Top 10 Times Actors Exposed Dark Truths About Their Films



Top 10 Times Actors Exposed Dark Truths About Their Films

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: David Foster
Controversy and filmmaking have long gone hand in hand. For this list, we'll be looking at well-known films where the filmmaking process took a dark turn behind-the-scenes in some fashion, and actors later revealed they paid the price. Our countdown includes “The Wizard of Oz”, “The Shining”, “Apocalypse Now”, and more!

Top 10 Times Actors Exposed a Dark Truth About Their Films

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 times Actors exposed a dark truth about their movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at well-known films where the filmmaking process took a dark turn behind-the-scenes in some fashion, and actors later revealed they paid the price. Unavoidably, this list will take us to some topics that are contentious, sensitive or controversial.

Agree or disagree with our picks? Sound off in the comments section.

#10: Buddy Ebsen

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
Though Frank ‘Buddy’ Ebsen would eventually find fame with “The Beverly Hillbillies” and as Barnaby Jones, he missed out on becoming a household name thirty years earlier as one of the most memorable characters of all time. Twice. Initially cast as the Scarecrow, prior to filming Ebsen switched roles with co-star Ray Bolger and wound up playing the Tin-Man… almost. After suffering a severe reaction to the heavy aluminium-based makeup, his role in “that damn movie” (as he put it), was re-cast. The consequences still stayed with him, as he suffered breathing problems for the rest of his life.

#9: Uma Thurman

“Kill Bill: Volume 1” (2003)
Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino have long Hollywood histories. But when it came to filming “Kill Bill,” there was one moment that both of them would rather forget. Towards the end of shooting “Volume 1,” Tarantino planned a driving scene and insisted Thurman do it herself. Thurman was uncomfortable doing it, and wanted a stunt driver, but took the wheel. She crashed and was badly injured. Producers at Miramax would only release footage of the crash if Thurman signed a waiver absolving them of responsibility. The footage was only released many years later. Both director and actress have since reconciled, but their relationship was also very damaged for a long time.

#8: George Clooney

“Three Kings” (1999)
Director David O. Russell is a very talented, but reportedly volatile, person to work with. Leaked footage of him berating actress Lily Tomlin on the set of “I Heart Huckabees'' is out there, and allegations of similar behavior with Amy Adams on the set of “American Hustle” prompted co-star Christian Bale to intervene. But it was another Batman who took the most exception to O’Russell’s on-set temperament, when he and George Clooney got into a physical altercation during filming of “Three Kings,” over Russell’s treatment of an extra. Allegations of who started swinging first point to both sides. Say what you like about his Caped Crusader, but Clooney isn’t a pushover, vowing to “sock him right in the f**king mouth" if they cross paths again.

#7: Léa Seydoux & Adèle Exarchopoulos

“Blue is the Warmest Colour” (2013)
Winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes, “Blue is the Warmest Colour.” is a very explicit European drama from Tunisian/French director Abdellatif Kechiche. But stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos both recounted stories of how the director would demand they roughen up their physical interactions, and slowed filming the very intense and intimate scenes between them. Kechiche, for his part, even expressed that he wished the film had never been released because the criticism had supposedly sullied its reputation. Both actresses stated at the time that they would not work with him again.

#6: Sharon Stone

“Basic Instinct” (1992)
This film’s interrogation scene, or rather, the famous “leg-crossing” has been replicated, parodied and recalled in a plethora of other media. Yet that particular moment, in which a character exposes herself, became a real source of contention between actress Sharon Stone — who claims she was assured that audiences would not see any of her private parts — and director Paul Verhoeven, who shot it. When filming, the director asked her to remove her panties as they would “reflect light,” and it would therefore be obvious that she was wearing underwear. Upon the film's premiere, Stone realised her genitals were visible, so she ran to the projector booth and attacked Verhoeven. To this day, both parties claim the other knew what they were doing.

#5: Debbie Reynolds

“Singing in the Rain” (1952)
This beloved musical is such an iconic movie that even the mere mention of it conjures warm feelings and smiles. So it’s somewhat disappointing to learn that the energy that went into making the ultimate feel-good movie was not so positive. Gene Kelly was reportedly incredibly hard on 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds, and reduced her to tears over her lack of professional dance experience. According to her memoirs, having found her crying under a piano, Fred Astaire took her under his wing and bucked her up with sage advice. So much for those happy vibes.

#4: Shelley Duvall

“The Shining” (1980)
While much of the praise falls upon Jack Nicholson for his performance in this Stephen King adaptation, his co-star, Shelley Duvall was not quite so roundly complimented. In fact, the actress was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award in honour of her performance. The stress that Duvall had to endure became evident via a fly-on-the-wall documentary about “The Shining’s” production, made by director Stanley Kubrick’s daughter. Her hair fell out, she passed out with the strain and there were frequent clashes between cast and director on-set. Kubrick, known for his abrasiveness towards actors, had pushed Duvall to her limit.

#3: Tippi Hedren

“The Birds” (1963)
In 1962, Nathalie Kay “Tippi” Hedren was a model who was about to break into cinema in the biggest way. In less than a year, she would wrap on her first feature film, made by perhaps the most influential director in Hollywood; Alfred Hitchcock. Despite favorable comparisons to Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren would only work with Hitchcock on one more feature in her career, as the relationship became toxic. Hedren claimed that Hitchcock became obsessed with her, and subjected her to a long campaign of possessiveness, and a litany of intensely inappropriate behavior. There was even a movie based on this period that was released decades later, starring Sienna Miller.

#2: Maria Schneider

“Last Tango in Paris” (1972)
Though only 19 years old at the time, the future of Maria Schneider’s career in acting looked nothing less than promising. Cast opposite Hollywood legend Marlon Brando, Schneider embarked on a production headed up by director Bernado Bertolucci: “Last Tango in Paris.” Several scenes required her to be fully nude, and one was so explicit, it earned an X-rating. The problem was that the infamous simulated scene was largely planned without her knowledge. This added to Schneider’s later emotional pain at the lack of consultation as well as the contempt, and her feelings of humiliation.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few (dis) honorable mentions.

Eli Roth, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
The Inferno at the Movie’s Climax Nearly Cost Lives

Ellen Burstyn, “The Exorcist” (1973)
Old Hollywood Direction Techniques Created a Stunt That Injured Her

Marina Sirtis, “Death Wish 3” (1985)
She Was Pressured Into Shooting an Explicit Scene

#1: Martin Sheen

“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
It’s no secret that director Francis Ford Coppola is quite a driving force on the set of his movies, but the production of “Apocalypse Now” was so strenuous, that it contributed to then-36 year old Martin Sheen experiencing a heart attack. Fearing that the sponsorship of the movie, which was already a year behind schedule, would thus dry up, Sheen lied and told everyone he had suffered heat stroke. Earlier in production, Sheen had also gotten legitimately intoxicated to shoot his character’s descent into madness. The result was his breaking a mirror and cutting his hand open. It was a dramatic take, as it made the final cut––on Sheen’s insistence that Coppola keep rolling.