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Movies and TV shows make us happy. But the people who star in them aren’t always happy while filming. Sometimes they don’t like the material; other times, fame goes to their heads. We’ve discussed the most difficult Hollywood actors. Some earned the title by walking off set. Here are 25 uncooperative actors who allegedly ditched work — for good reasons or bad. Find out who made Sharon Stone so upset that she walked off set at No. 9.
1. Jessica Alba got sick of crying
Jessica Alba watches U.S. President Barack Obama deliver remarks at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative. | John Angelillo-Pool/Getty Images
Filming: Fantastic Four
One reason Jessica Alba quit acting is likely due to Fantastic Four. The way she was being directed for the movie made her question her abilities and how she was perceived:
The director was like, “It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica.” He was like, “Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.” And I’m like, But there’s no connection to a human being. And then it got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? Do people hate them so much that they don’t want me to be a person? Am I not allowed to be a person in my work? And so I just said, “F**k it. I don’t care about this business anymore.”
Alba nearly left, but stuck it out and finished the movie, but she did end up leaving the business.
Next: This legendary actor got his way via threats.
2. Marlon Brando wanted control
Marlon Brando receives direction during filming. | AFP/Getty Images
Filming: Mutiny on the Bounty
A mutiny appeared in not only the movie’s story, but also on set. Marlon Brando reportedly demanded rewrites constantly and butted heads with the directors, who tried to get Brando fired for holding up production. But he was the star, so it made more sense to keep him. According to The Saturday Evening Post, many of the extras took Brando’s side; one even walked off the set.
Next: This actor won an Oscar for the movie he almost left.
3. Gene Hackman nearly rejected an Oscar
The French Connection | D’Antoni Productions
Filming: The French Connection
Gene Hackman is known for being difficult, so it’s no surprise that there was drama on the set of The French Connection, a movie that won him an Oscar. Hackman reportedly got into an argument with the director, William Friedkin, and the actor ended up storming off the set. Luckily, he came back and made a great movie.
Next: A stray hair began this actress’s feud.
4. Faye Dunaway had a stray hair
Faye Dunaway and Roman Polanski | Keystone/Getty Images
The Mommie Dearest star played a wild character in the biopic Chinatown, but she reportedly also had fits of her own on set. While working with Roman Polanski on the set, he noticed one of her hairs catching the light, so he plucked it. This reportedly upset the actress so much she said, “I don’t believe it. That motherf***er pulled my hair out!” and then she stormed away.
Next: This actor allegedly got sick of fighting.
5. Russell Crowe didn’t want to fight
Russell Crowe in Gladiator | Dreamworks
The movie star reportedly walked off the set twice while making Gladiator, according to Nicole LaPorte’s book, The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies and a Company called DreamWorks. Crowe responded to LaPorte’s claim by tweeting, “On Gawker/Defamer, book re dreamworks If mentions of me are eg’s of distance from the truth waste of paper written by a lying horse’s a**.” Basically, he refutes the claim.
Next: An unusual tactic forced this actor to remain on set.
6. Klaus Kinski vs. a gun
Werner Herzog, Claudia Cardinale, and Klaus Kinski | Ralph Gatti/AFP/GettyImages
Filming: Aguirre, the Wrath of God
The actor had a strained relationship with the director, Werner Herzog. It got so bad Herzog reportedly pulled a gun on the actor to stop him from walking off the set of the adventure movie. That’s one way to keep an actor on set.
Next: Things got too fast for this actress.
7. Michelle Rodriguez refused a love triangle
Co-stars Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Ludacris listen as actor Vin Diesel (not in photo) speaks about his friend Paul Walker. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Filming: The Fast and the Furious
Believe it or not, the actress almost quit the Fast & Furious series due to an on-screen love triangle she was supposed to participate in. She told The Daily Beast:
Is it realistic for a Latin girl who’s with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy? I had to put my foot down. I basically cried and said, I’m going to quit and, “Don’t sue me, please—I’m sorry, but I can’t do this in front of millions of people.” My whole point in being an actress is that I thought I got to live a dream. And I don’t dream about being a slut! Do you?!
The writers changed her character, and she remained in the franchise.
Next: This actor is known for boldly walking off set.
8. William Shatner hates his co-star
George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Walter Koenig accept an award. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Filming: a Star Trek event
The Star Trek lead was known for being difficult and reportedly didn’t get along with many co-stars. One of his feuds was with George Takei. Takei claimed Shatner walked away instead of going on stage at a Star Trek event in 1994.
“This is the usual thing that happens, on the set, whether it was the TV series or the movies, or at conventions,” explained Takei to Howard Stern. “This was another convention where he decided [Shatner] was not going to do what they wanted him to do, and he walked out.”
Next: A photographer made this star take an unscheduled break.
9. Sharon Stone despises paparazzi
Between takes, Sharon Stone stands on set. | Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images
Filming: Golden Boy
Sharon Stone walked off the set while making Golden Boy, according to the movie’s director, Pupi Avati. She was apparently unhappy about a TV cameraman who was on set and filming.
She immediately disappeared. We looked for her everywhere, but nothing! Then my brother received a phone call from Los Angeles from her manager: she wouldn’t come back on the set until the photographers and especially that damned TV cameramen had gone away. Obviously we did so and she, like nothing happened, shot the scene. The thing that I found most absurd is that she had to call to the States and to close herself in a car, instead of coming to ask us directly.
Next: This comedian didn’t want to be a part of his “community.”
10. Chevy Chase halted production
Actors Chevy Chase and Ken Jeong on stage at a Paley Center For Media’s Paleyfest event. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Things were tense on the set of Community, to the point that Chevy Chase walked off the set. Chase’s feud with the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, was highly publicized, so Harmon had no problem discussing it. “He refused to do the ‘tag’ for the ‘Digital Estate Planning’ episode [the 8-bit video game episode],” Harmon told The A.V. Club.
The real answer, I believe, is that he wanted to go home because he was tired. He probably didn’t realize he was permanently damaging the episode by doing so because he often walked off set and then we would just pick up his shots later in the week. But this was the final shot of the season. The sets came down after he walked away. So this was the one time in three years that his personality caused unfixable damage to something I really held valuable.
Next: Bruce wanted to be let loose.
11. Bruce Willis didn’t want his new role
Bruce Willis films in the rain. | Touchstone Pictures
Filming: Three Stories About Joan
A production company actually sued Bruce Willis for walking off the set. Foresight Unlimited claimed Willis was going to direct Three Stories About Joan, but things took a turn. “Willis abruptly and without notice terminated his services as director for personal reasons and walked off the set,” claimed the lawsuit. The suit was seeking more than $4 million in damages, according to TMZ. We may never know the truth.
Next: This actor’s been walking off sets since he was a kid!
12. Val Kilmer didn’t like hamburgers
Notorious actor Val Kilmer in Batman Forever | Warner Bros.
Filming: a hamburger commercial
Val Kilmer later got a reputation for being difficult, which probably ruined his career. But this behavior didn’t start after he reached stardom. According to The Telegraph, he walked off the set of his very first acting job (an ad for hamburgers). As a 12-year-old, he reportedly told the director he couldn’t pretend to like the hamburgers.
Next: A single photo ticked off this actress.
13. Pamela Anderson sees an unauthorized photo
Pamela Anderson speaks with people in the migrant and refugee camp of Grande-Synthe in northern France. | Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
Filming: Celebrity Juice
This British TV comedy panel puts stars in awkward positions. And Pamela Anderson experienced this when the Celebrity Juice host pulled up an old picture of her when she was at the height of her fame. This reportedly made her so mad she walked off the set. She told a producer, “I’m not happy, I have clearance on all my pictures, I’m not happy you showed that.”
Next: This legend almost quit one of his most famous roles because of a common special effects tool.
14. Ian McKellen didn’t want to go green
Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring | New Line Cinema
Filming: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The actor wasn’t happy about working with a green-screen set as Gandalf in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. A big part of it was because he had to act all by himself. “It was so distressing and off-putting and difficult that I thought ‘I don’t want to make this film if this is what I’m going to have to do.’ It’s not what I do for a living. I act with other people, I don’t act on my own.”
Next: Money stopped this movie star from actually walking away.
15. Brad Pitt faces a $40 million loss
Interview with the Vampire | Geffen Pictures
Filming: Interview with the Vampire
The actor starred in Interview with the Vampire but was far from happy with his role. He asked to get out of his contract but changed his mind once he found out how much it would cost.
I’m telling you, one day it broke me. It was like, “Life’s too short for this quality of life.” I called David Geffen, who was a good friend. He was a producer, and he’d just come to visit. I said, “David, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do it. What will it cost me to get out?” And he goes, very calmly, “Forty million dollars.” And I go, “OK, thank you.” It actually took the anxiety off of me. I was like, “I’ve got to man up and ride this through, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Next: A gruesome scene nearly drove this actor to quit.
16. Lauren Cohan couldn’t handle the blood
Lauren Cohan speaks during a Q&A. | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Filming: The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead star didn’t think she could stomach filming the scene where Maggie gives Lori a cesarean section. It was to the point where she thought about quitting. “I have to leave the show. I don’t think I can do it,” she told Steven Yeun. Luckily, she stayed, delivering an epic performance.
Next: This actor had a physical altercation with a co-star.
17. Carl Weathers gets destroyed
Carl Weathers in Rocky III | Chartoff-Winkler Productions
Filming: Rocky IV
Things got pretty dangerous while making Rocky IV. Dolph Lundgren threw Carl Weathers across the ring while they were having an altercation. Weathers wasn’t happy about that and stormed off the set. It reportedly took days for Sylvester Stallone to get Weathers to return.
Next: Bad blood nearly destroyed a photo shoot.
18. Eva Longoria loses it on Teri Hatcher
Desperate Housewives | ABC
Filming: a Desperate Housewives photo shoot
The feud between Teri Hatcher and the cast of Desperate Housewives is highly publicized. Things got so bad that Eva Longoria reportedly threatened to walk out when the cast posed together for a 2005 cover of Vanity Fair.
Next: This comedic actor reportedly walked off her own show regularly.
19. Roseanne Barr wanted more
Roseanne | Wind Dancer Productions
The comedian reportedly ruled her sitcom with an iron fist. She would refuse dialogue, threaten to quit, and walk off set. TV producer Chuck Lorre told The Hollywood Reporter that ABC wanted to do comedy, which Barr wanted too. But she also wanted to address “sensitive social issues,” resulting in a lot of drama. Many other people shared crazy stories about working on Roseanne, but the drama did result in a great show.
Next: Script issues drove this actor to ditch a movie.
20. Sacha Baron Cohen didn’t want to die
Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat | 20th Century Fox
Filming: a Freddie Mercury biopic
Portraying rock star Freddie Mercury seems like a great opportunity for an actor. Sadly, Sacha Baron Cohen walked away from the role. It seems like he had a good reason for doing so, however. He found out the makers of the movie wanted Mercury to die in the middle of the film, while the rest of the movie would follow the band.
“I said: ‘Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from Aids and then you see how the band carries on,’” explained Cohen to Howard Stern. “There are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury. The guy was wild. There are stories of little people walking around parties with plates of cocaine on their heads!”
Next: This actress delivered a memorable line as she ditched her job.
21. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio felt abused
The Abyss | 20th Century Fox
Filming: The Abyss
This movie was difficult to shoot and hardly utilized stunt people. In one scene, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was being resuscitated, so her chest was repeatedly getting pounded. She eventually got tired of this and stormed off, saying, “We are not animals!” Mastrantonio refused to return until James Cameron agreed that the scene was done.
Next: This actor delivered a bizarre line when he walked out of his promo event.
22. Shia LaBeouf couldn’t make sense of things
Shia LaBeouf in Transformers | DreamWorks
Filming: a Nymphomaniac press conference
The actor was promoting the movie with the rest of the cast when he was asked about doing a movie with so many sex scenes. He answered, “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.” LaBeouf then left the press conference.
Next: This actress didn’t find this moment so funny.
23. Emma Watson didn’t appreciate this sexual moment
Emma Watson | Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Filming: This Is the End
Many actors had a cameo in this comedy film, including Emma Watson. In one scene, she was at a party with Channing Tatum, who was only wearing a thong. According to an extra, she wasn’t happy as they started shooting.
“During the scene, Channing decided to do some of his breakdancing in front of her but alas he was in nothing but a thong,” the extra wrote on Tumblr, according to Pop Focal. “So Emma storms off set. Everyone’s like WTF where is she going? She walks all the way down the street. So we wrapped the night 5 minutes later.”
Next: This actress’s reputation for disappearing is so bad that a producer babysat her.
24. Lindsay Lohan couldn’t follow rules
Lindsay Lohan | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images
Filming: The Canyons
The actress is notoriously difficult to work with. The Canyons’ director, Paul Schrader, was so afraid she’d disappear from the set that when she asked for a lunch break he insisted a co-producer go with Lohan to pick up her food.
But when the co-producer made it to the gate, the actress and her assistants ran off. “O.K., she’s lost the privilege of leaving for lunch. She stays here,” Schrader reportedly said. She did return 15 minutes later but left the set knowing it was prohibited.
Next: TV co-stars disagree about who was the difficult one.
25. Lea Michele couldn’t handle trash-talking
Amber Riley, Lea Michele, Naya Rivera, and Dianna Agron on Glee | FOX
The Glee star had a public feud with her co-star, Naya Rivera. According to TMZ, the two had a heated argument on set. It reportedly started when Lea Michele left the set to deal with a personal matter and everyone, including Rivera, had to wait on her. When Michele returned, she heard about the trash-talking, so she left the set again.
Michele’s team later claimed it was Rivera who was thrown off the set and Michele wasn’t aware of anyone complaining about her.
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.
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