Actors Who Caused The Most On-Set Drama

Drama on Hollywood sets is nothing new, whether its between co-stars or between actors and directors (or even, less glamorously, actors and crew members). The Telegraph writes that Marilyn Monroe would show up hours late to the set of 1959's Some Like it Hot, and had required "59 takes" just to nail the line, "Where's the bourbon?" (prompting director Billy Wilder to quip to the press that Monroe had "a brain like Swiss cheese — full of holes"). And who could forget the much-reported long running feud between Hollywood legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, which reportedly plagued the set of 1962's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? It was allegedly so epic that it even inspired a TV series

In these more contemporary cases, actors exhibited poor behavior which, unfortunately for them, was not soon forgotten by the people who had to share the set with them. Read on to see whose diva-like behavior earns them a spot in the on-set drama hall of fame. 

Marlon Brando brings the horror to two film sets

Marlon Brando is one of the world's most lauded actors, but he's also notorious for his erratic behavior on film sets. As The Hollywood Reporter reported, director Francis Ford Coppola told a crowd at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival that Brando was "like a kid, very irresponsible" on the set of 1979's Apocalypse Now. He described how Brando showed up on set having neglected to memorize any of his lines. Per THR, Coppola problem-solved by recording Brando improvising lines for five days, typing it all up, and splicing in parts of the novel Heart of Darkness (which the movie was based on). He then recorded the new lines, so that Brando could listen in on an earpiece and repeat them during shooting.

Brando pulled something similar on the set of 1996's The Island of Dr. Moreau, according to screenwriter Ron Hutchinson. Hutchinson described to The Observer how Brando arrived "weighing about 300 pounds" and refusing to read his lines as they were written, again needing to use an earpiece. Hutchinson also wrote in his memoir about how Brando (who he called "Overweight, unprepared, mocking, dismissive") would rarely leave his trailer and had "poisonous" relationships with his fellow actors. All in all, Hutchinson described the film set as " an island of crazy people – an awful experience" in which the lead actors couldn't even be filmed together. The entire production was such a mess that a behind-the-scenes documentary was released in 2014. 

Wesley Snipes dashes hopes for Blade 4

Actor Wesley Snipes' personal life hasn't been exactly drama free (see: his 2006 arrest for tax evasion), and it sounds like he brought it in droves to the set of 2004's Blade: Trinity. Comedian Patton Oswalt was Snipes' co-star on the third installment of the Blade series, and described to the AV Club how Snipes would refuse to leave his trailer or shoot any scenes with his fellow actors. Oswalt explained to the AV Club that Snipes only arrived on set "for close-ups. Everything else was done by his stand-in. I only did one scene with him." 

According to Oswalt, tempers allegedly boiled over to the point that the film's director, David Goyer, asked Snipes to quit, after which Snipes selected Post-it notes as his preferred mode of communication with Goyer (which he would sign "From Blade.") 

In a 2016 interview with Uproxx, Goyer explained that the movie's shoot was "the most personally and professionally difficult and painful thing [he'd] ever been through," and he hasn't spoken with Snipes since. 

Shannen Doherty vs. the cast of 90210

Shannen Doherty infamously brought a whole ton of drama to the set of 90s favorite Beverly Hills 90210, specifically when it came to her relationship with co-star Jennie Garth.

Garth described what she perceived as the root of the conflict in her 2014 memoir Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde (via Yahoo), writing, "[Shannen] had opinions about a lot of things, including the writing, the wardrobe, you name it. And she wasn't afraid to share them, even if it meant sounding like a complete and utter b****."  Per Garth's memoir, things got so bad between the two actresses that they nearly got into a fist fight which had to be broken up by their co-stars. Similarly, cast member Jason Priestley noted Doherty's attitude, which he described as "very cool ... until it wasn't," in his memoir (via The Hollywood Reporter), saying, "She really and truly did not give a s**t."

Doherty left the show in its fourth season in 1994. According to Entertainment Weekly, the final straw came when she went ahead and cut her hair mid-season without asking permission. 

Christian Bale threatened to have a DP ... terminated

In 2009, an audio recording of actor Christian Bale losing it on the set of Terminator: Salvation leaked to the press, giving the public an inside glimpse of what sounded to be a very heated vibe on the film's set. When director of photography Shane Hurlbut walked into Bale's sightline as he was trying to shoot a scene, Bale went ballistic. As Hurlbut tried to apologize, Bale screamed at him, "No don't just be sorry. Think for one f***ing second. ... Do you have any f***ing idea about it's f***ing distracting? Give me a f***ing answer." The rant continued for an unbearable four minutes, in which Bale also threatened that he would "f***ing kick [Hurlbut's] f***ing ass."

Bale later profusely apologized for his behavior, calling in to Los Angeles radio station KROQ to say, "I was out of order beyond belief ... I acted like a punk. I regret that, and there is nobody that has heard the tape that is hit harder by it than me ... It is inexcusable." He also noted that "everything is resolved" between him and Hurlbut, and that they continued to work amicably on the film for a month after the incident. Be that as it may, Bale's meltdown is still an anxiety-inducing listen.

Chevy Chase isn't much of a community-builder

As Gawker describes, actor Chevy Chase was by many accounts extremely difficult to work with during his stint at Saturday Night Live in the mid to late 70s, and he also brought a huge heaping dose of drama to the set of NBC's TV series Community. In 2012, Deadline reported that Chase was seriously feuding with showrunner Dan Harmon. Things had reached such a boiling point that Harmon gave a speech at wrap party in which he encouraged the show's actors to say "F**k you" to Chase (prompting an obscenity-laden voicemail from Chase). Chase officially left the show in its fourth season.

In the years since Chase's departure, multiple co-stars reminisced publicly about his abrasive on-set antics. In 2013, Joel McHale revealed to Howard Stern (via the Huffington Postthat Chase "physically wanted to fight" him (which once resulted in McHale injuring Chase's shoulder), and would use the "N-word" on set, claiming Richard Pryor had given him permission to do so. 

In a 2018 profile of Chase's Community co-star Donald Glover, The New Yorker reported that Chase would make racist jokes between takes to throw Glover off, and once told the actor, "People think you're funnier because you're black."

Isaiah Washington got himself surgically removed from Gray's Anatomy

In October 2006, TMZ broke the story that Isaiah Washington had been involved in a physical altercation with his co-star Patrick Dempsey on the set of Gray's Anatomy. During the fight, which supposedly broke out over Dempsey's tardiness to the set, Washington reportedly "pushed" and "choked" Dempsey. TMZ alleged that the fight got so bad that production of the show had to be shut down. But that wasn't even the worst of it. Word got out that Washington had used a homophobic slur during the tussle to refer to co-star T.R. Knight, who had not yet confirmed his sexuality (he'd come out as gay shortly thereafter).

Washington later appeared on Larry King Live to explain himself, saying, "I said several bad words" to Dempsey, including, "There's no way you're going to treat me like a B-word, a P-word or the F-word." He claimed that the "F-word" wasn't intended to be homophobic, but "it meant to me someone who is being weak." After repeating the offending word again at the Golden Globes in response to a question about the incident, Washington was fired from Gray's Anatomy in June 2007.

Lindsay Lohan's comeback is riddled with drama

From the get-go, Lindsay Lohan's presence (or lack thereof) on the set of indie film The Canyons came with its fair share of drama. In a detailed piece from Jan. 2013, The New York Times described how Lohan arrived late for a first read-through of the film's script with her castmates. She also reportedly went AWOL just prior to shooting, prompting director Paul Schrader to fire her. Lohan then allegedly showed up at Schrader's hotel room and made a huge scene, insisting that she be re-hired (remarkably, she was). 

According to the NYT, Lohan disobeyed Schrader's rules about leaving the set during filming, and also once missed an important call time due to being out late partying with Lady Gaga the night before. 

TMZ also published audio from the set just one day after the NYT piece was released in which a frustrated Lohan cursed off co-star James Deen, telling him "Do your f***ing job." Deen would later tell The Daily Beast, "I think [the audio] was released by her camp to try to make her look good."

More Moreau, more problems for Val Kilmer

Marlon Brando wasn't the only actor bringing the drama to the set of 1996's The Island of Dr. Moreau. As Entertainment Weekly reported in 1996, Val Kilmer had an extremely contentious relationship with the film's two directors. Richard Stanley, who served as director for three days before being fired, told the magazine, "Val would arrive, and an argument would happen." John Frankenheimer, Stanley's replacement, also griped, "I don't like Val Kilmer, I don't like his work ethic, and I don't want to be associated with him ever again." 

Per EW, Kilmer's antics reportedly included burning a cameraman with a cigarette, while The Telegraph alleges, "Kilmer was rude and abrasive: during one scene, he reportedly sat on the ground and refused to stand up." The paper also reports that Kilmer refused to leave his trailer until Brando was on set.

Entertainment Weekly explained that Kilmer's role as Batman in 1995's Batman Forever had come with its fair share of drama too, and that the film's director Joel Schumacher dubbed Kilmer "childish and impossible." Kilmer elected not to reprise his role as the caped crusader in the film's sequel; Schumacher would later tell The Hollywood Reporter in 2017"Batman Forever, when we were on the world tour, it just really went to his head... He wanted to do Island of Doctor Moreau because Marlon Brando was going to be in it. So he dropped us at the eleventh hour." Can you say, instant karma? 

Gene Hackman seems fun

Watching director Wes Anderson's charming ensemble-driven film The Royal Tenenbaums from 2001, you wouldn't necessarily guess that there'd been any acrimony behind the scenes. However, in 2011, Anderson appeared on a panel at the New York Film Festival with cast members Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Murray, and Anjelica Huston, and disclosed that, in fact, there had been a dash of drama on set. 

The source? The film's star Gene Hackman, who Anderson and Paltrow both revealed they were "scared" of. Huston shared an anecdote in which Hackman had told Anderson to "pull up your pants and act like a man," while Anderson disclosed that Hackman had also called him a "c**t." Fun! Anderson had previously admitted to The Independent back in 2002 that working with Hackman had indeed presented challenges, saying, "I was excited by what he was doing in the movie, but he doesn't make it easy. He's very private and one of the ways that manifests itself is that he doesn't like to be directed."

However, Anderson also came to Hackman's defense at the 2011 NYFF panel, saying, "He's a huge force and I really enjoyed working with him. Even though he was very challenging with me, it was very exciting seeing him launch into these scenes." All's well that ends well, we guess.