Movie making is a tough business, with a lot of egos and even more political battles. When you hear about a ‘spoilt’ star hiding in their locked trailer or throwing a tirade towards a crew member who walked into a shot, that may not be the whole story. Sometimes that is a response to other difficult people on set. But there is a line between playing the game and being truly difficult. Here are a few movie people notorious for their ill-will towards others.
- Hugh Grant
He may be that cuddly character rolled out for romantic comedies, but the real Hugh Grant is apparently anything but. Jon Stewart from The Daily Show called Grant the worst guest ever, saying he constantly complained about just about everything. There are also numerous stories about his public appearances – apparently Grant is quite fond of the whole ‘Do you know who I am?’ thing.
- David O. Russell
David O. Russell has had a mixed bag as a director, but he still manages to hit the mark from time to time. Last year he shot to acclaim again with the overrated American Hustle. Recent leaked emails revealed he threatened and bullied staff on the set of that film. But none of this is news: he did the same on the set of Three Kings and his other movies. If you want to see the guy in action, just search for ‘i heart huckabees tantrum’.
- Lindsay Lohan
Oh, where do we start? Of all the names on this list, Lindsay Lohan needs the least qualification. That is mainly because she is the current ‘spoilt brat’ of the movie scene and Lohan is not the worst on this list. Still, her demanding nature and lack of respect for others is well documented, not the least in the sensational behind-the-scenes stories from The Canyons. Lohan arrives late, demands special privileges, demands changes to the script and really does only what she wants to. It’s not hard to find people who vow they’d never work with her again.
- Mike Myers
You’d think Mike Myers is a really nice guy. Anything but. He was not exactly the most popular cast member of Saturday Night Live – he and Dana Carvey didn’t get along at all and Myers tried to get the Garth character written out of Wayne’s World. Director Penelope Spheeris refused to work with Myers for years after that film. His demanding character again appeared in the Austin Powers movies and later the first Shrek had to spend millions reanimating scenes because Myers decided late into the project to re-record the main character with a Scottish accent. The thing is, Myers’ ability and hunches are evident, so usually he is right (though he did fight against the famous ‘Queen’ car scene from Wayne’s World). But if it weren’t for talent, Myers would just be a douche.
- William Friedkin
Gene Hackman has at times been singled out for being a tough guy on set. But he most likely got the habit from director William Friedman while making The French Connection. Friedkin didn’t like Hackman and did everything to make his life hell during filming, even enlisting other actors as thugs. Similar acts of bullying played out on the sets of The Sorcerer, The Exorcist and other films. Friedkin would happily fire anyone he didn’t like, once even firing a driver for hitting a pig – after Friedkin ordered him to drive faster. His fights with studio executives are as legendary.
- Klaus Kinski
The late Klaus Kinski was regarded as a highly-demanding actor who in turn delivered great performances. The truth is a bit more horrifying: recently his children accused the thespian of sexually abusing them as children. This lines up more with Kinski’s tremendous reputation as a bully and all-round horror on set. Director Werner Herzog even spent a lot of time filming Kinski’s tantrums, some which live on Youtube. The director once recalled how Kinski got very upset and threw a tantrum because a set worker, who had just accidentally chainsawed their own leg off, was getting more attention than him. Herzog once even allegedly pulled a gun on Kinski, who refused to work. The story goes that Herzog told Kinsi if he killed him, they’d call it an accident and the crew would support Herzog’s version. Apparently even Kinski figured out this would be the case – that’s how disliked he was.
- Steven Seagal
When it comes to an on-set, firing on all cylinders a**hole, nobody touches Steven Seagal. He is demanding, cruel, crude and a total douchebag. There are endless accounts of Seagal just making up stuff to make him seem tougher or more important – some of which had been refuted by his own mother. During the peak of his career Seagal quickly gained the reputation for being a true chauvinist pig. He’d attack other actors on set, but was apparently also a bit of a wimp. When Jean-Claude Van Damme called Seagal out over comments on being the better fighter, Seagal did everything he could to avoid going toe to toe with the Muscles from Brussels, all while still chirping him sh**. Seagal also enjoys randomly kicking stuntmen between the legs to check if they wore cups. Really, he’s a piece of work.
Last Updated: December 18, 2014