There’s a thing we all go through at least once in our lives either we’re 10-years-old or 60-years-old – there are times where we either absolutely can’t stand hearing ourselves with our own ears or seeing ourselves with our own eyes. But, then again, that’s us normal folk. How do celebrities feel whenever they see themselves up on the big (or little) screen? As you would expect, most don’t mind and are used to it. Then you have those rare birds who, well, absolutely can’t stand it.
It has to be rare whenever an actor doesn’t like watching their likeness projected onto a screen, especially if they’re popular. They have to deal with seeing their faces pop up onto the screen when they least expect it (like during ads, commercials, or – heaven forbid – on the side of a bus or massive billboard in the middle of Time’s Square.
Of course, everyone has a different reason for why they don’t like watching themselves on the screen: “I can’t stand my own voice”, “I don’t want to remember the time when I was working on that”, “What’s the point? As long as the work was completed and it was good?” Whatever the reason, don’t try to get these 20 celebs to plant down and watch their own work – they won’t be having any of that today.
20 "I Don't Want To Spiral Into A State Of Self-Hate" – Reese Witherspoon
We know what you’re thinking: “How could America’s Sweetheart not like watching herself on screen?” We all immensely enjoy watching Reese Witherspoon’s work, so it puzzles us that she really doesn’t like watching herself. Turns out, she just doesn’t remember doing most of her work.
“I have absolute amnesia about every movie I’ve ever made,” she once told Daily Express. “I won’t watch them because if I did I would spiral into a state of self-hate but I sometimes catch the odd clip of something. I look at it and think, “I have absolutely no memory of that.”
While it seems pretty hard to believe she doesn’t remember every movie she’s ever starred in ( I mean, she has to at least remember doing scenes with her then future-ex-husband Ryan Phillippe in Cruel Intentions?) but it’s understandable that she does.
Reese is in the middle of shooting the second installment of HBO’s award-winning series Little Big Lies where the actress plays a Monterey Bay mom alongside Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodly, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, and now, this season, Meryl Streep. Witherspoon drew critical acclaim for her portrayal of Madeline Mackenzie during the first season (which was actually supposed to be just a miniseries, but did so well that HBO purchased the second season) so hopefully, she’ll keep that streak alive.
19 "I'll Just Cringe" – Zac Efron
You would never assume that someone who is as stunning in the looks department as Zac Efron wouldn’t like watching his handsome face projected onto the screen, but, as it turns out, he’s not the biggest fan of himself. Well, at least of his younger self. Apparently, Zac really can’t revisit his old High School Musical days because he’s not a fan of his acting skills back when he was a fresh-faced newcomer. “I tend to, especially the first time around, pick out every single flaw, or things I could have and should have done better,” the actor once said, according to mentalfloss.com. “I don’t know why, but I tend to dwell on those things.”
We sure fans of all the Musical movies would beg to differ, ditto goes for producers since Zac stars in nearly everything these days. He said that he was “more of a cringer” when he would attempt to sit down and rewatch his old work, but the older he’s gotten, the easier it’s become. Perhaps the years between the projects help him grow as an actor? Whatever the cause, we’re glad he’s finally seeing the light and gets as much joy out of watching himself as we have all these years.
18 "It Just Wasn't Fun" – Emma Stone
When it comes to actress Emma Stone, not all of her work is unwatchable according to her. She’s pretty much has watched every movie she’s ever starred in – except one.
Turns out, the redhead darling has never watched the movie that basically put her on the map: Easy A.
“Oh god, I was a wreck during that,” the actress revealed to director/writer Cameron Crowe during an interview with Interview Magazine. “I didn’t sleep much. I remember the day I wrapped Easy A. Getting into the car as the sun was coming up because it had been a night shoot… It felt like a house had been lifted off of me. I felt a great deal of pressure making that movie, because in my personal life at the time, too, things were just… It was like a hurricane. I’ve still never seen it.”
The film is about a perfect student who starts to spread a little white lie in high school, which ends up blowing her entire personal life out of proportion. So, frankly, we kinda get where Emma is coming from. The movie, however, was a giant hit and was reasonable for Emma starting to blow up. So hopefully she’ll eventually get around to watching it later down the line.
17 "I Just Saw All The Mistakes" – Adam Driver
Recently, Adam Driver is known around Hollywood parts for his turning-role in the Star Wars franchise (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), but before that, he was on the HBO award-winning show Girls with Lena Dunham and Alison Williams. He actually sat down to watch his work in the pilot episode of the show, and that’s when he decided not to watch his own work in the future.
“Because I saw all the mistakes,” the actor said on The Howard Stern Show. “The things that I wished I could change, but couldn’t because it’s permanent. Plus, I came from a theater background where you don’t get to see it… I’d want to make it better looking or perfect, and that’s a trap.”
Okay, so he never watched his excellent work on Girls, but does that mean he won’t watch anything he’s done? When it comes to Star Wars, he actually did watch the movies and “suffered” through his performances. “Because we did so much work on it… it seemed like I should try getting over it. And it’s Star Wars. I literally can’t believe that I was in it.” He did admit that it was an awkward experience for him in the beginning when he sat through the movies, but he was able to get past constantly judging himself and his performance.
16 "I'd Rather Look Ahead" – Meryl Streep
One wouldn’t think that one of the most recognizable faces in the entire world wouldn’t like seeing her own amazing work (heck, she’s been nominated for an Oscar about a billion times) but the thing is, Meryl Streep prefers to only watch her work once, and then call it a night. While she was speaking at the Monte Cristo Awards, the woman considered a genius in most Hollywood circles said that she won’t rewatch her films.
“I don’t do that,” the actress expressed on cheatsheet.com. “I just look ahead.”
And what’s in the future? Steep is currently shooting the second season of Big Little Lies, where she plays the mother of a character who happened to meet his demise during the first season. Actress and co-star shared the first image of Meryl on the set of the HBO series a little while back. “First day on the set with Meryl and “my” darling boys! #BigLittleLies” Kidman commented on the photo of a reading glasses, bob wearing Meryl on the set. Mary Louise arrival in Monterey California is met with mix emotions after the death of her son (played by Alexander Skarsgard last season). Reese Witherspoon even jumped in and posted the picture on her own Instagram feed. “Can’t wait for y’all to see what we have in store!” she commented. Neither can we.
15 "I Stay Away As Far As I Possibly Can" — Johnny Depp
We have never really met a person on the planet who doesn’t know who exactly Johnny Depp is and what he’s starred in over the past few decades. Thing is, Depp really doesn’t like watching his own performances. In an interview with David Letterman back in 2009, he claimed that his own kids have seen more of his movies than he has. “In a way, once my job is done in a film, it’s really none of my business,” Depp told the late-night host. “I stay far away as I possibly can… I don’t like watching myself.”
After his movie The Lone Ranger opened to dismal reviews during its opening weekend back in 2013, Depp shrugged off the negativity. “There’s always going to be naysayers, everybody has got an opinion, man,” Depp said to The Independent about the harsh reviews. “The great Christopher Hitchens said that everyone in the world has a book inside them, and that’s exactly where it should stay. So people can critique and dissect but I know that I approached it in the right way. And that’s all I can do.”
“I made a choice a long time ago, that I was better off not watching my films, which is a drag because you miss out on a lot of your friends’ incredible work,” Depp said in the same interview. “But I feel like it would just harm me.”
14 "Most Actors Are Pretty Insecure" — Megan Fox
Out of all the actresses in Hollywood, you would assume that Megan Fox wouldn’t struggle with insecurities. Thing is, much like everyone else in her industry, she does. “I think most actors are pretty insecure,” Fox once said when asked if she watches her own movies. Thing is, the beautiful actress has actually said before in interviews that she suffers from anxiety attacks whenever she sees her herself on screen.
“I never (look at myself), even in still photographs,” the actress said on Fox News. “I don’t look at anything. I panic if there is a monitor in the room I immediately go into, like, an anxiety attack. I’m insecure.” In Fox’s mind, she shouldn’t even be in the industry she’s actually in.
“There are people who get clearly over-hyped. I was in one movie and in my opinion, I should not be famous at all. But the movie (Transformers) was really successful and whatever part I served in it, I did. And it happened.”
Fox apparently has an issue with the whole ‘keeping her mouth closed’ while in the spotlight.
“I’m not coping very well with all this. Really I’m insane and I don’t know how to control my mouth, but I’m working on it.”
13 "Who Even Watches Their Own Stuff?" — Tom Hanks
Like Meryl Streep not watching her own work more than once in a lifetime, we also find it extremely hard to believe that the beloved actor Tom Hanks feels the same about his own work. And the fact of the matter is simple: He really doesn’t understand why anyone would want to watch their own performances.
“I don’t watch any of my old movies,” Hanks once said to Shortlist movie magazine. The one that I might watch with great affection is a little movie I directed, That Thing You Do, which I’m not in that much. I loved doing it so much that when I watch it now, it still brings a smile to my face.” How about everything else?
“I don’t watch my own performances – who does that? That would be madness. I’ve seen all my movies once, but I don’t need to see them again, because they don’t change.” While all that is perfectly understandable, who the heck HASN’T watched Sleepless In Seattle or Big more than once? I mean, I understand why anyone wouldn’t watch Saving Private Ryan more than once, but all the light-hearted stuff? C’mon, Hanks, they’re really good and uplifting – plus, it might get you into a mood where you want to work with Meg Ryan again.
12 "I'll Just Be Disappointed" — Ben Foster
There are some movies that Ben Foster won’t watch, and there are some that he will when it comes to his own work. However, he hasn’t watched his own stuff in years and it’s incredibly rare when he actually does so. One such movie of his that he DID enjoy watching was Hell or High Water “I don’t enjoy watching what I do most of the time,” the actor said in an interview with Metro. “I’m usually pretty disappointed with how it was handled. That’s the hard truth about it. Filmmakers and financiers come under pressure to serve a certain result, and that’s not necessarily the one we started with. I come in and I build, and sometimes they handle it well, and sometimes they don’t. I try not to worry about it and move onto the next one.”
Foster especially enjoyed playing a sociopath in Water since the character looked like he enjoyed being bad.
“He enjoys his life. He enjoys the transience of this human experience to the hilt. He knows he’s not going to get out alive. He says to his brother, “I never met anyone who got away with anything.” That’s a big key for Tanner. It ain’t gonna end pretty. So in the meanwhile, wheeeee!”
11 Won't Even Let Her Husband Watch Her Work — Billie Piper
So, it’s one thing to not be able to sit through your own work, but not wanting your loved ones to either? Yikes. That happens to be the case with British actress Billie Piper, who not only can’t stand to watch herself onscreen, but she didn’t even let her then-husband actor Laurence Fox watch her.
“He has never seen an episode of Doctor Who with me in it because I won’t let him,” Piper expressed, according to contactmusic.net. “I get really edgy watching myself, and I get even more edgy with my loved ones because they know me and I feel they’re going to take the mickey. Sitting down to watch my performances makes me cry. It’s even worse watching it with another actor because he can dissect your performance.”
Piper played on the British sci-fi series over a decade ago as the Timelord’s sidekick Rose. There’s just something about seeing herself on screen that takes a lot out of her, and most actors will agree with this sentiment. I mean, if you’re set to cry every time, I really wouldn’t blame you for not flipping on the tube while you’re on it (even though she’s really missing out on watching herself on a show as progressive as Doctor Who).
10 "I Don't Like Looking At Myself" — Jesse Eisenberg
If you have never watched one of his interviews before, you wouldn’t know that The Social Network’s star Jesse Eisenberg is a naturally nervous person in general, which is why it’s difficult for him to sit through his own movies. “I don’t like looking at myself,” he told Moviepilot back in 2013. “I like looking at the other actors, but I had opportunities to do that on the set. I think it’s strange.”
Even after he filmed Batman v. Superman, Eisenberg remained blind to his own performances after the fact.
“I don’t watch the movies I’ve been in, so I don’t like to see any of it because if I’m in it, I’m critical, just like how you’d be if you saw pictures of yourself,” he said in another interview with Made In Hollywood. “The first thing you’d think of is, ‘I look like an idiot.’ So, could you imagine if you saw that in a movie? They film this in IMAX, so it’s more traumatic. I try to avoid that.”
Other than that, he really does enjoy getting into a particular character before he shoots, especially when it comes to playing Lex Luthor. “I’m most excited that I got to be in the scene that takes place at the end of the movie when my character kind of undergoes this physical transformation.”
9 "Too Frustrated!" — Angelina Jolie
Sometimes it’s all about control… or lack thereof at least when it comes to Angelina Jolie. And, like most actors on this list, Angelina doesn’t like watching something that’s already done and over with because you can’t turn back the clock and change the past.
“As an actress, you learn about your character, and you understand the overall picture of any film you’re working on, but there’s so much you’re not a part of,” the actress said in an interview in The Telegraph. “And there’s many times I’ve felt frustrated with the films I’ve been in, or seen them and not felt connected to them, or haven’t wanted to watch them at all. I’m much happier directing, but I would never, ever have imagined that I would be able to do a film of this scale, and what I feel is such an important film.”
The film she’s speaking of in question is Unbroken, which was the second film she directed in her career. The film is about WWII hero Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini, which cost $65 million to make. “I was nervous another director might be less sensitive about the material, so I volunteered myself. But I didn’t think I’d been any good at it. I just wanted to do my best.”
8 "I Can't Handle It" — Javier Bardem
Actor Javier Bardem is one of the most critically acclaimed actors of our time right now. He stopped us dead in our tracks with the Oscar-award winning film No Country For Old Men, but, yet, he doesn’t like watching himself on camera.
“The fact that I like to make characters doesn’t mean that I like to watch my character being made, my performance,” he once said in an interview to GQ. “I can’t even watch that [expletive] nose, that [expletive] voice, those ridiculous eyes.” Bardem was speaking of his character in Old Men where he played an assassin back in the early 1980’s. He was almost unrecognizable while in costume. “I can’t handle that. But when I’m doing it, I don’t see my nose or hear my voice; it’s like there’s something stronger, bigger than that. And I need to express it.”
There were some who watched the film with him sitting there nearby in the theater, and were shocked to the point where they didn’t even want to see him with the lights went up because he was so good at the role, it was rather frightening.
“I was sitting next to him at the premiere, and when I saw Chigurh [the character Bardem plays] I didn’t see my brother: the weird walking, the blank face, the loose eyes, the haircut,” Carlos Bardem, the actor’s brother, said. “When they turned the lights back on, I said, ‘Get the [expletive] away from me, man!”
7 "I Don't Want To Be Aware Of What I'm Doing" — Andrew Garfield
It appears that a majority of the top-billed actors in The Social Network really don’t wish to see their image (and their performance) up on the big screen. Just like co-star Jesse Eisenberg, co-star Andrew Garfield shares the same sentiments about not wanting to watch his work. “I don’t want to be aware of what I’m doing,” Garfield said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “As soon as I am, I’m less open… I just want to be fully open to the story and what that subjective moment is.”
Apparently, “they” made him watch his performance in that particular movie (they being the makers of the film), most likely to see what he can improve on in the future. Other than The Social Network, Garfield tries not to see his own movies unless he’s made to by outside forces (hello, peer pressure). For a bit, he starred in numerous top-notch films and has worked with an array of talented directors (like Martin Scorsese) and even starred in a little big budget film called Spiderman. Even though he’s used to working the big-budget route, Garfield tends to prefer to stick with intellectual films that have a dramatic overtone (like biopic Hacksaw Ridge), which, in all honesty, he probably doesn’t watch after the fact either.
6 "I Like Being In The Film Rather Than Watch It" — Julianne Moore
Actress Julianne Moore has been around the Hollywood scene for decades now (even if it doesn’t show on her flawless face), so it comes as a little bit of a surprise to know that she would rather not watch herself on film. Apparently, she hasn’t seen ANY of her movies (nope, not even Boogie Nights). “I haven’t seen any of my own movies,” she said in an interview once. “I can’t sit there for a premiere or anything. I like being in the movie more than I like watching them. That’s my big thrill, rather than seeing the finished product.”
Julianne conducted this interview back when she starred in the final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy (Mockingjay parts I and II).
It appears that whenever she chooses to do a film, she learns something new about herself as an actress in the process.
“I’ve always felt that you’ve got to try to take the most from everything in life,” she told Telegraph back when she was filming Mockingjay. “It’s a bit like when actors say to me that they can’t get certain types of parts. I always tell them, ‘You can never say to yourself, “I’m just doing this movie because it will be good for my career.” That’s awful. Of course, I’ve done things that I haven’t liked, but I’ve always tried to learn from them. I’ve thought, ‘Well, now I know. I won’t do that again.”
5 "I May Watch It ('Dallas Buyer's Club') At Some Point" — Jared Leto
Much like everyone on this list, Jared Leto has some major issues when it comes to watching his own work. “The experience for me making a film is the most profound one,” Leto once said. “I really don’t have any business watching the movie so much. Maybe I could just watch it for entertainment purposes, but you have so little input and control of the final product once you’re done that I feel like I just would rather leave it alone.”
A lot of other actors on this list share the same exact sentiments. Why watch something when there is absolutely no way you can change anything about it (especially your own performance). After Leto finished the Academy Award-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club, he had admitted to the press that he had yet to see the film and probably wasn’t going to in the near future. “I can’t hear that voice! I’ve never really heard very much of it and I’ve never watched the film. I will at some point, I’m sure. But too soon! I can never live up to the expectations I would have of it now because it was such a beautiful experience and the response that it got was really wonderful.”
4 "It's Frustrating" — Maggie Smith
While Dame Maggie Smith will watch a great deal of the things she has starred in, one thing she will not watch? Downton Abbey, the hit PBS series where she played the sarcastic dowager Countess. The series brought her two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for her role as Lady Grantham. Thing is, she hasn’t watched the series. “I haven’t actually seen it,” she said in an interview, according to stuff.com. “So I don’t, I don’t sit down and watch it.”
Smith is a known perfectionist and like a lot of actors on this list, she won’t watch work that she can’t fix.
“It’s frustrating. I always see things that I would do differently and think, ‘Oh, why in the name of God did I do that?”
Smith rose to be one of the most prominent actresses in British (and American) history, but that she has absolutely no interest in her recent fame. “I don’t feel any different to the way I felt before and I’m not quite sure what (being a star) means. I am familiar to people now, which is what I was not before. That is entirely due to the television set.” Well, those of us who have watched the critically acclaimed series are actually thrilled with Smith’s fame.
3 "It's Impossible For Me To Emotionally Connect" — Nicole Kidman
Not only is Australian actress Nicole Kidman one of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood, but she happens to be one of the best actresses there is out there. The thing that she won’t do, however? Watch her own movies… with a few acceptations. Apparently, the statuesque actress has only ever really watched Moulin Rouge! and Australia, and only because those movies were filmed by director Baz Luhrmann and since the two are close, she watched them as a personal favor to him. But she didn’t like it.
According to The Daily Mail, Nicole squirmed in her seat throughout the entire premiere in Sydney, Australia. “I sat there and I looked at [my husband] Keith [Urban] and weren't ‘Am I any good in this movie?’ It’s impossible for me to connect to it emotionally at all.” Apparently, the entire ordeal was so traumatic that Nicole attempted to avoid reading any reviews on the movie. In the long run, this was probably a wise decision since the big budget movie failed at the box office. Perhaps she should try watching Big Little Lies? There is no way she could be traumatized by her own superb acting chops in that. It’s worth one heck of a shot.
2 "Not That Mature Yet" — Joaquin Phoenix
If you’ve ever seen the Johnny Cash bio picture Walk The Line, you know that Joaquin Phoenix is one heck of a good actor. However, he doesn’t really want to see himself as others, or the camera does. “I don’t ever really want to see myself as the camera sees me,” the actor once said during an interview with Hollywood Outbreak.
“I don’t want to be objective; I don’t think I’m capable of truly being able to ignore that. I think that it’s just inevitable that you become self-aware [when watching your own performance]; there’s just not a human being who wouldn’t be affected by that. And I don’t ever really want to think about it.”
He does state that there is a certain part of him that does want to change that be one of those people who are able to learn from their on-screen performances.
“Of course, there’s a part of [me] that’s curious for a second… and I have to consciously tell myself “no” because I know it’s not going to be the value of me. In fact, it stands a greater chance of having a negative effect on [my] future work, I think that positive, even if the work is good.”
1 "I Don't Watch Myself" — Matthew Fox
Most audience members were confused by the ending of ABC’s suspense thriller Lost, but not actor Matthew Fox who starred in the hit series. And why? Because he’s never watched it before. “I don’t ever really watch myself,” Fox once said during a roundtable discussion. “I never watched an episode of Lost.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Fox expressed that he prefers to take time in between projects that he’s working on. But when he is working, he’s dead focused. “I like to just get on with the work,” he said. “I’ve always approached acting with a very blue-collar work ethic. It’s like laying bricks. You do it and you don’t walk away from the job until it’s done.” He’s even super uncomfortable if you refer to him as “famous” and tries to shy away from the subject when it’s brought up during interviews. “I’m incredibly uncomfortable with it. I’m being really honest with you right now. I’ve never worn it [fame] too well. I’ve always done my absolute best to be appreciative but I feel any attention I get is displaced. I want it not to be there.” Well, anyone who has ever seen his movies (obviously not you, Matt) is happy for his fame, otherwise, we wouldn’t know who he is.