Stars are just like Us. Most people have thought about giving up their jobs at one time or another, and some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities have almost turned their back on their acting careers.
Jennifer Aniston became one of the most recognizable names in the business after her starring role on Friends. In the years that followed, she landed prominent roles in films such as Horrible Bosses and We’re the Millers. However, in September 2020, she admitted that there was one acting job that led her to consider ending her career for good.
The Emmy winner refrained from naming the project that pushed her to her limits with its “lack of organization,” but she added, “It was after a job I had completed and I was like, ‘Whoa, that sucked the life out of me, and I don’t know if this is what interests me.’”
In a March 2019 Australian Men’s Health cover story, Chris Hemsworth admitted to feeling “a whole lot of doubt” early in his career in Hollywood. After not gaining traction following his role in 2009’s Star Trek, he considered leaving acting behind.
“I was about to quit,” he said at the time. “I got more and more anxious to the point where I couldn’t harness or use that energy. It was all to my detriment.”
The Australia native eventually found peace with the process. “I’ve stopped asking, ‘Who do I have to be? What personality do I have to shape in order to succeed in this business?’ And just going, ‘Truly be yourself,’” he explained. “That’s when things started to change. That’s when I felt happier.”
In addition to appearing in multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe films as Thor, Hemsworth has starred in high-profile movies such as the female-led Ghostbusters reboot in 2016 and Bad Times at the El Royale in 2018.
A few years after his role in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Robert Pattinson contemplated exiting the entertainment business after his initial not-so-great audition for Twilight — the film franchise that catapulted his career.
“It was the scene when [my character Edward Cullen] had a guitar … my agent was like, ‘Take your guitar into the audition,’” he explained on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s podcast in 2019. “I just walked in and they were like, ‘Oh. You brought a guitar. Do you want to play us a song,’ and I was like, ‘No. This is the worst decision I ever made.’ I was saying, ‘No,’ and they were like, ‘You just brought a guitar just to hold it? Why did you bring a guitar in?’ My entire confidence just s–t the bed.”
The Good Time actor, who is taking over the role of Batman from Ben Affleck, added, “The audition was one of the worst auditions I did in my whole life. I remember calling my parents and saying, ‘I’m done, I can’t torture myself anymore.’ And the next day, I got a [follow-up] Twilight audition.”
Scroll down to read more actors’ stories about what led to them nearly quitting their careers as actors.