11 Famous People Who Apologized for Their Own Movies
These 11 actors and directors just want to say how sorry they are for that movie they made.
1. and 2. George Clooney and Joel Schumacher // Batman & Robin (1997)
George Clooney has apologized repeatedly for the disastrous Batman & Robin, for everything from the film's campy tone to his portrayal of the Dark Knight to the batsuit's nipples.
"I always apologize for Batman & Robin," Clooney admitted on The Graham Norton Show in May 2015. "Let me just say that I’d actually thought I’d actually destroyed the franchise until somebody else brought it back years later and changed it." (That someone, of course, was Christopher Nolan, who directed a trilogy of Bat-films, starting with Batman Begins in 2005.) He continued, "I thought at the time that this was going to be a very good career move. Um, it wasn’t."
Like Clooney, director Joel Schumacher also apologized for the fourth installment in the Batman franchise. During a retrospective interview on the Batman & Robin special edition DVD, Schumacher said, "If there’s anybody watching this that, let’s say, loved Batman Forever and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation, if I disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize because it wasn’t my intention. My intention was just to entertain them."
3. Shia LaBeouf // Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (2008)
During a press conference for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, Shia LaBeouf publicly apologized for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. "You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg]," he said. "But the actor's job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn't do it. So that's my fault. Simple."
4. Oliver Stone // Midnight Express (1978)
In 2005, Oliver Stone traveled to Turkey to personally apologize to the country’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Erkan Mumcu, for the portrayal of the Turkish people in 1978's Midnight Express. The film follows Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American on vacation in Turkey when he was arrested for trying to smuggle hashish out of the country. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, where he was beaten and tortured, but successfully escaped after five years. Stone won his first Oscar, for Best Adapted Screenplay, for the script (which was his first). Mumcu believes that Midnight Express is responsible for years of negative views and stereotypes against Turkey and its people.
"It’'s true I overdramatized the script," Stone told reporters in Istanbul. "But the reality of Turkish prisons at the time was also referred to … by various human rights associations. For years, I heard that Turkish people were angry with me, and I didn'’t feel safe there. The culture ministry gave me a guarantee that I would be safe, so I feel comfortable now."
After meeting with the director, Mumcu said, "Mr. Stone's expression of regret doesn't heal the wounds our nation [has suffered] but it's still important."
5. J.D. Shapiro // Battlefield Earth (2000)
When John Travolta commissioned screenwriter J.D. Shapiro to adapt one of L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction novels into a feature film, Shapiro pitched Battlefield Earth—but his version of the screenplay was darker and grittier than what eventually appeared on the big screen, a huge flop that was widely panned. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 received the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture of the Decade in 2010, and Shapiro happily accepted the Razzie. He also penned an open letter in the New York Post, writing, "Let me start by apologizing to anyone who went to see Battlefield Earth. It wasn’t as I intended—promise. No one sets out to make a train wreck. Actually, comparing it to a train wreck isn’t really fair to train wrecks, because people actually want to watch those."
6. Eli Roth // Hostel (2005)
In 2005, director Eli Roth formally apologized to the Icelandic Minister of Culture for the bizarre portrayal of Óli, the drunken sex-crazed, Icelandic college student in Hostel. "We had a premiere there (Iceland) and the Minister of Culture threw me a huge dinner," Roth told Dread Central. "I got to issue a formal apology to the Minister of Culture for ruining Icelandic culture, which he accepted." Additionally, the President of Iceland also issued Eli Roth an official presidential pardon for the horror movie. "Well, you know, your character is pretty accurate so I’ll give you the pardon," he joked.
7. Jeffrey Katzenberg // Envy (2004)
"I apologize profusely for Envy," DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said during the press conference for Shark Tale during the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. Envy, which had been released just a month earlier, followed an inventor (Jack Black) whose his best friend (Ben Stiller) became increasingly jealous of his success. It was almost a straight-to-video movie, but the success of School of Rock, which starred Jack Black a year before, convinced DreamWorks to release Envy theatrically. It was a box office bomb, had very low critical ratings, and Stiller was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor. A trifecta of terrible!
8. Vincent Gallo // The Brown Bunny (2003)
After audiences booed The Brown Bunny at its premiere during the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, its director, Vincent Gallo, immediately apologized for making the film, which he called "a disaster and a waste of time." He vowed never to make another movie, but not before apologizing to his producers and backers. "If no one wants to see it, they are right," he said. "I apologize to the financiers of the film, but I must assure you it was never my intention to make a pretentious film, a self-indulgent film, a useless film, an unengaging film."
9. Paul Newman // The Silver Chalice (1954)
Paul Newman was so embarrassed by his acting debut in The Silver Chalice that he called the low budget film "the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s." In 1963, a local Los Angeles TV station was scheduled to air The Silver Chalice for several nights, and Newman spent $1200 on buying space in two local newspapers that read, "Paul Newman apologizes every night this week—Channel 9." Although he hoped people wouldn’t watch The Silver Chalice, his plea backfired—the broadcast attracted high ratings because of the extra publicity.
10. Carol Burnett // The Front Page (1974)
In Billy Wilder’s stage-to-film adaptation of The Front Page, Carol Burnett played Mollie Malloy, a prostitute who befriends a convict who escapes prison. She wasn’t very happy with her performance, and when on a Los Angeles to New York plane that was playing The Front Page as its in-flight movie, she used the airplane’s PA system to apologize to the other passengers. "This is Carol Burnett," she announced, as she recalled in her memoir This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection. "And I want to take this opportunity to apologize to each and every one of you for my performance in the film you just saw."
11. Bruce Willis // Striking Distance (1993)
In 2004, Bruce Willis appeared on an episode of On The Record with Bob Costas where he publicly apologized for Striking Distance, saying, "it sucked."