12 Stars Who Refused To Promote Their Own MoviesPublished on February 25, 2016. Updated August 16, 2017
Many great films become flops due to failures in marketing, but it’s a whole different ball game when big-budget flicks lack their star’s support! I mean you’d assume that you could count on the acting team you’ve just paid vast sums of money to pull through for you on the promotion front, but for some film producers, it’s just not the case. This list takes a look at those actors who blatantly refused to endorse their own films.
12. Mo’Nique (Precious)
When Lee Daniels wanted Mo’Nique to take to social networks like Instagram and Twitter to promote the 2009 film Precious, she flat out refused. It would seem that her pay check of $50,000 had something to do with it. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Mo’Nique stated, “When you work Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week, and then your boss calls you up and says we need you to come in on Saturday and work for ten hours, do you do that for free?” Alright, well no…but I also don’t get paid $50,000 for a few month’s work or win fancy golden statues! Five years after winning the Academy Award for her role for Best Supporting Actress, Mo’Nique told a reporter that she felt Daniels had sabotaged her career. “I got a phone call from Lee Daniels maybe six or seven months ago. And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ And I said, ‘I’ve been blackballed? Why have I been blackballed?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.’ And I said, ‘Well, what game is that?’ And he gave me no response.” Guess it pays in the long run to support your director!
11. Ed Harris (The Abyss)
While on set, there were some major disagreements between veteran actor Ed Harris and renowned director James Cameron. These issues were well-known by the media since the cast had taken referring to the project as “Life’s Abyss and then you dive,” and “The Abuse,” and when Harris didn’t make promotional events, rumors began flying about the feud. Although Harris later denied the claims, he also stated, “I’m never talking about it and never will.” It’s said that Ed Harris almost died while filming a scene that required him to hold his own breath—he almost drowned. Similarly, his co-star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio spoke negatively of the process. “The Abyss was a lot of things. Fun to make was not one of them.” She reportedly suffered a physical and emotional breakdown due to the demands of the film and one day Harris had to pull his car over on the drive home because he spontaneously burst into tears. Yikes!
10. Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights)
The Oscar nominated film Boogie Nights received rave reviews from everyone except its mustachioed star, Burt Reynolds! Burt was said to have hated the flick so much due to the incomprehensible “rhythm” of the script. He even fired his agent for recommending the role for him. According to the films leading man, Mark Wahlberg, Burt was constantly trying out new ideas including an Irish accent and he also confirmed Burt’s ‘hate’ for the film. And while Reynolds received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his part, Wahlberg suggests that it was his piss-poor attitude toward the film that lost it for him in the end, stating he would have won “had he not dug such a hole for himself.” At least he won the Golden Globe…
9. Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music)
The Sound of Music is considered by many to be a film of greatness and has even surpassed Gone with the Wind as the highest-grossing film of all time! It took the Oscars, with 5 Academy Awards including one for Best Picture. Many generations of theater and film lovers have warmly enjoyed the tale of a wayward nun finding love in a time of war, but Christopher Plummer, the head of the Von Trapp family, reportedly refers to the film as The Sound of Mucus. He even refused to promote the film at the 40th anniversary of the film in 2005! Say it ain’t so Captain!
8. Shia LeBeouf (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Nymphomaniac Volume 1)
Shia has a history of not exactly standing by his work. After the completion of Indiana Jones Shia famously…or infamously…trashed the film. “I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished,” he stated openly. He even went on to say that Harrison Ford wasn’t happy with the final product either. “We [Harrison Ford and LaBeouf] had major discussions. He wasn’t happy with it either. Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn’t universally accepted.” And this wasn’t the only time that Shia failed at his promotion duties. In 2013, LeBeouf suffered a very public meltdown and showed up to the premiere with a bag over his head that read “I am not famous anymore.” With a couple more displays like that, you may very well get your wish!
7. Jim Carrey (Kick Ass 2)
Jim Carrey decided that the highly anticipated regular-guy meets super hero film Kick Ass 2 promoted youth violence in a way that he regretted after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Carrey took to Twitter to explain his reason for not promoting the film. “I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence.” And while his followers responded with suggestions that he donate his salary/blood money from the film to charity, Jim subsequently remained silent on the issue and did not respond. I guess he didn’t have too much of an issue making a buck off that level of violence.
6. Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk)
Super hero movies are normally big blockbuster hits and give their leading lads and ladies a boost in their level of exposure in Hollywood land. But The Incredible Hulk, while successful, under-delivered on its suspected success, and the film’s star, Edward Norton, may have had a hand in the disappointing outcome. It is said that Norton took issue with the scriptwriter’s vision for the humanity of the character and the writer was forced to do several re-writes to no avail. Norton is also said to have fought with the producers over the film’s running time and he felt that the final product did not live up to his expectations. As a result, he and Universal’s Adam Fogleson planned a promotional tour that avoided media interviews and awkward questions about the feud. And while Edward attended the film premiere, during the film’s release he was MIA and reportedly doing charity work in Africa…or was on vacation depending on who you talk to.
5. Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up)
Katherine Heigl became a household name and A-list movie star after the release of the flick Knocked Up. But in spite of the commercial success of the film, Heigl criticized how her character was portrayed in the movie as a “b****” and “killjoy.” Her co-star Seth Rogen and director Judd Apatow were having none of it, and took to the airwaves of Howard Stern’s radio show to call her out! They said that she was the one that improvised her own lines and that’s what made her character look like b****! But time has healed all wounds and in hindsight Seth is able to forgive Katherine’s complaints. “I think that at the time I was offended about it, but since then…I mean, you do so much press that, odds are, you’re going to say something f*cking stupid every once in a while.” Probably still explains why Apatow cut her character out of the “sort-of” sequel, This is 40.
4. Bill Cosby (Leonard Part 6)
Bill Cosby may have conceived, produced, and starred in the monumentally unfunny spy spoof Leonard Part 6, but he made no attempt to hide his distaste for the film once the project was complete. Instead of going out and promoting the flick, Cosby took to the talk-show circuit to where he implored audiences not to see his massive flop! And fans listened! The $35 million budget was blown when the box office only drew $4.6 million! Oops!
3. Michael Caine (Jaws: The Revenge)
Michael Caine is a well-respected actor, but he wasn’t much of a fan of his own film, the sequel to the 1975 classic Jaws. Caine didn’t participate in any promotion for the film and even admitted that he never saw the final cut. Even though he never saw it, he stated, “…by all accounts it was terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” Guess you can’t stay mad with the roundabout compliment!
2. Daniel Craig & Rachel Weisz (Dream House)
Real-life couple Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz teamed up to film the psychological thriller Dream House, but apparently the pair were so dissatisfied with the final cut of the film, they refused to promote it. They didn’t take too much heat for the decision though. The director, Jim Sheridan, also refused to promote the movie. The flick turned out to be a flop earning $38.5 million at the box office, and losing with its $50 million budget! Ouch!
1. Robin Williams (Aladdin)
Robin Williams’ voiceover work as the Genie in Aladdin made the film a success; however, before the release of the animated classic in 1992, the actor-comedian made a bizarre request. He asked that his voice not be used in the film’s promotion and that his character not be the main focal point in any advertisements. His rationale was that he was simultaneously releasing another film, Toys, and he didn’t want to compete with himself…it didn’t seem to help Toys — the flick turned out to be a bit of bust! Unlike Aladdin that went on to win 2 Academy Awards and earn Williams a Golden Globe for his vocal work!