Actors Who Gave Incredibly Poor Performances On The Silver Screen
As an actor, poor performance in a film can be the downfall of their career. Alas, it has happened more than once, with horrible, dull, and outright miserable performances that have viewers wishing the actor would get off the screen.
From Julia Roberts’s try-hard attempt at a villain In Mirror Mirror to Kristen Stewart’s cringy boy-crazy character in Twilight, these are some of Hollywood’s worst performances.
Ben Affleck: Shakespeare In Love
The ironic part is, even though Ben Affleck’s performance as old-English actor Ned Alleyn was cringe-worthy to watch, Shakespeare in Love still managed to snag the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Even so, Affleck’s flaky British accent and dislikeable character, one of whom should have been charming and fun, did nothing for viewers.
Charlie Hunnam: Pacific Rim
The 2013 film Pacific Rim very well could have crashed and burned under actor Charlie Hunnam’s lifeless and dull performance as Raleigh Becket. Thankfully, it didn’t, but Hunnam’s blandness was definitely noticed by critics and viewers alike.
Jordan Hoffman from Film.com even went as far as calling Hunnam the “weak link in the cast” and a “charisma black hole.”
Nicole Kidman: Cold Mountain
While Cold Mountain received seven Academy Award nominations, none were for the performance of Nicole Kidman. Known for some fantastic films and television shows, Kidman’s portrayal of Ada Monroe didn’t quite hit home.
It probably had something to do with Kidman’s nonconvincing southern accent, leaving her delivery a bit weak and bland.
Scarlett Johansson: The Prestige
Sadly, one thing is holding The Prestige back: Scarlett Johannsson’s performance as Olivia Wenscombe, “The Great Danton” and “The Professors” assistant. As a turn-of-the-century character, Johannsson was tasked with delivering incredible dialogue with a British accent.
She did neither well, often looking as though she wasn’t sure if she was delivering her lines correctly and forgetting she was sharing scenes with other actors.
Katie Holmes: Batman Begins
Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins is a fantastic origin story for the Dark Knight. The only issue with the film is the two-dimensional performance of Katie Holmes’s Rachel Dawes.
Her portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s love interest is very bland, and she doesn’t put a whole lot of emotion behind the character’s dialogue. On top of that, her chemistry with co-star Christian Bale is pretty much non-existent.
Keanu Reeves: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Many people praise Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But over the years, people have stopped praising Gary Oldman’s performance of the title character and started bashing Keanu Reeves’s character Jonathan Harker.
There was no hiding the actor’s signature southern California accent, no matter how hard he tried at a British one. It led to a cringe-worthy performance in an otherwise classic film.
Colin Farrell: Alexander
Even actor Colin Farrell has gone on record saying his portrayal of the title character in the 2004 Alexander was one of his worst performances. Apparently, he brought too much of himself into the epic, making for a not-so-great performance on his part.
Farrell even wound up getting nominated for a Gold Raspberry Award and a Stinkers Bad Movie Award, both for Worst Actor.
Kristen Stewart: The Entire Twilight Saga
It’s no secret that Kristen Stewart delivers a cringe-worthy performance throughout the entire Twilight saga.
While the films weren’t winning any awards with the Academy, Stewart could have put a bit more dimension into her vampire-crazy character instead of making her solely a love-sick teenager who needs a guy to function.
George Clooney: Batman & Robin
After Tim Burton’s two Batman films, fans were eager to see Batman & Robin. It’s too bad George Clooney acted as though he’d rather be anywhere than wearing the anatomically-accurate bat suit.
He has gone on record apologizing for his horrible performance, saying that he was really a terrible Batman and thought he killed the franchise.
Hayden Christensen: Star Wars Prequel Trilogy
Actor Hayden Christensen got a bad batch when he was tasked with delivering horrible dialogue during the three Star Wars prequel films. Even so, he could have delivered lines like, “I hate sand” with a bit more emotion and not in complete monotone.
He wound up winning a Golden Raspberry for Worst Supporting Actor for both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
John Travolta: Battlefield Earth
While Battlefield Earth is widely considered one of the worst films ever made, the performance of John Travolta didn’t help its case. Travolta tried to bring his “too cool for school” attitude into a sci-fi film where he was an alien.
Spoiler: the stupid jokes and persona didn’t work, falling flat with audience viewers, the critics, and earning Travolta a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor.
Kathy Bates: The Day The Earth Stood Still
The 2008 remake of the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still was met with great reviews. But that doesn’t mean Kathy Bates’s performance was top-notch.
The Academy Award-winner had the part of United States Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson, a flat, boring performance, and very anti-Bates compared to her other work.
Emma Watson: Beauty And The Beast
It is difficult for Emma Watson to completely butcher a role. But she didn’t deliver in Beauty and the Beast, aside from one critical aspect of the character: the singing.
A musical, the film should have cast someone with experience singing. Instead, Watson was clearly out of her element and heavily autotuned.
Russell Crowe: Les Misérables
It is hard for an actor to portray an iconic character like Javert in Les Misérables if they cannot sing.
The film adaptation of the Broadway classic decided to cast action and drama star Russell Crowe in the role, an actor whose performance would have been amazing if he didn’t open his mouth to sing.
Gwyneth Paltrow: View From The Top
The concept of a young girl going through life hoping to achieve her dream of becoming an airline stewardess has the potential to be horrible. The film View From the Top proves just that, with little help from Gwyneth Paltrow to make the film any better.
The entire film featured a bland delivery coupled with a horrible performance; Paltrow has even said the film is one of the worst of her career.
Topher Grace: Spider-Man 3
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 is not without its quirks. But those quirks are at times overshadowed by Topher Grace, namely whenever his character of Eddie Brock is in the scene.
While Grace left That 70s Show behind to take on the silver screen, he didn’t leave his character of Eric Foreman. The actor’s portrayal of Brock was literally that of Foreman, a sarcastic guy with nothing to bring to the table. A much different persona than Brock is, in the comics.
Johnny Depp: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Johnny Depp has worked on numerous Tim burton films, so fans were excited when he was cast as Willy Wonka in the director’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Sadly, his performance fell short. A high-pitched voice and creepy demeanor turned what was supposed to be a quirky and weird character into something cringe-worthy.
Sofia Coppola: The Godfather Part III
Sofia Coppola’s performance as Mary Corleone in The Godfather Part III all but ended her acting career. A bland performance with no emotion or chemistry, Coppola is considered an “almost fatal-flaw” for the film.
Roger Ebert’s colleague, Gene Siskel said, “[Another] problem is the casting of Sofia Coppola, who is out of her acting league here.”
Cameron Diaz: Gangs Of New York
An otherwise amazing film, Gangs of New York, could have been done without the horrible performance put on by actress Cameron Diaz. Throughout the film, there seemed to be a disconnect between Diaz and the tough-as-nails thief she was portraying.
Not to mention her Irish-to-Scottish, back to American accent did nothing to help her case.
Julia Roberts: Mirror Mirror
While many people praised Lily Collins’s innocent and sweet performance as Snow White in Mirror Mirror, the same can’t be said about Julia Robert’s evil queen.
According to many viewers, her performance wasn’t convincing. One Rotten Tomato reviewer wrote, “Roberts probably never should have gotten into this role. She’s not right for it and doesn’t seem too interested in trying to make people dislike her.”
Dick Van Dyke: Mary Poppins
The film Mary Poppins might be a Disney classic, but the performance of the legendary actor Dick Van Dyke leaves little to be admired. As an American actor, Van Dyke’s British working-class cockney accent is eye-roll worthy.
While accepting a BAFTA Award, he even apologized for “the most atrocious Cockney accent in the history of cinema.”
Jake Gyllenhaal: Okja
The 2017 film Okja was met with great reviews, thanks to the mostly-stellar performances of the ensemble cast. Jake Gyllenhaal fell short of such praise.
His portrayal of disturbed zoologist and TV personality Johnny Wilcox was so over-the-top, eccentric and obnoxious that it took away from the scenes featuring him.
Chris Tucker: The Fifth Element
A cult classic, there is a lot wrong with The Fifth Element. Even so, a vast majority of the characters a likable, and the actors do a great job portraying them. The same can’t be said about Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhod.
His obnoxious portrayal of the talk show host is considered a low point for the film, with Josh Winning of Total Film ranking his performance as number 20 of the “50 Performances That Ruined Movies.”
Kristen Stewart: Snow White And The Huntsman
Kristen Stewart had the task of reinventing the tale of Snow White, becoming a huntress who overthrows the evil queen instead of a damsel in distress. It was an interesting concept that Stewart was unable to make convincing.
The character is supposed to be the leader of an army and overthrow a queen. Instead, she seems uninterested in pretty much everything.
January Jones: X-Men: First Class
Upon its release, X-Men: First Class was widely praised. Sadly, January Jones’s portrayal of the mutant Emma Frost was not met with the same regard.
The creator of the critically acclaimed television series Lost went to Twitter, speaking of Jones’s performance, saying, “Emma Frost’s THREE mutant powers: Telepathy, Transformation to Solid Diamond and last but not least, Sucking at Acting.”
Kevin Costner: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Ironically, the worst part about Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the actor playing the title character, Kevin Costner.
While his co-stars were getting praise left and right, people couldn’t get over the fact that Costner did not even attempt a British accent for the character that is ground in English lore.
Jodie Foster: Elysium
Jodie Foster might be an Academy Award-winning actress, but even they have the ability to misstep in a film. In Foster’s case, it came with her portrayal of Defense Secretary Jessica Delacourt in Elysium.
Foster’s strange futuristic accent detracted from what she was saying throughout the film. And her over-serious demeanor didn’t help matters.
Natalie Portman: Thor
Actress Natalie Portman is typically a great addition to any film. As an Academy Award-winner, her range is duly noted in pretty much all of her films, sans Thor.
In the film, Portman gave an emotionless performance as Jane Foster, the title character’s love interest with who she had zero chemistry with.
Nicolas Cage: Knowing
Nicolas Cage is known to take on questionable films. Even so, people tend to go into the films knowing they’re going to be quirky and over-the-top. Sadly, the script of Knowing didn’t give Cage much to work with.
All Cage does is scream, freak out, and act depressed throughout the film. His performance didn’t help the already lousy film.
Jaden Smith: After Earth
As the so of popular actor Will Smith, fans were excited to see Jaden Smith act alongside his father as a young adult and not a kid on the silver screen in After Earth. That excitement died down after Jaden’s opening narration.
Emotionless and with little to no skill, Jaden’s performance was weak and pretty much ended his acting career before it even began.