ruin the movie in the press.

When the producer still wouldn’t bulge Brando went ahead with his threats. He was quickly paid the requested money and reversed his position, but by then the damage was done. Despite good reviews, the movie still underperformed, which the studio blames on Brando’s badmouthing.

10. James Gandolfini – Surviving Christmas


Surviving Christmas came out during the dark period of Ben Affleck’s career, where he was best known for his relationship with Jennifer Lopez and seemingly couldn’t pick a decent script to save his life; after all, this is a man who made Gigli, Paycheck, Daredevil and Jersey Girl in quick succession.

He hit the end of the road with Surviving Christmas, where he plays an annoying millionaire who pays a family to spend Christmas with him. The movie was apparently plagued with issues including the script not being finished, and most of it was made up on set. James Gandolfini played the dad in the hired family and was said to be so annoyed that one day he wouldn’t leave his trailer unless he was given proper script pages to work with.

The movie got delayed nearly a year after it was finished, and when he was asked when it was coming out his only reply was “I hope it never comes out.”

9. Mel Gibson – The Million Dollar Hotel

Lions Gate Films

Surprisingly enough there weren’t many people lining up to see The Million Dollar Hotel on release day, being that it was a badly reviewed, dreary indie flick with a script credited to Bono. The star power of Mel Gibson and Milla Jovovich did little to draw crowds either, and Gibson’s comment about it at an Australian press conference might have been the killing blow.

When asked what he thought of the film he said “I thought it was as boring as a dog’s !*$%”, which is a statement that – while hard to disagree with – didn’t help him much, seeing as he starred in and produced it.

Gibson later apologised, claiming he was tired from a long day of interviews and the words slipped out. He said the film actually contained some moments of genius, and that he wrote letters of apology to key crew members. This was presumably the last time Mel would have to apologise for anything in public.

8. Matthew Goode – Leap Year

Universal Pictures

“It’s turgid. I just know that there are a lot of people who will say it is the worst film of 2010.” That’s Matthew Goode talking about his romantic comedy Leap Year in an interview with The Telegraph, just ahead of its UK release date. The studio must have loved him for it.

His honestly has to be admired in a way, because the reviews up to that stage had already been scathing. He went on to say he only took the movie because it paid well, and it allowed him to be with his family on the weekend. He did go on to praise Amy Adams, but in the end, he admitted it was ultimately a bad gig.

Leap Year was a minor success all said and done, so Goode’s comments did little to damage it but don’t expect a Leap Year 2 in the immediate future either.

7. Richard Pryor – Stir Crazy

Paramount Pictures

Richard Pryor was a comic genius with quite a few personal demons, and his drug problem was hardly well hidden from the public. While shooting the movie Stir Crazy, which was his second collaboration with Gene Wilder, he sat down for an interview with a Mormon public access show, and by all accounts was friendly and polite. Unfortunately, the audio got messed up so they had to re-record it, and by the time Pryor returned he’d clearly enjoyed an illegal substance or two.

During the interview, he’s twitchy, gleefully offensive and references things he probably shouldn’t, like his offshore bank account. He’s clearly not a fan of the movie he’s shooting either, and his only comment is that “it sucks!”, but he loves the money he’s being paid for it.

He’d later reference the movie during a standup gig, saying he was happy it was a success but he didn’t really understand why either.

6. Richard Dreyfuss – Jaws


Steven Spielberg should be thankful he’s not making Jaws now, because if he was the stories of it going wildly over schedule and budget, and working without a finished script, would probably see him kicked off it. Thankfully it was 1975 and studios were a little more patient back then, and let the young Spielberg see the movie through to the end.

One person who didn’t think it would work out is Richard Dreyfuss, who was so disappointed in the experience afterwards that he badmouthed the film in a TV interview before it came out. He blamed the mess on Universal insisting on a particular start date without a finished script and claimed this robbed him of the ability to craft an interesting character and reduced him to a “nebulous function” in the movie.

Snippets of these comments can be found in the Jaws: The Inside Story documentary, with modern day Dreyfuss, explaining he quickly changed his mind after seeing the movie, and blamed his attitude during the interview on being too young and brash to know better.

5. Edward Norton – The Italian Job

Paramount Pictures

Ed Norton is a fine actor who’s amassed a reputation for not being the easiest chap to work with; which is why he won’t be playing The Hulk again anytime soon. Before the Marvel situation, Norton had an even messier run-in with Paramount when they essentially forced him to appear in their remake of The Italian Job.

They invoked an old three picture contract they’d sign with him, and when they spent years disagreeing on what the last movie would be they sent him The Italian Job script; when he said no they lawyered up and told him in no uncertain terms that he either agreed or he’d get sued. He briefly pondered legal action before giving up and agreeing to make it.

Hardly an ideal situation for any actor to find themselves in, and while he wasn’t afraid to tell anyone who’d listen he didn’t want to make it he was by all accounts professional on set. He didn’t promote it, though, and it’s probably best not to ask him to autograph a DVD copy.

4. Mickey Rourke – Passion Play

Image Entertainment

Mickey Rourke is a great actor with a bad habit of self destructing, and he did so with gusto after getting back in the public eye with The Wrestler and Iron Man 2.The main culprit was Passion Play, a terrible drama co-starring Bill Murray and Megan Fox. Rourke appeared keen while shooting it, but when asked about it during a boozy night out he was much more forthcoming.

After he proclaimed another movie he made with 50 Cent and Jason Statham called 13 was “really bad” and that he made it for the money, he went on to say Passion Play was “terrible”. He also said that was the reason it was receiving a limited release in America.

He later apologised for his statements, before going on to repeat that the film was shit whenever he was asked about it.

3. Jim Carrey – Kick-Ass 2


Jim Carrey’s reaction to Kick-Ass! 2 is a little strange for a number of reasons; he apparently loved the first movie and was eager to be in the sequel, and the script he was given is the one they filmed. Everyone was taken by surprise (not least the studio) when he announced on Twitter that he couldn’t support it anymore because of the level of gun violence.

His decision came in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school, and as a well-known gun control advocate, he was probably uncomfortable with images of himself holding a gun in the movie. Context is important, though, because while his character does hold a gun he deliberately leaves it unloaded, and hates firearms in general.

The cast and crew reacted badly to Carrey’s decision, and some fell his decision might have had an impact on the disappointing box office haul. Kick-Ass 2 wasn’t all that great anyway, so maybe that was for the best.

2. Jared Leto – Suicide Squad

Warner Bros.

Sometimes, from the first second you see a film or a character in a given role, you know it’s gonna tank. It worked with the “revamped” Superman in Justice League with that lack-of-a-moustache, and once we got eyes on Leto’s Joker having “Damaged” tattooed across his forehead, it was a recipe for disaster.

It came as no surprise, then, that after all this, even Leto himself wasn’t pleased with the final product.

Speaking to IGN on the day of the movie, Jared was asked about a lack of Joker scenes in the full movie, only to say,

“Were there any that didn’t get cut? I’m asking you, were there any that didn’t get cut? There were so many scenes that got cut from the movie, I couldn’t even start. I think that the Joker… we did a lot of experimentation on the set, we explored a lot. There’s so much that we shot that’s not in the film.”

Of course, Suicide Squad’s godawful hyper-stylisation, hackneyed pacing and terrible everything ensured it was a critical bomb regardless, but the Heath Ledger-successor himself knew that way before the rest of us.

1. Tom Hardy – Venom


How little did we know that the first trailer shot of Hardy freaking the F out would go on to resemble his experience on-set?

As reviews and general reception have attested, Venom feels about 10-15 years old, though alarmingly, Hardy was one of the first people to sound the warning klaxon. Speaking to ComicsExplained, Tom quite brazenly, in response to being asked which his favourite scenes to film were, outlined that none of them were included.

Maintaining a solemn expression that immediately tanked the energy in the room, it turns out these weren’t just occasional experimental scene-extenders or one-offs, but a full “30-40 minutes” of what assumedly elevated the movie and his involvement overall, comprising “mad puppeteering work” and “dark comedy”.

The fact Hardy was so open about his dislike didn’t bode well for the movie and, well, you can see mixed reactions Venom’s getting across the board.

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