The glamorous world of showbusiness attracts strong personalities – thespians, writers, directors, even costume designers typically have strong feelings about how things ought to be done. And of course, these ideas don’t always align.
When personalities clash on an already high-stress set, it results in a hectic environment and, sometimes, cataclysmic rows between cast and crew members. Legendary writer and director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life) is a perfect example of one of those extreme personalities. Not only is he known for being a recluse, but he’s also reputed for alienating a plethora of actors who have starred in his movies. Christopher Plummer has gone on record as saying he will never work with Malick again, because of the difficulty he faced in making Malick’s pretentious dialogue seem natural. Of the difficult actors around, Oscar winner Christian Bale is notorious: Once, on the set of Terminator Salvation method actor Bale went on a vicious rant, hurling expletives at director of photography Shane Hurlbut after Hurlbut allegedly walked in the background while Bale was performing.
These disagreements are fairly one sided, but there are numerous examples of actors and directors failing to get along which have resulted in verbal and even physical dust-ups. We might often feel jealous of the glamorous lifestyle and exciting careers of Hollywood’s elite, but the on-set reality isn’t always so appealing. Exchange your envy for some delicious schadenfreude, as we illuminate the biggest fights between actors and directors in Hollywood history.
10. Judd Apatow Vs. Katherine Heigl
After starring in the 2007 comedy film Knocked Up it seemed Heigl had the potential to be the next big thing in the rom-com world. That was, until she infamously openly bashed the movie in an interview with Vanity Fair saying that it “paints the women as shrews,” and that the men look “loveable.” During an interview with Howard Stern, Apatow said he has never received an apology and co-star Seth Rogen called her hypocritical.
9. Dan Harmon Vs. Chevy Chase
Community creator and director Dan Harmon leaked a voicemail from Chevy Chase in which Chase called Harmon fat, a bad writer and a “stinko,” among many other more profane epithets. Chase left the voicemail after Harmon told off Chase in front of his wife and kids because he was apparently being unprofessional on the set and refused to read his lines. Harmon ended up being fired by NBC, and Chase quit.
8. Megan Fox Vs. Michael Bay
The feud between Michael Bay and Megan Fox lasted years, and Bay eventually fired her. Fox was replaced in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, allegedly because of her unprofessionalism on the set of the previous Transformers films. The animosity went both ways – at one point Fox compared Bay to Hitler. The actress and director eventually made up, it seems, as she was cast as April O’Neil in the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
7. Bruce Willis Vs. Sylvester Stallone
Bruce Willis was originally slated to star in Expendables 3, but his demands for pay and working hours were apparently too much for Sylvester Stallone. Willis was eventually replaced by Harrison Ford, and Stallone took to Twitter to call out Willis for being “greedy and lazy.” Stallone tweeted: “Greedy and lazy … a sure formula for career failure.” A year after the incident, Stallone seemed to apologize and said that it was not really a big deal at all.
6. Danny Boyle Vs. Ewan McGregor
After collaborating on 1994’s Shallow Grave and the critically acclaimed cult classic Trainspotting, Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor had plans to work together again. Ewan McGregor was originally going to be cast in the film The Beach, but Boyle ended up casting Leonardo DiCaprio instead. The casting led to a bitter feud between Boyle and McGregor. The two have apparently patched things up and there are rumors of them working together again on a sequel to Trainspotting.
5. Bjork Vs. Lars Von Trier
Two eccentric characters were always bound to create an interesting on-set environment. But it seems the relationship between the bold director and kooky singer / actress was destructively explosive – the experience that the Icelandic pop star had while working on the set of Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark made her quit acting, almost entirely. “I met Björk one day and instead of saying hello she spat on the ground”, Von Trier once told GQ.
4. Bruce Willis Vs. Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith has said that working with Bruce Willis on the comedy film Cop Out was “soul crushing.” Smith says that SNL alum Tracy Morgan was a dream to work with and was extremely professional, but Willis was the opposite. According to Smith, Willis wouldn’t even participate in a photo shoot for the movie’s poster and was unwilling to take almost any acting direction.
3. Val Kilmer Vs. Joel Schumacher
Joel Schumacher believes that Val Kilmer portrayed Batman better than any other actor, but the director also said that Kilmer acted extremely childishly on the set of Batman Forever. The pair got along so poorly on set that they barely spoke and even had physical altercations with each other. Schumacher called Kilmer rude, inappropriate and impossible, and eventually the two ended up in a shoving match over Kilmer’s unprofessionalism – which of course, counterintuitively, can’t have done much for either party’s reputation for professionalism.
2. Roman Polanski Vs. Faye Dunaway
Faye Dunaway allegedly threw a cup of urine at Roman Polanski on the set of Chinatown when he refused to allow her to take bathroom breaks. In his book, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind wrote that when Dunaway would ask for direction Polanski said: “Say the f***ing words. Your salary is your motivation.”
1. Lily Tomlin Vs. David O. Russell
On the set of I Heart Huckabees, David O. Russell got so angry with Lily Tomlin that he went on an insane tirade. He yelled and swore at the comedienne, and even went so far as to smash parts of the set. The incident was caught on tape and eventually released to the public. Russell yelled, “I haven’t been working on this thing for three fucking years to have some fucking c**t yell at me in front of the crew! I’m trying to help you, b***h!” A similar incident happened of the set of Three Kings, and now George Clooney refuses to work with Russell because of his attitude.
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