The 10 Most Shocking On-Set Meltdowns In Hollywood History

Hollywood isn’t as pretty as you think. Film sets are some of the most stressful places to work in the world. Everyone is on a tight schedule, and when the phrase “time is money” is shouted out of the mouth of a neurotic director, he really means it. Even a few wasted hours means thousands of dollars down the drain when it comes to producing a major film. Film sets are the testing grounds that separate the weak-willed from the strong, and many people’s careers have been ended in these situations, simply because they couldn’t handle it.

It isn’t hard to imagine how common it must be to see people fly off the chain on film sets. It can truly make people go insane when things aren’t going their way, when they’re months behind schedule, when they’ve got the studio breathing down their neck, and when they’ve got to babysit mischievous and egotistical actors. Sometimes, the pressure is simply too much. Sometimes, (much to the delight of the public), film sets can cause people to completely break down emotionally and mentally, becoming violent, miserable, and even suicidal. This is Hollywood baby, and it ain’t for the faint of heart.

We count down some of the wildest, funniest and most shocking meltdowns by some of the biggest names in the film industry. If you’re reading this and you come to the conclusion that these people sound like they belong in a mental asylum instead of a multi-million dollar movie set, you may be right. But keep in mind that it's often those wackos and crazies that make the coolest movies. Sometimes it takes an utterly insane person to be able to handle the insane world that is Hollywood.

12 I Heart Huckabees - Lily Tomlin vs David O. Russell

Director David O. Russell had a huge falling out with actress Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees, causing the public to paint him as a villain and an emotionally unstable man. The two have since gotten over it, but during this was a pretty hectic moment at the time. It all started off with Lily Tomlin complaining about being given too much direction by David O. Russell. Things quickly spiralled out of control, with David O. Russell screaming that he’s poured three years of his life into this project. Lily Tomlin fired back with shouting, and then things got really violent.

11 Any Given Sunday - LL Cool J vs Jamie Foxx

Remember that football movie that Oliver Stone directed called Any Given Sunday? Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it - it was an utterly forgettable film. The most interesting drama that occurred in connection to this movie actually played out when the cameras weren’t even rolling. LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx, two titanic egos, are both famous for their obnoxious and arrogant behavior on set. When you put the two of them together, well that’s just a recipe for disaster.

10 Fitzcarraldo - Werner Herzog vs Klaus Hinski

Sometimes people fight on set, but rarely do these arguments ever involve people actually trying to kill each other. But that’s exactly what happened during the filming of Fitzcarraldo, a German film directed by Werner Herzog. The director and the star actor of this film, Klaus Kinski, tried multiple times to kill each other. Not only this, but the film crew was attacked on more than one occasion by Amazonian tribes-people, and the film is famous for being one of the hardest movies to make in history.

9 Apocalypse Now - Martin Sheen vs Himself

Apocalypse Now was another movie filmed in the jungle, and it was as equally ridden with all kinds of mishaps and utter mayhem. The people involved with the production of this film said it wasn’t a film about Vietnam, it was Vietnam. Although Martin Sheen was particularly emotionally unstable during the filming of this iconic movie, the whole crew and everyone involved went completely insane throughout their time deep in the jungles of Vietnam.

8 Three Kings - George Clooney vs David O Russell


Three Kings is an amazing movie starring George Clooney about the first Gulf War. It had a star-studded cast, including Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg. Unfortunately, it was also directed by David O. Russell, who by this time was infamous for being completely unstable, and a pain in the ass to work with. This made the film extremely hard for everyone, as David O. Russell would take out his legendary anger on everyone in sight, from cameramen to script supervisors and even extras. But when he decided to take his anger out on George Clooney, he learned that some people fight back.

6 Blue Collar - Richard Pryor vs Harvey Keitel vs Yaphet Kotto


Actors are famous for being incredibly egotistical, and you can’t blame them. Their whole profession revolves around being the centre of attention, and mesmerizing their audiences. But what happens when you have three of these massively egotistical actors, who all want to steal the show, all working on the same movie? This was the dilemma faced by director and famed screenwriter Paul Schrader during the filming of the movie Blue Collar. Thinking on his feet - he came up with a plan: convince Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto that were each the star of the show. As you might have guessed, this didn’t end well…

4 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle - Bill Murray vs Lucy Liu


Bill Murray is widely known as one of the finest actors on the scene right now. Although he is a supremely talented performer, it seems he is not without his fair share of controversy surrounding his actions on film sets. One of the most famous examples pertains to his comments made towards Lucy Liu on the set of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. For those of you who wondered why the character “Bosley” was suddenly replaced by Bernie Mac, this may shed some light on the issue.

3 Ridiculous Six - Adam Sandler vs Native Americans

Ridiculous 6 was a movie that was fairly well received by audiences. Adam Sandler has developed a formula for comedies that ensures success both critically and financially. Because of his long history of making successful comedies, it doesn’t even matter if the films are good - people will watch them no matter what. But due to his actions and comments on the set of Ridiculous 6, Sandler might have trouble getting one group in particular to watch any of his future films.

2 Terminator: Salvation - Christian Bale vs Shane Hurlbut

Christian Bale’s rant at Shane Hurlbut on the set of Terminator: Salvation is probably one of the most famous on-set meltdowns of all time. Hell, the YouTube video of this angry tirade probably got more views that Terminator: Salvation itself. But what exactly happened to make Bale so damn angry? Was he justified in unloading on Shane Hurlbut in this way? It’s tough to really understand the amount of pressure actors must be under from an outside perspective. We only see the finished products, so we’re unaware of the fact that the workplace of the film set is just as stressful as any other working environment, if not more.

1 Reservoir Dogs - Quentin Tarantino vs Lawrence Tierney


Reservoir Dogs was director Quentin Tarantino’s first big venture into film-making, and boy was it a success. He had to plead and convince actors to be a part of his film. He had to beg, borrow and steal the money he needed to make the movie. And at the end of the day, there were a lot of huge issues he had during the filming process. Still, it ended up being a real masterpiece of filmmaking. One thing that almost destroyed the movie though, was the behavior of an actor called Lawrence Tierney, who played crime boss Joe Cabot in the film.

Apparently Lawrence Tierney was a nightmare to work with. He would repeatedly come up to Quentin Tarantino and tell him he was doing things wrong, that he should be doing things this way and not that way, etc. Quentin Tarantino was already under huge pressure while making his first big film, and really didn’t need this constant criticism. It ended horribly, with the director and this crazed actor getting in a fist fight. Tarantino later fired Tierney, who not long after was arrested for firing a shotgun at his own nephew.

Sources: TheGuardian, MTV, Flavorwire

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The 10 Most Shocking On-Set Meltdowns In Hollywood History