Actors have some of the toughest jobs in the world. Sometimes they do such a good job of making us believe in their performances that we forget how hard they have to work. Actors must truly live in the moment, totally convincing themselves that what they’re going through is actually happening. In this way, we as an audience are convinced as well. Good actors have a knack for making tough scenes look easy, but the truth is that sometimes they have to go through hell in order to make the shot work.
An actor might have to pretend he is in love with someone he hates in real life. An actress might have to act like they love animals when really she is scared stiff of them. An actor might be put through incredible physical stress, just so the director can have a sense of realism in his film. And sometimes, actors are tricked and deceived by actors, just so they can force the actor to give the camera a genuine look of shock or surprise.
The truth is we never actually know what actors went through, because all we see is the finished product in the theaters. This is a testament to both the actors and the directors- they do such a good job of making us believe whatever they want us to believe. But beneath the surface, some of these actors were incredibly uncomfortable during some of these scenes…
15. Captain America: Civil War – Helicopter Scene
Captain America: Civil War was one of the hottest movies this year. With its engrossing story, amazing special effects, and spectacular acting, many people are calling it one of the best superhero movies of all time. In one iconic scene, Captain America, played by Chris Evans, is holding a helicopter with his bare hands, stopping it from taking off.
Behind the scene, a crane was actually holding the helicopter up in the air, stopping it from moving around. The director wanted real muscles bulging from Chris Evan’s arms, so what they did was they positioned the crane in such a way where it was doing most of the work, but Chris Evans still had to really work to keep the helicopter from moving. So he was actually holding some of the helicopter’s weight in place, something that must have been a real workout.
14. Black Swan – Girls On Film
The film Black Swan was a 2010 psychological thriller that featured both Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. The two actresses play ballerinas, and one of them has a hidden secret: an alternate personality. This alternate personality is a lesbian, and that story arc resulted in one of the most notable sex scenes in recent years. People everywhere praised the sex scene as one of the hottest things that had ever happened, but behind the steamy lovemaking, there was a lot of discomfort and awkwardness on set.
Both Portman and Kunis look back on the experience with distaste. It was one of the hardest things either actress had ever done on set. They hated the experience so much that it is rumored that both actresses had to get drunk to shed their inhibitions. (Both actresses deny these rumors.)
13. Open Water – Swimming With Sharks
Open Water is a film about a couple who get stranded in the middle of the ocean and have to survive on their own for hours while being attacked by sharks. The film was filmed over a period of two years, filming only on weekends and with a budget of only $130,000.
What made the filming especially tough for the actors was the fact that they didn’t have the budget for fake sharks, so they had to use the real thing. This was terrifying for the lead of the movie, Blanchard Ryan, who had a huge fear of sharks. She and Daniel Travis had to spend over 120 hours swimming in the water with these marine predators, all while wearing chain-mail armor underneath their wet suits.
12. The Change-Up – Covering Up
The Change-Up was a comedy released in 2011 starring Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde. It received mostly negative reviews, with people praising the actor’s performances but ridiculing the film’s humor. One of the most memorable moments in this movie was a sex scene between Reynolds and Wilde.
During the scene, Olivia was wearing pasties over her nipples to hide her breasts from those around her. However, the scene called for Ryan Reynolds to grab Olivia Wilde’s boobs. Somehow, the pasties came off in Reynolds hands, and he was left staring at Olivia Wilde’s real nipples. Reynolds felt extremely embarrassed after making this mistake.
11. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – Such Great Heights
The Mission Impossible Series has been mesmerizing audiences for decades now, and Tom Cruise has long been at the forefront of making the breathtaking action truly come alive. What makes these stunts incredible is the fact that Cruise actually did all of his own stunts himself. Pretty much everything you see in the film was actually performed by the actor himself, not a stuntman. In the newest entry to the Mission Impossible Series, entitled Ghost Protocol, Cruise takes his stunts to a whole new level – literally.
In one scene, his character is tasked with climbing up the side of the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai. At times he was hanging 1,700 feet off the ground with nothing but a harness. Everything you see in the film is real, as he literally sprints up and down the building with nothing but a cord attaching him to safety. What makes it even more incredible is how calm Tom Cruise was during this scene – he was completely unafraid. Because of this, perhaps this film shouldn’t have made the list, but it sure made viewers uncomfortable, and by all logic, it should have made Tom Cruise uncomfortable as well (it just didn’t).
10. Superbad – McLovin’ Scene
Superbad was a comedy that pretty much everyone saw. The best part of the movie was its characters – and one of the most memorable was a student called McLovin. This character was played by 17-year-old Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and near the end of the film, he had a sex scene.
The sex scene itself was one of the funniest moments in the film, but what was going on behind the scenes during the scenes was one of the most awkward and uncomfortable moments for the young actor. You see, because Christopher Mintz-Plasse was only 17 years old, it was actually required by law for his mother to be there to supervise. This made the actor incredibly uncomfortable.
9. The Abyss – Back To Life
The Abyss was a truly groundbreaking film that was released in 1989. The film used special effects that were ahead of its time, and a story that was magical, dark, and gripping. The film starred Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, both giving stunning performances. One of the best examples of these performances was the famous scene where Mastrantonio’s character was brought back to life after drowning.
The scene was five minutes long and took hours upon hours to film. For those who haven’t seen the film, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s character lies dead on the ground, completely unresponsive as Ed Harris’ character does everything he can to revive her. This involved her being slapped, being given CPR, being given the kiss of life, and generally shaken around. She had to remain completely still throughout all of this. After one take, she found out that the camera wasn’t even rolling, which made her storm out, refusing to continue. Luckily, she came back and finished the scene.
8. Passion Of The Christ – Tough Love
The Passion Of The Christ was a controversial film directed by none other than Mel Gibson. Even before it was filmed, people were scratching their heads at this questionable film, probably because Mel Gibson’s reputation had been demolished by the media at that time. Mel Gibson cast Jim Caviezel as Jesus, and the film was released in 2004.
The film depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life, and actor Jim Cavaziel suffered in a very real way as this movie was being filmed. During the torture scenes, the beatings, and finally the crucifixion, the actor suffered multiple injuries. He dislocated his shoulder, got an infected lung, and experienced numerous skin infections. He also caught hypothermia and pneumonia. But the most painful thing that Cavaziel experienced was being struck by lightning during the crucifixion scene, setting his hair on fire.
7. House Of Lies – Too Close For Comfort
House Of Lies was a television show that premiered in 2012, and has generally received positive reviews. It was just renewed for a new season at the end of 2015. This television show features numerous sex scenes, and some of them are a little bit more awkward than others, as actress Kristen Bell can attest to.
During one sex scene, Kristen Bell was seven months pregnant when she and Adrien Brody had to shed their clothing and get physical. She confesses that it was one of the most awkward things she has ever done on camera. The thought that her child was between her and another man while they were simulating sex made her incredibly uncomfortable.
6. Rocky IV – From Side To Side
Rocky IV was a notable addition to the Rocky franchise. Released in 1985, this story featured a new Russian fighter called Ivan Drago coming to America to challenge the best boxers in the country. Eventually, the Russian boxer, played by Dolph Lundgren, kills Rocky’s best friend, Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers. Rocky later defeats Ivan Drago, but in the initial fight between Drago and Apollo, something happened off camera that made everyone pretty uncomfortable.
In the scene where Apollo fights Drago, Dolph Lundgren physically threw Carl Weathers from one side of the boxing ring to the other, causing Weathers to stumble and lose his footing. Weathers flew into a rage, shouting insults at Lundgren and storming off set, threatening to quit the movie. Shooting only resumed after Sylvester Stallone convinced Carl Weathers to continue.
5. Wild – Carry That Weight
Wild was a movie that starred Reese Witherspoon and was released in 2014. It involved a ton of hiking, and to get the realism they wanted, Reese Witherspoon actually had to carry a heavy backpack and run up and down hills. Sometimes they would add weight to her pack and ask her to do it again. They filmed in the middle of nowhere, and a lot of the luxuries film stars are used to were not available.
Witherspoon was uncomfortable during filming but loved the process, calling it “the hardest movie I have ever made in my life.” The sex scene, however, was both uncomfortable and disquieting for the actress, and she confessed that “I really didn’t want to do it.” She described the experience as “terrifying.”
4. Birds – Violent Attack
Alfred Hitchcock’s film entitled Birds was a film that, like all Hitchcock films, mesmerized and stunned audiences everywhere. It was an imagining of a world where birds became violent and took over the world from the humans. It was an amazing accomplishment, especially in a time where there was no special effects technology or computer graphics.
This film was made in a time where things ran a little differently. For one, Hitchcock was not known for treating his actors well, although actors in general during that time were not treated as well as they are treated today. Secondly, because there was little to no special effects technology, the director decided to use a bunch of real birds for the film, supplemented only in part by mechanical birds. Tippi Hedren, the female lead, had to perform in one scene where she was surrounded by a gang of angry birds. The crew proceeded to throw real birds at her, reducing her to tears as they hit her repeatedly in the face. Eventually, Tipi Hedren collapsed and had to stop filming for two weeks after suffering a massive panic attack.
3. Spring Breakers – Three-Way Dance
Spring Breakers certainly made an impact on moviegoers when it was released in 2013, with critics giving it positive reviews and calling it a “cult classic.” It follows four college girls on spring break as they meet a local drug dealer and gradually slip into a life of corruption filled with drugs, sex, and violence.
One of those four college girls was played by none other than Vanessa Hudgens, and she had a lot to say after filming a sex scene for the film. It was a threesome with her two co-stars, James Franco and Ashley Benson, and according to Vanessa Hudgens, it left her with a bitter taste in her mouth. Immediately after shooting the scene, she called her agent and said she never wanted to do that again. She describes the experience as “nerve-racking.”
2. Goldfinger – Electric Shock
No one can forget the hit James Bond film, Goldfinger, and part of what makes it so memorable is the fact that it had an awesome villain. This villain was called Oddjob, and he was played by American Olympic athlete Harold Sakata. Harold hadn’t quite mastered the art of faking punches, and in one scene, Sean Connery is virtually convulsing because he is actually being punched by Harold Sakata.
But the most uncomfortable actor in this movie was not Sean Connery – it was Harold Sakata himself. In one scene, Oddjob is being tortured with electric shocks, and things got a little too real. The device they used to simulate the torture actually malfunctioned, and began to heat up. Harold Sakata was supposed to put his hands on bars and keep them there for the duration of the shot. What people didn’t realize that he actually was getting tortured in a very real way, suffering burns because the bars were heating up. When asked why he didn’t just remove his hands, he told the director that he had never heard anyone yell, “cut!”
1. Alien – Little Surprise
Alien was a truly groundbreaking science fiction film, spawning a whole franchise of films and imagining an amazing, dark and futuristic universe. Released all the way back in 1979, the film received mixed reviews after being released alongside such films as Star Wars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, it still ranks as a favorite among science fiction fans, particularly because of its shocking depiction of alien species.
One of the most iconic scenes is the part where the alien bursts its way out of its victim’s chest, after growing inside of him for days. The funny thing is that none of the actors were informed of how exactly the alien would come out, as director Ridley Scott simply told them that it would appear. When the alien ripped suddenly out of the victim’s chest, what the camera captured was very real – genuine shock from all of the actors, who were sprayed with fake blood. Veronica Cartwright, a female actor involved in the scene, went into panic mode, flinging herself backwards after the blood hit her in the face and going berserk with shock – passing out soon afterward