Scenes That Pushed Actors To Almost Quit

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No one said being a Hollywood star was easy. Most films have a few hiccups: production snafus, casting changes, rewrites — it's all in a good day's work. Most actors tend to roll with the punches, but this isn't always the case. What's Hollywood, after all, without a little bit of drama?

Some scenes proved so grueling that stars nearly quit in the middle of production. That infamous baseball bat scene in The Shining? Actress Shelley Duvall allegedly shot that 127 times. The iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody" sing-along in Wayne's World almost didn't happen. And shooting was so torturous on the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas that the film's makeup artist later sought therapy to deal with it. 

Grueling moments like these may have made actors question whether or not they should walk away, but the results proved tremendously successful. For some, those tough times were rewarded with critical acclaim; others were inspired to find their true calling outside Tinseltown. Their stories prove that sometimes a diva is merely a person with an other-worldly amount of patience that finally ran out. Let's relive these life-changing horror stories together, shall we?

Michelle Rodriguez was furious about this love triangle

Michelle Rodriguez landed a huge action-star opportunity when she nabbed the role of Letty in 2001's The Fast and the Furious. This massive franchise was one of her earliest credits and launched a rich career filled with more tough-as-nails roles, such as Rain in Resident Evil and Ana Lucia Cortez on the acclaimed TV series Lost. The truth is, this Jersey girl almost didn't take her big break because she had a big problem with her character's story arc — a love triangle involving Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) didn't feel realistic.

Rodriguez took the role anyway, thinking she could address the situation after-the-fact like she did on the set of Girlfight. Little did she know that this particular plot point would become her breaking point. 

"[The filmmakers] just followed the format without thinking about the reality of it. Is it realistic for a Latin girl who's with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy? I had to put my foot down," Rodriguez told the Daily Beast in a 2015 interview. "I basically cried and said, I'm going to quit and, 'Don't sue me, please — I'm sorry, but I can't do this in front of millions of people.'"

Thankfully, Rodriguez's concerns were heard, and she continued her involvement with the franchise, which pulled in more than $200 million from the first film alone.

For Mike Myers, it was 'Bohemian Rhapsody' or bust

There are few '90s films as classic as Wayne's World, with its slapstick comedy, big hair, and epic Queen sing-a-long. The film, which was developed out of a Saturday Night Live sketch with the same name, helped launched "Bohemian Rhapsody" into infamy. According to Rolling Stone, after Mike Myers' Wayne Campbell popped his favorite cassette into Garth's tape deck, the 1975 song became popular again in the real world, too, hitting No. 2 on the pop charts in the States in 1992. Throughout history, this classic scene has been referenced, parodied, and remixed to no end — but it almost didn't happen at all.

Mike Myers nearly quit Wayne's World over the famed sing-a-long scene. The actor allegedly based the bit on his real-life memories of arguing with friends over who would sing which part of the song when it came on the radio. Unfortunately, producers were pushing for a Guns 'N' Roses song and almost got their way — not!

Myers told Rolling Stone that he almost quit over that song. "At one point I said to everybody, 'I'm out. I don't want to make this movie if it's not 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' I just love the song. It's ballsy that it's that long. It's ballsy that it's two songs in one, that's it's opera ... I didn't think of another possibility."

Producer Lorne Michaels eventually caved, and we think everyone can agree that the world is a better place for it. 

This gruesome scene almost killed The Walking Dead for Lauren Cohan

It's no secret that The Walking Dead is one of the most violent shows on television. The FCC has fielded numerous complaints since its inception in 2010 — everything from people claiming the show features "obscene violence-porn" to parents whose children were allegedly "traumatized" by the gruesome displays of torture. Throughout the show's lifespan, many have questioned whether or not AMC went too far, including one of The Walking Dead's own.

Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene, almost quit the series over a superbly graphic C-section scene during the Season 3 episode titled "Killer Within." In the scene, character Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) goes into labor, and Maggie is forced to give her a do-it-yourself C-Section in order to save the baby. Lori succumbs to blood loss (and probably unfathomable amounts of pain), and her young son, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), then has to shoot her in the head to ensure she doesn't become a zombie. This grim, blood-soaked scene made Cohan question her involvement in the series.

"I go two doors down and I knock on [actor] Steven [Yeun]'s door, and I said, 'I have to leave the show. I don't think I can do it.'" she told Inside the Actors Studio. "It affects you so deeply to the core to touch on, to dive into some of this material. And then I realized that's why I have to do it."

Alfred Hitchcock's birds were Tippi Hedren's breaking point

The 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds has been hailed as one of the best horror movies of all time, but greatness comes with a price. That famous bedroom scene –the one where character Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren's) endures a vicious attack from a flock of birds – looks so terrifyingly realistic because it was realistic. 

According to Hedren's memoir (via People), the actress endured inhuman conditions while filming that scene. Hitchcock had allegedly promised the actress that they'd use mechanical birds for the attack, but she was later informed that the prop birds weren't working, so they had to use live ones. She made it through five grueling days of filming as wranglers threw handfuls of live birds at her body. On the final day, Hitchcock loosely tied live birds to her costume, which frantically pecked at her face.

"I was too focused on my own survival to notice, but I was told later that it was even more horrifying and heartbreaking for the crew to watch than the previous four days had been," she wrote.

Hedren's final straw was when a bird pecked her dangerously close to her eye. She told the director "I'm done" and sobbed until everyone left the room. Hedren was reluctantly given a week off on a doctor's recommendation.

Salma Hayek nearly quit Frida over Harvey Weinstein

Salma Hayek's portrayal of Frida in the eponymous 2003 film led her to an Oscar nomination, but behind-the-scenes, the actress was living a nightmare. In late 2017, Hayek bravely penned an op-ed in The New York Times outlining the alleged abuses she faced at the hands of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein while filming the biopic. The lesbian sex scene was her breaking point.

Hayek claimed that over the years she repeatedly said "no" to Weinstein's sexual advances, which allegedly included requests for oral sex and massages. When she refused, she said she was met with "Machiavellian rage." Though Harvey allegedly threatened to fire her from Frida (both as a producer and actress,) Hayek said the harassment stopped when she got lawyers involved and started filming. He later allegedly threatened to fire her again unless she filmed a sex scene with a woman that showed full-frontal nudity.

"It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation," she wrote. "I had to say yes. By now so many years of my life had gone into this film." The thought of being naked for Weinstein was so traumatizing that Hayek repeatedly vomited and had to take a tranquilizer. 

Weinstein was fired from his studio in October 2017 amidst numerous allegations from more than 30 women and is being investigated by police in New York, Los Angeles, and London.

Jim Carrey's costume made his heart shrink three sizes

Jim Carrey bit off a little more than he could chew when he signed up to play the grouchy, green monster in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In fact, he almost didn't make it past the first day of filming. To become the beloved villain, Carrey had to spend around eight and a half hours in hair and makeup — a grueling process that allegedly turned him into a real-life Grinch behind-the-scenes.

"The first day was eight and a half hours, and I went back to my trailer and put my leg through the wall, and I told [director] Ron Howard that I couldn't do the movie," Carrey said in an interview on The Graham Norton Show.

To solve the problem, producer Brian Grazer hired a former CIA specialist to help Carrey learn how to withstand literal torture. It turns out that the makeup artists probably could have benefited from the same training. Special-effects makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji admitted to Vulture that he started seeing a therapist after dealing with Carrey's erratic behavior on set.

Daisy Ridley wanted to hightail it to a galaxy far, far away

Daisy Ridley knew she had some pretty big shoes to fill when she signed on to play a Jedi in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It's enough pressure for a seasoned Hollywood star to take on the franchise, let alone a newcomer who had yet to break through into mainstream success. Rey the Jakku scavenger was Ridley's big break, but she almost cracked under the pressure of filming in the scorching desert on the very first day.

In an interview with Glamour (via NME), the star admitted that an unfavorable critique from director JJ Abrams after a particularly difficult day of filming completely broke her down. 

"JJ... probably doesn't remember telling me that my performance was wooden. This was the first day! And I honestly wanted to die," she said. "I thought I was gonna cry. I couldn't breathe. And there was so many crew there, because obviously all the creatures [had stand-ins], and there were loads of extra crew making sure everyone was safe because it was so hot. It was awful."

Thankfully, the Force was with Ridley, and she went on to slay the Dark Side in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's experience was abysmal

For many, The Abyss remains a nearly-forgotten blip in director James Cameron's vast catalog. The sci-fi thriller is somehow regularly overlooked even though it raked in more cash than The Terminator and has higher ratings that Avatar and Titanic. It even earned four Academy Award nominations and pulled in the Oscar for best visual effects (at the time, it was widely praised for being shot in the world's largest fresh water tank), reported The Atlantic.

Though The Abyss failed to see the critical success of some of Cameron's other films, the actors will never forget the trauma endured filming some of the flick's most grueling and dramatic moments. According to The New York Times, Cameron hired no stunt divers, and actor to Ed Harris almost drowned on set. To make matters worse, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio allegedly stormed off after a cameramen ran out of tape during an excruciatingly physical scene.

In the scene, Harris aggressively tries to revive Mastrantonio's character after she sacrifices herself. He described the incident to Entertainment Weekly: "[I was] screaming at her to come back and wake up, and I was slapping her across the face and I see that they've run out of film in the camera — there's a light on the camera — and nobody had said anything. And Mary Elizabeth stood up and said, 'We are not animals!' and walked off the set. They were going to let me just keep slapping here around."

Milla Jovovich didn't want to play second fiddle

After Milla Jovovich landed a role in 1997's The Fifth Element, she became a full-fledged action star, but by the time Resident Evil rolled around in the early '00s, there was a new tough gal in town. Michelle Rodriguez, hot off of Girlfight, was cast as Rain in the sci-fi drama. The big problem was that the writers reportedly changed the whole script to fit Rodriguez's part.

Rodriguez "was very hot at that moment, and my hotness had sort of been already four years old by that point. So [director] Paul [W.S. Anderson] rewrote the script for her," Jovovich told Inverse, noting that the changes made Rodriguez "the guy" who got to do most of the big action scenes, and Jovovich's character was relegated to the sidelines as "the girl." Jovovich was furious. "I almost quit the movie." 

Jovovich and Anderson eventually reached a compromise, but that's not all that came out of that deal. They also started dating during production and got married in 2009.

For Shelley Duvall, 127 takes was at least one too many

The Shining remains one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, but it's not just the script that's frightening. Apparently, filming was equally as nightmarish for Shelley Duvall, who played Wendy Torrance alongside Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance.

Stanley Kubrick has long been regarded as an innovator when it comes to directing, but the stress of his filming style took an emotional and physical toll on Duvall. She was allegedly forced to perform the anxiety-riddled bat scene 127 times and grew so physically ill that her hair was falling out in clumps.

Duvall admitted to Roger Ebert that the experience was "almost unbearable," hinting at the fact that she nearly threw in the towel. In the book The Complete Kubrick, Duvall also spoke about the severity of the situation. "From May until October I was really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great. Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I've ever been pushed before. It's the most difficult role I've ever had to play," she said.

Was it worth it? That's up for debate. Duvall earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for worst actress for her role, but she wasn't sweating it. In 1981, she told People, "When somebody recognizes you at a Dairy Queen in Texas, you're a star." If only poor Wendy had that attitude when her husband starting losing his mind in that secluded mansion.

Jessica Alba is an ugly crier, and proud of it

Jessica Alba wasn't just a superhero in 2007's Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer — she was a real person, and real people ugly cry. Alba was proud of getting nitty and gritty in her role, but director Tim Story apparently wasn't having it. According to the actress, Story kept insisting that she needed to be prettier when she cried and that they could CGI the tears in after-the-fact. His comments filled the actress with self doubt and made her feel like she wasn't allowed to be a real person. It was enough to make her want to shy away from show biz.

"I wanted to stop acting. The director was like, 'It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica,'" she told Elle (via Syfy Wire). " ...And then it got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? Do people hate them so much that they don't want me to be a person? Am I not allowed to be a person in my work? And so I just said, 'F–k it. I don't care about this business anymore.'"

Jessica Alba may have been frustrated with Hollywood after the Fantastic Four sequel, but she managed to find major success elsewhere. The actress built a $1 billion company from the ground up, which greatly contributed to her $200 million net worth — and that's worth a happy tear or two.