During an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host asked Stranger Things star David Harbour when he realized the show was “gonna be big.” Harbour responded, “I was sure it was gonna be a complete disaster and a big failure.”
He went on, “I remember when we were shooting, too, we would all sit around and talk about how terrible it was gonna be. Mainly because of my performance. I thought I was, like, tanking the whole show.” Harbour, who lives in New York, said that when he didn’t see an ad for the show around the city, a fellow actor told him that Netflix was attempting to “bury” the show by not advertising it.
Of course, Stranger Things became a massive hit, despite Harbour’s fears that it would be “nothing.” He called the response from viewers “very gratifying.”
Chris Pratt told the Hollywood Reporter that he feared that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to “bomb” and spell the end of his career in Hollywood.
Pratt said, “Every rule said, ‘You don’t make a movie with a talking tree,’ ‘You don’t spend this much money on a raccoon with a gun.’ For me, I was like, ‘Oh, so this movie is going to bomb. Done. This is the end of my career.'”
In the same interview, director James Gunn said that while he truly believed that audiences would respond positively to “the humor and the fun” in the movie, he still had some late nights where he thought, “Oh my God, what am I doing? If this goes wrong, my life is screwed. I’ll be a pariah.'”
Luckily, for the pair of them, Guardians of the Galaxy was a hit that brought in over $700 million at the global box office.
Speaking of doubting the success of Marvel movies, franchise star Elizabeth Olsen apparently has a recurring fear that every movie they make will be the first one to utterly bomb.
During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Olsen said that she no longer watches Marvel movies at their premieres because she can’t stop herself from looking at the audience and thinking, “Well, it’s our first flop.”
She said, “I saw Avengers: Endgame, and I looked around me, and I said, ‘Is it our first flop?'” Olsen does watch the movies following their premieres, though. And for the record, Avengers: Endgame made more than $2.7 billion worldwide.
Star Wars mastermind George Lucas told Stephen Colbert in a 2015 panel at the Tribeca Film Festival that he “didn’t think the film was going to be successful.”
Lucas said that when he showed an early version of the movie to friends, they responded with something to the effect of, “Poor George. What were you thinking?” However, Steven Spielberg said that it would be “the biggest movie of all time.”
The doubting director realized that his movie was a phenomenon while he was vacationing in Hawaii shortly after its release. Alan Ladd Jr., the president of 20th Century Fox, called him and told him to watch Walter Cronkite’s news program. A story was airing about the “sensation of Star Wars,” and Lucas said that watching that was the “first time I understood that it was a big hit.”
He said, “Everyone thought that they had struck gold. And I said, ‘What are you talking about? It’s just a little movie.’ And so when the film was released, I found myself going back to the talk shows and saying, ‘I’m the guy that didn’t believe in it.'”
Donald Sutherland was taken by surprise when National Lampoon’s Animal House became a huge hit, but unlike the other folks on this list, he probably wasn’t thrilled about it. According to Business Insider, the book Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House tells the tale of Sutherland turning down a percentage of the film’s (ultimately very impressive) gross profit in favor of a flat rate of $35,000.
Moving on from R-rated comedy classics to something a little more kid-friendly: Peppa Pig. Morwenna Banks, who voices Mummy Pig, thought the show would be a disaster when it was first pitched to her.
During a 2017 interview, Banks said, “They showed me a picture of Peppa, and I thought, ‘That is never going to work. Who’s going to go for that? It’s a pig in a dress!'” However, she was clearly won over by Peppa, and she called the show “special,” “relatable,” and “beautiful.”
And finally, author Stephen King told FOX411 that he almost gave up on his debut novel Carrie while writing its first draft, to the point that he threw away his first efforts.
King said, “I had 16 or 18 pages, and it was in a girl’s locker room, and I didn’t know anything about that, and I tossed it in the wastebasket because I didn’t think it was very good. My wife came along and brushed off the cigarette ashes and everything and unfolded it and read it, and she said, ‘I think this is good, you’ve got something here,’ and I said, ‘It’s really too long to be a short story, and it’s too short to be a novel,’ and she said, ‘I’ll help you,’ and she did.”
He added that the story, which has been adapted multiple times, had “a much longer life than I ever would have expected.”