For a lot of actors, starring in a Marvel movie would be a dream come true, and if they got the role, they'd never want to leave. However, some landed the role of a lifetime, only to later realize it wasn't as great as they'd imagined it would be.
Here are 14 Marvel actors who had a bad time behind the scenes:
1. Dave Bautista was "grateful" to play Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy but felt "a relief" it was over. He found it "hard playing that role" and felt that the intense makeup application process was "beating [him] down."
He told GQ, "I just don't know if I want Drax to be my legacy — it's a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff."
2. When Jessica Alba was filming Susan Storm's death scene for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, director Tim Story told her to "be prettier when you cry." The experience almost made her quit acting.
She told Elle, "It all got me thinking, Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? Do people hate them so much that they don't want me to be a real person? ... And so I just said, 'Fuck it. I don't care about this business anymore.'"
3. Idris Elba, who played Heimdall, went straight from starring in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to doing Thor: The Dark World reshoots — and it felt like "torture." He didn't want to be there, but his agent told him, "You have to, it’s part of the deal."
He told the Telegraph, "[On set] I'm thinking, Twenty-four hours ago, I was [Nelson] Mandela. When I walked into the set, the extras called me Madiba. I was literally walking in this man's boots. [Within] six months, the crew, we were all so in love with this film we had made. I was him. I was Mandela, practically. Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out."
4. Jennifer Garner reportedly thought playing the titular role in Elektra was awful and only did it to fulfill an obligation from her Daredevil contract.
She told the Hollywood Reporter, "It's such a shame, honestly, because once Kevin [Feige] took over, everything there was elevated: the writing, the direction, the comedy inside of the stories they were telling. And I did not have that experience."
5. Mickey Rourke, who played Whiplash, was upset with the way Iron Man 2 turned out because "the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of [his] performance ended up on the floor."
He told Crave Online, "If they want to make mindless comic book movies, then I don't want to be a part of that. I don't want to have to care so much and work so hard, and then fight them for intelligent reasoning, and just because they're calling the shots they… You know, I didn't work for three months on the accent and all the adjustments and go to Russia just so I could end up on the floor."
6. After X-Men: Apocalypse, Jennifer Lawrence was ready to say goodbye to Mystique because of the blue body paint the role required. However, she "kind of fucked [herself]" when it came to Dark Phoenix because "when [she] was trying to talk Simon [Kinberg] into directing, he said something like, 'If I direct it, you have to do it,' and [she] was like, 'Of course! Duh!'"
In 2017, she told Entertainment Weekly, "I was 20 ... I didn't care about fumes and toxins [in the paint], and now I'm almost 25 and I’m like, 'I can't even pronounce this and that's going in my nose? I'm breathing that?'"
7. On Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Terrence Howard said that he quit the role of James Rhodes/War Machine after Iron Man because Marvel only wanted to pay him "one-eighth of what [they] contractually had for [him]" because they thought "the second one will be successful with or without [him]."
He said, "It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man ... took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out."
He was replaced by Don Cheadle.
8. Sally Field didn't like playing Aunt May in The Amazing Spider-Man, so she didn't put a lot of thought into it. She told The Howard Stern Show, "It's really hard to find a three-dimensional character in it, and you work it as much as you can, but you can't put 10 pounds of shit in a 5-pound bag."
Explaining why she accepted the role in the first place, she said, "It's not my kind of movie. But my friend Laura Ziskin was the producer, and we knew it would be her last film, and she was my first producing partner, and she was a spectacular human."
9. Christopher Eccleston, who played Malekith, told the Guardian that Thor: The Dark World was "just a gun in your mouth."
He said, "GI Joe and Thor were...I really paid for being a whore those times."
10. Frank Grillo was "a little pissed off" when Crossbones was "out of the [franchise] really quickly" because he'd signed a seven-picture deal. In fact, he was so upset that he initially turned down Avengers: Endgame.
He told Empire magazine, "There was supposed to be a lot more of Crossbones. I was the one character who I think should be in more of them, and these other idiot characters are still there. I was being an asshole, being a bit petulant."
However, his son convinced him to do the cameo.
Grillo continued, "He said, 'This is going to be the biggest movie in the world,' and he was right. And I had a beautiful time. They did the 10-year anniversary, Stan Lee was there, and I stood and went, 'What an asshole I am!'"
11. For Zachary Levi, booking the role of Fandral in the second and third Thor movies was "a dream come true," but he "didn’t really feel like the Warriors Three were used all that well." In Thor: Ragnarok, he "didn’t know [Fandral] was going to die, having said nothing," and "even the few words they gave [him] were going to be taken away."
At Dragon Con 2021, he said, "I got to be in the Marvel Universe and play a really kinda fun, interesting, different kinda character, and that ultimately Kenneth Branagh believed in me enough to cast me in the first one … that's very cool. ... I also didn’t have that much to do, ya know? And really, nothing to do in the third one."
12. When Edward Norton signed on to play Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, he "laid out a two-film thing" Marvel was excited by, but it "turned out, that wasn't what they wanted." The production itself was reportedly "a literal monster." He ultimately parted ways with Marvel and was replaced by Mark Ruffalo.
In a statement, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that the decision was "rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members."
However, a rebuttal from the actor's representatives called that statement "offensive" and "a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint [their] client in a negative light."
13. After playing Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, Hugo Weaving told Collider he was "glad" he did it, but it was "not something [he] would want to do again." He also said he'd only do another Marvel film "if [they] forced me to."
"I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film. It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it's not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by," he said.
Weaving later turned down the offer to appear in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. He told Time Out, "By then, they’d pushed back on the contracts that we agreed on, and so the money they offered me for The Avengers was much less than I got for the very first one, and this was for two films. And the promise when we first signed the contracts was that the money would grow each time. ... I actually found negotiating with them through my agent impossible. And I didn’t really wanna do it that much."
14. And finally, in the '80s, Robin Williams was initially cast as the titular character's voice for Howard the Duck. However, he reportedly quit after only a few days because, as a talented improviser, he was frustrated with the production's expectation for him to sync his voice to the bland, pre-filmed flapping of the duck puppet's bill.
Chip Zien, the actor who took over the role, told the Hollywood Reporter, "What I was told was by the third day, Robin said, 'I can’t do this. It is insane. I can't get the rhythm of this. I am being confined. I am being handcuffed in order to match the flapping duck's bill.'"