Despite their creations remaining celebrated to this day, some people live out the rest of their days hating the things they made, sort of like George Lucas and the Star Wars Christmas Special, or Leonard Nimoy and that hobbit song.
But it's not just embarrassing YouTube-fodder that makes creators wish they'd never set pen to paper. It even happens with works that are considered classics, like...
#6. Brokeback Mountain
Ang Lee's 2005 film was both a commercial and critical success, going on to win three Academy Awards and its rightful place in history as the definitive movie about gay cowboys in Wyoming. Meanwhile, the collection of stories it was based on by author Annie Proulx was nominated for a Pulitzer.
We found these when we were cleaning up the office.
So it's surprising that Ms. Proulx has repeatedly told interviewers that she wishes she'd never written it.
Why She Regrets It:
The reason for her bitterness is Brokeback Mountain fanfiction.
And this. Mostly this.
According to Proulx, since the release of the movie she has been inundated with alternative scripts, sequels, sexually explicit retellings and "fixes" that change the ending of the story so that the two star-crossed cowboys end up together. And unlike most fanfiction writers, who tend to keep their habits confined to niche message boards, Star Trek web rings and other shame ridden corners of the Internet, Brokeback Mountain fans apparently like sending their work directly to the author's address.
"After the lightsaber fight, Jack and Ennis have sex on top of a Diplodocus."
Surprisingly, Proulx says most of the fanfiction is written by people claiming to be straight males. So ladies, now you know what your boyfriend is doing on the laptop late at night when he claims to not be looking at porn.
What a relief.
#5. A Clockwork Orange
The violent dystopian film A Clockwork Orange remains one of Stanley Kubrick's best-known works. In the U.S. it was nominated for several Oscars, but in the UK A Clockwork Orange was withdrawn barely a year after its general release. It never came out on video there or aired on television, and 20 years later the ban was still strictly enforced to the point that a London cinema was sued by Warner Bros. for screening the movie.
The theater owners were then savagely beaten by Malcolm McDowell and tossed into a river. But that probably would have happened anyway.
A Clockwork Orange only became widely available in the UK after Kubrick's death in 1999, ending a stream of furtive trips to France for young British hipsters. In a bizarre twist, the man behind the ban was Kubrick himself, who used his high standing with Warner Bros. to get them to voluntarily withdraw the film.
However, Eyes Wide Shut is still readily available.
Why He Regretted It:
The film appeared at an unfortunate time in British history. Crime rates were on the rise, and several lawyers defended their clients by saying they'd been driven to rape and violence by emulating the hero of Kubrick's film.
Hundreds were killed while riding bombs under similar circumstances.
According to Kubrick's wife in an interview after his death, his family also began receiving numerous death threats. Hurt and appalled by the public reaction and concerned for his family's safety, Kubrick made a personal request to Warner Bros. that they withdraw the film and they obliged.
Now that we mention it, Anthony Burgess, the author of the book the movie was based on, didn't think much of the movie either (Kubrick chopped off the book's happy ending where the protagonist straightens up and realizes the error of his ways), and hated the additional attention that it brought to a book he wasn't crazy about himself.
"Seriously, you people are basically paying for my farts."
#4. Obi-Wan Kenobi
In most people's minds Alec Guinness is Obi-Wan Kenobi. But despite gaining eternal nerd worship and a percentage of future Star Wars earnings for his role (thus making him rich for life), Guinness wasn't a fan of the character.
In his autobiography, he mentions a small child coming up to him and saying that he'd seen Star Wars 100 times.
And that little boy became Harry Knowles! Probably.
Guinness replied that he'd give the kid an autograph if he promised to never watch the movie again and the boy burst into tears.
The only thing he hated more than Obi-Wan was children.
Why He Regretted It:
When it came to Star Wars, Alec Guinness pretty much filled the role of a snooty British person. He called the movies "banal" and "mumbo-jumbo," and would throw out Star Wars-related fan mail unopened. Guinness also claimed that it was his idea to get Obi-Wan killed off because he wanted a smaller part.
"F#@king swing the lightsaber, Alec! Fight back! Do something! Ah, f#@k it!" - George Lucas
That's right, one of the most tragic and mentally scarring scenes from your childhood came about because Alec Guinness thought George Lucas was a talentless hack.