In Hollywood, having a good ego can be healthy. If you don’t have the drive to be the best, you shouldn’t be in the business. Many an actor and actress has been able to balance their lives of fame and success and still be somewhat “normal”, or at least professional on the job. Sure, some may be known for bad behavior but they are able to hold it in for a movie and not make too many waves.
Sadly, too many are better known today by what happens off camera than on it. Stories abound of actors who could have had great careers but soon collapsed thanks to bad attitudes and carrying on too much like mega-stars, when they weren’t. But it’s surprising how many actors today who are highly successful despite stories abounding of their horrible behavior, including a few Oscar winners.
In many cases, it’s acting up majorly with demands and wanting to look great. Other times, it can be shutting down a film over a tantrum or not getting their way. A few have gone as far as to try and take a set over and thus drove people nuts and in a few cases, it’s even come down to actual fights. In every case, it’s given those involved a bad reputation that takes away from their talent in a few cases, and even ruined their careers. A few are known, some may be surprises and others come from a time showing this is hardly new behavior. Here are 25 cases of actors and actresses who made directors miserable, and show how some of the best-looking folks in Hollywood can have the ugliest behavior.
25 Jennifer Aniston Is No One's Friend
For a lady who came to fame in a cheap movie about a monster Leprechaun, Jennifer Aniston sure holds herself up high. Friends made her an instant star as she moved onto various other films and trying to be a real film star. She has turned in good performances in Cake and even a few box office hits. However, Aniston is also known to be one of the biggest on-set divas in Hollywood.
That kicked off on Friends as she was the last to hold out before joining the others for bigger raises and seemed to demand more screen time. On movie sets, stories about how Aniston keeps to herself constantly, refusing to have lunch with cast or crew, staying to a trailer that can be a few miles away from the set and holding things up until she’s ready. She doesn’t do as many on-set tirades as others but has been known to demand redos of scenes to look right and thus a major aggravation. So while she may have come to fame as a great gal, on set Aniston is rarely anyone’s friend.
24 Barbara Streisand Hates The Sun
Barbara Streisand turned to directing to give women more of a voice in Hollywood, but some say it's because no sane director wanted to work with her. Exploding to fame by winning a Tony for Funny Girl, Streisand then won an Oscar for the movie version. Truly beautiful and with a stunning voice, she was soon box office gold with hits like What’s Up Doc, The Way We Were and others. But each movie was marked by Streisand demanding to be in top form at all times, snapping at the crew and even the weather. A famous story is when she was shooting a movie in New York at 5 in the morning and screamed about some sudden light. Told it was the rising sun, she snapped “do something about it!”
Even in movies she has directed, Streisand can be ridiculously demanding and her perfectionist obsession has driven more than one co-star to leave a picture. Her last film role was 2012’s The Guilt Trip and most feel you’d have to be driven crazy to think making a movie with La Babs is a calm experience.
23 Faye Dunaway Gets Respectful Hate
To many, one of the most brilliant castings ever is Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. Because if anyone could match Crawford’s insane diva behavior, it was Dunaway. She was a true beautiful lady when she broke out with hits like Bonnie & Clyde and winning an Oscar for Network. However, her attention to detail led her to being cold toward others and that didn’t win her friends in Hollywood.
When they made Chinatown, Roman Polanski gave a backhand compliment by calling Dunaway a pain but “also a maniac” that he respected. Bette Davis slammed Dunaway in an interview as impossible, and she and Andrew Lloyd Webber had such a row doing the musical Sunset Boulevard that it led to a lawsuit.
Dunaway is still causing headaches as evidenced by how she was the one who read the wrong name for the Best Picture Oscar winner in 2017. True, many defend Dunaway for her talent but just as many stories slamming her as an obsessive diva which has sadly overwhelmed her once hot standing to persona non grata in Hollywood.
22 Jean Claude Van Damme Mocks His Rep
The recent short-lived Amazon series Jean-Claude Van Johnson had a brilliant hook to it: Jean Claude Van Damme’s entire career as a ‘90s action movie star was all a cover for his real job as a secret agent. In the show, he even claims he had to act like a massive jerk and see a career decline to keep his cover intact. It was a fun way for JCVD to poke fun at his famous persona as a total scumbag on sets.
He came to fame with his fantastic martial arts skills but then messing things up with his ego and other issues. Street Fighter had him driving everyone nuts with his attitude and that soon led to his decline in Hollywood. Van Damme admits he lost steam “thanks to my own stupidity” and that led to a long decade of nothing but cheap direct-to-video films and a standing of being a joke. True, the series showed he was in on it but also how JCVD basically kicked his own career into nothing.
21 Edward Norton Is A Serious Pain
Another case of an actor whose genius is sadly matched by a nightmare attitude on sets. Edward Norton has clearly shown his skills, earning Oscar nominations for his breakout role in Primal Fear and American History X as well as hits like Birdman and Fight Club. His intensity has been noted by colleagues as adding to his great talent and craft on screen. But that also leads to a major temper and more than a few rows on set. He is a control freak to the point that he basically acts like he’s the director on set, telling cast what to do and even known to order crews to strike a set and redo it to fit his performance. That’s led to many a director upset over how Norton takes over a film.
A key example is The Incredible Hulk as Norton was rewriting the script himself and demanding to direct sequences, ignoring how this was supposed to set up future movies. He then made it clear the only way he would reprise the role for Avengers was if he was given script control and turning the Hulk into the main character. Naturally, that was refused and he was replaced by Mark Ruffalo. While few can deny Norton’s talent, it takes a truly tough director to work with such an infamous control junkie.
20 Sean Young Went Catty
In the early 1980s, Sean Young was breaking out with stunningly stunning roles in Stripes and Blade Runner. She seemed destined for stardom but her sharp mouth wasn’t just on screen. Instead, Young was speaking out a lot on various co-stars and directors and her diva attitude rising up on sets. She was cast as Vicki Vale in Batman but suffered a broken arm amid half-jokes that it wasn’t an accident. She then went about trying to win the role of Catwoman by dressing up as her, a move Young herself admits was a horrible mistake.
Sadly, those accusations of being a nightmare on sets followed Young around, lowering her standing in Hollywood even as she insists so many of them have been overblown. Yet she did get arrested at the 2012 Oscars for belting a guard while trying to crash a party. Many cling to how young, for all her talk on being blackballed for her gender, is her own worst enemy and she’s the only reason she never became a real star.
19 Val Kilmer Wasn't So Cool
With his hot looks and cool manner, Val Kilmer became a star as “Iceman” in Top Gun. That led to various roles and even a turn as Batman. However, Kilmer never rose up as a true major star mostly because of his attitude on set. He and Joel Schumacher clashed a lot with Batman on the character and that drove Kilmer to leave the franchise. He kept it up with going too much on roles and bad-mouthing the directors and producers.
The height would have to be the legendary disaster The Island of Doctor Moreau where Kilmer seemed determined to out diva Marlon Brando. Among the wild tales is how each man refused to leave their trailer first, wasting a day of shooting and Kilmer constantly bullying crew members. Stories of that keep up on several other films, giving Kilmer a bad rep. To his credit, in a 2017 interview, Kilmer acknowledged and regretted his past behavior, admitting he’d let himself get out of control and how it cost him a career of real success.
18 Russell Crowe Loves To Fight
When a special Collector’s Edition of Gladiator came on DVD, a big surprise was an audio commentary by director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe (who won an Oscar for the film). That’s because stories had run for years of the two battling it out on set. Indeed, the commentary has them acknowledging that conflict but still respecting each other. However, it’s just one of numerous stories of how Crowe has raised hell on movie sets as he takes the “fighting Aussie” cliché to the max.
He’s thrown fits, threatened directors and co-stars and is often ready to start a fight. Many feel the reason he didn’t win an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind is because of a massive tantrum that involved throwing a phone at a guy at the BAFTA awards.
There’s also how Crowe had an affair with Meg Ryan on the set of Proof of Life that complicated the show massively. It was summed up by South Park doing a song about “Fighting Russell Crowe” that Crowe himself had to admit was funny. He may be a bit more tempered today but one look and you know Crowe is not a man to rile anywhere.
17 Katherine Heigl Had A Big Mouth
At first, Katherine Heigl seemed to be doing great in Hollywood. With her blonde looks and great appeal, she was rising up in the TV show Roswell and various projects. Then came Grey’s Anatomy as Heigl, amazingly, is the only actor on the long-running hit to win an Emmy. That same year, she hit it big in movies with Knocked Up and soon took off with various rom-coms.
But then came the stories of her attitude. She refused to be nominated for another Emmy by saying the writers hadn’t given her the right material. Then reports came of her and Judd Apatow clashing on Knocked thanks to her bad-mouthing the movie. Soon, Heigl’s antics on Grey’s included throwing fits about scenes and demanding more time than her co-stars which led to her leaving the show. Her last few films and TV shows have been flops with more talk on her arrogance ruining her. Too bad a lady so beautiful has such an ugly side.
16 Steven Seagal Had A Black Belt In Jerkiness
For a brief time in the 1990s, Steven Seagal was a major star in Hollywood. His smooth, silent but deadly persona led to some box office hits. However, things soon went off the rails as word got out on what a massive jerk he was on sets. He’s one of the few people openly banned by Saturday Night Live for a hosting gig that had horrible ideas and refusal to do some sketches. That carried over to his bizarre behavior on sets, more than once establishing himself as the alpha male on sets, intimidating anyone around him. Then of course, there are the tales of his supposed “dark martial artist” past.
There’s also how Seagal has a history of harassing female co-stars, slammed John Leguizamo against a wall for not laughing at a joke and has been known to make outrageous demands on set. He only agreed to do Under Siege 2 if he could direct pet project On Deadly Ground, a movie that literally ends with a huge speech on the environment. He’s sunk to doing cheap C-level movies and a total joke rather than the bad-ass he once was.
15 Alec Baldwin Is Hair Trigger
Given this guy’s temper, the fact he’s a mess on movie sets is no shock at all. Alec Baldwin has had famous altercations from attacking a paparazzi to a curse-filled tirade to his own daughter. So it’s no shock he’s also been a nightmare for many a director on movies or TV.
Stories abound of Baldwin going on horrible rants directed at various directors and even the occasional fight with a co-star. That continued during his Emmy-winning run on 30 Rock as Baldwin would throw fits if things weren’t set up right, taping ran late and other issues. Reportedly, he and Mike Myers had a massive row on the set of Cat in the Hat with Baldwin later stating the man “will suck out your soul and complain about the taste.”
When someone as infamously short-tempered as Baldwin is around, it’s hard to know when things are going to go south, not helped by his various political leanings. A good actor in drama and comedy but also a guy whose temper is among the biggest in Hollywood.
14 Julia Roberts Is No Sweetheart
She’s the one actress Steven Spielberg refuses to ever work with again. Julia Roberts has long been known as an on-screen sweetheart, one of the highest paid women in Hollywood and star of numerous box office hits. However, her attitude has always been rather rough on sets to anger directors and co-stars alike.
On I Love Trouble, she and Nick Nolte quarrelled so much that they refused to do scenes together, so one acted opposite a stand-in and editors had to work it together. Her time on Hook had her nicknamed “Tinkerhell” by crew and clashing more. She hit a slump in the 90s but bounced back with her Oscar win with Erin Brockovich which also restored her ego and led to some tough shoots at times. Roberts can still be a handful on sets of movies with her demands, and shows that under that fantastic smile is one rather harsh temper when she’s riled up.
13 Christian Bale Rants In Character
This shouldn’t be a real surprise. Another case of a fantastically talented actor with sadly quite a lot of issues around him, Christian Bale has shown himself able to handle various roles. He impressed by bringing himself down to basically a skeleton for The Machinist and then buffing up to play Batman. But Bale is also known for a serious temper that transform into a wild rant on set. What’s wilder is that he somehow remains in character for it.
The most famous is, of course, Terminator Salvation when Bale took his anger out on a crew member moving a light during a scene and erupted into a profane tirade that became an Internet sensation. The fact that Bale kept his American accent during the entire screaming is even more impressive. True, many are able to put up with it due to Bale’s amazing dedication and ability to put in great performances but also have to deal with a guy with a very short fuse.
12 Jennifer Lopez Is A True Diva
A recent book about In Living Color makes it clear that even when she was a “Fly Girl” dancer, Jennifer Lopez had a big ego. The other dancers weren’t happy about Lopez clearly thinking about her own career rather than the show and routines. That did serve her well as she came to fame as a recording star and movie success. But that ego remains, such as demanding room service, or slamming other actresses, and refusing to go on location too far.
Lopez has made various demands including her private entourage on hand, not just for movies but her NBC series Shades of Blue to always ensure she looks great. True, she can back it up with good talent and still one of the sexiest women alive but Lopez’s behavior on sets can be quite difficult. She claims she had the leverage to make Oliver Stone give in to demands and has taken it to a lot of ladies in Hollywood. So few live up to the title of onset diva like Jenny on the Block.
11 Mike Myers Is A Control Freak
Former NBC head Brandon Tartikoff loved to tell the story of how, right after Wayne’s World hit, he met Mike Myers to ask who he wanted to direct the sequel. Myers replied Federico Fellini and it took Tartikoff a moment to realize he was dead serious. Myers, to many, represents the worst case of a Saturday Night Live guy who hits it big and ends up turning into the very arrogant jerk he used to make fun of. Myers did hit major fame with the Austin Powers and Shrek movies and was truly on top of Hollywood.
However, Cat in the Hat pushed his horrible reputation to the forefront. Co-stars talk of how Myers would just keep to himself and not talk to anyone with a private entourage. He would also demand constant reshoots over the objections of a director and throw a fit if that didn’t happen as his control freak impulses overwhelm him. This seems to have caught up to him as Myers is now known for his rather bad flops with word of how many in Hollywood no longer trust him because of his massive ego and need for control. Too bad a funny guy just turned into a bad joke.
10 Sharon Stone Demanded Too Much
Sharon Stone actually had a good career going for her for years before 1992 with minor parts showing a beautiful style. Then Basic Instinct made her a huge star and an icon for her stunning performance. It got big hopes for her but Stone had to make things harder for herself with her attitude. She was soon making demands for huge paydays despite how her follow-ups like Sliver and others were big bombs. She actually managed to give Robert DeNiro a hard time while making Casino and it just got worse as age caused roles to dry up for her.
The reason it took 14 years for an Instinct sequel was because Stone caused lawsuits with Stone suing the studio, and then demanded for rewrites and reshoots which all resulted in a huge disaster. Some find it ironic that Stone’s latest performance was in The Disaster Artist as her own actions caused more than a few of her films to be disasters of their own.
9 Bruce Willis Gets Too Angry
Bruce Willis was just a little known actor when Moonlighting made him into an overnight star. He had a great charm and humor and at first seemed destined for rom-coms in movies. But then Die Hard transformed him into an action hero and led to a massive career. It also led to a very impressive ego that’s come up constantly on film sets. Many a director has complained about Willis’ demands, from how to be treated on set to making sure he doesn’t look too old on camera. A running bit for years was him trying to cover up his obviously balding plate but eventually just giving up to be bald in many films.
True, he has been known to swallow it for fantastic performances (such as Pulp Fiction) but that’s the exception as most report Willis being a nightmare on sets. Kevin Smith claims working with Willis on Cop Out was “soul-crushing” and joins a chorus of Willis being a very angry man who can snap into a tirade on set without warning. He paved a road for action heroes in the ‘90s but Willis’ own persona can turn off a lot in movies.
8 Salma Hayek Refuses Eye Contact
This might be a surprise. Salma Hayek took moviegoers by storm with her very first scene in Desperado as she saunters down a street in a way that literally stops traffic. While her stunning beauty and lush accent got attention, Hayek has shown good acting talent as well such as in Frida.
However, word is that behind that beauty is a rather angry lady who has been known to stop production on sets if she doesn’t have her way. Indeed, a bizarre thing is that Hayek refuses to have anyone look her in the eye unless it’s for a scene. If some assistant or makeup person does, Hayek throws a fit and refuses to continue until that horrible perpetrator has been escorted off the set. That’s given her a rough reputation as well as some clashes with fellow actors. She seems to hide it under some charm and good looks, but she can get very riled up in an ugly way.
7 Sean Penn Has Infamous Rage
In terms of acting, Sean Penn is a great force. He has two Best Actor trophies and well regarded for his intensity on set with a slew of terrific performances under his belt. But that intensity can also turn rough, his hair-trigger temper legendary in Hollywood. That includes punching a few reporters and a couple of very volatile clashes on sets. Even veteran directors like Clint Eastwood have had issues with Penn on set, not helped by his often controversial political leanings.
He was even sent to anger management class and The Last Face was more famous for Penn and Charlize Theron fighting on set constantly than the movie itself. The fact that Penn brings with him the baggage of a man who’s praised Hugo Chavez and ranted on various Presidents doesn’t help create a calm movie set. A classic case of a man of great acting talent more infamous for his outrageous temper that makes a shoot with him akin to a war scene.
6 Madonna Wants To Rule
The Material Girl always had an ego. In her very first appearance on American Bandstand, she proclaimed her ultimate goal was “to rule the world.” In a way, Madonna has, dominating pop culture like few women for over three decades. She’s revolutionized music, and videos, and is a great lady in fashion. But somehow, movies just haven't worked for her.
Sure, she had A League Of Their Own and Evita but her other movies are just terrible. It’s not helped by her massive ego on set and clashing with directors with difficult antics. She and then-husband Sean Penn both gave headaches on the set of the bomb Shanghai Surprise. She also clashed on the set of the horrible Body of Evidence and continues to claim Warren Beatty either hit on her or tried to hit her while making Dick Tracy.
Most notable was the little-seen Dangerous Game where she and director Abel Ferrera clashed as he did her best to coax a good performance out of her. But any hopes were dashed by Madonna bad-mouthing the film before it was released, leading to it failing. She even fought with Guy Ritchie while making Swept Away and they were married at the time. It’s best she sticks to music as few in Hollywood doesn’t want anything to do with Madonna these days.
5 Marlon Brando Had An Oversized Ego
No one can deny that Marlon Brando was one of the most brilliant actors of all time. But the only thing bigger than his talent was his ego. Brando’s pride led him to clashing with directors a lot, mostly because he felt he knew the role better than even the writers did. That wasn’t helped by his rather offbeat choices such as playing a Japanese man in Teahouse of the August Moon and several box office flops.
He was so humbled that he did a screen test for The Godfather. It paid off by him winning the Oscar and regaining his respectability. Yet that led to more wild stuff such as demanding a then unheard of $19 million for Superman and got top billing for a role that lasted less than fifteen minutes. After getting paid, he suggested just filming a suitcase and voicing it.
Brando’s issues became as large as his body in his later years, with one bad role after another. That includes the infamous The Island of Dr. Moreau, one of the biggest train wrecks of a movie shoot in history. Brando refused to even learn lines but just have them fed to his earpiece. It’s sad to see his decline from a sheer genius, but apparently it was that very genius that made him a nightmare.
4 Lindsay Lohan Became A Trainwreck
It’s truly sad to see how she fell. When The Parent Trap hit in 1998, Lindsay Lohan won over audiences immediately. Bright and funny, she seemed to have fantastic talent behind her. That carried into the 2000s, hitting her stride with Mean Girls and transforming into an incredibly gorgeous starlet.
But then came the hard fall as Georgia Rule was marked by Lohan showing up late to set, claiming illness but clearly hung over. Her partying soon got out of control, leading to DUI arrests and rehab and her career basically collapsed.
Time and again, she got shots at a comeback in some movies but each time, she carried on like an A-lister and acting like she was still a huge deal. Her fall has been well documented, her once great appeal ruined by her addictions along with her standing in Hollywood. It’s a shame.
3 Klaus Kinski Nearly Drove His Director Crazy
Five times, Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog worked together for a movie. And every time was marked by the crew taking bets on who was finally going to destroy the other. The conflict goes back to when they were living together and driving each other nuts. That just came up with Aguirre, Wrath of God as one point, Kinski got so fed up by crew members playing cards in a hut that he actually fired a firearm at it. Incredibly, they made another four movies but each one just got more insane.
The topper would have to be Fitzcarrlado where Herzog nearly ended Kinski by dropping a massive boat into a jungle river without telling him. While Herzog is the most famous, the fact is Kinski clashed with numerous directors in his career. There were rumors of him suffering mental illness but nothing confirmed besides a very short temper that could erupt into a screaming match at any time. When he died in 1991, Kinski sadly was better known as a raving lunatic more than a fine actor.
2 Joan Crawford Was The Ultimate Diva
Today’s divas have nothing on Joan Crawford. For decades, she was known for a reign of terror in Hollywood that sadly offset her truly great talent. Demanding and outrageous, Crawford was known for shutting films down to get her way and her conflicts huge.
One of the few who could answer her right back was Michael Curtiz with Mildred Pierce. In fact, Crawford called him one of her favorites as she actually enjoyed meeting someone as demanding as herself. The fact she won an Oscar for the role probably helped them get along well. But to many directors, Crawford was a nightmare and even declared box office poison for a time.
More infamous is when she and hated rival Bette Davis worked together on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? The two famously fought and quarreled through the shoot to drive director Robert Aldrich nuts. This included Crawford wearing weights under her dress and ruining takes so Davis had to carry her over and over. While Crawford is better remembered today by her talent, it’s sadly overwhelmed by how she was a nightmare in her prime that ruined as many pictures as she starred in.
1 Shia LaBeouf Is Nuts
Who would have guessed the goofball kid from Even Stevens would turn into one of the wildest guys in Hollywood? Shia LaBeouf was rising up in Hollywood thanks to Transformers and other films, and looked ready for a decent career as a handsome actor. However, the stories soon grew of his frankly insane behavior, which included being arrested for stealing and claiming it was “research” for a role.
He showed up on the set of Charlie Countryman on attacked his director, and while rehearsing Orphan, LaBeouf did the same to Alec Baldwin, claiming Baldwin was “too slow” saying his lines. He released a short film that blatantly plagiarized another film and his apologetic Twitter was all borrowed quotes.
Witnesses reported LaBeouf racing on stage of Cabaret to also go for Alan Cumming. Also, on the set of Fury, LaBeouf refused to shower days on end as his character wouldn’t be able to either. All this has turned LaBeouf from a once funny guy to one of the biggest nuts in Hollywood.
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