Justin Theroux Admits to “Mistakes” in His Career: One TV Show Made Me Want to “Hang Myself”

Justin Theroux
Justin Theroux reflected on some of the mistakes he made early in his career, recalling one show in particular that was "crushing" Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Justin Theroux is a little wary of commitment — not in relationships but in his career. Having gotten "stuck" on a few projects as a young actor, the Leftovers star is very careful about what he says yes to now, especially when it comes to TV.

"I did a television show a long time ago, like the early '90s — a cop procedural — and the volume of work that you had to do to do 24 [episodes] was just crushing," Jennifer Aniston's fiancé said during The Hollywood Reporter's recent TV Drama Actor Roundtable. "And it's not necessarily the material you're loving, and you're showing up at 4 a.m. on a Monday and leaving at 4 a.m. on a Friday."

Beyond just being tiresome, though, it's limiting. "You're having to cycle through your bag of tricks so much that you start to fall into bad habits," Theroux, 43, explained.

The solution is to seek out projects that challenge and excite you, of course, but that's easier said than done, especially when you're just starting out in the business.

"I've definitely made mistakes when people say, 'You should do this,' or 'This is a great director. I know the part's not what you want, but you should do that,'" Theroux admitted. "I've rued many days on set where I've been like, 'Why did I say yes to this?' I made a lot of mistakes as a younger actor, signing up for plays I'm stuck doing for six months. I've been in many sad situations."

One of the worst was "that early TV show I did, that cop procedural I mentioned," the Wanderlust star shared. "I wanted to hang myself. My character said s–t like, 'Chief, you're going to want to hear this!' You go, 'Oh, I can't.'" 

Theroux didn't name the show in question, but according to his IMDb page, his most significant role on a cop-centric series was as Nick Pierce on two seasons of The District in 2000 and 2001, which is later than the "early '90s" procedural he referenced during the roundtable. He also appeared in a few episodes of New York Undercover in 1998, but as a mobster, not a cop.

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!