Avengers: Infinity War is expected to be one of the biggest blockbuster movies of all time. It is expected to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in just the opening weekend alone, and could easily pass a billion dollars on a worldwide scale. It is also considered to be big because of the massive list of cast members expected to show up over the course of the film. At this point, the Avengers team has grown to include something like 15 members, plus the appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy, supporting characters, and all the villains. Some might say that Infinity War is made up of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the acting talent that will be in front of the camera.
That’s the thing, though. Just because there are so many talented actors, it doesn’t mean they haven’t appeared in their fair share of busts, underperformers, and forgotten projects. In some cases, some of these roles were so bad that it’s likely they want everyone to forget about them. Either it was an embarrassing performance, or the film was not well-received, or it just didn’t make them look good in the fullness of time. Thankfully, these travesties can never be erased from memory, so before you see the latest Avengers film, here are 15 embarrassing roles for Infinity War actors, and see how far they have risen!
15 SEBASTIAN STAN - HOT TUB TIME MACHINE (2010)
Hot Tub Time Machine is certainly not the worst film on this list, but Stan’s role in the film is likely something we all want to forget about. He plays the ski patrol bully named Blaine who acts something like the villain of the movie. Stan serves as the nemesis of Rob Corddry’s character and is last seen getting punched in the face, which is never a great look.
Sebastian Stan nails the menacing bro character, but it’s certainly not what we’ve come to expect from him since he resurfaced in Captain America: Winter Soldier. The man we all know and love for his long, unkempt hair and unbathed chic style was nowhere to be found in Hot Tub Time Machine. Instead, this was the old Stan, who previously had a recurring role in Gossip Girls.
14 ANGELA BASSETT - KINDERGARTEN COP (1990)
Long, long before Angela Bassett was a household name, she was just looking for a paycheck when she appeared in the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Kindergarten Cop. Who did she play in that film, you might ask? She has a small role as an airline stewardess who serves Detective John Kimble while he’s on a plane. That’s it, that’s her role in the movie.
Right after this, she began to play prominent roles in biopic films about black political leaders. Bassett also won a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It in 1993. The bit role she had in Kindergarten Cop quickly became forgotten as her star rose to prominence. Now she plays the Queen Mother in Black Panther and is set to appear in Infinity War.
13 DAVE BAUTISTA - SMALLVILLE (2006)
Between 2002 and 2014, Dave Bautista was a professional wrestler with WWE, performing under the name Batista. He eventually used his prominence in the ring to create a successful acting career for himself that has culminated in his role as Drax with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This isn’t his first time dealing with comic book adaptations, though, because he was on an episode of Smallville back in the day.
He appeared in the 2006 episode “Static” as the superpowered Aldar, who managed to escape from the Phantom Zone. Aldar was a one-and-done villain, after he was killed by the Martian Manhunter. The role was also basically just a wrestling promo, because he performed several moves during his fight with Clark Kent. Thankfully, James Gunn knows how to bring out Bautista’s acting abilities.
12 CHRIS HEMSWORTH - BLACKHAT (2015)
Hemsworth’s star rose relatively quickly after making the move from Australian TV to the American big screen. In the span of five years, he debuted in Star Trek, was cast as Thor, starred in The Avengers, and returned for the Thor sequel. He was a household name at this point, and then used his stardom to get a starring role in... a film called Blackhat?
The problem was that Blackhat was about a hacker, and since Hemsworth looks nothing like the type of person who would be a professional hacker, people didn’t buy it. The fact that it also opened against the runaway hit American Sniper didn’t help either. In the end, the film made a little more than $19 million against a $70 million budget. It’s a box office bomb, which more people than just Hemsworth want to forget about.
11 ZOE SALDANA - DRUMLINE (2002)
Before she was Nyota Uhura in 2009’s Star Trek, Zoe Saldana was a professional dancer who had to work her way up the ladder in the acting world. This path got her a role in the movie Drumline as the love interest of Nick Cannon’s character. Considering her character was a dancer in the field, Saldana proved to be the perfect actor for the role.
Drumline may have performed well in its time, but considering how everyone feels about Nick Cannon at this point, it’s a funny thing to look back on. We all remember the movie Drumline, back when Cannon was actually a popular name, but it’s amazing to look back and see who was actually in the film and where they ultimately ended up.
10 ELIZABETH OLSEN - HOW THE WEST WAS FUN (1994)
We all know that Elizabeth Olsen is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, but did you know she appeared in a lot of their videos from the 1990s? In the 1994 TV movie How the West Was Fun, the younger Olsen sister has a cameo appearance as a girl who drives by in a car. She also makes several appearances in some of their other movies.
After appearing in several installments of The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley series, Olsen didn’t appear in another project between 1997 to 2011. At this point, she broke out on her own in the acclaimed independent film Martha Marcy May Marlene. Now she’s a legitimate blockbuster name and probably isn’t too keen on looking back on her old days as a child actor.
9 WINSTON DUKE - MODERN FAMILY (2016)
Chances are you never heard of Winston Duke before he impressed you as the warrior M’Baku in Black Panther. That’s because it was his first film role. Up until that point, his biggest role was on Person of Interest for seven episodes and The Messengers for three. After grabbing a few roles on serious genre shows, he moved over to comedy in 2016 with a recurring role on Modern Family.
In Season 8 of the show, Duke plays Dwight, a college football player that Mitchell and Cameron take in. He apparently takes up a lot of space and eats a bunch of food, so this is definitely a role that Duke will never have to take again. He’s set to reappear in Avengers: Infinity War and has quickly become a fan favorite actor. Hopefully he can find his way onto better projects in the future.
8 CHRIS PRATT - MOVIE 43 (2013)
No one really knew who Chris Pratt was until Parks and Recreation put him on the map. It was this role that got him into the 2013 all-celebrity bonanza known as Movie 43. The film actually took something like a decade to complete because there were so many people in the thing. In the end, it was universally panned and earned Pratt a nomination for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Combo with Anna Faris.
It’s a good thing that no one saw this movie. It’s also good that he soon proved to be a popular leading man with roles in The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Jurassic World. With movies like these, he no longer needs something like Movie 43 to keep him in the spotlight.
7 IDRIS ELBA - THE DARK TOWER (2017)
You probably didn’t know this, but Idris Elba has appeared in three different comic book adaptations. He was in The Losers in 2010 and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 2011. Of course, superhero fans remember him best for his role as Heimdall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You know what role everyone wishes they could forget him in? Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower.
This is not a knock against Elba and his superior acting skills. The Dark Tower from 2017 was intended to launch his career as a leading man in blockbuster films. Unfortunately, the finished product was seen as a dull mess of a film that captured very little of what made Stephen King’s novels so popular. It’s likely that Elba wants a do-over on his star turn.
6 VIN DIESEL - THE PACIFIER (2005)
By 2005, Vin Diesel was becoming a household name. He had already starred in Pitch Black, The Fast and the Furious, xXx, and Chronicles of Riddick. At this point in his career, he simply needed a vehicle to further push him name into action stardom. For some reason, the idea of The Pacifier was seen to be as the perfect fit, though it may as well have been a remake of Hulk Hogan’s Mr. Nanny.
Despite its initial success at the box office, The Pacifier has not exactly been remembered fondly. The Fast and Furious franchise has since blown up to become a blockbuster guarantee. His voice acting experience even got him the role of a lifetime as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Vin Diesel can definitely forget about making that sequel to The Pacifier.
5 TOM HIDDLESTON - I SAW THE LIGHT (2015)
Tom Hiddleston is a talented actor who has yet to find true breakout success outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. People have loved him as Loki, but it’s looking like Avengers: Infinity War will be his final curtain call playing the fan-favorite character. It’s too bad that all his attempts to go solo have not worked out for him so far.
I Saw the Light (2015) is the perfect example of high expectations going absolutely nowhere. Hiddleston portrayed the legendary country singer Hank Williams, and even sang all his songs for the film. Unfortunately, his singing performance was criticized by music buffs and Williams’ own grandson, and the movie as a whole proved to be a soulless biopic with no ability to capture the magic of the man he was playing. There’s a reason it made less than $2 million at the box office.
4 CHADWICK BOSEMAN - GODS OF EGYPT (2016)
Chadwick Boseman has been around longer than you think. He played Jackie Robinson in 42, appeared in Draft Day, and held recurring roles on Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown all before he the King of Wakanda in Black Panther. He also appeared in a little 2016 film you may have wiped from your mind called Gods of Egypt.
The only thing memorable about this movie was that the filmmakers cast white actors to portray Egyptian gods. Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were placed front and center of the film. Boseman played Thoth, the Egyptian God of Wisdom, in a supporting role. It should be no surprise that the film barely managed to earn back its $140 million budget and received universal criticism. Now that he’s the king, Boseman doesn’t have to deal with roles like that anymore.
3 SCARLETT JOHANSSON - GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)
We all know that Scarlett Johansson has become one of the most successful female actors in all of Hollywood, and her casting as the Black Widow finally brought a female superhero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Johansson has been involved in multiple controversies over her career. The latest may have ultimately led to her most embarrassing role of all.
The world was watching when Hollywood decided to adapt the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell in 2017, and of course they got it wrong. Fans became outraged when Johansson was cast in the lead role, and the film was criticized for whitewashing. The movie was not able to overcome this bad press, and it ultimately proved to be a box office bomb. After Ed Skrein dropped out of Hellboy, maybe now white actors will care about optics.
2 JOSH BROLIN - JONAH HEX (2010)
Thanos is not Josh Brolin’s only comic book movie role to date. He’s been Dwight McCarthy in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and he’s going to be Cable in Deadpool 2. Hey, remember when he was also Jonah Hex in the 2010 live-action film? If you forgot all about that one, he probably preferred it that way, even though it was a role of a lifetime for him.
It was well known how much Brolin wanted to play the character, and likely how much he was suited for the role. Unfortunately, he saw this film as his last opportunity, so he took it, and the results were extremely bad. The film made just $11 million on a $47 million budget and is considered to be one of the worst comic book adaptations ever made. At least he’s landed better roles in superior movies since.
1 BENICIO DEL TORO - BIG TOP PEE-WEE (1988)
Even the most talented and successful actors have to start at the bottom before they get their big break. Benicio del Toro may have started lower than most, because his first film gig was in Big Top Pee-Wee as the character Duke, the Dog-Faced Boy in 1988 (over 20 years before he played The Wolfman!). It definitely wins most embarrassing role out of anyone else on this list.
Considering Pee-Wee Herman was a huge hit at the time, the role itself should have given him a leg up after the success of Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Unfortunately, the sequel brought none of the quality that the original had, and it ended up bombing out of the box office. Today, he plays another bizarre character in the mysterious Collector, and people are a lot more fond of his performance.