Ben Stiller was left “blindsided” for “a long time” by his ‘Zoolander’ sequel being a turkey.

The 58-year-old actor, who wrote, produced, directed and starred in the 2016 follow-up to his 2001 male modelling farce, said he thought he had messed up his career and lost the ability to do comedy when it was a commercial and critical flop.

He told ‘The X Files’ actor David Duchovny, 63, on his upcoming podcast ‘Fail Better’ about the devastating impact the failure of ‘Zoolander 2’ had on his life and mental state: “I thought everybody wanted this.

“And then it's like, 'Wow, I must have really (messed) this up.

“Everybody didn't go to it. And it's gotten these horrible reviews.

“It really freaked me out because I was like, 'I didn't know was that bad?'

"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."

‘Zoolander 2’, which saw Owen Wilson, 55, and Will Ferrell, 56, return from the first film, made only $29 million against its $50 million budget.

The sequel also featured cameos from celebrities including Justin Bieber, 30, and 39-year-old Katy Perry.

Ben said the failure gave him the “space” to “kind of sit with myself and have to deal with it and other projects that I had been working on”.

When he said he didn’t want to pursue anything new amid the failure, David – whose podcast will be available from 7 May – asked him if it was “anger” holding him back.

Ben replied: “It was just hurt. Finding yourself in terms of what creatively you want to be and do, I I always loved directing. I always loved making movies.

“I always, in my mind, loved the idea of just directing movies that since I was a kid, and not necessarily comedies.”

Ben went on to direct the crime drama ‘Escape at Dannemora’ in 2018, for which he won a DGA Award for Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or TV Film.

In 2022, he also produced and directed the Emmy-nominated series ‘Severance’.