Despite the fame, riches and notoriety that it brings, being a world-famous Hollywood celebrity simply has to be one of the most pressurised jobs on the entire planet. Having to live your life under the glare of the world’s media, combined with the expectation to match your previous acting performance, must be a massive weight on the shoulders of Tinseltown’s best and brightest.
It’s no massive surprise to us, then, when actors occasionally crack under the pressure, though the scale and timing of some of the most well-known Hollywood meltdowns has meant that a few actors are still remembered for completely losing it when they should have been doing their job. Below are eight examples of Hollywood actors who completely lost the plot on a movie set.
8. Christian Bale (Terminator Salvation)
In what has become one of the most well known and shocking on-set meltdowns in Hollywood history, Christian Bale launched an expletive-filled trade at Shane Hurlbut on the set of Terminator Salvation after the cinematographer walked into a scene that Bale was shooting with his co-star Bryce Dallas Howard.
During nearly four minutes of abuse, Hurlbut and the film’s director McG fail to calm Bale down, with the highly-strung actor ending his rant by claiming that he and Hurlbut are “done professionally.” The recording of this clip went viral, and Bale later apologised by saying that he Hurlbut had resolved their differences and that they continued to work alongside each other without further incident.
7. Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels)
During the filming of the 2000 Charlie’s Angels movie, Bill Murray upset his co-star Lucy Liu by suggesting that she couldn’t act and shouldn’t even be in the film.
Rather than dealing with Murray’s comment calmly, Liu is said to have physically attacked the actor whilst screaming at him. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the incident led to Murray being replaced by Bernie Mac for sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
6. Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs)
Lawrence Tierney’s brief appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 masterpiece Reservoir Dogs was beset by a myriad of issues, with the actor reportedly attempting to undermine everything that the director was attempting to achieve on set.
The conflict ended with the pair getting into a fist fight, and that in turn led to Tarantino firing the actor. Tarantino later called Tierney “a complete lunatic who just needed to be sedated,” and revealed that the fight erupted because the actor was “personally challenging to every aspect of filmmaking.”
5. George Clooney (Three Kings)
You wouldn’t normally associate George Clooney with any kind of trouble, but that wasn’t the case on the set of the 1999 film Three Kings, where Clooney clashed in a big way with often controversial director David O. Russell.
Reports suggested that Russell violently threw one of the film’s extras to the ground after an altercation, with Clooney recalling that “we were trying to get a shot and then he went berserk. He went nuts on an extra.” This led to Clooney and Russell having a physical fight of their own, and the actor later ended their relationship by saying “will I work with David ever again? Absolutely not, never.”
4. Wesley Snipes (Blade: Trinity)
In what we can only assume was due to boredom, frustration, or possibly even some illegal substances, Wesley Snipes really lost the plot on the set of the quite dreadful 2004 Blade sequel Blade: Trinity.
Reports suggested that Snipes would sometimes chase director David S. Goyer around the film’s set, whereas at other times he would remain in his trailer smoking marijuana. Things apparently got so bad between Snipes and the rest of the film’s cast and crew that by the end of the shoot the actor would only communicate with his colleagues via post-it notes.
3. Bill Murray (What About Bob?)
It’s not the first time that Bill Murray has been mentioned on this list, because Charlie’s Angels wasn’t the first time that the actor had been involved in a nefarious on-set incident, after he clashed with his co-star Richard Dreyfuss in a big way whilst filming the 1991 comedy What About Bob?
Not only did Dreyfuss later accuse Murray of throwing an ashtray at him whilst yelling that everyone hated him, but the film’s producer Laura Ziskin also claimed that Murray threw her into a lake after they had a serious falling out.
2. Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now)
One of the most notorious film productions of all time, Apocalypse Now was beset with all kinds of mad controversies that involved financial difficulties, drink, drugs and even its lead actor smashing a mirror with his bare hands.
Martin Sheen, who later in the production almost died after suffering a heart attack, really did punch through that glass at the start of the film. The actor was celebrating his 36th birthday, and got so drunk that he started bleeding all over the film’s set without even realising.
1. Val Kilmer (The Island of Dr. Moreau, Red Planet, Batman Forever)
It’s hard to pick one example of losing the plot when it comes to Val Kilmer, because the talented actor seems to have been shadowed by crazy on-set antics and controversies throughout his career.
Not only did Kilmer clash (sometimes physically) with director Joel Schumacher on the set of Batman Forever, but the same happened with his co-star Tom Sizemore during filming of 2000 box office bomb Red Planet. To add injury to insult, Kilmer is also alleged to have burnt a crew member with a cigarette on the set of 1996’s The Island Of Dr. Moreau.