Being an actor means you get both fame and fortune, as well as the privilege of working on movie sets. Whether you’re a veteran or an up-and-coming star, movie studios and the on-set crew will bend over backwards to adhere to your every word and satisfy your whims. After all, no director or studio head wants to get on their leading star’s bad side and risk them walking off the set.
Most actors usually demand something simple and easily obtainable, like a certain blend of coffee. Other times, actors make ridiculous demands that make a dent in the film’s budget, halt production, or completely change the film. And sometimes, their demands are just plain weird.
We’ve scoured the internet to separate fact from fiction and give you the real demands made by actors that made our eyes rolls and our stomachs churn. Without further ado, here are the 15 Actors Who Made Insane On-Set Demands.
15. George Clooney
George Clooney is a known quantity that appeals to every demographic, so if he’s in your movie, odds are good it’ll at least make its money back. During the filming of Alfonso Cuarón’s out-of-this-world sci-fi thriller Gravity, Clooney demanded a variety of amenities that range from the health-conscious to the absurd.
Despite his small role in the film, Clooney demanded that he have access to a private landscaped garden, a basketball court, a hot tub, and a custom-made beach hut that was built right beside his trailer. These demands reportedly cost $125,000, which definitely didn’t make a dent in the film’s $100 million budget, but nonetheless, those are some pretty exorbitant demands.
Not only did Clooney make every extra or crew member on set jealous, but he also drew the attention of local children who tried to sneak into his own personal, private playground. It’s best to play devil’s advocate and assume that Clooney used the basketball court to stay fit during the film’s production, but it’s hard to say why he needed a private garden.
14. Jack Nicholson
One of the most coveted and legendary actors of our time, Jack Nicholson has worked with some of the greatest directors ever, including Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, and Martin Scorsese. During the filming of Scorsese’s The Departed, Nicholson had a few requests for his character, crime boss Frank Costello.
One of Nicholson’s simpler requests included him demanding that all Celtics gear be banned from the set. Nicholson, a die-hard L.A Lakers fan, didn’t want to draw attention to their rivals, the Boston Celtics.
Nicholson wanted to add more to Costello’s character by making him “sexually evil” and Martin obliged with his request. Nicholson suggested that there should be a sex scene where he snorts cocaine off of an actresses’ bare bottom, and later throw the illustrious white powder around like dollar bills. He also demanded that he wear a dildo when his character was visiting a porn theatre.
13. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is known around the world for being a socialite and model, but one of her lesser known occupations includes being an actor. Hilton was offered a small role as herself in 2010’s The Other Guys, and she jumped on it instantly. However, the production team had no idea what they had gotten themselves into.
If you’re thinking why you don’t remember seeing her in the movie, it’s because her short role in the film was cut. She was only on set for just one day, but her list of demands mimicked those of an A-list star. Hilton demanded that live lobsters be put aside for her to eat whenever she felt hungry. Her demands didn’t end there, as she also requested a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka to be paired with the lobsters.
Despite her role being cut from the film, it’s best to remember the classic quote, “There are no small demands, just small actors.” Paris Hilton must’ve taken that quote to heart and decided to either go big or go home.
12. Tom Cruise
Best known for his action-centric roles in films such as the Mission Impossible series, Edge of Tomorrow, and Top Gun, Tom Cruise is a bankable star that’ll get seats filled in multiplexes if his name is on the poster. With his stardom and reputation as one of Hollywood’s best, Cruise has one specific demand that is usually met on all of his action movies.
For his action sequences, Tom Cruise demands that he gets to wear a custom-made thong, which provides him comfort and flexibility. He also insists that the thongs be made from soft and stretchy material, which allows him to be unrestricted whenever he’s performing an action sequence. The costume designers and wardrobe staff are asked to make well over 50 thongs, as Cruise prefers a new one every time.
With Mission Impossible 6 currently filming and Edge of Tomorrow 2: Live Die Repeat and Repeat in the works, it’s best to assume that Cruise will be wearing a multitude of custom-made thongs in the films. Hopefully, that fact doesn’t distract you next time you see the latest Tom Cruise film.
11. Lindsay Lohan
Starting her career off as America’s sweetheart, Lindsay Lohan was in many lauded films when she was younger, such as Mean Girls and The Parent Trap. As she grew up, so did her list of demands and urgency as an actor. On the set of Paul Schrader’s erotic thriller, The Canyons, Lohan had one demand that polarized everyone on set. Her demand: if she’s getting naked, everyone on set is getting naked, too.
Lohan is notorious for being hard to work with and showing up late on set, but this takes the cake as the most insane demand she’s made yet. The on-set crew refused to oblige to her strange request, but the director was determined to shoot the scene, so he spared the crew, and instead stripped down to his birthday suit. To preserve some sort of decency, Schrader still had his socks on.
10. Will Smith
Despite a few recent duds, Will Smith has long been one of the most likable and charismatic actors in Hollywood. Like many of the stars on this list, Smith knows his worth as an actor and is aware that his presence will always fuel the audience’s curiosity towards a film. Smith knows that he can ask for whatever he wants and he’ll get it, regardless of how absurd his request is. And who would say no to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?
During the filming of Men In Black III, Smith demanded a gigantic trailer that housed two bedrooms, two baths, and a private movie room. Smith’s trailer also managed to turn into a double decker in a matter of 30 seconds. The trailer cost about $2 million, despite Smith’s New York apartment only a few minutes away.
In addition to being unnecessarily huge, Smith’s trailer also attracted negative attention from the local residents because it was blocking out the natural sunlight. Who needs sunlight when they can bask in the shade of Will Smith’s $2 million trailer?
9. Ben Affleck
Everyone knows two things about Ben Affleck: he was the bomb in Phantoms, and he loves Boston. Affleck, a no-nonsense Boston Red Sox fan, halted production for four days on the set of David Fincher’s Gone Girl over a hat.
It wasn’t just any hat – it was a Yankees hat, the rival team of the Boston Red Sox. Fincher wanted Affleck’s character to wear the hat while he was attempting to go unnoticed in an airport. For Affleck, this meant halting production as he outright refused to betray his team, and thought it would become a “thing” that people would make fun of him for.
Affleck described the event as a “legitimate fight”, but the star and director came to a compromise with Affleck’s character wearing a Mets hat. Despite their compromise, no footage was shot over the course of four days, which must’ve affected the film’s shooting schedule. At least Matt Damon won’t make fun of Ben Affleck for betraying the Red Sox!
8. Gary Busey
Probably the most absurd but genuinely sincere demand on this list comes from Gary Busey during the filming of the children’s film Quigley. In the film, Busey plays a software tycoon who dies in a car crash and is reincarnated as a dog, but before that, he has a quick stop in heaven. It turns out that the set designers got the look of heaven all wrong because Busey refused to continue filming until they fixed heaven.
How does Busey know what heaven looks like? Well, in 1988, Busey had a near-death experience and visited heaven. For Busey, the set of Quigley looked nothing like heaven, and for the show to go on, heaven had to be completely changed to meet Busey’s demands.
Busey asked the set designers to change the sofa because it was all wrong, and made them remove the mirrors because heaven doesn’t have mirrors, according to Gary Busey. Who knew Gary Busey, one of the best character actors of our time, would be the sole authority on what heaven looks like?
7. Orson Welles
Best known as the director, co-writer, producer, and star of the classic Citizen Kane, Orson Welles was no stranger to making demands that made a few heads turn. One of his biggest demands came on the set of 1950’s The Black Rose, when he requested that the coat his character wore would be lined with mink fur, despite the fact that no one would see the inner contents of the coat. Lucky for Welles, the producers agreed to his request, despite the cost of getting mink fur.
It turns out that Welles was something of a conman/bad-ass, as the coat mysteriously disappeared when filming ended. The coat later resurfaced in Welles’ own iteration of Othello which was released a mere year after The Black Rose. In Welles’ adaption of the classic Shakespeare play, the mink fur was exposed on the outside of the coat. Not too shabby, Mr. Welles
6. Mike Myers
Sometimes, a demand is so absurd and last-minute, but it actually changes the movie for the better. Such was the case with Mike Myers, who recorded his lines for Shrek throughout 1999. In February of 2000, Myers was shown a rough cut of the film which was barely animated, and he liked what he saw – except for one thing: Shrek’s accent.
Yup, the now classic Shrek accent was originally just a thicker Canadian accent and Myers wasn’t digging it because it wasn’t as versatile as he expected. Furthermore, he heard Lord Farquad’s British accent and thought his accent should be Scottish to depict the working-class attitude that Shrek displayed. The problem was, Myer’s request came a bit too late, as the film had already begun being animated.
Despite the $4 million cost that would come with Myers re-recording his lines, the studio obliged because they had faith in his request. It’s crazy to think that the now iconic Scottish accent that Shrek has originally wasn’t even in the film, so thank you, Myers, for insisting on it.
5. Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf has dominated the news cycle these past few years thanks to his antics, both on and off set. On-set, LaBeouf had adopted the method acting approach, doing his best to get into character so his performance is top-notch. The problem with method acting is that, sometimes, stars take it a tad bit too far, like Jared Leto in Suicide Squad.
In Fury, LaBeouf’s character sports a few wounds on his face. Not happy with the fake facial scars that the makeup artists gave him, he opted to instead cut himself on the face, in the name of art, or something. He continued to open the cuts on his face throughout the film’s production.
LaBeouf also kept personal hygiene to a minimum and got a tooth pulled out by a dentist to get into the role of playing a tank gunner. At least he didn’t demand that the rest of cast go through what he did.
4. Daniel Day-Lewis
No one is more dedicated to method acting than Daniel Day-Lewis, who has won 3 Oscars. In 2012, he starred as the 16th President of the United States in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Lewis, who is British, adopted the recorded mannerisms of the president and created his own voice for the character. However, he also had a list of demands that clearly elevated his performance.
For one, he demanded that everybody on set call him “Mr.President”, even Spielberg. Lucky for Lewis, his director obliged and didn’t even care what his process was. Additionally, Lewis refused to use any technology that the President at the time wouldn’t use. But his most absurd demand came in the form of him refusing to speak to anyone who was British, in fear that it would “throw him off”.
3. Jamie Foxx
After winning an Academy Award, Jamie Foxx knew his worth as an actor had skyrocketed. Despite signing onto Michael Mann’s Miami Vice film adaptation before his Oscar win, Foxx wanted a bigger paycheck than his co-star Colin Farrell. The studio met his demands, but they didn’t end there. Foxx showed up on set with an entourage and demanded he get a private jet. Beyond that, Foxx insisted that he wouldn’t work anywhere near or on a boat or plane.
Michael Mann, notorious for being a perfectionist, had multiple endings in mind for the film: one in Miami and the other in Paraguay. However, Foxx decided to leave the set of the film in the Dominican Republic after a cop got into an argument with a security guard (who was Dominican military), and shots were fired.
Scrapping the ending that was meant to be shot in Paraguay, Mann brought the production back to Miami to film his original ending, thanks to Foxx’s decision to leave set. On one hand, Foxx was hard to work with – acquiring the reputation of a diva on set, but it seems his decision to leave set was a valid one, despite it compromising the film’s ending.
2 & 1. Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando
For the final two actors, it’s best to include them as one entry as their demands go hand in hand. The notoriously horrible production of The Island of Dr. Moreau can’t be entirely blamed on the stars of the film, but they did certainly lend a hand towards the film’s doom. When Kilmer signed on for the film, he first demanded that his shooting schedule be cut by 60%. Despite his request being met, Kilmer later changed his mind and asked for the less physically demanding role of Dr. Moreau’s assistant. With all of his demands being met with ease, Kilmer continued to be tough to work with, with one instance involving him sitting down and refusing to get up.
He would often refuse to go on set if Brando wasn’t there. One of the key reasons the film failed was because the studio was determined to make Kilmer’s original supporting role into the main one. However, the production of The Island of Dr. Moreau was also plagued with the demands of Marlon Brando.
Marlon Brando is an actor whose reputation precedes him but his attitude on the set and list of demands didn’t help the film at all. Brando was aware that there was no film without him, so his demands began piling on top of each other, eventually adding to the disaster of the film.
Brando found an ice bucket one day and decided to wear it for the rest of the film, refusing to take it off. On set, Brando met a dwarf who he admired greatly. Their friendship grew, and Brando later demanded that the dwarf be included in all future scenes, at Brando’s side. The dwarf also wore the exact same clothes as Brando, implying that their friendship transcended all sorts of logic. At a certain point, Brando stopped learning his lines because they kept on being rewritten, so he had them read to him through an earpiece.
Whose demands do you think are most outrageous? Do you have any more to share? Let us know in the comments!
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