Ben Stiller admits ‘Zoolander 2’ failure launched him into self-doubt spiral

Ben Stiller’s ‘Zoolander 2’ was a massive box office flop upon its release in 2016

By Web Desk
April 23, 2024
'Zoolander 1,' released in 2001, remains a cult classic to this day

Ben Stiller’s 2001 comedy-thriller Zoolander remains a cult classic to this day. However, the second iteration, released in 2016, was a massive box office failure.

After years finding his footing again, Stiller, 58, recently admitted that he spiraled into self-doubt after his project flopped.


“I thought everybody wanted this,” he said on an upcoming episode of Fail Better podcast via People Magazine. “And then it’s like, ‘Wow, I must have really f***ed this up. Everybody didn’t go to it. And its gotten these horrible reviews.”

Stiller reflected, “It really freaked me out because I was like, ‘I didn’t know it was that bad?"

He added, “What scared me the most on that one was I’m losing what I think what’s funny, the questioning yourself… on Zoolander 2, it was definitely blindsiding to me. And it definitely affected me for a long time.”

However, there was a silver lining in the movie flopping, as Stiller had the time and space to go back to the drawing board and explore other projects.

“I had this space to kind of sit with myself and have to deal with it and other projects that I had been working on – not comedies, some of them – I have the time to actually just work on and develop,” he said, adding that he always wanted to be a director.

Thereafter, he started working on his crime drama Escape at as well as Severance, both of which earned him Emmy nominations.