Not everyone loves going to work, so it’s only fair that actors will sometimes sour on the characters they portray. That’s the case right now for Penn Badgley, who has been on the receiving end of a flood of amorous messages from thirsty fans of his Lifetime show “You” imploring him to “kidnap me, pls.”
Those messages get a little creepier once you realize his character is a murderer and all-around bad guy. Though he enjoys portraying the complex character (and will continue to do so in Season 2), he’s not exactly thrilled that fans have taken to romanticizing the fictional stalker. To that end, he’s done his best to shut down these lusty crushes online.
But it got us thinking: What other actors hated their iconic characters and why? Turns out, it’s more common than you might think — and everyone loathes in their own distinct way.
The godfather of hating your own character
It’s the rare occasion that an actor’s detestation for his character actually makes for a better performance — but that’s exactly what happened with Harrison Ford’s breakout role in the first three Star Wars movies.
“As a character he was not so interesting to me. I thought he should have died in the last one, just to give it some bottom. George [Lucas] didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys,” he told ABC in 2010, the same year he told MTV of the character, “I’m done with him.”
“The character kind of mocks the movies that he’s in,” Ryan Britt, author of “Luke Skywalker Can’t Read,” told The Washington Post in May. “You always got the impression that he didn’t really care. … You always got the impression that he could literally walk out at any second, and not in a prima donna kind of way, just in an ‘I’m done’ kind of way.”
Strange as it might sound, many feel this actually improved the movies.
“He’s what makes these films different, because he’s a skeptic,” Chris Ryan, editorial director of the Ringer, told The Post in May. “You don’t really have that in ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ — the person who’s just like, ‘I don’t believe any of this crap.’ He was able to take this arcane, mythology-sci-fi dialogue and make it sound like it was from a guy on the street. It showed that ‘Star Wars’ was not otherworldly, even while some of that stuff was foreign to us.”
The Judas of hating your own character
Back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark, the rapper decided to give acting a go. His breakout role came in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” as porn star Dirk Diggler, who spirals into drug addiction as he climbs the adult film ladder. The movie is considered a classic and among Wahlberg’s best screenwork.
Though the then-young actor seemed to relish in the role at the time, his opinion has changed. A devout Catholic, Wahlberg told a crowd in Chicago that he now regrets some of his films — especially “Boogie Nights.”
“I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” he said of the movie.
Later, he clarified the comments to People: “I was sitting in front of a couple of thousand kids talking about and trying to encourage them to come back to their faith, and I was just saying that I just hope he has a sense of humor because I maybe made some decisions that may not be okay with him.”
The queen of hating your own character
Katherine Heigl is no stranger to speaking her mind about movies — even, or perhaps especially, the ones in which she appears. About “Knocked Up,” in which she co-stars, she told Vanity Fair: “It was a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight. … Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.”
That example merely led to Seth Rogen’s hurt feelings, but some argue her comments about the story arc of her “Grey’s Anatomy” character, Izzie Stevens, led to her dismissal from the show.
After winning an Emmy in 2007 for the character, Heigl refused to submit her performance for consideration in 2008, calling her character’s story line “a ratings ploy.”
“I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention,” she told the New York Times. “In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
This infuriated much of the show’s cast and crew, and she eventually left the show in 2010 as rumors that she was “difficult” to work with swirled around the gossip rags. There’s probably some truth to that, given that show runner Shonda Rhimes praised the actors on her show “Scandal” by saying, “There are no Heigls in this situation.”
The 007 of hating your own character
One of Hollywood’s dream roles is James Bond. The work is consistent, lucrative and part of the silver screen’s fine history. Someone should probably mention this to Daniel Craig, who despises playing the character.
He hates the role so much that fans wondered who would be the next Bond. After all, Craig told Time Out London in 2015 of reprising the role: “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”
“If I did another Bond movie,” Craig added, “it would only be for the money.”
Everyone wondered who might be next: Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, [insert any living male British actor here]. When the question was floated by Craig, he simply said he didn’t care who took up the mantle.
So who’s the next James Bond? Looks like someone needed money because Craig has, indeed, reprised the role for the 25th installment of the series, due out in 2020.
The Michael Jordan of hating your own character
Robert Pattinson despises his iconic “Twilight” character, Edward Cullen, with a fury unlike any other. Pattinson has complained throughout so many interviews about Edward, the century-old telepathic vampire who falls for Kristen Stewart’s Bella (a witch or something), that there’s an entire Tumblr feed dedicated to his most (self-) scathing comments.
Among his harshest words: He has said “Twilight” “seemed like a book that shouldn’t be published.” That “if Edward was not a fictional character, and you just met him in reality — you know, he’s one of those guys who would be an ax murderer.” He called his performance “a mixture of looking slightly constipated and stoned.”
Once, when asked which “co-worker helped make your ‘Twilight’ experience the most rewarding,” all he could muster was a nearly minute-long pause, followed by “huh, my uh, oh I can’t think of anything. I would say SK-II face packs,” referring to facial cream.
Toward the end of his run as Edward, Jimmy Fallon said to Pattinson, “There’s millions of ‘Twilight’ fans out there that just cannot wait to see [the final movie]. It’s almost heartbreaking because they don’t want it to be over. It’s a little bittersweet, isn’t it?”
“For them!” the actor replied.