Actors on Regrets

October 22, 2017

Feelings of regret are our brain’s way of telling us to look more closely at our choices because our actions or words may be leading us down an undesired path. Regret can be a useful tool to help us avoid pitfalls in the future, or it can be taken too far and keep us from recovering from stressful life events. Over the past decades, many actors have had a word or two to say about this negative state of mind. Here are some of their insights.

“I have no regrets except for perhaps one: I should have tried to be a better actor.” –Joel McCrea

“I think we all suffer from guilt at some point in our lives, but for the most part, I never really regret. And I try to always remain positive. Yes, I think that those issues are very interesting to play in a character, and they’re prominent issues in life, and I think people can relate to them.” –Channing Tatum

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” –John Barrymore

“I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” –Drew Barrymore

“My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” –Woody Allen

Kate Winslet said of her “draw me like one of your French girls” scene in Titanic, “I wish I hadn’t shown so much flesh, but I was young and I knew I had things to prove.”

“I found out about Harvey about a year ago, and I’m ashamed that I didn’t say anything right then.” –Jane Fonda

“I do not regret one professional enemy I have made. Any actor who doesn’t dare to make an enemy should get out of the business.” –Bette Davis

Jennifer Lawrence said of her intimate scene with Chris Pratt in Passengers, “I got really, really drunk. But then that led to more anxiety when I got home because I was like, ‘What have I done? I don’t know.’”

“[I regret having turned down] ‘Seven’ and ‘Michael Clayton.’ With ‘Clayton,’ it was the best material I had read in a long time, but I was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong. It happens.” –Denzel Washington

“As of today, I have absolutely no regrets. I think I am a mature person who can take things in stride. I’m grateful for people in my past. They helped me get to where I am, wherever that is. But now, I am thinking for myself and sitting in on all the business transactions.” –Marilyn Monroe

“I try to live my life in such a way that I don’t have any regrets. That’s probably why I work so much. I don’t want to feel I missed something important.” –Philip Seymour Hoffman

Halle Berry posted a photo of her younger self on Instagram and wrote, “If I could give this young girl some advice … I’d tell her to do it all the same … no regrets.”

“Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man filled with regret waiting to die alone!” –Ken Watanabe

“Regret is useless in life. It’s in the past. All we have is now.” –Marlon Brando

“Apologies are pointless, regrets come too late. What matters is you can move on; you can grow.” –Kelsey Grammer

“In ‘D.A.R.Y.L.’ there was a part where I had to freeze to death, and they didn’t even use it. It can get kind of frustrating. But I don’t regret that I decided to become an actor. Besides, if I don’t like it at any time, I can stop.” –Barret Oliver

“Your regrets aren’t what you did but what you didn’t do. So I take every opportunity.” –Cameron Diaz

“Live fast, fight hard–no regrets!” –John Cena

“I don’t know what is better than the work that is given to the actor: to teach the human heart the knowledge of itself.” –Laurence Olivier

“If you speak when angry, you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” –Groucho Marx

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done; as long as I enjoyed it at the time.” –Katharine Hepburn

“No, I don’t regret anything at this point. That may change on the next phone call, but at the moment I don’t regret anything.” –William Shatner

“By definition, an actor’s life is a recipe for regret. There are always roads you could have taken. But I’ve lived long enough to realize that each road has its own rewards.” –Elizabeth McGovern

“I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say.” –Ingrid Bergman

“I don’t really have any regrets because if I choose not to do something, there is usually a very good reason. Once I’ve made the decision, I don’t view it as a missed opportunity–just a different path.” –Andrew Lincoln

“My father died. It is still a deep regret to me this day that in choosing acting as my career I was forced to hurt him. He died too early to see I had done the right, the only thing.” –Conrad Veidt, German actor

“Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart.” –Basil Rathbone

“Someone once asked me, ‘Is there anything you regret?’ and I said, ‘Everything!’ Whatever you do, there was always a better choice.” — John Hurt

“Regrets are something you can’t really have as an actor because ultimately you’ll end up destroying yourself. There’s a lot of disappointment in this business.” –Henry Cavill

“I think, from every actor I’ve ever spoken to, they say the biggest thing they regret from life is not finishing school.” –Tom Holland

“I don’t believe in regrets; I believe your future is in your tomorrows.” –John Travolta

“If you look back at your life, I bet you will regret about 80-percent of your actions. But life consists of all mistakes.” –Sylvester Stallone

“If I should die tomorrow, I will have no regrets. I did what I wanted to do. You can’t expect more from life.” –Bruce Lee