15 Movie Roles That Actors Say Utterly Sucked The Joy Or Passion Out Of Their Work

Charlize Theron said that, on the Mad Max: Fury Road set, she had a very contentious relationship with costar Tom Hardy. She said, "It got to a place where it was kind of out of hand, and there was a sense that maybe sending a woman producer down could maybe equalize some of it. A lot of what I felt was coming my way from Doug [Mitchell, another producer] was … oh, [screw] it. I'll just say it. It was a man forgiving another man for really bad behavior, and I didn't feel safe."

Faking their emotions is basically the core of an actor's job. Sometimes, they're so good at it that audiences don't even realize they were actually having a horrible time. Other times, actors purposefully put themselves into a challenging emotional state through method acting.

Here are 15 times actors were secretly miserable on set (and why):

1. In 2024, Anya Taylor-Joy told the New York Times, "I've never been more alone than making [Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga]. I don't want to go too deep into it, but everything that I thought was going to be easy was hard."

Furiosa in elaborate warrior makeup aims a crossbow, intense expression, post-apocalyptic backdrop

2. Charlize Theron reportedly had a contentious working relationship with costar Tom Hardy on Mad Max: Fury Road. According to Mark Goellnicht, a camera operator who was interviewed for the book Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, the actors argued after Tom was three hours late while Charlize had been waiting on set in costume the entire time. Mark said, "[Tom] was quite aggressive. She really felt threatened, and that was the turning point because then she said, 'I want someone as protection.' She then had a producer that was assigned to be with her all the time."

Furiosa, a character from Mad Max, looks intently through a vehicle's window

3. Likewise, Charlize Theron tried out method acting for The Devil's Advocate because director Taylor Hackford wanted her to. In 2022, Charlize told the Smartless podcast, "I realized on that film that that was definitely not a process that was gonna work for me. There was something so exhausting about it. My life was miserable. I wasn't happy."

Charlize Theron in a professional suit in a scene

4. Zoë Saldaña hated working on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. In 2014, she told the Hollywood Reporter, "Those weren’t the right people for me. I’m not talking about the cast. The cast was great. I’m talking about the political stuff that went on behind closed doors. It was a lot of above-the-line versus below-the-line, extras versus actors, producers versus PAs. It was very elitist. I almost quit the business."

Zoë as a pirate on a boat in a scene

5. In 2016, Amy Hill told the AV Club that she didn't like working on The Cat in the Hat because of her costar Mike Meyers's behavior. She said, "He had his handlers dress his trailer, and his area was all covered with tenting because he didn't want anybody seeing him. It was so weird. It was just the worst. It was like I was there forever, and my daughter was 2 and a half, and I felt like I was missing her first everything. I was miserable. I just thought it was really rude for him to not take all of us into consideration."

in a scene, Amy in a sweater and stylized wig and waving with a bag and yarn

6. According to her The Devil Wears Prada costar Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep was "miserable" playing Miranda Priestly. In 2023, Emily told Variety's Actors on Actors, "She said it was one of the first times she’s tried Method acting. But it made her so miserable."

Miranda Priestly, portrayed by Meryl Streep in 'The Devil Wears Prada', is shown looking stern with a fur-trimmed coat

7. In 2019, Sanaa Lathan told CBS Local, "I was miserable [filming Love & Basketball]. I can laugh about it now. I got the job, and I think Gina [Prince-Bythewood, the writer/director] finally got to the point where she had to hire somebody. It's almost like she hired me because she couldn't find somebody else. There wasn't a lot of joy, and there wasn't a lot of trust in me."

in a scene, Sanaa in a sleeveless top sits pensively in a shadowed area

8. In 2018, Christopher Eccleston told the Guardian, "Working on something like [G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra] was horrendous. I just wanted to cut my throat every day."

in a scene, Chris in a dark suit portrays a character in a futuristic control room setting

9. Christopher Eccleston also told the Guardian, "And [Thor: The Dark World]? Just a gun in your mouth."

Chris as Malekith pointed ears and a helmet in a dramatic expression

10. Michael B. Jordan allowed himself to get to a difficult emotional place for his Black Panther role. In 2023, he told Rolling Stone, "Killmonger allowed me to access the pain. And the unapologetic frustration that I had. But then, obviously, there’s a sadness that comes along with that. I dove into that for a lot longer than I ever had before. So coming out of that [role] it was hard to want love. Because during shooting I kept myself from family and children, and away from everything that Killmonger never had."

Michael as Kilmonger, wearing an open coat and Wakandan necklace, surrounded by guards

11. In 2015, Brie Larson told Variety that playing Ma in Room was an "emotional marathon." She said, "It hit a point near the end of shooting that there was so much intensity with every scene — tears you want to come out, you don’t have the hydration for them."

Ma on a couch gesturing during an emotional conversation

12. In 2023, Freddie Prinze Jr. told TooFab that he had a challenging time on the I Know What You Did Last Summer set because director Jim Gillespie didn't want him there. He said, "It's not that we weren't on the same page. I knew what the correct choices were for the Ray character. He wanted a different actor, a really good actor named Jeremy Sisto, who I know and I like and respect very very much...There was no passive aggressiveness — which I hate — he was very direct in the fact that 'I don't want you in this movie.' So when that's your first job, and you hear those words, it just wrecks you, man. It just wrecks you."

in a scene, Freddie with a contemplative look, in a dark shirt layered over a lighter one

13. Then-17-year-old Nicolas Cage reportedly had a miserable time filming Fast Times at Ridgemont High because some of the other actors made fun of him. In 1996, he told Entertainment Weekly, "I was pretty much the nerd to everybody — people would ask me to be removed from their eye line."

in a scene, Nic in a chef's hat and apron appears concerned in a kitchen setting

14. In Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer was so miserable in her Catwoman suit that, once filming wrapped, she burned them all. In 2007, she told the Oklahoman, "I hated wearing that catsuit so much. By the end, we had a bonfire, and I was just so happy. There were a zillion of them because they'd break, and you'd have to throw one on."

Catwoman character portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer in a vinyl costume with a whip, posed dynamically against a dark backdrop

15. And finally, David Cross only appeared in all three Alvin & the Chipmunks movies out of contractual obligation. In 2011, he told IndieWire, "This last film [Chipwrecked] was literally, without question, the most unpleasant experience I've ever had in my professional life."

in a scene, David as Ian in glasses wearing a fluffy costume resembling a bird, outdoors