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11 Actors Who Took Things Too Far On Set

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I am not naive enough to think that acting is an easy job at all. Even horrible performances are probably much better than I could ever do. It’s a tough gig and it really seems to take a lot out of the people who choose it as their profession.

There are some who make it look pretty natural, and they are certainly a pleasure to watch. Then, there are those that really go above and beyond. Sometimes, to their own detriment. These are the ones who give such chilling or convincing performances that make your hair stand on end or bring you to tears. You might wonder how in the world they have transformed themselves so completely for the part.

Sometimes there are methods behind the acting that are pretty unorthodox. Sometimes these actors go way past what others might do for the same part, but that is what makes the performances so memorable. Being that dedicated to their craft is admirable, even if we don’t understand the thoughts behind their process.

Sometimes, they are just divas or really hard to work with and take great pleasure in torturing those around them on set and off.

Let’s take a look at some of the most extreme cases of actors who might have taken things too far when playing a role.

1. Jared Leto

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Those of us who have followed Jared Leto since ‘My So Called Life’ or ‘Girl, Interrupted’ know that he’s always been such a great actor. Intense and broody when he needs to be, his piercing baby blues able to convey emotion in a very authentic way.

He’s what is called a method actor. Method actors totally immerse themselves into the parts they are playing, even staying in character after the director yells cut at the end of the day.

Jared reportedly got totally into the demented headspace of The Joker for ‘Suicide Squad.’ It was his first big role after he received an Oscar for ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club.’ He was also the first to play The Joker since Heath Ledger, who received the Oscar (posthumously) for his portrayal.

He says he sent gifts to the other cast members, as he isolated himself from them between times of shooting, just as The Joker would have. He gave them things like used prophylactics, dirty magazines with weird fetishes, and sex toys. He told one reporter that it was to purposefully create a surprise element, a chaotic dynamic reminiscent of the character. Fully in character, not respecting things like personal boundaries or space.

His Joker was one of my favorites, he was totally maniacal. The method acting worked if you ask me!

2. Christian Bale

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Christian Bale is well respected as a serious actor and has been rewarded for his work many times. He is known for losing weight for a role. He is also known for game king weight if he needs to.

We will never forget his chilling performance as a killer in ‘American Psycho,’ or his portrayal of the drug addicted trainer in ‘The Fighter.’

It seems that he is also remembered for pitching a massive fit on the set of ‘Terminator: Salvation’ in 2009. He really got mad and yelled some horrible things to Shane Hurlbut, who was a cinematographer working on the film.

It’s spawned many Internet remakes of the moment, and totally made Bale appear to be a total jackass! He was mad that Hurlbut distracted him by walking into his eye-line while shooting a scene. He hollered to him asking what the (expletive) was wrong with him, among other things.

He was quick to apologize, and said on a radio show that nobody who has heard the tape is hit harder by it than he was. He was remorseful and said he and Hurlbut made up quickly after the incident. Whether that’s true or not, they have not worked together again.

3 Katherine Heigl

Kevin Heigl is best known for her portrayal of Izzy Stevens on the long running hit Shondaland production, ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

Since leaving the show several years ago, she has embarked on a mildly successful movie career as well. She starred in the hilarious ‘Knocked Up’ with Seth Rogan, and the popular chick flick ‘27 Dresses.’

She is notorious in Hollywood for being super difficult to work with. Her behavior onset is apparently talked about amongst many people in the industry.

In 2010, she starred in a movie called ‘Life as We Know It’ and received high praise from the director and producer of the movie. Other people who worked on set recalled some really difficult antics surrounding the star. They claimed that she was a liability as far as costing extra money every day because of her antics, citing wardrobe issues, not coming out from her trailer, and questioning the script endlessly, every day.

Apparently, she was even difficult in the process of being hired for the film, making closing the deal an ordeal for many. She was paid $12 million. I think I’d be cooperative for that kind of cash, but that’s just me.

4. Gene Hackman

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There has always been talk of Gene Hackman being hard to work with, ever since ‘The Royal Tannennaums.’ Wes Anderson, who directed the movie, as well as co-stars Anjelica Huston and Gwyneth Paltrow have confirmed that the tales are true.

During the 10th anniversary screening of the movie, which took place at the New York Film Festival, the three spoke about being frightened to work with Gene. He apparently told Wes to act like a man at one point. Anjelica Huston said that none of them have seen of heard from him in the time since the movie ended.

Wes Anderson was also asked, during the festival, if Hackman had called him the C word, and he confirmed it. He added that Hackman was a force that he enjoyed having in his movie. He admitted the challenges but indicated that it was worth it to see him dive into the scenes and help make the film a success.

I can’t imagine going through what these filmmakers have to put up with from some of these stars!

5. Mike Myers

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This next one might be a little bit surprising, considering that all of this actors’ characters are funny and lighthearted.

Mike Myers is probably best known for his portrayal of International man of mystery, Austin Powers. A lot of people also know him, and have been following his career since his time at Saturday Night Live. One of the skits from the show, ‘Wayne’s World,’ was turned into a major motion picture, and started his movie career.

It also started the trend of people realizing how hard he is to work with. The director of ‘Wayne’s World,’ Penelope Shpeeris, Said in an interview by Entertainment Weekly, that she hated Mike Myers for a long time. She said that he did a lot of bitching during the Bohemian Rhapsody scene, complaining that he couldn’t move his neck certain ways and asked why they had to do it so many times. He also questioned whether people would laugh at it.

What a diva! That might not be the worst part, though. At one point, he made an hours long phone call to his manager because there was no margarine on the set. He threatened to quit the movie if he couldn’t have margarine. I don’t even know what to say about that!

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6. Julia Roberts

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Julia Roberts is a beloved actress who many call their favorite. With her big smile and beautifully curly red hair, she is definitely a sight to behold. Her laugh is infectious, and she breathes life into every character that she portrays.

She won the Oscar for best actress for her part as ‘Erin Brockovich’ and at one point in time, she was the highest paid actress in Hollywood.

In 1991, she was going through a break up from Keifer Sutherland and when they ended their relationship, it caused a lot of problems.

She was filming the Steven Spielberg film ‘Hook’ and was apparently so hard to work with during this time that some were calling her Tinkerhell, a play on the character Tinkerbell she was portraying in the film.

Steven Spielberg was asked about it during an interview on 60 minutes, and he admitted that it was not the right time for them to have worked together.

I think I’m going to give her a pass on this one, heartbreaks are hard! Nobody acts right when they’re hurting that way

7. Jennifer Lopez

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Jennifer Lopez is one of the most beautiful and most talented women on earth. She is a triple threat, meaning that she is able to sing, dance, and act.

She seems very nice when you see her on television, but apparently she can be a bit of a diva at times, as well. I think all women have a tendency when the timing is right. Or wrong, as the case may be.

When she was filming the romcom ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ She was in the middle of divorcing her husband, Marc Anthony, after 10 years of marriage and a set of twins.

She was so out of sorts that she would not speak to anyone or let anyone speak to her directly. Her handler handled all communication.

Maybe that was her way of protecting herself from probing question that might lead to a breakdown? Who knows. I can only imagine it made her difficult to be around.

8. Isaiah Washington

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Isaiah Washington started out on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ as one of the main characters, Preston Burke. He was fired from the show in 2007 for using a homophobic slur towards T.R. Knight, who played George, while in the middle of an argument with Patrick Dempsey, who played McDreamy.

In the months between the investigation of the allegations and his actual firing, Washington denied that he said it, vehemently. During a press conference at the Golden Globes, he denied it when asked, and any other time he was asked, he said he did not do it.

When he finally did admit it, he said he didn’t mean it as someone who was gay, but rather someone who was weak. As if that makes it any better.

At the time, Knight had not come out yet, and he did tell Ellen DeGeneres this incident inspired him to go ahead and do it. At least one good thing came from it. Good on him for looking at it that way.

9. Shia LaBeouf

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I don’t think anybody is surprised to see Mr. LeBoeuf on this list. He has become notorious as of late for his strange antics.

In 2012, he was filming the movie ‘Lawless’ opposite Tom Hardy, and he punched Hardy in the face, for reasons that are unclear. LeBeouf hinted about it in an interview, and Hardy later confirmed that Shia did attack him. He speaks about it in a very tongue-in-cheek way, laughing, recalling that Shia was drunk on moonshine, and he was wearing a cardigan.

LaBeouf claims that it was brotherly love that brought about the fight, not moonshine at all. John Hillcoat, who directed the film, said on Reddit that the fight did happen, but Hardy was not knocked out. They were simply restrained.

I guess we will never know what really happened, because everyone is afraid to ask Shia about it now, because he has been acting weird for a few years. Let’s just leave well enough alone.

10. Lindsay Lohan

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During the filming of ‘Georgia Rule’ Lindsay Lohan played a troubled girl sent to live with her grandmother. She was acting just as bad in real life, to the point where she was sent a letter by the studio calling her behavior that of a spoiled child.

She would show up late, or not show up at all, which did not set well with the other cast members or crew. This included Jane Fonda, who played her grandmother in the film. Jane finally took matters into her own hands, when she went to her trailer and cussed her out. She told her to get her butt out there! Lizzie complained to jer make up person, incredulous, that Fonda had yelled at her.

Fonda said that when Lindsay did show up, she was delighted to work with. At least she doesn’t hold a grudge.

11. Lea Michele

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Turns out that Lea Michele was just as big a diva as her character Rachel while on the popular show, ‘Glee.’ Her diva antics have been well documented. She and Naya Rivera reportedly feuded for years while the show filmed.

The show was guess star heavy, and her bad behavior did not go over well with some of them, either. In 2012, Us Weekly was told that Kate Hudson called Lea a nightmare to work with and she was definitely not becoming chummy with the star of the show. The source also said that Lea snapped her fingers and demanded to go during a delay, because she had plans. Wow, she sounds like a piece of work!

I’m sure these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to over the top acting methods, or behavior from Hollywood actors.

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Written by Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson is a former Army brat who resides in southern Alabama. She is married to her wonderful husband, Brian, and has four children; Justin, Nicolas, Molly, and Lucas. She loves reading, writing, cooking, and going to concerts. She also loves spending time at the beach and hopes to retire there someday.

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