“But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.”
In a 2018 interview with Teen Vogue, Riverdale star Lili Reinhart opened up about her distaste for scenes involving “Dark Betty,” the avenging, bewigged alter ego of her girl-next-door character Betty Cooper.
Following the end of Season 2, Reinhart asked the show to stop using Dark Betty, because “it kind of became a mockery of itself.”
She explained, “It was supposed to be this dark side of her that she wasn’t able to express otherwise, and it just became this weird sexual thing that people didn’t really understand.”
Alexis Bledel wasn’t sure about her Gilmore Girls character Rory Gilmore revealing a pregnancy to her mother Lorelai at the end of the revival series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
She went on, “I had told [series creator] Amy [Sherman-Palladino] that I hoped Rory would end on a high note after all of her hard work. I wanted to see her succeed and be thriving. So it was a hard thing for me to digest.”
That being said, Sherman-Palladino was clearly all in on the pregnancy storyline and the cliffhanger it created. Bledel explained, “She knew what reaction she was going to get out of the audience. She’s delighted by throwing everyone a curveball. I knew that’s what she wanted and I trusted her.”
In an interview with Variety, Halle Berry talked about her misgivings about the plot of the critically panned 2004 movie Catwoman, in which she starred as the titular comic book villain.
“The story didn’t feel quite right,” Berry said. “I remember having that argument: ‘Why can’t Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?’”
She continued, “But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.”
Lena Headey wished that the powers-that-be at Game of Thrones gave her character, the vicious Queen Cersei Lannister, a more spectacular death.
Cersei dies with her twin brother (and lover) Jaime when they attempt to escape the Red Keep during Daenerys’s fiery rampage through the city; their brother Tyrion discovers their bodies crushed by the rocks of the ruined castle.
She explained, “Obviously you dream of your death. You could go in any way on that show. So I was kind of gutted.”
That being said, the actor acknowledged that it would probably be impossible to devise a perfect end for Cersei. Said Headey, “But I just think they couldn’t have pleased everyone. No matter what they did, I think there was going to be some big comedown from the climb.”
Speaking of death and Game of Thrones: Ian McElhinney was unimpressed that his character Ser Barristan Selmy got killed off in Season 5, even though he’s still alive in the books.
At a press conference, McElhinney said he felt “miffed” about Ser Barristan’s death in the Season 5 episode “Sons of the Harpy.” He explained, “If I’m honest, I was a bit disappointed by that. I felt I should have known, it wouldn’t have made any difference but I felt that as a matter of just courtesy, I should have known.”
He went on, “I was disappointed because I had enjoyed playing the part and I was looking forward to getting more meat in the part and I had dared to presume that I would at least go into Season 6.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly following his onscreen demise, McElhinney said, “I’m disappointed. But I think you have to accept — as I have accepted — that the demands of TV are different than the demand of book writing.”
In 2014, Chris Pratt told Refinery29 that he wished Parks and Recreation wouldn’t be so hard on Jerry, the subject of the otherwise loving workplace’s taunts and pranks.
Pratt said, “I gotta say, I’m hoping we start being nicer to Jerry/Larry/Gary.”
(Jerry’s name is regularly and flippantly changed by his coworkers, because, you know: He’s Jerry.)
Pratt went on, “It’s getting a bit over the top. I like Jim [O’Heir] too much for us to be so mean to him all the time!”
If you’re feeling bad for Jerry (or Jim), fear not. To balance out the constant mockery, Jerry has the perfect home life, an earnest adoration of his job, and, well…
Alyson Hannigan, who starred as Lily Aldrin on How I Met Your Mother, told news.com.au that she wasn’t a huge fan of the way the series ended.
“I didn’t think Barney should have ever gotten married,” said Hannigan. “I liked Barney and Robin. But in my heart, I always wanted her with Ted. I just feel they shouldn’t have gotten married.”
The length of the finale was another sticking point for Hannigan. She explained that she was “bummed they didn’t just make it a two-hour season-ender,” and that so much was cut out that the episode progressed “too fast.”
She went on, “There was a funeral scene, and all this stuff that I think the audience needed. They needed that time to process that information, instead of having it slap them in the face.”
In 2012, Mandy Patinkin told New York Magazine that the violence, and particularly the violence against women, at the core of Criminal Minds made accepting the role of FBI behavioral analyst Jason Gideon the “biggest public mistake I ever made.”
Patinkin, who left the show in 2007, explained, “I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn’t think I would get to work in television again.”
Patinkin clarified that he didn’t intend to make “a judgment on the taste” of people who enjoy shows like Criminal Minds, only that he was “concerned about the effect” the genre has. He said, “Audiences all over the world use this programming as their bedtime story. This isn’t what you need to be dreaming about.”
Richard Schiff, who starred as White House communications director, Toby Ziegler, on The West Wing, told the Independent that he “hated” a Season 7 storyline wherein Ziegler is disgraced for leaking information.
Schiff explained, “I was sad for the show. I hated my storyline. Toby would never in 10 million years have betrayed the president in that fashion.”
“Even if he had, there would have been seven episodes’ worth of fights before he did it.” He went on, “In the end, the only way I could make sense of my story was to come up with my own story — that Toby was covering for someone else. That, at least, made sense to me.”
Jonathan Banks told HuffPost that he wasn’t always on board with how his Breaking Bad character Mike Ehrmantraut was written, and pointed to one plot point as being particularly disappointing.
Banks said that while the writers are his “friends” and that he “trust[s] them completely,” they weren’t always on the same page. Said Banks, “Do I disagree with [the writers] at times? I do. You know, ‘Mike wouldn’t do that.’ And they go, ‘Yeah, Mike would do that.’ And I say, ‘No, Mike wouldn’t do that.'”
Banks cited Mike not telling his granddaughter goodbye in “Say My Name,” his last episode, as one of the things his character wouldn’t do. He said, “There were things leading up to Mike’s death that I’m going, ‘Mike’s not that fucking stupid.'”
That being said, he concluded that it was “still a great last show for me.”
In the 1999 horror film Deep Blue Sea, Samuel L. Jackson’s character Russell Franklin is brutally killed by a shark attack during the middle of a speech in which he’s attempting to rally the (soon-to-be traumatized) troops.
In 2019, visual effects supervisor Jeff Okun told Before & Afters that Russell’s speech was “seven pages of the worst dialogue you’ve ever heard in your life.” So Jackson asked him, “You know, why don’t you just kill me?”
Jackson attempted to avoid saying the dialogue by getting to the position where he would be eaten as soon as possible, because as soon as he was there, Okun would be able to “kill” him. After around 20 takes, during which Jackson told director Renny Harlin that the dialogue was just too awful to say, Okun said to Jackson, “We can kill you even before you’re at the end of the pool, if you’re happy.”
Jackson replied, “Yeah, I’m not happy. Just kill me. The sooner you kill me, the happier I’ll be.”
When the movie was recut following a poorly received test screening, Jackson and Okun got their way, and Russell violently perished midway through his speech. After that version of the movie was screened, Okun said, “Sam being killed became the talked-about scene, because it was so unexpected, and it was out of nowhere. Sam called me up and goes, ‘Best. Death. Ever.’ And he goes, ‘It is my favorite death.’”
In 2015, Manu Bennett, who starred as Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, in Arrow, told The Music that he wasn’t happy with the way his character was written out of the show in Season 3.
Said Bennett, “I think Deathstroke had a lot of possibilities with Arrow but, I think they took it in the wrong direction. I think they should have honored the Marv Wolfman character who was literally unstoppable. I read the DC comic books and thought Deathstroke was so badarse because they make it that nobody can stop him. He’s not even super-powered, he is just a mercenary.”
He went on, “It took the Justice League to defeat him; it took an army to take him on. In Arrow, it took a while for Oliver to prove his point, but [Season 3] was just a beating of Slade, adding insult to injury.”
However, in 2017, Bennett did return to the show. He told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s never certain what the pen will write, but I’ve had enough conversations with [executive producer] Marc Guggenheim to know that we’re not going to steer off course with Deathstroke. If anything, we’re going to steer forward with Deathstroke.”
And finally: Ted Danson wasn’t thrilled about revisiting his iconic Cheers character, Sam Malone, in the finale of Season 2 of The Good Place.
Danson told Rolling Stone that his “comfort level of playing Sam Malone was slow in coming,” since he “was never a bar guy.” He explained, “I never picked up a woman at a bar. If a woman kissed me, we got married. I was not that guy.” While he ultimately gained the confidence he needed to play the role to his standards, he said “it took me a long time.”
So returning to the bartending well for The Good Place was very, very nerve-wracking. Said Danson, “So whenever I have to go back to that after not having done it in so long — evenings where we’re raising money somewhere and they say, ‘Ted, get behind the bar!’ — it panics me. I hate it. Hate it. So I did not enjoy it. It made me sweat. It made me feel like I didn’t know what to do and I thought the scene probably sucked. It didn’t. But it felt like it.”