The Reason Hollywood Avoided Jean-Claude Van Damme For Years

It's almost crazy to look at Jean-Claude Van Damme these days and imagine him being blacklisted from Hollywood. No one is arguing that he's a great actor, but the guy has a pretty large cult following. He was a butt-kicking hottie from Belgium — the "Muscles from Brussels," if you prefer. Van Damme could bend in ways that made normal men sick in the no-no bits just from watching. He saw some serious success early on in his film career with movies like Bloodsport and Timecop. Then, it all just disappeared.

To be fair, his career didn't totally die out. It mostly died in the states. Van Damme has made films of questionable quality elsewhere in the world. Like the not-so-hit Pound of Flesh, where he plays a man who beats people to death with a Bible — revenge for stealing his kidney. The film was far from being an Oscar nominee, but you're shorting yourself if you don't give it a watch. So, why did Jean-Claude disappear from Hollywood for years anyway? Well, he wasn't always the smoothest businessman.

A little ego can go a long way ... south

There's an old Hollywood cliche that depicts some actors as so egotistical they're next to impossible to work with. Sometimes, that happens in real life. Highly paid professionals forget they're real people. They think they deserve more than they're getting. Most of the professionals in the movie industry aren't like this; those who are usually aren't as terrible as the cliche makes them out to be. But they do exist. Early in his career, Van Damme was one of those actors.

Van Damme, the living splits factory, thought his superhuman flexibility and "unique" acting style were worth more than he was being offered in a film deal following the success of Timecop. He was only being offered a three-film deal at $12 million – per film. Why Hollywood would ever try to cheat him with such a lowball offer (#sarcasm), we'll never know. Van Damme wasn't happy about it, so he demanded $20 million. His reasoning was that Jim Carrey was making that much, so he should, too. Which makes total sense if you like comparing apples to puppies or, say, comparing a guy who's known (according to the Orlando Sentinel) for injuring his co-actors to a guy who's a comedy legend. The studio hung up on Van Damme and the offers stopped rolling in. As he told The Express in 2011, "I made a bad mistake and I was on the blacklist in Hollywood for years."