Stars Who Lost Their Tempers On Set

Ever since the early days of Hollywood, there have been rumors of bad behavior during the making of films, including stars exploding in angry outbursts on set. Back in the day, the general public only heard about such incidents when they were surreptitiously leaked to gossip columns by loose-lipped crew members. And while these stories didn't offer the kind of publicity the stars may have been hoping for, most of the time they were brushed aside and quickly forgotten.

Yet recent decades have brought about a change, with technological advancements allowing these ecocentric shenanigans to not only be surreptitiously recorded, but also self-broadcast live on the internet almost instantly. And while reading about an A-Lister's meltdown is one thing, watching or hearing one is way more enticing. As a result, many mortifying moments have gone viral, keeping stars' publicists busy crafting sincere-sounding apologies.

Keep on reading to get all the inside scoop about some hotheaded Hollywood stars who lost their tempers on set. 

Christian Bale's Terminator meltdown went viral

Christian Bale was in the midst of filming a scene for the 2009 sequel Terminator Salvation when he became distracted as director of photography Shane Hurlbut walked into his line of vision. Did he let it go and move on? Nope! According to The Guardian, Bale unleashed on a profanity-laced "tirade" on Hurlbut instead. Unfortunately for Bale, his four-minute rant made its way onto the internet. 

Among the highlights, Bale tells Hurlbut he's going to "kick your f**king ass ... you prick," and bellows, "What the f**k are you doing?" and "What don't you f**king understand?" Bale then tells him, "F**k's sake, you're amateur." Bale then goes on to accuse Hurlbut of "trashing my scene," and threatens to quit unless Hurlbut is fired, telling him "I ain't walking on this set if you're still hired." He concludes by telling Hurlbut, "Seriously man, you and me, we're f**king done professionally... f**king ass."

After Bale's bonkers diatribe became a viral sensation, he regretfully offered an apology on the Kevin & Bean radio show. "There is nobody that has heard that tape that is hit harder by it than me," Bale admitted, begging people to to not allow his "incredibly embarrassing meltdown to overshadow this movie."

Lawrence Tierney was a 'complete lunatic' on the set of Reservoir Dogs

When he was casting his 1992 crime drama Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino tapped veteran character actor Lawrence Tierney, then in his 70s, to play the criminal putting together the heist at the center of the film. As Tierney's obituary in the Los Angeles Times pointed out, the actor's onscreen tough-guy image was no act; throughout his acting career, Tierney attained a well-earned reputation for heavy drinking, excessive violence (he was once stabbed in a barroom brawl), and frequent arrests.

While his nephew told the Times that Tierney became "much better behaved" in his later years, Tarantino begged to differ. During a 2010 interview for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, chronicled by The Guardian, the director declared that "Tierney was a complete lunatic by that time — he just needed to be sedated." 

According to Tarantino, Tierney "was personally challenging to every aspect of filmmaking. By the end of the week everybody on set hated Tierney — it wasn't just me." Tierney's brief time on the set came to an end when he and Tarantino "had a blowout and got into a fistfight. I fired him, and the whole crew burst into applause." 

Gene Hackman was 'challenging' on the set of The Royal Tenenbaums

Gene Hackman wasn't exactly known for being easy-going on movie sets, and he lived up to that reputation when he clashed with Wes Anderson, director of 2001's The Royal Tenenbaums. At a post-screening Q&A at the New York Film Festival to mark the film's 10th anniversary, Hackman's co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelica Huston "both admitted they were 'scared' of working with Hackman," with Huston being even "more concerned with protecting Wes," according to an IndieWire account of the event. As one specific example, Huston recalled Hackman berating Anderson, telling him to "pull up [his] pants and act like a man."

Screenwriter Noah Baumbach told the audience Hackman also called Anderson the c-word, a revelation that reportedly caused Anderson some onstage embarrassment. Anderson, however, offered praise to Hackman. "Even though he was very challenging with me, it was very exciting seeing him launch into these scenes."

Co-star Bill Murray hilariously echoed the sentiment, telling the crowd that Hackman is "a great actor and he was great in the movie and as much as all of us here tonight hate Gene Hackman, he is a really great American actor."

Marlon Brando fought with the director of The Score

Marlon Brando is arguably one of the biggest and most eccentric movie stars of the 20th century. During the making of 2001's The Score — which would be his final film before his 2004 death at age 80 — Brando butted heads with director Frank Oz. Prior to directing movies, Oz worked alongside Jim Henson on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show as a puppeteer, creating such characters as Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy. 

Brando refused to take direction from Oz, whom he derisively called "Miss Piggy." According to The GuardianOz once asked Brando to "bring it down" in a scene, to which Brando pithily replied, "F**k you." In addition, Brando reportedly told Oz, "I bet you wish I was a puppet so you could stick your hand up my a** and make me do what you want."

Brando ultimately refused to return to the set if Oz was present. In order to get the movie made, Brando's co-star Robert De Niro served as a middleman, relaying the director's instructions to the petulant star while Oz watched on a monitor in another location.

Grace Jones stormed out of her James Bond return

Disco diva Grace Jones appeared in 1985's A View to a Kill, which marked star Roger Moore's seventh and final James Bond film. For the franchise's 25th film, to be released 25 years after A View to a Kill, Jones was brought in to reprise the role of criminal henchwoman May Day in 2020's No Time to Die.

According to a report in The Sun, producers had pulled out all the stops to entice Jones to return, even offering her "a luxury residence" near the studio. "Grace's 007 homecoming was meant to be a real crowd-pleasing moment. Bosses were really excited about landing her," a source explained, adding, "Of course, she comes with a reputation, so they organized premium accommodation and rolled out the red carpet on set to make her feel welcome."

However, Jones received a shock when she arrived on set and discovered her role in the film was just a small cameo. Expecting "to play a bigger role in the movie," the source said that Jones "took her brief cameo as a slight," and immediately stormed off before a single frame of film was shot. "She was out of there quicker than it takes to rustle up a martini," claimed the source.

Lily Tomlin did not heart David O. Russell's direction

During production of the 2004 comedy I Heart Huckabees, the relationship between director David O. Russell and star Lily Tomlin could charitably be described as fraught. Behind-the-scenes footage leaked of one scene, in which an exasperated Tomlin can be seen giving Russell the finger and telling him, "F**k you, motherf**ker!" before going off an angry, profanity-filled rant. 

Russell returned fire during filming of an entirely different scene, which also leaked. As he and Tomlin engage in a heated argument, this time it's Russell who explodes, and the f-bombs fly. "F**k you, I'm just trying to f**king help you," he yells at Tomlin before storming up to her, shoving a pile of papers off a desk, and calling her unflattering words that rhyme with "witch" and "bunt" before storming off the set of his own movie.

In a subsequent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tomlin recalled that she and Russell "made up in just a few hours, and then we had a second fracas. By then, I was like stoic in my suffering. But we've overcome it. It dissipates and it's gone." Despite the angry words exchanged, Tomlin insisted "it wasn't any big deal."

Sonny Landham's on-set antics were well known

Character actor Sonny Landham, who passed away at 76 in 2017, was best known for playing tracker Billy Sole in the hit 1987 action flick Predator. It's a testament to Landham's machismo that on a testosterone-packed set that included the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and Carl Weathers, Landham became the most feared person on the production.

In The Hollywood Reporter's oral history of the film, 1st assistant director Beau Marks shared the following anecdote about Landham: "Now Sonny, on the other hand, was crazy. We ended up having to hire a bodyguard to protect the world from Sonny and to keep him in check. Because if he started drinking all bets were off."

The film's director, John McTiernan, backed up that account in commentary he recorded for Predator's DVD release. As documented by Film School Rejects, hiring a bodyguard for Landham was a directive ordered by the film's insurance company — "not to protect Sonny," said McTiernan, "but to protect other people from Sonny."

Steven Seagal got physical with a co-star on Executive Decision

Steven Seagal, big-screen action hero turned blues musicianpurveyor of energy drinks, and BFF of Vladimir Putin, proved to have a short temper when shooting the 1996 thriller Executive Decision. According to an anecdote from Seagal's co-star John Leguizamo, Seagal got physical with him moments after they met.

Leguizamo told AV Club that it all started on the first day of rehearsals, when Seagal arrived on the set and imperiously declared, "I'm in command. What I say is law." Leguizamo was incredulous. "Who comes into rehearsal and says that s**t?" he recalled. "So I started laughing and he slammed me with an aikido elbow against a brick wall and knocked all the air out of me. I dropped to the ground, and all I could say was, [gasping] 'Why? Why?' I really wanted to say that he runs like a b***h and has no hair, but I was afraid."

Leguizamo admitted that the scene in the movie featuring the death of Seagal's character was a favorite, revealing he would deliberately arrive on set early on those days just so he could watch Seagal being killed. "I wanted to see him die," he explained. "It was like a fantasy."

Shannen Doherty's 90210 fight with Jennie Garth

Throughout her years on Beverly Hills, 90210, rumors of bad behavior on and off the set dogged Shannen Doherty. When she exited the show after the fourth season, rumor had it she was fired (something that her co-star Tori Spelling confirmed in a 2015 TV appearance, while hooked up to a lie detector, claiming that she called series creator Aaron Spelling — a.k.a. her dad — and demanded Doherty be axed).

Meanwhile, Doherty and co-star Jennie Garth also confirmed the veracity of Spelling's allegation that the two had gotten into a physical altercation on set. In a 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the two were confronted by a Spelling's lie-detector claim that they'd had a "fistfight" on the set. "A fistfight? That makes us sound so tough," said Garth. "I know. Like we were serious gangsters," joked Doherty. 

However, the duo did admit that a fight took place, just not a very impressive one. "I don't think we ever hit each other," Garth recalled, a detail that Doherty confirmed. "Scratching?" added Garth. "I'm not going to deny that."

LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx threw down on Any Given Sunday

Oliver Stone's 1999 NFL drama Any Given Sunday boasted a star-studded cast headed by Al Pacino. Jamie Foxx and rapper LL Cool also appear as pro football teammates. In an oral history of the film for The Ringeractor Andrew Bryniarski recalled that "LL Cool J said something disrespectful to Jamie and actually reached over Al Pacino's face and gave him a smack. It wasn't a brutal smack, but it touched him. Jamie came back forward and he said, 'If you want to do this, we can do this.'" Pacino added: "I don't know what got into me, but I went to separate them... They were at each other."

According to Bryniarski, LL Cool J then snuck up behind Foxx, who was wearing a football helmet, and "smashed Jamie's head against the camera crane." Cinematographer Sal Totino continued the story, recalling he thought that Foxx had "snapped his neck." Within seconds, there was a "full-blown fight going on. Punches are flying everywhere."

Years later, LL Cool J recounted the incident on Revolt TV's Drink Champs, claiming that just before the melee, he knocked Foxx out cold with a single punch while ripping off his helmet. He did also note, however, the he and Foxx "got cool" and "have laughed about it."   

Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy fought like brothers

Shia LaBeouf co-starred with Tom Hardy in the 2012 crime drama Lawless, and the film's director, Tom Hillcoat, confirmed in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session "that there was definitely a fight between them. It escalated to the point where they had to both be restrained."

Hardy offered more details to Details (via Den of Geek) although the interviewer noted that it was unclear whether Hardy was putting the journalists on. "I got knocked out by Shia LaBeouf, actually," Hardy declared, adding, "apparently." According to Hardy, the former child star "knocked me out sparko. Out cold. He's a bad, bad boy. He is." While Hardy likewise didn't offer information on what may have sparked the altercation, he declared of LaBeouf, "He's quite intimidating as well. He's a scary dude."

LaBeouf, however, insisted in a Hot Ones interview that Hardy's claims were "a bunch of bulls**t" and offered his version of events. Hardy, he explained, burst into LaBeouf's room (so, okay, this wasn't exactly an "on-set" blowout), dragged him out of bed naked and proceeded to "wrestle" with him. As they wrestled, they wound up at the top of a staircase, with Hardy "[falling] down the stairs" and "hurting his back." Hardy, he added, spread the rumor that LaBeouf beat him up but "that wasn't the case. We were having some weird, like, cutie wrestling match."

Bill Murray threw punches Chevy Chase backstage at SNL

Chevy Chase became the breakout star in the first season of Saturday Night Live back in 1975. Hollywood came calling, and Chase left the show midway through the show's second season, with Bill Murray brought on as his replacement. When Chase subsequently returned to host the show, the rest of the cast was not thrilled about it — particularly Murray, who reportedly got into a backstage brawl with Chase.

According to an excerpt from SNL behind-the-scenes history Wild and Crazy Guys, Chase, through a "spiky exchange," antagonized fellow cast mates Murray and John Belushi, who were already potentially miffed about Chase's success due to the "extreme competitiveness" of the business. "It was a huge altercation," director John Landis, who watched it happen, told the book's author. "They were slapping at each other, screaming at each other, calling each other terrible names." According to Landis, Murray landed a killer insult when he called Chase a "medium talent."

Murray, however, remembered the incident somewhat differently, describing it as "a Hollywood fight; a don't-touch-my-face kinda thing... So it was kind of a non-event." According to Murray, the rest of the cast "felt mad [Chase] had left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel, who had to speak for everyone."

Bette Davis' scripted slap of Joan Crawford got real on the set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford reportedly hated each other, so much so that there was even a TV series, Feud, that dramatized the animosity. When both stars' careers were on the wane, they reluctantly agreed to work together in the 1962 horror movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Davis played a deranged and demented former child star who lived with her wheelchair-bound sister Blanche (Crawford), whom she psychologically tortured and tormented.

One scene involved Baby Jane beating on Blanche, leading Crawford to request a body double due to fears that Davis would physically harm her. According to Harper's Bazaar, her apprehensions turned out to be true. When a close-up shot couldn't be faked with a body double, Davis took the opportunity to whack Crawford in the head so hard that Crawford reportedly required stitches. 

Crawford reportedly got revenge in a subsequent scene that required Baby Jane to pull her sister out of bed and drag her across the floor. Reports vary about whether she ""filled" her pockets with rocks," or wore a heavy weightlifting belt, but Crawford was said to have made herself deliberately heavy in order to exhaust her co-star.

Johnny Depp was sued for attacking a crew member on the City of Lies set

Johnny Depp was in the midst of a night shoot while filming the 2018 crime drama City of Lies, shooting on a Los Angeles street that had been "closed off" for the production. Depp was reportedly directing the scene when a production manager informed him that "the permit ran out" and the cameras needed to stop rolling.

That wasn't what Depp wanted to hear. As Page Six reported, Depp — who had been "smoking and drinking all day on set" — flipped out. After berating the crew member, Depp allegedly "tried to punch him in the ribs. But the weak blow didn't make an impact." Depp then allegedly said, "I'll give you $100,000 to punch me right now!" before being pulled away. Deadline reported that the crew member filed a lawsuit, accusing Depp of assault. The suit alleged that Depp hit the plaintiff "twice in the lower left side of his rib cage and causing pain." 

As for the movie itself, Deadline reported that City of Lies was "pulled from release" a month before its scheduled premiere date in September 2018. According to Channel 24, as of late 2019 the film remained unreleased, while Depp's trial was ultimately delayed.