In movies as with life, there are going to be ups and downs. So it is no surprise that sometimes a film can be a real downer for an actor. The films on this list have had a hugely damaging effect on the actor’s career and in some cases ended up ruining it. This is due to a variety of reasons. In hindsight, these decisions might seem wrong but there must have some reason for them to do such a film. The other interesting point is how the effect of the film is different for the people involved. It may be severe for one actor but not so bad for the other. A prime example of this would be ‘Batman vs. Robin’. It has to be noted that a few of the people mentioned here have managed to resurrect their career while others haven’t been so fortunate. This shows that no matter how much a film may ruin you, there is always a chance to redeem yourself. Also, not all the actors here deserved to be treated the way they were. And without further ad, let’s get into the list of terrible movies that ruined actors’ careers.
15. Gigli – Ben Affleck (2003)
Talking about Ben Affleck and a ruined career in today’s scenario seems laughable because of how much success he’s had as an actor and director in the recent past. But let’s go back to 2003 when he was just coming off the lukewarm success of ‘Daredevil’, and then came this romantic comedy that seemed destined to be at the very least commercially successful. The primary reason being that the two leads, Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were an “it” couple at the time. But unfortunately, the film tanked big time and became of the biggest box-office bombs. It is to his immense credit that he would go on to forge a highly successful career after this film. We as an audience are grateful that Affleck’s story got turned around in spectacular fashion but for a little while, it looked like the actor’s career may have been over.
14. Waterworld – Kevin Costner (1995)
This is another example of an actor who has been able to turn their career around. Costner was a huge star in the 90s and when it was announced that he would the lead of an action blockbuster, most people would have believed that this too would become a success. The trouble for the film began at the production stage itself. A litany of problems led the budget to go way overboard and it ended up being the most expensive film made at the time. When it came out, it was not able to recoup it’s budget and was a huge loss. Costner’s career took a big hit with this and his directorial venture ‘The Postman’. He has been able to make a comeback of sorts with supporting roles in many a big film. And if not for the failure of ‘Waterworld’, his career may have soared to even greater heights.
13. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Jake Lloyd (1999)
This first part of the prequel trilogy was one of the most anticipated films of all time. Given the sky-high expectations surrounding the film, some people were bound to be disappointed by it. And it ended up disappointing many. While criticism was levied on many aspects of the film, one that was particularly notable was that reserved for Jake Lloyd who played the young Darth Vader. Many people were angered as he had ruined the character in their eyes. While his performance was definitely not good, it certainly did not deserve the hatred that was spewed by many. Out of all the people who were lambasted for the film, Lloyd seems to have suffered the worst fate. Episode I would prove to be be his final film as he was not able to overcome such a traumatic experience.
12. Batman & Robin – Chris O’Donnell (1997)
A film that is often considered to be one of the worst of all time. Given how bad the film and its reception was, it had to leave a damaging impact on someone’s career and that would unfortunately be Chris O’Donnell. He was the one whose career has taken a real nosedive since the film. Before this film, he had earned quite a bit of recognition for his work which included a leading role in ‘Scent Of A Woman’. But the aftereffects of the 1997 flop was too much on his career. He would go on to act in a couple of films of note but it is TV where he’s been prominent lately, as one of the leads of ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’. A promising young actor who was never really able to recover for a long time seems to have found some respite at last.
11. The Love Guru – Mike Myers (2008)
A man who has had a lot of success both as a writer and actor. Having initially found success on ‘Saturday Night Live’, he made a successful and profitable transition to the big screen. This resulted in the creation of many memorable characters. But it all came to a screeching halt with the release of ‘The Love Guru’. Not only was it an overwhelming failure both critically and commercially, many found the portrayal of the titular Guru to be offensive. His career since then hasn’t been of much note. He had another outing as Shrek but apart from that he’s not to be seen around these days. What is certain is that the highly negative response to Guru had a big impact and a damaging one at that.
10. Battlefield Earth – John Travolta (2000)
Another film that is lumped in the category of the worst films ever made. Travolta is someone whose career has been more up and down that most others. Over the years he has proven that he does have the ability to make a comeback. But this may be one he won’t be able to recover from. A number of factors contributed to the failure of the film including the fact that Travolta had a very personal attachment to the film as it was a pet project for him. This led to him pumping in some of his own money into the production. The influence of Scientology also did not help the film’s cause. Travolta hasn’t been able to do anything of note since the debacle of the film. Apart from one notable appearance in ‘Hairspray’, his career has gone downhill.
9. I Know Who Killed Me – Lindsay Lohan (2007)
The career of Lindsay Lohan is sadly an all too familiar story. It is that of the child star whose professional and personal life went south. There are many examples that can be cited here. But Lohan’s is one that is particularly sad. Throughout her early career, she did a number of films that established her as a future star. She was respected for her acting and choice of films. But it all came tumbling down and this 2007 flick is quite possibly the worst film she has done. The preposterous nature of the plot and Lohan’s acting was what many criticized. The critical and commercial failure was a huge setback for the actress. This coupled with her legal troubles have never really allowed her to return to her former glory. This is sad especially when thinking of how bright her career appeared to be.
8. Soul Man – C. Thomas Howell (1986)
This is an example of an actor being a victim of circumstances. But the circumstances were pretty bad to begin with. Howell actually had quite a successful before the film as he had acted in several well received films which included some blockbusters. In hindsight, this was definitely a disastrous decision. Having a white actor wear blackface was never a good idea and so it proved to be. Apart from the protests surrounding the film, it was critically lambasted. Despite what the film tries to say, having a white man in blackface was always going to cause some serious damage. Howell never recovered from this and his career has been limited to mostly indie and B-grade films ever since.
7. Catwoman – Halle Berry (2004)
Here we have yet another entry to the worst films to be ever made list. Halle Berry was one of the best actresses working in Hollywood at the time. She was an Oscar winner, a Bond girl and finally got the chance to play a superhero. All seemed to be going well until ‘Catwoman’ came out. The film was poorly made, written and acted. It was Berry who really bore the brunt of the negative reaction. The film ended up being a disaster both critically and commercially. Sadly Berry has not able to give a worthy performance since then. Although she has acted in a few good movies since, she is nowhere near the level of stardom and respect she had before her turn as the Cat.
6. Basic Instinct 2 – Sharon Stone (2006)
Sequels more often than not tend to be disappointing. And when your making a sequel almost fifteen years later, it is never a good idea. Sharon Stone created an iconic villain with Catherine Tramell in the first ‘Basic Instinct’. When it was announced that she would be reprising her role in the sequel, it lent the film some credibility. But it was not to be, as the film got a horrible critical reaction and flopped commercially as well. Stone hasn’t completely vanished from the public eye but her career took a huge beating with this film. She has played some bit part roles in some films but the damage done by the sequel has not been fully erased. And it also goes to show, if something works once, there is no guarantee it will work again.
5. The Adventures Of Pluto Nash – Eddie Murphy (2002)
Eddie Murphy is without a doubt one of the funniest people to grace the silver screen. His stand up comedy as well his acting is filled with many successes. Despite his success as an actor, there have been a number of notable commercial failures in his career. One of the most notorious among these failures is ‘The Adventures Of Pluto Nash’. It was heavily criticized and would become one of the biggest flops of all time. It also falls into the rather unwanted category of worst films ever made as well. Murphy’s career has continued at a somewhat steady pace but it has never reached the heights he did earlier. Even some of his subsequent films have been received very very poorly, but this film is probably the worst of the lot.
4. Superman Returns – Brandon Routh (2006)
Getting to play one of the most iconic superheroes is a huge honor for anyone. But for Brandon Routh, it turned out to be bit of a curse. The film was not able to satisfy the expectations of everybody and Routh suffered as a result. It must be said that it is by no means a bad film. It is just that people did not warm up to it as expected. The actor’s career was damaged beyond repair as he was criticized by all corners. It is really an unfortunate situation for an actor be in especially as it was not his fault. But luckily this setback did not deter him from working in the industry. In the recent past, he can be seen in recurring roles for quite a few TV shows but his career never flew like the character he played.
3. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith – Hayden Christensen (2005)
Christensen was always fighting a losing battle with the character he was playing. And in hindsight, it was probably a battle he never would have won. His career was really blossoming before he beat out more than a thousand people to get the coveted role of Anakin Skywalker. While Episode II could have been on the list, it was the final part of the trilogy that was the final nail in the coffin. Again, it has to be mentioned that the treatment meted out to the actor was unfair. The criticism was deserved but not to the extent that the actor did eventually receive. His career after ‘Star Wars’ has slowly slid into obscurity. He did have one notable success with the release of ‘Jumper’ which ended up doing very well at the box-office. Apart from that, there is not much that can be said.
2. Showgirls – Elizabeth Berkley (1995)
One of the more controversial films on this list. This film was slated upon its release but the reception since then has tended to be more favorable, especially from other directors. While the film may enjoy a better status today, the same cannot be said for Berkley who played the lead role. She had enjoyed tremendous success and fame for playing the role of Jessie Spano in ‘Saved By The Bell’. For all the failure that the film did cause, Berkley has to be lauded for making a bold choice though it did backfire. Her career was never the same as she was almost outcast based on the failure of ‘Showgirls’. She has continued to work in the small as well as the big screen but her status now is a far cry from what it was.
1. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Sean Connery (2003)
He is one of the most iconic personalities in the cine world. An Oscar winner and the first Bond, it is safe to say that Connery has had a great career. That makes how his career ended to be a little sad. The film was based on a comic book written by Alan Moore who also wrote ‘Watchmen’ and ‘V For Vendetta’. Given the quality of the source material, making a good film out of it was going to be a tough task and so it proved to be. The critical reaction was mixed at best and it barely made enough money to recoup its costs. The reason why this film is at the top of the list is because it is the film that convinced Connery to retire altogether from films. The experience of making the film coupled with the film’s eventual outcome drove him to this decision. Overall, it led to him becoming disillusioned with the Hollywood studio system and that is a real shame.
Read More: Worst Movies of All Time