The 10 Worst Acting Jobs Ever Put On Screen In Big Budget Films

Even Hollywood's best can perform pretty badly sometimes; these are the worst acting jobs ever brought to the big screen.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

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Acting is a tough job, even for the most naturally talented, and some roles can be pretty hard to portray, especially if the casting director didn’t line up the right actor for the part. Even some of Hollywood’s favorite darlings can end up having an off day (or an off year) and make a bungle out of a performance or two, ending up ruining a scene or even an entire movie. So, even though we aren’t saying that the following actors are bad, we will say that these are some of the worst acting jobs ever put on screen in a big-budget film.

Hayden Christensen – Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

There were a lot of things that went wrong with the Star Wars prequels, and to be fair, it wasn’t all Hayden Christensen’s fault, although his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker has gone down in history as one of the worst acting jobs in Hollywood and it earned him a Golden Raspberry for Worst Actor in Episode III

But if we’re being honest, a lot of that fell on George Lucas for writing a truly terrible script for both films. For instance, a scene in Episode II that is supposed to show Anakin and Padme connecting with each other has Anakin rambling on about sand… Sand? Really? It’s a terrible line, and Christensen didn’t have the acting chops to deliver it well.

So while we’ve seen the actor can act through his other projects like Shattered Glass, his portrayal of Anakin in the Star Wars films was pretty abysmal.

Keanu Reeves – Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

A film needs more than a fresh take to become a great movie. So, while moviegoers were excited to see a romantic version of the classic Dracula tale, Keanu Reeves’ performance as Jonathan Harker almost killed the excitement for the crowd. While Keanu Reeves has proven he can do just about any genre from violent action flicks to cheesy comedies, there is one thing the actor had yet to perfect in 1992, and that was a British accent.

When actors need to speak in an accent that isn’t their own for a role in a film, they often work with a dialect coach to make sure they get it right. Either all the good coaches were taken that year, or Reeves decided he didn’t need to practice because his performance as Jonathan Harker ended up being one of the worst acting jobs in the 90s.

Sofia Coppola – Mary Corleone in The Godfather Part III (1990)

Many different actresses were considered for the part of the Godfather’s daughter in The Godfather III, including Madonna, Julia Roberts, and Winona Ryder. In fact, Ryder was originally cast in the film and shot for several weeks before dropping out due to nervous exhaustion. With production already begun and without a leading lady, Francis Ford Coppola cast his own daughter as Mary Corleone, much to the critic’s distaste.

The ending of The Godfather trilogy has often been considered the worst part of the franchise, and Sofia Coppola’s performance is often considered one of the worst acting jobs ever. Critics claimed that the part was too ambitious for her talent and her performance, which was supposed to be the emotional highlight of the film, was completely deadpan.

Megan Fox – Mikaela Banes in Transformers (2007) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Similar to Christensen in Star Wars, it isn’t entirely Megan Fox’s fault that her performance in the Transformers franchise was one of the worst acting jobs ever seen on screen. Fox’s character, Mikaela, was simply written as the cherry on top of a film franchise that was built to bring young straight males into the theater. None of the human characters in Transformers were written with interesting arcs as they’re simply ploys used to pull the story along until the robots can enter the screen for action sequences.

With a flatly written character like Mikaela whose only purpose is to add a bit of sexualization to a movie about robot toys, it’s no wonder that Fox delivered a bad performance in this franchise.

Halle Berry – Patience Phillips/Catwoman in Catwoman (2004)

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Catwoman isn’t just an example of one of the worst acting jobs on film, but also an example of one of the worst movies ever made as well. With an 8 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Halle Berry is actually one of the best aspects of this feature, even though she is truly terrible. Again, however, it isn’t necessarily the fault of the actress, but more the fault of the writers and directors for thinking that a female-led superhero film could be about nothing more than sex appeal.

Halle Berry won a Golden Raspberry Award for her contribution to terrible cinema, and she accepted it gracefully, unlike many others who have shared the same accolade.

John Travolta – Terl in Battlefield Earth (2000)

worst acting jobs

Few movies are rated as abysmally as Battlefield Earth. Earning a whopping 3 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this science fiction adventure written by the founder of Scientology is one of the worst movies ever made and John Travolta’s performance as the villain is one of the worst acting jobs ever performed.

The film was a passion project for Travolta, which almost makes you feel bad that it turned out so awful. Often regarded as the worst sci-fi movie of the 21st century, Travolta’s acting in the movie is only one reason why it’s so rotten. Although his performance alone is a good enough excuse to never want to see this movie.

Orlando Bloom – Paris in Troy (2004)

worst acting jobs

When Troy came out in 2004, critics bombarded Orlando Bloom with terrible reviews for playing Paris as a weak, cowardly, spineless, selfish, idiot of a character. It was a far cry from what Bloom had played as the heroic Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl or the wise sharpshooting Legolas in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, but his performance wasn’t actually one of the worst acting jobs seen on screen as critics claimed it to be. In fact, it’s pretty good considering that Paris is supposed to be a weak, spineless, selfish boy who starts an epic war.

Nicolas Cage – Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider (2007)

worst acting jobs

Nicolas Cage has done it all, and we mean literally done it all. He’s been in some great films (Pig and Moonstruck), and he’s been in some truly terrible films (Deadfall and Left Behind). But one of his worst acting jobs on screen was as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider was one of the last Marvel-adapted movies before the MCU came around in 2008, and so it was also one of the last comic book movies to be made before Hollywood knew how to make a good comic book movie. That could partly explain why Cage’s performance was so terrible in this film, but so could Cage’s infamous eccentric personality. Ghost Rider is supposed to be edgy and intimidating, but Cage’s performance came off as weird and a little bit funny, which was very wrong for the character and the tone of the film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – Jack Slater/Himself in Last Action Hero (1993)

worst acting jobs

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the best actor even in his most successful films. He’s a guy who can handle action stunts and throw a few funny one-liners, but there isn’t much depth to any of his performances. So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to making meta spoofs on the genre that made Schwarzenegger famous, it comes across as one of the worst acting jobs ever to be put on screen in a big-budget film.

The Last Action Hero had the potential to be a major blockbuster like other Schwarzenegger tentpoles, but its chaotic mess of a script, unfocused tone, and lackluster performance from its lead made the film receive mostly mixed and negative reviews from audiences and critics alike.

Mike Myers – The Cat in the Hat in The Cat in the Hat (2003)

worst acting jobs

After watching The Cat in the Hat, based on Dr. Suess’s most popular picture book, critics claimed that Mike Myers played the titular character as if he knew it was a bad idea, but it was too late to turn around. The live-action film should have been left to remain an animated children’s classic, but instead, it was turned into a fever dream of a movie filled with potty humor and flat acting, not just by Myers, but by the entire cast. While Myers has played some pretty out-there characters during his almost 50 years in Hollywood, The Cat in the Hat was by far one of his worst acting jobs.