Personalities clash at any workplace, including a movie set. However, sometimes actors take things way too far.
Even minor differences have lead to shouting matches, fist fights, and bizarre outbursts behind-the-scenes of some of your favorite movies and TV shows.
Christian Bale Vs. A Crewmember – Terminator Salvation
When some actors gets into a role, they are doing their best to stay in the moment as if the scene was real. Christian Bale is one of those actors. So when the director of photography constantly moved around while shooting a scene for Terminator Salvation, Bale had the right to be upset. But not that upset.
Bale unleashed a giant tantrum, lashing out at the director of photography and terrifying the crew. Audio of this incident leaked to the press, who jumped on Bale for wigging out so intensely. Bale has since apologized, admitting, “I was a punk.”
Lily Tomlin Vs. David O. Russell – I Heart Huckabees
Barely anyone remembers the movie I Heart Huckabees aside from this collision. Director David O. Russell and comedic actress Lily Tomlin got incredibly heated twice during the shoot. Footage has been leaked of Russell getting into an intense swearing match against Tomlin during a car scene, with Dustin Hoffman trying to stay calm.
In another leaked video, Russell gets furious with Tomlin for not taking his direction, screaming at her and knocking papers off a table out of frustration. The two have since made up publicly, but most suspect that it is out of professional courtesy than genuine forgiveness.
Richard Gere Vs. Sylvester Stallone – The Lords of Flatbush
Some of you might be thinking, “Wait, Richard Gere wasn’t in The Lords of Flatbush!” There is a reason why. Gere was set to play the lead role opposite Sylvester Stallone in the movie, but friction started when Gere got a little too rough with Sly during a fight scene rehearsal.
Then, during a lunch break, Stallone and Gere were eating lunch in the back of the car and Gere spilled mustard on Stallone’s pants after Stallone warned him to be careful. Stallone back-elbowed Gere out of the car and the two fought. The director put a stop to future flare-ups and fired Gere from the movie.
Ed Harris Vs. James Cameron – The Abyss
The movie The Abyss involved a lot of underwater action, which can be risky for the actors involved. Proper timing and attention should be paid so that no one on the cast and crew would drown. No one knew this better than Ed Harris, who nearly drowned on camera as James Cameron watched.
Enraged that Cameron kept filming as he was drowning, Harris punched Cameron in the face after he had recovered. Harris has refused to speak about the incident or The Abyss in general, with his lone statement being, “The Abyss was a lot of things. Fun to make was not one of them.”
Val Kilmer Vs. Joel Schumacher – Batman Forever
Batman Forever has its fans and its critics, but many argue the conflict behind the scenes tension was more potent than between Batman and the Riddler. According to interviews with director Joel Schumacher, star Val Kilmer would abuse crew members, even putting out a cigarette on a cameraman’s face.
One day, Schumacher had enough. He blew up in front of Kilmer and defended his crew. It got so heated that both men were separated so it wouldn’t go to blows. When asked about his time working on the movie, Schumacher corrected an interviewer saying, “I didn’t say Val was difficult to work with on Batman Forever, I said he was psychotic.”
Joan Crawford Vs. Bette Davis – What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were enemies before they even began filming What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. The two were often up for similar roles and would exchange insults in interviews. However, things got incredibly out of hand when they finally worked together.
In one scene where their characters got into a physical altercation, Davis hit Crawford on the head so hard it may have required stitches. In retaliation, for a scene where Davis had to drag Crawford across the floor, Crawford filled her pockets with rocks and made herself deadweight so Davis had to struggle dragging her for multiple takes. The movie ended up being an award-winning hit.
James Franco Vs. Tyrese Gibson – Annapolis
For one reason or another, tensions rose between the two stars of Annapolis, James Franco and Tyrese Gibson. While it was admittedly uncomfortable on set with everyone involved, it remained professional until the two sparred while rehearsing a fight scene.
During rehearsal, Franco hit Gibson too hard. Gibson reportedly told Franco to lighten up. Franco didn’t take the note, and it caused a fight to break out for real. Production of the movie had to stop for a day so everyone could cool their heads. Franco and Gibson still have beef to this day.
Shannen Doherty vs. Nearly Everybody – Beverly Hills 90210
The popular 90s drama Beverly Hills 90210 had just as much drama behind the scenes as it did in front of the camera. Typically, the source of the drama was one of the show’s stars, Shannen Doherty. Doherty was reportedly late to shoots and very combative with everyone on the cast at one point or another.
One specific argument between Doherty and her co-star Jennie Garth got so heated that it came to blows. Their fellow cast members had to step in to separate them and break up the fight. In the end, the producers had enough, and Doherty was fired from the show.
Rob Lowe Vs. Tom Cruise – The Outsiders
The Outsiders was a coming-of-age film starring several of the young studs of Hollywood at the time, including Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise. Playing young gang members in the movie, it is expected for some of the fight scenes to get a little rough, but one particular fight scene got a little too real.
During a fight scene, Lowe accidentally went too far and struck Cruise hard in the face. While it was an accident, Cruise’s violent retaliation was not. Cruise started wailing onto Lowe, leading to a real fight. It was quickly broken up and Cruise had to get dental work done the following day due to the skirmish.
Dustin Hoffman Vs. Sydney Pollack – Tootsie
1982’s Tootsie is the story about a down-on-his-luck actor who ends up getting more acting jobs when he starts impersonating a woman. It’s considered a classic comedy and has been critically acclaimed. Behind the scenes, though, was anything but funny.
The star of the movie, Dustin Hoffman, frequently clashed with director Sydney Pollack daily over creative differences. The conflict was especially harsh on Mondays, as the two were rewriting the script over the weekends. Before it was released, Pollack thought the movie was a bomb, saying, “Thank God no one will see this…” It was a miracle the film got made at all.
Shirley MacLaine Vs. Debra Winger – Terms of Endearment
In Terms of Endearment, Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger played a mother-daughter duo that frequently got into spats. They were so good at antagonizing each other on-camera that they often carried their resentment of one another when the cameras stopped rolling. The two fought constantly, and it caused friction during filming.
There is only one reason the two never got into a physical fight: Jack Nicholson. Nicholson acted as a bouncer between the two whenever they got too close to each other, and had to mediate them off-camera. You know the situation is bad when Jack Nicholson is the reasonable one in the story.
Jim Carrey Vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler – Man on the Moon
Man on the Moon was a biopic about the late comedian Andy Kaufman, who at one point got into a pro wrestling feud with wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler. It made sense that for the movie, producers would cast Lawler himself to recreate some of the scenes he did with Kaufman with the film’s star Jim Carrey.
Carrey tried to get further into character by taunting Lawler off-camera like the real Andy Kaufman did, culminating with spitting at Lawler’s face. Lawler had had enough, and crew members had to hold him back before he could punch Carrey out, with Lawler making it clear he could take out Carrey “any time I want to.”
Sean Penn Vs. Oliver Stone – U-Turn
Director Oliver Stone and actor Sean Penn both have hot tempered reputations and big personalities, so it is no wonder that the two would collide on the set of U-Turn. Penn referred in an interview that talking with Stone was like “talking to a pig,” and frequently thought Stone got in the way of his performance.
The biggest clash occurred when Stone brought one of his friend’s kids to the set. This threw off Penn’s method of acting so much that he screamed at Stone and they got into a loud argument. Resentment built between the two men and it affected the rest of production.
George Clooney VS. David O. Russell – Three Kings
George Clooney has a reputation of being one of the most direct yet kind men in Hollywood. David O. Russell has a reputation for being difficult. A mix of the two men could only end in fists being thrown, and on the set of Three Kings, it did.
Throughout filming, Russell would lash out at various members of the production crew out of frustration and stress. Things came to a head when Russell screamed at a young extra and threw the kid to the ground. Clooney had enough and the two went to blows, with some reports saying the two choked each other. Fortunately, the scuffle was broken up.
Sean Connery Vs. Stephen Norrington – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
When Sean Connery agreed to act in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he probably wasn’t thinking about retirement. However after working with director Stephen Norrington on the movie, Connery quit acting for good. Reportedly, the two argued on virtually every scene in the film!
Connery blamed everything on Norrington’s lack of experience at the time. In turn, Norrington blamed Connery’s stubbornness at the source of the drama. Sources say the two almost came to blows multiple times. These flare-ups delayed film production several times, and got worse when fatigue sunk in. The crew just wanted to go home and get away from these two massive egos.
Sylvester Stallone Vs. Tony Bellow – Creed
The film Creed was considered a quality comeback for the career of longtime actor Sylvester Stallone. The movie had Stallone portray one of his most iconic characters, Rocky Balboa. However, shooting Creed had Stallone play at being Rocky a little bit too closely.
During a boxing scene, British boxer Tony Bellow got into a real fight with the actor playing his cornerman. Reports vary from Bellow striking the cornerman or just a heated argument, but the consensus was that Stallone stepped in to shut it down. Pretty gutsy for a 70-something year old man to break up a fight involving a current professional boxer.
Robert Downey Jr. Vs. David Fincher – Zodiac
David Fincher has a reputation of being a demanding director, and he definitely lived up to that on the set of Zodiac. Fincher would have his actors and crew work long hours, sometimes filming up to 70 takes per scene! One of the main actors, Robert Downey Jr., had enough and protested with a capital “P.”
In response to the long work days and infrequent breaks in filming, Downey decided to urinate into mason jars and leave them around the set. This was a passive-aggressive smelly reminder of what Fincher was depriving the cast and crew. It’s safe to say that the two aren’t fans of one another.
Peter Sellers Vs. Everyone – Casino Royale
The filming of 1967’s Casino Royale was considered a nightmare by anyone not named Peter Sellers. First Sellers would change his dialogue to a more serious tone, even though it was a comedy, much to the chagrin of the filmmakers. Next, he refused to do his scenes with Orson Welles on set, demanding a stand-in. Then, he punched the director.
Even after all of that, Sellers was still on the movie. That is, until a visitor on the set inadvertently insulted Sellers to his face. The visitor didn’t recognize Sellers, nonchalantly mentioning that he heard Sellers was a jerk on set. Proving the visitor right, Sellers walked out on the movie upon hearing this.
Richard Pryor Vs. Everyone – Blue Collar
The set of Blue Collar was an overboiling kettle of egos, but the biggest steam bubble that burst was Richard Pryor. While Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, and director Paul Schrader all hated each other and argued between takes, Pryor was the biggest wild card.
Pryor and Keitel would often got into a fist fight after the two tried to rip on one another. Pryor also broke a chair over Kotto after he believed Kotto had upstaged him in a scene. To top it off, Pryor pulled a gun on Schrader on set, threatening him and refusing to do more than three takes per scene.
Gene Hackman Vs. Everyone – The Royal Tenenbaums
Gene Hackman reportedly didn’t want to be in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums and he made sure everyone on set knew about it. Hackman would antagonize everyone on the set, including director Wes Anderson, who he told to “pull up his pants and act like a man.”
Things were so scary that Anjelica Houston was terrified to be around Hackman. To help ease the tension, Bill Murray agreed to come in on his days off to shield Wes Anderson from Hackman, as he was the only cast member that wasn’t scared of him.
Rip Torn Vs. Norman Mailer – Maidstone
Maidstone was an experimental venture directed and starring famed writer Norman Mailer. For one particular scene, Mailer wanted to improvise alongside his co-star Rip Torn. The scene shown in the film turned into such a visceral and violent fight scene that it could have been real. That’s because it was!
Torn struck Mailer on head with a hammer, which provoked Mailer into outright attacking Torn. The two rolled around the grass, punching each other. Mailer even bit into Torn’s ear! The fight was broken up when the two started choking one another. Footage from the fight was used in the final cut of the film.
Marlon Brando Vs. Frank Oz – The Score
Marlon Brando was a film legend and director Frank Oz thought he’d have a story to tell when directing The Score. Well, Oz sure does have stories but none of them good. First, Brando didn’t respect Oz as a director, and would only take direction from his fellow actors, Edward Norton and Robert De Niro. How could it get worse?
Brando outright refused to be shot from the shoulders down in any of his scenes, which is a very demanding request. Not thinking he could trust Oz, Brando would appear on set fully nude to prevent the cameras from shooting anything below his neck.
Thomas Gibson Vs. A Writer – Criminal Minds
Thomas Gibson played Agent Hotchner for 12 seasons on the hit crime drama Criminal Minds. Gibson was also known for his temper. He’d previously been required to take anger management classes, after an incident in which he blew up on an assistant director on Criminal Minds.
The classes didn’t do much to stop him from blowing up again, this time on a writer/producer. Gibson and the producer disagreed about the direction Gibson’s character was taking on the show. One day, an argument escalated to the point that the actor kicked the producer. Gibson was fired from the show, and his character was written off.
Isaiah Washington Vs. Patrick Dempsey – Grey’s Anatomy
The popular medical drama isn’t without behind-the-scenes drama of its own. Isaiah Washington, who played Dr. Burke, has a reputation for being a volatile actor. He got into a fight with costar Patrick Dempsey after an argument about some of the cast showing up late for work.
As the two actors collided, Washington allegedly choked Dempsey. Washington also used a homophobic slur against costar T.R. Knight during the fight. He doubled down on the slur later, at the Golden Globes. It became a huge news story, and Washington was fired from the show.
Steven Seagal Vs. John Leguizamo – Executive Decision
There are rumors that Steven Seagal’s surprisingly early and sudden death in the thriller Executive Decision was written into the movie after the actor clashed with several people on set. That included a physical confrontation with his costar John Leguizamo.
According to Leguizamo, Seagal marched around telling the cast that he was their leader and that they must obey him at all times. Leguizamo thought Seagal was joking, and laughed. Seagal exploded with anger and slammed the comedian against a wall with his elbow on Leguizamo’s throat.
Werner Herzog Vs. Klaus Kinski – Fitzcarraldo
Fitzcarraldo is infamous for being one of the most dangerous productions in film history. And part of the reason for all that danger was the fact that the film’s director, Werner Herzog, and the film’s star, Klaus Kinski, literally wanted to kill each other. Kinski was so abusive to Herzog, the production crew, and the native Peruvian extras that Herzog claims one of the native chiefs even offered to kill Kinski for him.
Kinski’s rages added fire to an already difficult shoot. A crewmember was bitten on the foot by a highly venomous snake and quickly sawed it off to prevent the poison from spreading through his body and killing him. After Kinski’s death, Herzog said, “Klaus was one of the greatest actors of the century, but he was also a monster and a great pestilence.”
Dennis Hopper Vs. Rip Torn – Easy Rider
Originally, Rip Torn was cast in Easy Rider in the role that ultimately went to Jack Nicholson. Torn, known for his larger-than-life personality and volatile temper, was fired from the film after a heated argument with costar Dennis Hopper. During the fight, Torn allegedly pulled a knife on Hopper.
Hopper told the story on The Tonight Show in 1999, 30 years later. Torn was apparently still mad about the whole thing and sued Hopper for defamation, claiming that it was Hopper who pulled the knife. The only thing we know for sure is that a knife was definitely present.
Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo Vs. Their Costars – The Infiltrator
The Infiltrator is a nail-biting thriller about an undercover agent infiltrating a notorious drug cartel. In one scene, the agent, played by Bryan Cranston, is at a restaurant. Paranoid that a waiter is about to blow his cover, Cranston’s character attacks the man. But Cranston got way too into the role, and brutally assaulted the other actor, violently shoving his face into the cake.
Cranston’s costar John Leguizamo also got too into character. Leguizamo was supposed to fight with actor Juan Cely’s character, but the fight quickly became real. “…the actor and I started getting into the scene too much, and started hitting each other. And pretty soon, we were fighting for real,” Leguizamo said. “It wasn’t fun. That wasn’t fun.”
Jared Leto Vs. Elijah Wood – MTVU Woodie Awards
Famously intense actor Jared Leto and beloved hobbit Elijah Wood clashed backstage at an MTV awards show in 2006. Years earlier, Wood had commented in a magainze interview that he hated Leto’s band, 30 Seconds to Mars, calling it “f**king awful.” Leto apparently never forgot the insult.
Leto confronted Wood about the comments and initially walked away. “I guess he thought I was laughing at him,” Wood later told People magazine, “but I was more shell-shocked and telling people around me, ‘Whoa, I just got told off by Jared Leto for not liking his band.’ And that’s when he came back and grabbed me.”
Henry Fonda Vs. John Ford – Mister Roberts
Legendary director John Ford had a reputation for being a hard case. After a day of filming scenes for the movie Mister Roberts, star Henry Fonda had some notes about the script he wanted to share with the director. Ford listened patiently to all of Fonda’s comments, then abruptly stood and punched him directly in the face.
But that’s not all. Ford almost came to blows with Fonda’s costar, James Cagney. During an intense argument, Cagney had finally had enough and said, “You said that we would tangle asses before this was over. I’m ready now. Are you?” Cagney was an intimidating man, and had made a career playing tough guys. Ford wisely backed down from that fight.
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