Actors Who Took Things Too Far On Set

Actors often go to great extremes for a role, but the following actors' crazy on-set behavior gives new meaning to the term "too far." From on-set meltdowns to physical altercations, you won't believe some of the lines they crossed. Well, except for maybe Shia LaBeouf—when it comes to that guy, anything is possible.

Jared Leto

We understand how important it can be for an actor to stay in character on set, but every story that's come out about Jared Leto's Method acting while filming his scenes as the Joker for Suicide Squad has sounded less awe-inspiring than, well, simply gross. Case in point: his confession to E! News that he sent various cast members used condoms and anal beads. "I did a lot of things to create a dynamic to create an element of surprise, a spontaneity and to really break down any kind of walls that may be there," Leto said. "The Joker is somebody who doesn't really respect things like personal space or boundaries." Seriously, dude. What? Also, so what?

Fortunately for Leto, he didn't mess with Viola Davis, whose reaction to his on-set antics perfectly summed up the reaction of any rational human being. "I did not receive any personally or else I would have got my husband, who was called the Headache Ball back in the day when he played football," she told E! News. "I would have said, 'Take care of the Joker.'"

Christian Bale

Of all the film set freak-outs in Hollywood history, none will ever equal the expletive-filled rant Christian Bale fired off at cinematographer Shane Hurlbut during the making of Terminator: Salvation in 2009. While the outburst led to some pretty hilarious internet parodies, including this now-infamous remix, it painted a horrible picture of Bale, who came off looking like a rage-filled blowhard. "Am I going to walk around and rip your f****** lights down, in the middle of a scene? ... " Bale shouted at Hurlbut, who apparently distracted Bale by walking through his line of sight. "What the f*** is it with you?"

Listening to Bale's tantrum years after it leaked, it's easy to understand why he was quick to apologize. "There is nobody that has heard that tape that is hit harder by it than me," he told KROQ-FM's "Kevin and Bean" show (via CNN). "I make no excuses for it. It is inexcusable." Bale went on to say that he and Hurlbut made up very shortly after, although—shocker!—they haven't worked together since.

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl is one of those actresses who's reportedly so difficult to work with, entire lists are made about her alleged on-set behavior. Just how bad can things get? In the case of the 2010 movie Life as We Know It, it depends who you believe. While the film's director and executive producer praised Heigl's work on the movie to The Hollywood Reporter, some insiders claimed they witnessed "desperately difficult situations" involving the Emmy-winning star. "She can cost you time every single day of shooting," the insider revealed. "Wardrobe issues, not getting out of the trailer, questioning the script every single day. Even getting her deal closed at Warners was hard. She hit that point of 'no.'" When you start to remember that Heigl reportedly made $12 million for the movie, you can't help but roll your eyes. It's not a huge wonder, then, that Heigl has essentially disappeared from Hollywood. As fun as she was to watch, you still have to play nice at work.

Gene Hackman

Rumors have persisted for years that Gene Hackman was a nightmare to work with on the set of Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums. Those stories were finally confirmed by Anderson and Tenenbaum stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Anjelica Huston during a 10th anniversary screening of the film at the New York Film Festival in 2011. In fact, all three of them admitted to being scared to work with Hackman in the first place. "I was a lot scared but I was more concerned with protecting Wes," Huston said during a Q&A panel, adding there was a moment when Hackman told Anderson to "pull up your pants and act like a man." "[None of us have] heard or seen of Gene since this movie," she said.

Later in the Q&A, Anderson vaguely confirmed a longstanding rumor that, yes, Hackman really did call him the C-word. Still, he did his best to downplay the whole situation. "He's a huge force and I really enjoyed working with him. Even though he was very challenging with me, it was very exciting seeing him launch into these scenes," Anderson said, according to IndieWire. If it's any consolation, at least their experiences weren't as painful as Hackman's final film to date, Welcome to Mooseport.

Mike Myers

He may be funny while the cameras are rolling, but in between takes, Mike Myers is reportedly incredibly difficult to work with. His ridiculous antics on the set of Wayne's World have been agonizingly detailed by the film's director, Penelope Spheeris, who later told Entertainment Weekly (via Gawker) that she "hated that bastard for years." "You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' scene," she vented. "'I can't move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!'"

Even worse, Spheeris recalled a moment (via ABC News) when Myers spent hours on the phone with his manager threatening to quit because the set didn't provide margarine. A meltdown over margarine? That no amount of buttering up would cure? That's not funny — that's just sad.

Julia Roberts

If there's one director in Hollywood you shouldn't piss off, it's Steven Spielberg. That's allegedly what Julia Roberts did while filming Hook in 1991. Reportedly heartbroken over the end of her relationship with Kiefer Sutherland, Roberts was rumored to have been notoriously difficult to work with, to the point where some tabloids referred to her as "Tinkerhell," according to the New York Times. Even Spielberg himself confirmed tensions on the set in an interview with 60 Minutes (via People), saying flat-out, "It was an unfortunate time for us to work together."

Jennifer Lopez

If tabloid rumors are to be believed, Jennifer Lopez may have experienced her own "Julia Roberts moment" while filming the romantic comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting. According to the New York Daily News, Lopez—who had just split from her husband of 10 years, Marc Anthony—"wouldn't talk to anyone directly" on the film's Atlanta set. In fact, the only way she allegedly would communicate was "through her handler." So much for still being Jenny from the block.

Isaiah Washington

Isaiah Washington was fired from the set of Grey's Anatomy in 2007 amid rumors that he directed a homophobic slur at co-star T.R. Knight during a heated fight with Patrick Dempsey on the set the previous fall. In the lead-up to getting 86-ed, Washington repeatedly denied the allegations, most famously during a press conference at the 2007 Golden Globes, even though Knight contradicted his account. Washington finally copped to his offense in an interview with Larry King, claiming he meant to use the offending word in the context of "somebody who is being weak." Which ... Ugh.

On the positive side, Knight later told Ellen DeGeneres that Washington's on-set nonsense inspired him to come out, according to People magazine.

Shia LaBeouf

The exact details of how and why Shia LaBeouf threw a punch at Tom Hardy while filming their 2012 movie Lawless are unclear. LaBeouf first alluded to it in an interview with Details (via Fandango); Hardy confirmed the altercation in a subsequent chat with Den of Geek. "He just attacked me," Hardy laughed. "He was drinking moonshine. I was wearing a cardigan, and er, went down."

The actual punch has since been downplayed. LaBeouf later told MTV News that it was brotherly love, not moonshine, that caused the fight. Meanwhile, director John Hillcoat told Reddit that, while the fight did happen, Hardy wasn't actually knocked out. Instead, the two of them simply had to be restrained. So what actually happened? Honestly, given LaBeouf's recent string of bizarre-o behavior, it's probably best not to ask.

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan's bad behavior on the set of Georgia Rule is the stuff of Hollywood legend. According to the Los Angeles Times, things eventually got so bad that the studio chief of Morgan Creek Productions actually sent her a letter in which he claimed she was "acting like a spoiled child."

Lohan, who was often late to the set or missed filming days altogether, even ticked off various castmembers, including none other than two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda. Amid rumors of an on-set blow-up, Fonda confirmed to CBS News that, yes, she once cursed Lohan out in her trailer. "She was late one day," Fonda said, "and I got mad, and went in and said, 'Get your (blank) out here!' I raised my voice, and she said to her makeup person, 'Barbarella, she just yelled at me!'"

If it's any consolation for Lohan, her feud with Fonda was limited to just that incident. "Hey, when she showed up on the set, she was always great ... I loved working with her," Fonda said. But, yeah. Memo to future stars: never mess with Barbarella.

Wesley Snipes

If Patton Oswalt is to be believed, Wesley Snipes was a terror to work with on the set of Blade: Trinity. Speaking to The A.V. Club in 2012, Oswalt described Snipes as an off-the rails diva who only came to set to film his close-ups. "He wouldn't come out of his trailer, and he would smoke weed all day," Oswalt claimed. Even worse, Oswalt claims that Snipes at one point "tried to strangle" the film's director, David Goyer. Yeah, that's about 50 lines crossed right there.

Lea Michele

Rumors that Lea Michele was a diva with a capital D on the set of Glee plagued the show for years. She reportedly made enemies with co-star Naya Rivera in a series of on-set feuds, according to multiple reports from TMZ in 2014. Apparently, Michele's behavior didn't sit well with some of Glee's famous guest stars, either. According to sources for Us Weekly in 2012, Kate Hudson felt that Lea was a "nightmare" to work with on set and that she was "keeping her distance" from the Emmy-nominated starlet.

The source continued: "Once, during a technical delay, Lea snapped her fingers and said, 'Let's go. I have plans!'" Yikes.

LL Cool J

LL Cool J's alleged improvising on the set of Oliver Stone's football drama Any Given Sunday reportedly got so violent, the Miami-Dade Police Department had to get involved. According to MTV News, Cool J pushed, then punched co-star Jamie Foxx—who was wearing a helmet—during an unscripted moment. Foxx reportedly tried to reason with LL, and when that didn't work, sources said Foxx threw a punch in his face. Both were said to have suffered minor injuries.

Cool J allegedly claimed he was trying to make the scene "more believable since they were acting." Whatever the case, Foxx told MTV News in 2006 that they ended their feud after running into each other at a Miami Heat game. By that point, he said, they had both grown up. "When you're grown, you don't really have time for all that [beefing]," he said. "When you're young, it's cool to have your emotions on your chest. But we're grown now."

Thomas Gibson

Season 12 of Criminal Minds got off to a rough start when actor Thomas Gibson allegedly got into a physical argument with a writer while directing an episode of the CBS procedural. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the argument grew so heated that Gibson "instinctively reacted to aggression and kicked the writer." He was fired from the show shortly thereafter. "I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last 12 years," he said in a statement. "I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won't be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have."

After the scandal broke, word got out that Gibson had allegedly pushed another producer a few seasons prior and was ordered to attend anger management therapy. It was also reported that the writer Gibson allegedly kicked, Virgil Williams, wasn't so nice during his time at ER.

Dwayne Johnson

What's a surefire way to tick people off in Hollywood? Air out your dirty laundry on social media. That's exactly what Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson did in August 2016 when he posted a message to Facebook calling out some of his male castmates on the latest movie in the Fast and the Furious series, Fast 8. "Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don't," he wrote, without naming names. "The ones that don't are too chickens—- to do anything about it anyway ... When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I'm not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling—you're right."

TMZ later alleged that Johnson was directly referencing Vin Diesel, with whom Johnson was rumored to clash over Diesel's producing decisions, among other things. TMZ also claimed that many of Johnson's male costars felt he was "out of line" for posting the message. Whatever the case, their feud appears to have died down—at least according to this Facebook Live video from Diesel, anyway—leading some to wonder if the feud was really just a setup. Either way, for the amount of cash he's making for Fast 8, Johnson could probably stand to bite a few bullets.

Tom Sizemore

If you thought putting Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore in a movie together was a bad idea, well, you wouldn't be far off from the truth—at least according to Sizemore's 2013 memoir, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There. In the book (via The New York Daily News), Sizemore recounts the at times violent interaction he had with Kilmer while they filmed the 2000 space drama Red Planet. At one point, Sizemore alleges, Kilmer got ticked off at him for having the production pay to ship his elliptical machine to their set in Australia. "I'm making ten million on this; you're only making two," Kilmer allegedly shouted at Sizemore. Sizemore allegedly retaliated by throwing a 50-pound weight at Kilmer. For better or worse, he missed.

The on-set tension only continued from there, to the point where producers had to ask Sizemore not to actually hit Kilmer in the face when it came time to film the movie's big fight scene. What did Sizemore do instead? He went for a "knock-down blow on Kilmer's chest," according to his memoir. File "feeling bad for Val Kilmer" under "things we never thought would happen in our lives."

Dustin Hoffman

The allegedly awful way in which Dustin Hoffman treated co-star Meryl Streep on the set of Kramer vs. Kramer was well documented in the 2016 biography Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep. According to excerpts obtained by Vanity Fair, Hoffman allegedly tortured Streep during the filming of the movie by slapping her just before a scene, bringing up the death of her former boyfriend, John Cazale, and improvising a scene by smashing a glass against a wall, leaving shards of it in her hair.

Although she didn't participate in the biography, Streep did imply that shooting Kramer vs. Kramer with Hoffman wasn't exactly the best of times in a 2011 interview with CBS News. "Dustin shocked me," Streep said, "Because we were shooting a scene ... My wine glass was sitting there and he just with his hand brushed it so that it whizzed by my nose and broke on the wall and little pieces of glass [shattered].

"And then, in another scene, he slapped me," she continued. "When I see the movie, I see the imprint of his hand—not in the take that he used—but I still see the hand from the previous take. So, that was like a trial by fire. I thought, 'Eww... Maybe this is the Method [acting] or something.' But I think he's very, very gifted. It wasn't the most fun I've ever had on a film." Pissing off Meryl Streep? Oh, Dustin. That's a big no-no.


Normally when actors act like jerks on set, it does nothing except soothe their own egos and maybe make everyone else's day a little harder or sadder. Rarely does it make the film better. Rarely, but not never. Let's say you're a director. Let's say you're making a quick movie that's stressing everyone out. You're an actor in this movie. One of the other actors is in a scene with you. He's fed up and literally starts attacking you with a hammer. What do you do? Hope the cameras are still rolling? If so, then, congratulations! You're basically Norman Mailer. During the creation of Maidstone, Rip Torn got fed up and literally started attacking him. After Mailer somehow survived, he found out that the cameras had caught the entire fight and he decided, "Hey, you know what my movie needs? This exact fight scene." So he added it in! Is the message that more directors should get attacked by actors with hammers?

George Clooney

It's hard to hear about an actor punching a director without immediately thinking about how actors are super prima donna crybabies. Even George Clooney. You hear he hit his director and you go, "Aw, man, I liked him." It's your gut reaction! Because we've all heard of actors going way too far on set for ridiculous reasons. In this case, though, we actually think the actor was in the right. See, David O. Russell was the director of Three Kings, and he doesn't have the best reputation. This is the movie where he earned that reputation. He attacked crew members, humiliated them, screamed at them, did just the worst things he could. Clooney stepped in because, well, he's the man. "You can't shove, push, or humiliate people," Clooney reportedly told him, and when Russell responded by trying to attack him, he allegedly attacked back. The movie somehow continued to get made despite the director and star trading blows. It's not over either. Years later, Clooney said that he would still punch Russell if he saw him. Because Clooney is the man.

Daniel-Day Lewis

You know what method acting is? It's that thing where the actor pretends to be his character not just when he's onstage or screen but at every moment of his life until the production wraps. It's pretty much the worst. The only reason many people know about method acting is because of Daniel-Day Lewis. He's pretty famous for it. But it was during the filming of My Left Foot that he took it a little too far. See, the movie is about a man who's completely paralyzed, except for his left foot. So what's a method actor to do? You guessed it! Move only his left foot for the entirety of filming. He never left his wheelchair, had to be driven everywhere, and (perhaps most galling of all) he had to be fed by the crew members. Can you imagine moving to Hollywood and finding out your first job is feeding a pretentious actor who refuses to move his body? Actually, to be totally honest, there are probably worse jobs you could get in Hollywood. Ah, aren't movies grand?

Billy Bob Thornton

Now, while a ton of actors take it too far by being horrible to their coworkers or assistants or directors or basically everyone they come across, some actors decide to take it too far on themselves. See, Billy Bob Thornton is who we're talking about, so you already know you're in for a trip. Back before he was a semi-famous actor, he created a short film: Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade. It was well-received, so he expanded it into a bigger film and cast himself as the lead. This was his big chance for fame. He needed to commit to it entirely. His character had a minor limp, so Billy Bob obviously just practiced limping, right? No. He put glass in his shoes. He stuck glass in his own shoes, so while he was being filmed he would be forced to walk with a weird limp. We've heard about bleeding for your art, but literally shoving shards of broken glass in your boots and thinking, "Yes, yes, this is how I shall achieve acting genius" is something only a man named Billy Bob would think to do.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando is the worst. (Although he did have his good moments.) We hope this isn't news to you, but he's basically one of the biggest jerks and most difficult actors to work with on the face of the planet. And he's dead now, so he's still pretty hard to work with. But whatever. The point is, Brando was just terrible to everyone. What didn't he do? When being directed by legend Frank Oz, Brando called him "Miss Piggy." He refused to promote his movies. He stopped actors he didn't like from ending up in his films. He was so out of shape during the filming of Apocalypse Now the entire film had to be rewritten. He also refused to shave his hair because it's not like he's being paid for it or anything! Oh and when he was working with Frank Oz? Brando kept showing up without his trousers. Totally reasonable.

Marlon Brando (Pt. II)

During The Last Tango in Paris, there's a scene where Marlon Brando's geriatric character basically rapes his younger girlfriend, played by Maria Schneider. Now, normally when sex scenes — especially violent sex scenes — are performed, it's done with a lot of caution and discussion about how it's going to be filmed. It usually isn't done by surprising the actress (who doesn't know it's going to happen) and forcing yourself on her. Yet, that's what Marlon Brando — with the director's consent, because who cares about the woman's — did to Schneider. Oh, but surely she's exaggerating right? You know how women are always saying all sorts of things that didn't happen. And it isn't like the director openly stated that he wanted Schneider to be distressed. Surely, the director wouldn't have said something awful like, "I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated."

Oh. He really did say that? While the director is terrible for suggesting this, Marlon Brando is also a terrible person for going along with it. We've already mentioned about nine billion times he ignored the director entirely when it came to, you know, simple things like helping the film get made. But pseudo-rape a girl? He was all for that! We hope he got hit by a streetcar. (Get it? Because that's our desire and he was in A Streetcar Named Desire?) Anyway, Brando's the worst.