Celebs who hate watching themselves on screen

Certain Hollywood celebs have earned bad reputations for crossing a line on set or treating their co-stars like trash. Unfortunately, these superstars in film and television have become much better known for being narcissistic, vain, or simply difficult to work with than for their actual on-screen talents. Of course, that's not the case for all actors, and, more often than not, those who get to live out their dreams by bringing stories to life on screen have managed to remain grounded amid their fame and fortune.

While those in the former category seem more likely to keep track of the amount of screen time they receive, the others are known to struggle with insecurities. They can be as self-critical as anyone else, and many can't stand the thought of seeing their own performances. Here are a few of our favorite celebs who just hate watching themselves on the big or small screen.

Meryl Streep just won't do it

Widely considered to be one of the greatest actresses of her generation, Meryl Streep is the most-nominated performer in Academy Awards history — with 21 noms at the time of this writing (via Variety). However, you'd be hard-pressed to find this A-lister tuning in for repeat viewings of the hit films she's made throughout her career, such as Kramer vs. KramerDeath Becomes HerThe Devil Wears Prada, and Mamma Mia! 

"I don't do that," Streep simply told E! News at the 2014 People's Choice Awards. "I just look ahead, darling. That's the only thing to do." As the movie star later told comedian Stephen Colbert, her resistance to watch herself on screen stems from her deep insecurities over how women's appearances are idealized in showbiz. "I'll come upon a movie I'm in, and I'm very young and very beautiful. But I was so unhappy," Streep said at a Montclair Film Festival benefit in 2018 (via Vanity Fair). "I thought my nose was too big, I thought I was fat. Because these are things that people tell you."

Zac Efron is a 'cringer'

After getting his big start starring as Troy Bolton in the High School Musical franchise, Zac Efron went on to become one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men. Due in part to his longtime status as a bona fide teen heartthrob, audiences have continued to fawn over the actor's performances in a wide range of movies, including the drama Charlie St. Cloud, the raunchy comedy Neighbors, and the hit movie musical The Greatest Showman. However, Efron has decided to avoid watching himself on screen.

"I tend to, especially the first time around, pick out every single flaw, or things I could have and should have done better," he told Collider in 2010. "I don't know why, but I tend to dwell on those things. I'm more of a cringer, at first." 

Efron added, "And then, when it's years down the road and it's out of the way, I can look back and appreciate it somehow."

Megan Fox full-on 'panics'

Megan Fox's career catapulted into the realm of superstardom after she starred in Michael Bay's first Transformers movie in 2007. The actress was dubbed the sexiest woman in the world shortly after (via Reuters), and she's still perhaps better known for her looks than her acting skills over a decade later. Despite this emphasis on Fox's appearance, the movie star can't stand to see herself on screen due to a mental health struggle that's manifested in severe anxiety and panic attacks over how she looks.

"I never [look at myself], even in still photographs. I don't look at anything," Fox told Fox News in 2009. "I panic if there is a monitor in the room. I immediately go into, like, an anxiety attack. I'm insecure, I think most actors are pretty insecure." Because of her stress and anxiety over the matter, Fox once shared that she'd chugged a glass of champagne just to get through a showing of Transformers 2.

Joaquin Phoenix worries about his art

Joaquin Phoenix is considered to be one of the most talented, versatile actors in Hollywood. His eclectic range of film credits include several award-winning movies like Walk the Line, GladiatorThe Master, and Her. However, the actor's hatred of watching himself on the big screen has more to do with protecting his craft than feeling uncomfortable in his own skin.

"I just think there's a number of dangers in [watching yourself]," Phoenix told Hollywood Outbreak in 2012, adding, "I don't ever really want to see myself as the camera sees me. … I don't want to watch myself." Despite the movie star's admitted curiosity in seeing himself perform, he continued, "I have to constantly tell myself, 'No.' Because I know it's not going to be of any value to me, and, in fact, it stands a greater chance of having a negative effect on future work." 

In 2015, Phoenix told Time Out that he's only watched two of his movies over the course of his career, The Master and Her, due to his "struggle" to see past and learn from any perceived mistakes.

Reese Witherspoon says watching her own performances is 'torture'

Reese Witherspoon has received multiple awards throughout her acting career, including an Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA. The beloved actress' most iconic on-screen projects include the likes of Legally Blonde, Walk the Line, Wild, and Big Little Lies. However, watching herself on screen is a difficult experience that Witherspoon is known to avoid at all costs. 

"No, I can't watch myself," she once admitted on Chelsea Lately. "I don't know … Who feels good looking at themselves? Nobody, right? It's torture! Why would you want to watch yourself being stupid and pretending to be someone else?" That same year, Witherspoon revealed that she has "absolute amnesia" about all of her movies, telling the Daily Express, "I won't watch them because if I did I would spiral into a state of self-hate, but I sometimes catch the odd clip of something. I look at it and think, 'I have absolutely no memory of that.' It's really weird."

Jesse Eisenberg is super 'critical' of himself

Jesse Eisenberg caught his big break in 2010 with his turn as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. After receiving a number of accolades for his performance, including best actor nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Awards, the actor has gone on to star in a number of movies, such as Now You See Me and Batman v. Superman. However, given the enigmatic actor's struggle with anxiety, it's not too surprising to learn that he also refuses to watch his on-screen performances.

"I don't watch the movies I've been in," he told Made in Hollywood in 2016, explaining, "I'm critical, just like how you'd be if you saw pictures of yourself." Having told Washington City Paper in 2013 that, when it comes to acting, "The only experience I have is playing a role and immersing myself in a role for a few months," he later shared with Radio Times that he eventually "stopped watching movies altogether" (via the Belfast Telegraph).

Andrew Garfield refuses to watch his own work

Andrew Garfield is best known for playing a wide array of roles in films like The Amazing Spider-ManThe Social NetworkNever Let Me Go, and Hacksaw Ridge. Not unlike his former co-star Jesse Eisenberg, this Oscar nominee also can't stand the thought of watching his own on-screen appearances.

"I try not to [watch my movies]," Garfield told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, explaining his belief that seeing himself on screen and over-analyzing his performances might hinder his abilities as an actor in the future. "I don't want to be aware of what I'm doing. As soon as I am, I'm less open. … I just want to be fully open to the story and what that subjective moment is." However, the actor went on to admit that he did attend a screening of The Social Network at the encouragement of the award-winning filmmakers, saying, "They made me watch that one."

Julianne Moore isn't interested in a movie's final cut

Julianne Moore's most iconic films include The Big Lebowski, The Hours, The Kids Are Alright, and Still Alice. For her performances, this Hollywood heavy-hitter has scored a number of accolades. But despite her multiple successes, Moore surprisingly hasn't actually watched much of her on-screen work. "I haven't seen any of my own movies," Moore told the Daily Express in 2013 (via Contact Music). She added, "I can't sit there for a premiere or anything. I like being in the movie more than I like watching them. That's my big thrill, rather than seeing the finished product." 

Apparently, her own kids don't fall far from the tree in this respect. "My children don't watch my movies," Moore told Good Morning Britain with a laugh in 2015. "I'm their mother … nobody wants to watch their mother," she explained, adding, "They just want me to be their mother … which I want too."

Adam Driver goes 'crazy' watching himself

Before landing the role of a lifetime as villain Kilo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Adam Driver was best known as Adam Sackler on Lena Dunham's HBO dramedy Girls. However, apart from watching the pilot episode, he never actually saw an episode of the award-winning series. "I was like, 'I can't do this, 'cause I just keep seeing mistakes,'" Driver told Backstage in 2014, explaining that he immediately decided to never watch himself on screen again. "I would just replay it in my head over and over again, driving myself crazy … everyone else around me crazy." 

Of course, the actor's one exception is watching himself perform in Star Wars because, well, it's Star Wars. During an appearance on The Howard Stern Show the following year (via People), Driver said, "Because we did so much work on it … It seemed like I should try getting over it. And it's Star Wars. I literally can't believe that I was in it."

Billie Piper hates seeing herself on screen

Billie Piper reinvented herself from a pop star princess to a leading actress in Britain with her turn as Rose Tyler on Doctor Who in the mid-2000s. After portraying the fan-favorite companion to Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant's respective Doctors on the hit sci-fi series, she went on to star in Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Penny Dreadful. While most Whovians love to see Piper in her most popular role, the actress hates watching herself on screen — so much so that she even banned her then-husband and fellow actor, Laurence Fox, from catching her televised performances.

"He has never seen an episode of Doctor Who with me in it because I won't let him," Piper said in 2008, according to Digital Spy. "I get really edgy watching myself, and I get even more edgy with my loved ones because they know me and I feel they're going to take the mickey." She noted, "Sitting down to watch my performances makes me cry. It's even worse watching it with another actor, because he can dissect your performance."

Johnny Depp wants to stay 'ignorant'

Long before Johnny Depp's infamous fall from grace — which began after with his explosive divorce from his former The Rum Diary co-star Amber Heard — he was one of Hollywood's most celebrated, beloved, and sought-after actors. With an undeniably impressive career, the movie star has appeared in mega-hits like Edward Scissorhands, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory … not that Depp's seen many of them.

"I made a choice a long time ago, that I was better off not watching my films, which is a drag because you miss out on a lot of your friends' incredible work," he told The Independent in 2013. Feeling as though watching his on-screen work would "just harm" him, Depp added, "I would rather stay as ignorant as possible about the result of anything because once you're done playing that character, it's really not your business anymore."

Tom Hanks will only watch one of his films more than once

Along with his undeniable talent and range as an actor, Tom Hanks has maintained a long-held a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. The celeb has been an unstoppable force in showbiz while starring in some of the greatest films ever made, including Big, Forrest Gump, and Saving Private Ryan. Unlike the rest of us, however, he surprisingly has zero interest in watching himself perform on screen.

"I don't watch any of my old movies," Hanks once told ShortList. "The one that I might watch with great affection is a little movie I directed, That Thing You Do, which I'm not in that much. I loved doing it so much that when I watch it now it still brings a smile to my face." Clearly not one for repeat showings, he added, "I don't watch my own performances — who does that? That would be madness. I've seen all the movies once, but I don't need to see them again, because they don't change."