Actors Who Should Have Been Fired From Their Roles

Movie stars: They're those people science has succinctly proven to be the world's most talented, beautiful, inspiring, and perfect humans. And those Hollywood stars are just like us — at least in the sense that they need to acquire and keep jobs to earn a living. They make millions to play make believe and dress in pretty costumes and eat catered food, but technically, that is a job.

Another way that celebrities are like us non-celebrities is that under it all, they're just human beings ... which means they can and do make mistakes. Accidents will happen, but most people go out of their way, all day every day, to make sure they don't make mistakes at work, because those can get a person fired. Why mess up that good thing that provides money for food, housing, and novelty T-shirts? Apparently, this notion is unfamiliar to a handful of actors who did bad things during the production of a movie — so bad that their bosses had good reason to fire them.

At least George Clooney said he was sorry

The Cloonster is certainly the right pick to play Bruce Wayne — he's handsome, charming, and extremely wealthy, and his wife, the former Amal Alamuddin, strongly resembles Anne Hathaway, who played a character who winds up with Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns. However, Clooney wasn't the right fit to play the iconic role of Wayne's alter ego (spoiler alert) Batman, aka the Caped Crusader, aka the Dark Knight in 1997's Batman & Robin. His ability to do a good job was negatively impacted by a number of unfortunate things, such as the movie's campy tone, villain Mr. Freeze's endless ice puns, and those nipples on the Batsuit.

George Clooney was so wrong for the part that even Hollywood A-lister George Clooney has weighed in, publicly apologizing for agreeing to do Batman & Robin in the first place. "I thought at the time this was going to be a very good career move. It wasn't," he told BBC's Graham Norton (via The Independent) in 2015. He added, "I actually thought I destroyed the franchise." 

The only silver lining: if Clooney hadn't been so miscast, Christopher Nolan may never have gotten the chance to retool the franchise with Batman Begins.

Talk about a Cop Out for Bruce Willis

A lot of Hollywood big shots happily play "the game," keeping any on-set drama a secret and insisting that rumors about a difficult star were blown out of proportion. But Kevin Smith is not that kind of filmmaker — he loves to deliver brutally honest real talk about his life and work on his podcast, social media, and at speaking engagements. If we're to take him at his word, then Bruce Willis is so hard to work with it's a wonder anyone is willing to keep him on set.

Smith directed the 2010 action comedy Cop Out, but stories about disagreements with Willis leaked during production in the summer of 2009. The National Enquirer (via /Film) reported that Willis skipped the movie's wrap party, an event where Smith toasted the cast and crew thusly: "I want to thank everyone who worked on the film, except for Bruce Willis, who is a f***ing d**k!" 

Smith evidently had a hard time doing his job, claiming Willis wouldn't and couldn't be directed. Smith told WTF with Marc Maron (via Uproxx), that Willis wouldn't even sit for a photo shoot to serve as the basis for the film's marketing. Come on, Bruce, playing with others and promoting the movie are part of the job ... and you can be easily replaced with Jason Statham.

Johnny Depp

The movie industry exists to give the people what they want, and the filmmakers behind popular franchises have to work hard to appease the most devoted fans. One of the most rabid fan bases: those who devour anything related to J.K. Rowling's "Wizarding World," and according to a vocal subsection of those fans, Johnny Depp ought to be fired from the franchise.

Depp showed up in a cameo in Warner Bros. 2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as Gellert Grindelwald, a "dark wizard" from the 1920s who figures much more prominently in the 2018 sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Also in 2016, Depp divorced his wife, Amber Heard, who accused the actor of persistent verbal and physical abuse. Rowling fans apparently do not want to see an alleged domestic abuser darkening their favorite films, and many took to social media to voice their displeasure. 

"I wholeheartedly agree that Johnny Depp is a fantastic beast. However, I wish I did not know where to find him," writer Lauren Duca tweeted. Author Lauren Shippen said she "will almost certainly not be seeing" The Crimes of Grindelwald in a theater, noting that Rowling and Warner Bros. "should have ousted Depp from the franchise years ago. Despicable that he's heading the continuation of such a beloved story."

Christian Bale can see you

One way to get yourself fired is to go off on a co-worker over some tiny slight, which is what Christian Bale did in 2008 on the set of Terminator: Salvation. Bale starred as John Connor, the man who will save humanity from the rise of the machines. According to The Guardian, while Bale was trying to remain deep in character as that intense individual when director of photography Shane Hurlbut was also trying to do his job and accidentally walked into Bale's eye line. That set Bale off on a rage spiral of a monologue so incendiary and full of screaming and swearing that it's a wonder nobody got punched.

A sampling: "Am I going to walk around and rip your f***ing lights down in the middle of a scene? Then why the f**k are you walking right through? Ah-da-da-da-dah like this in the background. What the f**k is it with you? What don't you f***ing understand?"

A recording of the takedown went viral, and a few months later, Bale apologized in an interview with L.A. radio station KROQ (via The Telegraph). "I was out of order beyond belief," he said. "I make no excuses for it."

Jared Leto was only Joker-ing

Most companies have a human resources department whose entire job is to make sure the rest of the firm's employees don't act like monsters, because "common sense" means absolutely nothing to some people. Evidently movie sets don't have an HR representative. At least, that's what we're led to believe because if Suicide Squad had one, we'd like to think Jared Leto would have been forced to sit through a workplace behavior seminar and some sensitivity training — if not recommended for termination — long before he could have given the world his take on The Joker, which seems to constitute a mash-up of every stage look Marilyn Manson ever sported. 

According to Entertainment Weekly, Leto stayed in character as the hopelessly demented villain throughout the filming of Suicide Squad, which included sending really messed-up gifts to co-stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis. What presents did he send to his fellow thespians? Gift baskets? Coffee mugs? Nope, nothing of that sort. Leto-as-Joker arranged for the delivery of such items as pornography, adult "toys," a box of bullets, condoms (used), and even a dead pig. (Yep, every office has the "dead pig" guy.)

This suits Edward Norton

Most actors show up to set each day of a movie shoot thrilled to be there and well prepared, knowing their lines and having a lock on their approach to the role, but at least once, Oscar-nominee Edward Norton reported to work far too prepared. In this case, Norton seemingly overstepped his bounds as an actor when he tried to help out with costumes — despite nobody asking for his help — and created a lot of extra work for someone else.

In the 2002 dark comedy Death to Smoochy, Norton plays a guy who hosts a kiddie TV show while dressed in a rhino costume. For his off-stage scenes, Norton's character was a bit of a hippie, for which costume designer Jane Ruhm put together an appropriate selection of garments. However, Norton took it upon himself to commission Armani to design for him the ultimate hippie outfit: a suit made of hemp. Then he reportedly left Ruhm to go through what she told Premiere (via the Los Angeles Times) included "millions of phone calls and negotiations" to get the suit to the set.

Scarlett Johansson's Shell game

Ghost in the Shell is a sci-fi action movie. Scarlett Johansson is adept at sci-fi action movies, drawing audiences to stuff like Lucy. So what's the problem with casting a well-known actress who is good at action movies in a high-profile action movie? 

Ghost in the Shell is based on a classic Japanese manga and anime starring a Japanese cyborg warrior named Mira Killian (and formerly Motoko Kusanagi). Johansson is definitely not Japanese, and that brought to the production accusations of "whitewashing," a potentially racially insensitive process by which Hollywood casts Caucasian actors in parts developed for people of color.

"We're seeing Hollywood continue the trend of whitewashing roles from source material that features Asian and Asian American leads while failing to provide roles for Asian American actors," said Marissa Lee of Racebending, a media diversity advocacy group (via the Los Angeles Times). More than 15,000 people signed a petition asking DreamWorks to drop Johansson in favor of an actress of Asian descent, but no changes were made. So maybe it's not that Johansson should have been fired, but that she never should have been hired in the first place.

Lohan rule

Lindsay Lohan's acting career and famously hard-partying extracurricular activities clashed in a big way on the set of Georgia Rule, a 2007 comedy/drama in which Lohan portrayed a drinking, drugging, sex-having, wild and crazy teen who gets sent to her grandma's house to forcibly clean up her act. While the movie had a great cast (it also starred Felicity Huffman and Jane Fonda), it's probably most remembered for being the production that nearly fired Lohan.

James G. Robinson, CEO Morgan Creek Productions, fired off an angry letter to Lohan (which was soon made public via The Smoking Gun and People) berating her work ethic, or lack thereof. "You and your representatives have told us that your various late arrivals and absences from the set have been the result of illness; today we were told it was 'heat exhaustion.' We are well aware that your ongoing all night heavy partying is the real reason for your so called 'exhaustion.'" Burn!

Lohan apparently got her ducks in a row, because she finished filming the movie.

Kirk Cameron brings growing pains to Growing Pains

Of all the warm and fuzzy '80s sitcoms about a family headed by a doctor dad who ran a practice out of his New York home, Growing Pains was definitely the best one if you don't count The Cosby Show. The 1985–92 ABC comedy was very successful, at least until breakout star and teen idol Kirk Cameron became a born-again Christian. To be clear: Cameron's spiritual awakening didn't directly adversely affect the week-to-week adventures of the Seavers, but on the set, Cameron reportedly operated with a judgmental and wrathful eye. 

Take Julie McCullough, for example. In 1989, she joined Growing Pains as Julie Costello, girlfriend to Cameron's character, Mike Seaver. Prior to her sitcom work, McCullough appeared in Playboy in 1985 and 1986. The producers were initially fine with that, but when Cameron found out, he wasn't. According to Us Magazine, he demanded the cancellation of a planned wedding between the characters, and since Cameron was the show's biggest star, producers had to abide. Costello soon disappeared from Growing Pains.

Teri Hatcher didn't play well with others

Desperate Housewives was an ensemble TV show if there ever was one, with so many women on Wisteria Lane involved in unbelievable, life-shattering drama week after week. Cast members Nicolette Sheridan and Marcia Cross had experience in night-time soaps with their roles on Knots Landing and Melrose Place, respectively, and Felicity Huffman would ultimately win an Emmy for her work on the series. But don't tell any of that to Teri Hatcher — the veteran of Lois & Clark and Radio Shack commercials allegedly brought a huge amount of tension to the set of Desperate Housewives with her bad diva behavior.

One egregious example: Vanity Fair ran a cover story on the Housewives in 2005, which necessitated a fashion shoot with the cast dressed in vintage swimsuits. So as to keep the people that weren't Teri Hatcher happy, People reported that an ABC operative told Vanity Fair employees to not give star treatment to Hatcher, such as getting first choice of swimsuits or being placed in the center of photographs. Nevertheless, Hatcher got to the site of the shoot first, and according to Today, both of those things happened anyway. When Cross realized that Hatcher had got her way, she reportedly walked off the set.