More often than not, an actor has little control over the plot, storyline, and script of a movie and it’s the director, producer, and writer that have the most influence. However, there are some actors in Hollywood who think they’re too important to follow orders and they like to call the shots themselves. It’s not surprising, however, that when an actor begins to make changes and demands, the director isn’t happy about it.
There are some actors that are so difficult to work with that some directors have sworn never to work with them again such as Kevin Smith with Bruce Willis and Steven Spielberg with Julia Roberts. While there are many actors who have no trouble following orders, there are some who are just nightmares to work with and it has cost them dozens of roles. When a celebrity gets rich and famous enough, they get to the point where they don’t like to take orders from anyone–including their director.
On the other hand, there are some actors who have made major changes to movies without being a total jerk. Some directors view their actors as collaborators instead of pawns and value their insight. There are many movies that were changed for the better (and sometimes for the worse) because an actor voiced their opinion and the director chose (or had no choice) to go along with it. You’ll be surprised when you find out how a Fast and Furious actress changed the entire franchise because she spoke up and how one A-list actor ruined a potential blockbuster franchise because he got too involved in the creative process.
15. Jack Nicholson Changed Almost Everything About His Character In The Departed
Apparently, Jack Nicholson is such a prolific actor that most directors would be happy just to get him to be in their movie–even Martin Scorsese. When Nicholson was cast in Scorsese’s The Departed, the Shining actor wasn’t too thrilled about his role so he decided he needed to beef it up a bit. Nicholson decided to change almost every aspect of his character and demanded small changes like not allowing his Irish gangster character to wear a Red Sox hat (because Nicholson himself is a Yankees fan) and he demanded big changes like adding a lot more raunchiness including a scene where he gets it on with two prostitutes while doing drugs. Surprisingly, Scorsese went along with all of it and most of Nicholson’s changes made it into the movie. It ended up earning him his first Oscar for best picture and his first for best director.
14. Denzel Didn’t Want His Character To Have A Romantic Relationship With Julia’s
Even in 1993, movies starring a black man and a white woman were not at all common but Denzel Washington was a huge star and Alan J. Pakula wanted him for his adaptation of the John Grisham thriller, The Pelican Brief. There were many audience members who were disappointed in the fact that there was no love story between Washington’s character and Julia Roberts‘ character, especially because there is one in the book. However, most people might not know that it was actually Washington who made this change because he didn’t want to offend his black female fans. According to Washington, “Black women are not often seen as an object of desire on film. And they have always been my core audience.” The director had to go along with this because according to Washington’s contract, he doesn’t have to do anything on film that contradicts his beliefs–that’s probably why he mostly directs his own movies now.
13. Tom Cruise Singlehandedly Ruined A Franchise
After years of watching Disney and Warner Bros. rake in millions for their superhero franchises, Universal knew it was time to get in the game. It was decided that they would reboot their monster movies which included Frankenstein, Creature of the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Dracula, and The Mummy. The Mummy was going to be the first of the reboots and they got Tom Cruise and whatever is left of his star power to play the lead. Unfortunately for Universal, Cruise had no intention of taking a back seat when it came to the creative process and he made a lot of decisions that ended up in the final cut. When the movie opened to only $33 million, Universal jumped ship and dropped all plans to film The Invisible Man starring Johnny Depp and The Bride of Frankenstein with Angelina Jolie. With such a ridiculous plot, it’s probable that the movie would have been terrible even if Cruise hadn’t made any changes.
12. She Kept A Wanted Sequel From Happening
Hollywood has a bad habit of making bad sequels (and remakes and reboots) so it’s understandable why some actors would want to make sure that they don’t have to suffer through it. Before a sequel to the 2008 thriller Wanted even had the chance to get green-lit, Angelina Jolie shut it down. (Spoilers ahead). Originally, Jolie’s character was not supposed to die in the end but Jolie believed that the only right way to end the movie was to have the character kill herself. She said in an interview that she made sure changes to the script were made, saying, “‘If she was to find out she had killed people unjustly and was a part of something that wasn’t fair, then she should take her own life.’” In the end, Jolie got her way and it’s the reason why a Wanted sequel never happened–though a sequel has been in the works for years, Jolie definitely won’t be involved.
11. Norton Is Such A Pain To Work With That He Wasn’t Even Considered For The Avengers Franchise
There are few actors that directors hate working with more than Edward Norton and over the years he has earned a reputation for being one of the most difficult actors in Hollywood to work with. During the post-production process of 1998’s American History X, Norton decided that some big changes needed to made and he made so many demands and edits that the director, Tony Kaye, tried to have his name removed from the credits altogether. In the end, Norton ended up getting his way and his edits made the final cut. To make matters worse for himself, he was so difficult on the set of 2008’s Incredible Hulk that he wasn’t even considered to reprise his role as Bruce Banner in Marvel’s Avengers. Marvel even released a statement that they were looking to hire an actor “who thrive[s] working as part of an ensemble.”
10. He’s Ancient History
Remember when Hollywood tried to make Sam Worthington happen but couldn’t because he has the charisma of a tree stump? Well, one of the blockbuster vehicles anchored by Sam Worthington’s imagined stardom was Clash of the Titans, a remake of an old B-movie from the 1980s. Worthington decided that he wanted to get involved in the creative process and make a few changes. Though the movie is set in Ancient Greece, he refused to wear a toga and he didn’t want to include an old mechanical owl named Bubo that was an integral part of the original movie’s plot so out it went. He also didn’t like the idea of Fates governing peoples’ lives (even though that’s a big part of Greek mythology) so that was excluded as well. If these changes had been not been made, would Clash of the Titans be a good movie? No, probably not.
9. Michelle Rodriguez Made Sure Letty Never Cheated On Dom
Though none of the actors had any idea just how big the Fast and Furious franchise would eventually be, they all knew that it was going to be a hit. Michelle Rodriguez was honored to be cast as Letty Ortiz but she had a major problem with how her character was originally written. In the original story, Letty was supposed to be in a love triangle between Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and she would eventually cheat on Dom with Brian. Rodriguez didn’t like that one bit and thought her character was too loyal to cheat on her longterm love. When she threatened to quit the movie, Diesel took her side as well and the director had no choice but to make the change. It turns out that was the best decision because staying loyal to each other is a big part of the movies.
8. Del Toro Added The Accent Because He Felt His Character Was Boring
Though Benicio del Toro had been in the business for years before The Usual Suspects, he wasn’t a big enough star to be calling the shots–but that didn’t stop him. Del Toro had a habit of always making bold choices when it came to his roles and it even caused his agents to get complaints from his directors–but it eventually led to his breakthrough. According to del Toro, he didn’t like that the whole point of his character in the movie was to die and he decided to have a chat with the director, Bryan Singer. He asked if he would allow him to do something different with the character and Singer obliged–but he was surprised when he found out that “something different” meant speaking in an unintelligible accent. Luckily, he let del Toro do his thing and it led to his breakthrough.
7. The Real Reason The Creepy Thin Man Didn’t Talk
It’s no surprise that 2000 Charlie’s Angels reboot did not get nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay because the script is pretty terrible. When Crispin Glover read the terrible script for the movie, he hated it so much that he refused to say any of the lines that were written for him. Have you ever wondered why Crispin Glover’s character never said any lines in the movie? Well, that’s because he chose not to say them. They were literally that awful. Somehow he managed to convince the director to allow him to do the whole movie without saying a word and that, in and of itself, is pretty astounding. Wouldn’t it be nice to tell your boss that you don’t want to do any work because you felt that it was beneath you and they agreed? Life would be a whole lot easier if we could get away with that.
6. Harrison Ford Pushed For Han Solo’s Death For Years
Harrison Ford didn’t seem to be too fond of portraying the character of Han Solo even though it was the role that propelled him into superstardom. He tried to convince George Lucas to kill Han off in Return of the Jedi but his request was denied. 30 years later, Ford finally got his wish and his famous character was finally killed off. In a Q&A, Ford said that Han’s death made The Force Awakens a better movie and it made Han a better character: “I think it’s a fitting use of the character. I’ve been arguing for Han Solo to die for about 30 years, not because I was tired of him or because he’s boring, but his sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight.” If Ford wasn’t so adamant about killing off the character, there’s a good chance he’d still appear in the other films.
5. This Change Cost $5 Million!
There’s an old rumor in Hollywood that the production of Shrek was so gruelling that DreamWorks animators working on Prince of Egypt were sometimes sent to work on Shrek as a punishment for getting to work late. While we don’t know if that is true, we do know that Shrek‘s production was a nightmare for pretty much everyone involved. It didn’t help matters when Mike Myers decided that he wanted to re-record almost all of his dialogue for the movie because he wanted to use a Scottish accent instead. For some reason, DreamWorks allowed him to re-record his lines even though it cost them about $5 million. In the end, things worked out for DreamWorks because Shrek was a huge success and became the second highest-grossing animated franchise of all time (Despicable Me is #1).
4. Sigourney Weaver Didn’t Want To Be A Part Of The Alien Franchise Anymore
Aliens is one of the few sequels in movie history that is actually a good quality movie–even though it will never be as good as the original, Alien. The franchise was supposed to come to a close with the third instalment, Alien 3, and Sigourney Weaver wanted to make sure that this would really be the end of Ellen Ripley’s story. Weaver requested that her character be killed off at the end of the movie so she wouldn’t be forced to make anymore Alien movies after. According to her, she had heard that Alien vs. Predator was in the works and she said it “depressed” her and that she didn’t want to be a part of it. Weaver got her wish and Ripley does end up sacrificing herself at the end and though it’s sad, it really wraps up the story nicely. Unfortunately, even though Ripley dies in Alien 3, she is brought back to life in Alien: Resurrection which is the worst instalment of the franchise. Will Hollywood ever learn?
3. The Original Ice Bucket Challenge
You can’t have a list of actors who turned the production of a movie into a living hell without mentioning Marlon Brando in The Island of Doctor Moreau. The story behind the movie based on H.G. Wells’ classic novel is now a famous horror story of movie history after Brando refused to recite any of his lines, rarely came out of his trailer, and did whatever he could to sabotage the movie. Brando insisted that he wear an ice bucket on his head in one of the scenes because he was bored and overheated. In another strange turn of events, Brando became obsessed with his co-star Nelson de la Rosa (who happened to be the smallest man in the world) and demanded that the script be rewritten so la Rosa could take some of his scenes. All of Brando’s demands made the final cut because everyone on set was too afraid to tell him no.
2. Actor Vs. Director
There are eight different cuts of the original Blade Runner and each version has changes in it that completely alter the plot of the movie. One of the biggest reasons why there are so many cuts is because Harrison Ford and the director, Ridley Scott, could not agree on whether or not Deckard is actually a replicant. Ford hated the idea of his character being the very thing he was hunting but Scott thought it made the movie much more interesting. Because the two couldn’t agree, it is left up to the audience to decide whether or not Deckard is actually a replicant and it makes the movie much more enjoyable and compelling. When the Blade Runner sequel was released this year, it was revealed that Ford and Scott still disagreed on the subject. Fortunately for us, their inability to come to an agreement led to a much better movie.
1. Dunaway Was Done With Filming
Unfortunately for Faye Dunaway, she had a habit of getting in her own way which caused her career to slump. After starring in Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown, and winning an Academy Award for Network, she starred in the campy cult classic Mommie Dearest then hid in Europe for years in shame when it got terrible reviews. She returned in the 90s for a comeback, starring in The Temp which was about mysterious accidents and murders of the employees of the company in which Dunaway’s character works–and she is believed to be the killer. The director, Tom Holland, decided that he wanted to make a big change to the script–he wanted Dunaway to actually be the murderer instead of just a victim. Dunaway refused to do the reshoots and nothing Holland could say would persuade her. In the end, he had no choice but to keep the movie how it was.
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