4 Actors Who Despised Their Breakout Roles
It’s considered luck to catch one’s big break in this world. How lucky you’ll be after the fact — or in these cases, during — is as unpredictable as, well, the luck of the draw. Most people still have to slog away and sometimes do things they don’t really want to do. Like work overtime, or attend office parties, or wake up every morning and put on a strap to make their chest look flatter. Yeah, even actors can have it rough, and a big break might sometimes mean playing a character that’ll either give an actor sleepless nights or, like a certain actor who also plays a guy in a Bat mask, make them feel like they’re mentally losing it.
For instance …
Maisie Williams Resented Playing Arya Stark While Growing Up
To be a tween actress portraying a fierce little girl who likes to play with swords and recite a Kill List is, er, one thing.
But to play such a young girl while becoming a woman yourself is another challenge altogether, according to Masie Williams. “I think that when I started becoming a woman, I resented Arya because I couldn’t express who I was becoming. And then I also resented my body, because it wasn’t aligned with the piece of me that the world celebrated.”
To make sure she looked like a boy — as Arya was pretending to be for a couple of seasons — the show had her wear a strap to flatten her chest when she hit puberty. “And then it got to the point where the strap was no longer working. So, I was about 15, right, and he gave me, like, this little, chubby belly. So it would, like, even out the playing field quite. And then ... yeah, I was about 15 years old. Like, I kinda just want a boyfriend, honestly. I don't wanna wear this. This doesn't feel good.”
Game of Thrones was in production for a whopping eight years, which means that Williams had to live and breathe tomboy Arya for close to a decade. And as strong and independent a character Arya can be, she doesn't really seem to be in tune with her body and even her own needs much. The most maturing we ever saw happening was during the final season, where the showrunners apparently remembered about their Arya/Gendry set-up and also that their about-to-be heroine was still a virgin.
That specific event in the show proved somewhat controversial given that no one ever really knew how old any of the characters were, and even HBO had to tweet a joke about Arya being 18 mere hours before that episode aired.
Joe Dempsie, who played Gendry, said that it was kind of awkward doing all that with an actress almost a decade younger than him. “It's obviously slightly strange for me because I've known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old. At the same time, I don't want to be patronizing toward Maisie — she's a 20-year-old woman (now).”
It’s not that Williams regrets playing Arya Stark, Slayer of Night Kings (and also blacksmiths), but there is something to be said about a young person having to grow up on a show and develop a character for an audience while they themselves are still (and rapidly) developing.
Blake Lively Felt “Personally Compromised” Playing Serena In Gossip Girl
Full disclosure: I have not seen Gossip Girl, the teen drama that ran for six seasons from 2007 to 2012. Apparently, Kristen Bell’s in it, narrating the show as an anonymous blogger and making it sound like Bridgerton, only with upper-class Manhattan folk instead of upper-class alternative universe London folk.
It was Blake Lively's big break, but one she’s come to dislike a fair amount. She told Allure back in 2015: "People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising — you want to be putting a better message out there.”
Lively had some problems with how people seemed to think she was Serena, the character she was portraying, and it didn’t help that she was dating her character’s boyfriend in real life, either. Okay, what even was this hybrid-reality show? “It's a weird thing when people feel like they know you really well, and they don't. I would not be proud to be the person who gave someone the cocaine that made them overdose and then shot someone and slept with someone else's boyfriend.”
The major issue seems to come from the fact that her character — yeah, the one who did all those things she just said up there — was supposed to be the main protagonist of the series. Again, what is this show? And how is it not satire?
Oh, okay, Google tells me that Keeping Up with the Kardashians premiered that same year. It was clearly a time of glorifying the rich and douchey. Jeez, the 2000s were just the worst.
Robert Pattinson Claims He “Stopped Mentally Progressing” While He Was Playing Edward Cullen In Twilight
Most everyone knows by now how Pattinson has made somewhat of a hobby bashing the Twilight series over the years. It’s become such an obvious pastime for him that the new Batman actor recently decided to switch his tune, saying it’s “not cool anymore” to hate on Stephenie Meyer’s series about a young girl who aches for the embrace of a 100-year-old dead man. Whatever, Pattinson. Always the contrarian.
Yes, the actor has said some bizarre things in general, but his disdain for the emo vampire franchise is palpable. Here are some of his musings about Edward Cullen, a character who not only lusts after high school girls while he is, again, a gazillion years old but who also wants to kill them (and everyone else).
For one, Pattinson said that his character was less “romantic lead” and more “ax murderer,” and that he at times felt real uncomfortable playing Meyer's fantasy dude. “It was like reading her sexual fantasy, especially when she said it was based on a dream, and it was like, ‘Oh, I’ve had this dream about this really sexy guy,’ and she just writes this book about it. Like some things about Edward are so specific.”
On the press and a poster shoot that took two days because of all the film tie-ins, he said: “There’s nothing you can do about it. That’s the way it is. But it is weird being part of that, kind of representing something you don’t particularly like. God, I just really headbutted it.”
When asked who or what moments made the experience rewarding, he paused for an uncomfortably long time before saying out loud the name of a skincare product.
And, of course, there is his joke about how he really felt being in the Twilight movies: “I feel like I stopped mentally progressing around the time I started doing those movies. It feels like not a day has passed.”
Andrew Lincoln Knew His Character Was The “Weird Creepy Stalker Guy” Before Everyone Else In Love, Actually
Ah, Love, Actually. The 2003 Christmas rom-com starring everyone from Alan Rickman to Laura Linney to Bill Nighy and also just every other British actor. It’s the one where Hugh Grant plays the British Prime Minister. Worse, it’s the one where Billy Bob Thornton plays the president of the United States.
It’s also the one where this happens:
Sorry about that. We still can't believe that made the cut. Anyway, this very English all-star movie caused quite the controversy in later years over some questionable plot points and developments. Let’s see, there were harassment in the workplace scenes. There was whatever that whole thing between middle-aged Colin Firth wanting to marry his non-English speaking housekeeper was. And there was this:
Apparently, that is the type of guy who should get rewarded with all the babes, according to Love, Actually. This movie has aged so terribly you’d think it was written by a bunch of teenagers. One actor who was very well aware of the cringe at play here is Andrew Lincoln. Known today as Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead, but also instantly recognizable from this done-to-death stunt:
For years, so many people thought this to be the sweetest, most romantic gesture … until people started to realize how creepy, kind of stalk-y this dude actually was. A thing the actor knew from the very start:
"The story is set up like a prism looking at all the different qualities of love. Mine was unrequited. So I got to be this weird stalker guy. My big scene in the doorway felt so easy. I just had to hold cards and be in love with Keira Knightley. And that was my own handwriting on the cards, thank you for noticing. But I kept saying to Richard , ‘Are you sure I'm not going to come off as a creepy stalker?'"
But hey, everyone deserves love, right? Even the stalkers, harassers, and all the powerful white dudes.
Top Image: Summit Entertainment