Imagine reading a script, signing on to star in the movie and, years later, wishing it all never happened?
It’s more common than you think, but not for the reasons you’d expect.
Sure, George Clooney gets a lot of mileage mocking his turn as Bruce Wayne in “Batman and Robin.” The star was just getting his feet wet in big screen entertainment, and he’d have been foolish to turn down a chance to don the iconic cowl.
He ridicules the choice now because it temporarily ended the Bat franchise and became an embarrassing footnote to his Oscar-winning career. Plus, those Bat nipples earned universal scorn.
What’s happening lately is different.
Woke star Bryce Dallas Howard recently said she wouldn’t have appeared in one of her biggest hits had it crossed her desk today. The daughter of Oscar winner Ron Howard says her 2011 movie “The Help,” which earned $169 million at the U.S. box office, should have been told by black filmmakers, period.
“This being said, ‘The Help’ is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers,” she said. “We can all go further.…”
“In this transformation that’s happening, there’s a new freedom of expression. I’m seeing from others — and feeling from myself — that it is less about worrying about offending people and looking within and saying, ‘Why? What really am I scared of, and what is that reinforcing?'” said the actress. “And so I posted it and didn’t look back.”
Her co-star in the film, Viola Davis shared a similar sentiment.
Will Howard or Davis give back the money they earned on “The Help?” We’ll see. The film in question is igniting new interest after scoring fresh attention on Netflix. That sparked at least one columnist scolding viewers for enjoying the film in the first place.
We’ve yet to hear from “The Help” co-star Octavia Spencer, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work on the film.
The Oscar crowd that night gave Spencer a standing ovation. Do they regret that, too?
This post-film regret feels similar to what the stars of Woody Allen’s recent project expressed once the auteur got canceled for past actions (both real and alleged). Allen’s alleged abuse of daughter Dylan Farrow resurfaced following the #MeToo movement’s rise, causing some of Allen’s cast members to second guess their choices.
Rising star Timothy Chamalet said he’d donate the money he made from making Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York” after Cancel Culture woke up and realized Allen wasn’t a moral superstar.
“I have been asked in a few recent interviews about my decision to work on a film with Woody Allen last summer. I’m not able to answer the question directly because of contractual obligations. But what I can say is this: I don’t want to profit from my work on the film, and to that end, I am going to donate my entire salary to three charities: Time’s Up, the LGBT Centre in New York, and Rainn [the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network].
“I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all the people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
“Rainy Day” co-stars Rebecca Hall, who previously worked with Allen on 2008’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” and Griffin Newman similarly vowed to give their salaries to sexual assault organizations after completing the film.
It’s worth noting all the allegations against Allen were publicly discussed at great length prior to the stars joining Allen on set for the film. Allen denied the charges as early as 1992.
Comic actor Jonah Hill doesn’t necessarily regret appearing in “Superbad,” the 2008 comedy that helped make him a star. He still isn’t keen on the subject matter in question, particularly the “toxic masculinity” on full display.
Hill added that he hoped he could “illuminate” young fans of his earlier work about some of the problematic behavior it depicted, saying: “It’s not like a responsibility. It’s where my heart is, and what I want to make. But at the same time I’m learning I’ve got to unlearn a lot of stuff, and maybe some of the people that liked ‘Superbad’ will come with me on that journey.”