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17 Stars Who Had Breakout Roles In A Movie Or A TV Show, Only For Them To Turn Their Back On The Role Completely
17 Stars Who Had Breakout Roles In A Movie Or A TV Show, Only For Them To Turn Their Back On The Role Completely,"If I wasn't in them I would love these movies".

17 Stars Who Had Breakout Roles In A Movie Or A TV Show, Only For Them To Turn Their Back On The Role Completely

A star can rise in different ways, but sometimes it only really takes one role for an actor to break out. It can seem like a great thing from the outside, but what happens if the movie or show that made you a success is actually one you can’t stand?

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Here are 17 actors who became famous because of a particular role, only for them to later regret, disdain, or just want to distance themselves from it.

1. Regé-Jean Page – Bridgerton

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It’s reported that Regé-Jean did this to move away from the series and focus on a career in film.

2. Robert Pattinson – Twilight

Summit Entertainment

Before he stepped into the role of Edward Cullen, Rob was that guy who played Cedric in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He later became a household name after the first Twilight film, despite it being only his fourth movie. This didn’t necessarily sit well with the actor, who felt the story was “weird”, and that the films weren’t quite what he expected them to be.

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In fact, Rob once told Moviefone he would probably “mindlessly hate” Twilight if he weren’t involved in the films, and later told Vanity Fair, “it is weird being part of… something you don’t particularly like”. He even went so far as to joke around with WOIO in 2012, telling them that the movies robbed him of his “dignity”!

3. Katherine Heigl – Knocked Up

Universal Pictures

Katherine truly had a moment back in the late 2000s when she began starring in hit rom-coms such as Life as We Know It and 27 Dresses. Though she’d earned recognition from her role on Grey’s Anatomy, it was the 2007 film Knocked Up that introduced to an international audience. A year later, however, Katherine criticised the film and her role, calling it “a little sexist”.

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“It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys”, she told Vanity Fair. “I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.”

4. Miles Teller – Divergent


Miles’s career came up in 2014 when he starred in the first of the big-budget Divergent films, as well as the indie drama, Whiplash. Though he won praise for latter, it was probably the former that solidified him as a star on the rise. However, for Miles it seems he’d rather all the glory went to his Whiplash role.

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He recalled in an interview with W Magazine feeling “dead inside” when found out about Whiplash, and clarified that he’d taken the Divergent role for “business reasons”. Of his role of Peter Hayes, Miles said, “I didn’t have an interesting part”. His excitement for Whiplash was far more evident; indeed, he began studying drumming and “shutting himself off from the world” before he’d even properly secured the part!

5. Taylor Lautner – Twilight

Summit Entertainment

Another Twilight alumnus, Taylor has revealed that he found shooting the movies uncomfortable due to his ample shirtless scenes. “I’m always the only person with my shirt off,” he told E! News in 2012 – “It’s not fun.” He has also spoken about the anxiety-inducing effects of fame, including being chased by fans and paparazzi: “I went so many years either not leaving my house, or if I did, you know, hats, sunglasses, and just scared”.

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As if all that wasn’t enough, Taylor has further noted that his strenuous gym routine came to massively affect his perception of his body in real life. “When I was 16 through 20 years old, starring in this franchise where my character is known for taking his shirt off every other second, no, I did not know that it was affecting me or going to affect me in the future with body image”, he said on his podcast. “But now, looking back at it, of course it did, and of course it is going to.”

6. Zac Efron – High School Musical

Disney Channel

It’s no secret the Zac abhors the role that earned him legions of fans back in the day. In fact, in his cover interview with Men’s Fitness the actor said of his early career, “fuck that guy”.

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“He’s done some kind of cool things with some cool people – he did that one thing that was funny – but, I mean, he’s still just that f***ing kid from High School Musical.

7. Megan Fox – Transformers

Paramount Pictures

Megan stans will remember her from Holiday in the Sun and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, but her real breakthrough came in 2007 when she played the love interest role in the first Transformers movie. She was quickly established as a Hollywood star and a sex symbol, but behind-the-scenes, the movies were pretty terrible for Megan.

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The actor described Transformers director Michael Bay as “a nightmare to work for”, and compared him to Hitler and Napoleon in an interview with Wonderland magazine. She made these statements just before production was scheduled to begin on the third instalment of the franchise, which resulted in her being let go and replaced with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

8. John Boyega – the Star Wars sequel trilogy

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Before his foray into the Star Wars universe, John was best known for his exploits in indie films. However, his turn as a dissenting stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens catapulted him to new levels of fame. Although he seemed to be on track to steal the screen with his performance, John was disappointed with his character’s trajectory.

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“What I would say to Disney is, do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side”, he told GQ. “It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up”.

9. Kate Winslet – Titanic

Paramount Pictures

Undoubtedly, Titanic was the vehicle that launched Kate’s film career, earning her her first Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination at the 1998 Academy Awards. Unfortunately, the star tends to look back on her performance with less than kind eyes. Indeed, she told CNN that she feels very self-critical of her work, especially Titanic. “Even my American accent, I can’t listen to it. It’s awful”, she said adding that she wishes she could do it again.

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Kate also endured a lot of “damaging” criticism over her body and her looks as a result of Titanic, with Joan Rivers infamously saying that if Kate had “dropped a few pounds, the Titanic would never have sunk.” Of the tabloid coverage at the time that concentrated on her body, Kate had said it was “almost laughable how shocking, how critical, how straight-up cruel tabloid journalists were to me”. She added that it certainly “damaged [her] confidence”.

10. Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Warner Bros.

He became the face of one of the biggest film franchises of all time, but despite this, Daniel has said he struggled to escape the shadow that playing Harry Potter put him in. He even told the Daily Mail’s Event Magazine that after the movies were over, he struggled to escape the wizardry typecast and become a “real actor”.

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Daniel has also said that he doesn’t like to watch himself on the big screen, and had a really issue with his “one note” acting in the sixth film: “It’s hard to watch a film like Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince, because I’m just not very good in it. I hate it.” He also added that he regrets being forced to watch his own films at premieres, and that doing so made him “complacent” as an actor.

11. Jamie Dornan – 50 Shades of Grey

Universal Pictures

Jamie became a household name when he starred in the highly anticipated film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey as the eponymous Christian Grey. With all eyes on him to deliver the fantasy every fan of the books had created in their minds, Jamie told Entertainment Weekly he felt “uncomfortable” taking on the role.

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“Playing Christian Grey… I felt like it was very far away from me, and sometimes, I struggled with it”, he revealed. His more mellow character in Wild Mountain Thyme was much more “relatable”, added the actor.

12. Miley Cyrus – Hannah Montana

Disney Channel

Who doesn’t know who Hannah Montana is? For the longest time, many fans of Miley didn’t know how the actor and singer would ever separate herself from the iconic role that got her start. It seems Miley had the same concern… “Talk about an identity crisis. I was a character almost as often as I was myself”, she told Teen Vogue, revealing that she felt when she was just herself, “no one cared”.

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Miley also told Elle Magazine that as the years went by, she started to feel “ridiculous” playing the character, and that the Disney mascot role she was being asked to play was restricting her. “One time I went backstage at Disneyland, and Peter Pan was smoking a cigarette”, she shared. “I was like, ‘That’s me.'”

13. Blake Lively – Gossip Girl

The CW

You may know Blake from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Accepted, but many of us will remember her as the fickle but ultimately benevolent Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl. Since the show ended in 2012, the actor has spoken out about the difficulty she had playing the it-girl character: “People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising”, she told Glamour.

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“When parents would say, ‘My teenager is watching your show,’ I wanted to say, ‘Hold on, why? Are you having a talk with them after?’ From the drug use to the point where we’re killing people, it’s sexual and salacious… you want to be putting a better message out there.”

14. Sean Connery – the James Bond movies

United Artists

His name might be synonymous with Bond, but the late Sean Connery was pretty “fed up” with the role by the time he played him in his penultimate Bond outing, Diamonds Are Forever. Indeed, it was reported in The Guardian that Sean once said, “I have always hated that damned James Bond… I’d like to kill him.”

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Indeed, Sean’s friend and fellow actor Michael Caine once revealed that Sean did not even like discussing his work as James Bond. “If you were his friend in these early days, you didn’t raise the subject of Bond. He was, and is, a much better actor than just playing James Bond, but he became synonymous with Bond. He’d be walking down the street, and people would say, ‘Look, there’s James Bond’. That was particularly upsetting to him.”

15. Idris Elba – The Wire


There’s not many people out there who don’t know Idris Elba these days. The actor had been plugging away in the industry for several years before he landed on a role on The Wire, which changed the course of his career completely. Despite this Idris has expressed regret the way his character – Stringer Bell – was received by fans.

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“We’re all idolising Stringer Bell, but who are we really idolising?” he said during an appearance on James O’Brien’s Unfiltered podcast. “Are we idolising a smart drug dealer or a dumb narcotics dealer? What are we saying here? Is it OK to pump a community full of heroin but because you’re smart at it, that makes you cool? That was a problem for me.”

16. Angus T. Jones – Two and a Half Men


Angus wholeheartedly disavowed the show that made him famous when he called the show “filth” in a YouTube video posted back in 2012. After joining the Alabama-based church Forerunner Chronicles, the actor seemed to have a change of perspective on the show, telling the internet, “I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth”.

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Despite saying “You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like [Two and a Half Men]”, Angus later apologised for his comments, clarifying that he was “grateful” for the experience of being on the show and that his colleagues had “become an extension of [his] family”. However, two years later – after exiting the show – he told CBS he was a “paid hypocrite”, and that the show conflicted with his beliefs yet he carried on doing it.

17. Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games movies


Even though Jennifer was bound for stardom and had already appeared in Winter’s Bone, The Beaver, and X-Men: First Class by 2011, it was her main role in The Hunger Games (2012) that solidified her status as a leading lady. She won praise for her performance as Katniss Everdeen, but the actor herself has said she believes she is the “worst part of the whole franchise”. Jen even told BBC Radio 1, “If I wasn’t in them I would love these movies”.

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Jennifer also spoke to interviewers at the 2022 London Film Festival about the “loss of control” she felt over her own career after the success of the first movie. “I felt like every decision was a big, big group decision. When I reflect now, I can’t think of those following years”. Following this, she told Variety that her The Hunger Games role negatively affected her “craft”, explaining that she couldn’t be an observer of life because everybody was observing her.

Did any of these surprise you? Did we miss anyone out? Let us know in the comments below!