On-set drama is something that many films and TV shows try to keep contained, but that is not always as easy as they would like. Both the cast and crew are made up of people with individual personalities. Like most areas of life, you put a bunch of individuals in close quarters for an extended period of time and you're bound to have the odd issue pop up. Well, we're interested in a very specific type of conflict today.
Many films and TV shows are like living things. They move, shift, and grow. Not everything goes according to plan and change is to be expected. Honestly, many directors and filmmakers don't even come in with a fleshed-out plan. Some of the best directors and actors are those who can adapt to change and make it work, but not every star is willing or able to go with the flow.
With that in mind, we wanted to take a look at the moments on set when an actor is made uncomfortable by a scene. The potential reasons for this discomfort are endless, but the solutions are minimal. The actor either refuses to shoot the scene and doesn't or refuses to shoot the scene but does anyway. Now, when the actor loses that tug-of-war, they may quit and abandon the project. We’re not interested in that outcome. That leaves us with two scenarios: The actors who stood their ground and won and the actors who lost.
Here are 12 Actors Who Refused To Shoot Certain Scenes (And 8 That Were Forced).
20 Refused: Emma Watson's Ultimatum for Channing Tatum
When Emma Watson got the script for This is the End, it appears that she didn't see any issues. She signed on, came to set, and shot her small scenes. If you've seen the movie, you saw the parts that she completed. There was, however, supposed to be an additional scene with Watson. According to an extra who posted about the on-set incident (via Pop Focal), the filmmakers, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, wanted Watson to be in Channing Tatum's big scene. You know the one: Danny McBride's gone insane and the doglike Tatum is on all fours. Well, when Watson got on set that day, she realized it was too much. She allegedly left and refused to shoot the scene.
Later, in a piece on Interview, James Franco seemed to corroborate this story. "This actress—I won't say who, but she had a smaller role in the film—walked off the movie in the middle of a scene," he told Mila Kunis. "What was going on around her was, I guess, too extreme for her…And she said, 'Yeah, I've got to leave.'" It probably didn't help that Tatum decided to break dance for Watson in nothing but his outfit, which likely made her even more uncomfortable.
19 Forced: Hugh Grant's Dance in Love Actually
Love Actually is one of those iconic Christmas films that people never really get sick of watching annually. Of all the best bits, Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downey Street may be king. Despite the scene's beauty, it seems that Grant wasn't too big on the concept. In fact, he was so against the scene that he faked an ankle injury to try and get out of it. In the end, they made him shoot the scene and we're all better because of it. But what was it about the scene that had Grant upset? Sure, it was almost certainly embarrassing, but that wasn't quite it.
It was the technical side of things that Grant just couldn’t wrap his head around.
“I never understood it technically," he said in an interview with People. "I kept saying to Richard [Curtis, the director of Love Actually] ‘Okay look, I got the radio on in my bedroom and I’m dancing, fine, but then I start to dance through the whole 10 Downing Street. Where’s the music coming from, and how does it cut off at the end?'” While Curtis didn't give an answer, he did provide a reason why it won't matter. "Oh, don’t worry about it," the director said, "It’s just a film world."
18 Refused: Will Smith Nixes the Kiss in Six Degrees of Separation
Few actors have the industry credentials to call the shots in their first major film role, but Will Smith already proved himself to be a star before he landed a starring role in Six Degrees of Separation. Prior to signing on, Smith didn't bring up any issues with the script, however, when it came time to shoot a scene in which he needed to kiss his male cos-star, Anthony Michael Hall, Smith refused. According to the actor, he received advice from Denzel Washington that he took to heart. The words of wisdom? "Don't be kissing no man." Simple and to the point.
So Smith, taking this advice, stood his ground. The director, Fred Schepisi, forced to shoot the scene from behind the actors' heads, hid the actor's lips from sight. The result is maybe one of the most unbelievable onscreen kisses ever witnessed. Afterward, Smith owned up to his mistake, saying that he was embarrassed by his decision. "It was very immature on my part," he said. "I was thinking, ‘How are my friends in Philly going to think about this?’ I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to artistically commit to that aspect of the film." He added, "This was a valuable lesson for me."
17 Forced: Uma Thurman Had to Drive in Kill Bill
In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it came to light that Uma Thurman was involved in a car crash while shooting a stunt for Kill Bill. The actress posted the video from the crash to Instagram and then did an interview about it in the New York Times. While Thurman's story detailed many ugly truths about her time in Hollywood, her account of the car accident was particularly eye-opening. She recalled being told by a Teamster that the car she was meant to drive for the stunt was not safe.
Her car had been quickly converted from standard to automatic and the steering was not responsive.
When Thurman brought up her fears to Quentin Tarantino, the director, he told her to go through with it. "Quentin came in my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director,” she said. “He was furious because I’d cost them a lot of time. But I was scared. He said: ‘I promise you the car is fine. It’s a straight piece of road.' … But that was a deathbox that I was in. The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road." So, she did the shot, and, not long into the drive, she had lost control and crashed.
16 Refused: Matthew Perry Shuts Down Friends Episode
Back when Andy Cohen hosted the Friends reunion, he tried to collect some interesting behind-the-scenes dirt from the stars, but they were pretty tight-lipped throughout. Matthew Perry was unable to attend that reunion because he was doing a play at the time. Cohen, therefore, had the Friends star visit his show, Watch What Happens Live, to do his own little reunion. Sadly, Perry, like his Friends co-stars, dodged or dismissed any of salacious stories or rumors, but he did mention one storyline that he had axed because he didn't like it or think it was a good idea.
Remember back to the running gag about Chandler being gay on the show. His coworkers thought he might be and even his friends joked about it. Many revisionist critics now rip Friends and Chandler for being homophobic because of his aversion to these accusations. Well, it could have been worse. According to Perry, the writers planned an episode that would see Chandler frequent a male strip club only "because he liked the sandwiches." We can see the hijinks now. His friends wouldn't understand. They would bug him, but the sandwiches would be just too good for Chandler to quit them. Naturally Perry didn’t think it was a good idea, so he called up the producers and had them turf the episode.
15 Refused: Unhappy Reunion for the Twister Ride
When you watch Twister, it seems like everyone is on the same page. But, apparently, there were some challenging times on set. Helen Hunt described the film shoot as a nightmare. "They didn't paint in the hail with the computer," she said to The Huffington Post. "They made a hail machine and dropped giant balls of ice on us. I mean, it was crazy. ... They had firehoses pointed at us, and you couldn't hear anything, which is not the safest way to make a movie, so I was really happy to make it through in one piece." This environment, it seems, wore on Hunt and the rest of the cast.
During filming, rumors came out about the stars not getting along. It wasn't exactly clear why or how it manifested, but people were talking. Incredibly, this alleged feud carried on even after the film came out. When Universal Studios created Twister… Ride it Out at the park, they enlisted the services of the film's stars to create the preshow video. If you've ever witnessed this thing of beauty, you'll know that Hunt and Paxton didn't shoot their scenes together. In fact, they appear on different monitors and talk to each other through the screens. All this, reportedly, due to a feud that lingered on between them.
14 Forced: Kristen Wiig Needed to Act Like a Man in Bridesmaids
Kristen Wiig is one of the funniest people on the planet, but that doesn't mean that whatever she says goes. In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wiig revealed that she was forced into acting more like a man in Bridesmaids in order to draw in audiences. "When people say, 'Oh, we're gonna give more female-centered movies a chance,' you're not reading the fine print," she said, "which is, 'Oh, but, they have to be like this.' They want to see women acting like guys." Because of that, Wiig had to change her script for the film to include more male humor.
The top-down advice came up with the idea for the food poisoning scene, which ended up being funny to many in the audience. However, Wiig wasn’t a fan. "The scene was not our idea and it was not in the original script and we didn't love it," Wiig revealed. "It was strongly suggested for us to put that in there… I didn't want to see people [doing that]." While we're not really sure that scene in the street is "acting like guys," we understand the concept. Gross-out humor is male-based humor and the producers felt that being more like guys would make Wiig and her companions more relatable.
13 Refused: Jabronies on The Fate of the Furious
When the promotional tour for The Fate of the Furious was ongoing, an interesting feud between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Vin Diesel came to life. It started with an Instagram post, which Johnson has since deleted, in which he called out some of his male co-stars. Johnson called them names and questioned their professionalism which cocked the peoples' eyebrows. Later, in a Rolling Stone interview, Johnson clarified his stance and his target: Diesel. The feud was so potent, Johnson explained, that the two stars didn't even shoot any scenes together.
"[W]hat I came to realize is that we have a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach movie making and collaborating," he said. "It took me some time, but I'm grateful for that clarity. Whether we work together again or not. … I wish him all the best, and I harbor no ill will there… Actually, you can erase that last part about 'no ill will.' We'll just keep it with the clarity."
Now, if you’re a skeptic, there's a chance this alleged feud rubs you the wrong way. After all, Johnson is an entertainer. He knows how to create a feud and keep it interesting. It's possible that this is all a stunt to drum up interest in the film, but we can't be sure.
12 Forced: Sadie on Stranger Things
Sadie Sink plays Max in the second season of Stranger Things. After the reception of the first season, the second season on Netflix came out with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show called Beyond Stranger Things. In this informative extra, things got a bit weird when the gang began discussing the kiss between Sink and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas). In the talk, Sink admitted (via Teen Vogue) that she was stressed out about the kiss. This may be because the kiss was unscripted and sort of thrown on her as a joke. However, according to the creators, the Duffer brothers, they got such a kick out of Sink's discomfort with the idea that they kept the scene in and had her go through with it.
"You reacted so strongly to this," said one of the brothers. "I was just joking...you were so freaked out that I was like, 'I GOTTA make her do this now.'" Now, that may sound strange, but it's likely not as bad as it seems. In truth, Sink backtracked on her comments a bit. After a little controversy got going because of the directors' remarks, Sink addressed the issue. “I mean, of course I was nervous because it’s a first kiss, right?” she said to The Wrap (via Indie Wire). “But I never objected to [it] or felt pushed into anything. I always felt comfortable and the Duffer Brothers, they do the best job. And always create a comfortable space. And if I felt uncomfortable with anything, I wouldn’t have done it.”
11 Refused: Wesley Snipes Pouts on Blade: Trinity
Most actors on this list refused to shoot specific scenes or refused to work with certain actors on set. In Wesley Snipes' case, however, it seems that he refused to work, period. Blade: Trinity is not a good film, but that might be the result of challenging circumstances and, by circumstances, we of course mean Snipes. For whatever reason, Snipes just refused to play ball with the film's director, David Goyer, and the rest of the cast and crew.
According to a hilarious AV Club interview with Patton Oswalt, Snipes wouldn't come out of his trailer except for closeups. Any other shots needed were to be done with stand-ins and stunt doubles. In the end, the crew were forced to work around Snipes.
Oswalt suggests that most of Ryan Reynolds' line were the result of Snipes' absence. Things then got worse when Snipes choked Goyer on set. When a black crew member showed up to set in his own shirt which read "Garbage," Snipes thought that Goyer made him wear it. He then allegedly strangled the director for being racist. Goyer and Snipes tried to convince the other to quit, but neither would budge. From that point on, Snipes would only communicate through Post-It notes, signing off on each one with "From Blade."
10 Refused: Michelle Rodriguez Puts Her Foot Down On The Fast and the Furious
When Michelle Rodriguez first got the script for The Fast and the Furious, she was ecstatic. The opportunity was so huge and exciting that she barely even read it. She just jumped aboard without a second thought. “Imagine—I’m living the dream, I wasn’t paying attention to the script," she said to The Daily Beast. She did eventually see a small conflict though. The script called for a love triangle between her and the two male stars. Rodriguez wasn't down with that, but she figured she would be able to work it out later.
"On Girlfight when I had a problem with the script I talked to [director Karyn Kusama] about it and we worked it out on the day,” she said. “I thought it was the same thing in Hollywood. I didn’t think it was a big deal.” It turned out to be a big sticking point though. The love triangle was embedded throughout the storyline. Rodriguez just didn't see the logic behind the decision. "Is it realistic for a Latin girl who’s with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy?" she wondered. "I had to put my foot down. … I basically cried and said, I’m going to quit and, ‘Don’t sue me, please—I’m sorry, but I can’t do this in front of millions of people.'" Eventually, the filmmakers relented and let Rodriguez be a one-man woman in the film.
9 Forced: Idris Elba Had to Go on The Wire
Idris Elba is a smart man. He knew, when he played Stringer Bell on The Wire, that he was onto something good. That's why he took it so hard when he learned that the showrunners had planned his demise. “He was [upset], man," said George Pelecanos, the writer of the episode. "I got it, because, in effect, we were firing him." But, while Elba didn't want to see his character go, it was more about how he was to go that bothered him. You see, after Bell's destruction, the character of Omar relieves himself on him, an actual act done by street gangs.
“David [Chase] and I went to his trailer and tried to talk him down," Pelecanos said. They explained that Omar wouldn’t be peeing on Elba himself, he'd be peeing on the character. “Not on my character,” Elba said. But the showrunners got their way. After the scene wrapped, in the wee hours of the morning, Pelecanos made his way to his car. When he heard footsteps coming up quickly behind him, he turned, half expecting to be hit. There stood Elba with his hand extended. “I just want to shake your hand,” the actor said. “It’s just business.”
8 Refused: No Pecks For Denzel on Pelican Brief
Denzel Washington is an actor who sticks to his guns when he's shooting a film. He's got enough clout and pull in the industry to do what he wants, and the directors basically have to listen. Even back in the early 90s when they shot Pelican Brief, Washington had already blown up. So, when it came time for the kissing scene between him and Julia Roberts in that film, the star said no. His reason, according to Allison Samuels' book, Off the Record, was made to stay loyal to his black-female fanbase. "Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film," Washington said. "And they have always been my core audience."
In a 2002 interview with Newsweek, Roberts was asked if she wanted to go through with the kiss. "Don’t I have a pulse?" she asked. "Of course I wanted to kiss Denzel. It was his idea to take the damn scenes out." This isn’t the first time (or the last time) that Washington refused to shoot a scene. When he shot Mo' Better Blues, Washington reportedly ruffled Spike Lee's feathers by refusing to even take off his undershirt, let alone his other clothes, during an intimate scene. Despite the pleas from Lee, Washington would not relent, suggesting that it is not right for a family man to disrobe on camera.
7 Refused: Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen
Leading up to the filming of Scary Movie 5, Lindsay Lohan reached out the film's producer to explain that she had some reservations about kissing her co-star, Charlie Sheen. According to TMZ, both parties even signed releases promising that neither had cold sores. Still, this wasn't enough for Lohan. She remained firm on not kissing Sheen and asked for the script to be rewritten. Since Sheen was on a bit of a rampage at the time, this might not be the worst decision, which isn't saying a whole lot considering Lohan's string of bad choices. Eventually, the script changes were made.
While they intended to shoot a few kisses, they removed some and used a body double to complete the others.
This apparently didn't bother Sheen. He even struck up a friendship with Lohan and helped her pay off some massive tax fines. After he did, however, he never heard back from the actress, not even for a thank you. It was only after he spoke up that Lohan reached out to him with flowers. Shortly after filming, Sheen went out and got major dental work done. We're not sure if Lohan's issues with his mouth spurred him on, but it probably didn't hurt.
6 Forced: Dennis Haysbert's Forced Ending on 24
Dennis Haysbert is the guy who does those Allstate insurance commercials, but he also played the President on 24 for a while. When that 'while' drew to an end, the showrunners approached him to discuss how the character was going to go out. They pitched Haysbert on the thought of being taken out, but the details didn't concern Haysbert at all. He had already decided not to go through with it. In an interview with Digital Spy, Haysbert was asked about the discussion process.
“We didn’t really have an argument about it; I just refused to do it for a great many months," he said. Eventually, however, they found a chink in his armor. "They sent one of my friends, who’s now the show’s runner," recalls Haysbert. "He convinced me to do it because they needed to launch the season – I believe that was Season Five – and they said they really couldn’t do it without me having the characters assassinated. I acquiesced." If, however, Haysbert could go back in time and do it all over again, would he put up as much of a fight? Absolutely. "If I had to do it over again," he pondered. "I wouldn’t do it.” As in, he wouldn’t shoot the scene.
5 Refused: Anna Kendrick's Problematic Pitch Perfect Plot
Hearing Anna Kendrick talk about making Pitch Perfect 3 makes it sound like she ran the show. According to her interview with Harper's Bazaar, the star had the ability to shoot down several top-down decisions about the film script and wardrobe. "It's funny - whenever we do the wardrobe fittings I feel like we get notes from the top saying they should be tighter... and show more skin," she said. "And I'm like, that's not why people are coming to see the movie." She got her way.
Well, Kendrick would get her way again when they scripted a romance between her and Theo, the music exec who Beca works with in the film. "Originally the music executive was supposed by my romantic interest," she said. "But I said no to that, because I thought that would be kind of... problematic." While we're happy that poorly thought-out plotline got changed, we wonder why Kendrick didn't fight harder to make a better movie. Watching her character, Beca, turn into a musician after fighting so hard to become a producer made us wonder if the writers even watched the previous two films, but hey, at least Beca didn't have to kiss her co-worker.
4 Refused: The Bad Blood on The Good Wife
There's been plenty of talk about the alleged feud that went on behind-the-scenes between The Good Wife stars, Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi. If you listened to only Margulies, it appears that all the rumors were nonsense. Still, the fact that these two completely stopped filming any scenes together seemed strange. When it came time for their final scene on the show, their goodbye scene, fans expected some type of a reunion. They got something else: an awkward split-screen scene.
Modern film and TV viewers can spot a trick shot from a mile away. Don’t show both faces in the shot? That's probably a stand-in actor. Well, The Good Wife showrunners knew this, so they combined stand-in shots with a badly stitched split-screen, creating the illusion that the actresses were in the same shot. Why go through all this trouble? Well, according to Margulies, the scene was shot that way because Panjabi was shooting another show, The Fall. When Panjabi heard this claim, however, she tweeted, "@TheFallTV was not even in production at that time and I was in New York ready to film the scene!" Call us crazy, but it sounds like one person didn't want to shoot the scene with the other person...
3 Forced: Roger Moore Didn't Like His Version of Bond
In The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond, played by Roger Moore, gets rough with the character of Andrea Anders, played by Maud Adams. In many other films in franchise, Bond gets into it with women. Yes, that was just how he was. But for most of those moments, it was Sean Connery's Bond and Moore just didn't look right in that role. Apparently, he didn't feel right in that role either. When Moore was asked to do it with Adams, he questioned the strategy.
To Moore, it seemed out of character. It seemed like the filmmakers were trying to make him into Connery's Bond.
When speaking to Reuters, Moore expressed his feelings about how violent the franchise is and had become. He even spoke with some regret, it seems, about not standing firm on his thoughts on how his Bond should act. He explained that the director of The Man With the Golden Gun, Guy Hamilton, wanted Moore's Bond to be even more violent. “That sort of characterization didn’t sit well with me," he said. "But Guy was keen to make my Bond a little more ruthless. … I suggested my Bond would have charmed the information out of her... My Bond was a lover and a giggler, but I went along with Guy."
2 Refused: Elizabeth Pappritz Won't Go Near the Water
It's almost a certainty that you haven't heard of Elizabeth Pappritz, but this story is very interesting. Pappritz played the uncredited role of the mistress in The Pleasure Garden, Alfred Hitchcock's directorial debut. In the silent film, Pappritz is taken out in the sea by her lover. When Hitchcock and his team got on location to shoot that scene, however, Pappritz wouldn't do it. According to Hitchcock, she was sick, so he had to make last minute changes. "She told me she'd got so bad a chill she couldn't go into the water," he said. "We couldn't wait for her to get well again: the hotel bill was running up. … So I got the waitress at the hotel. I convinced her she would like to be in the pictures. I told her all she had to do was wade out to sea."
But, it turns out there was more to the story. Pappritz actually refused to shoot the scene because she was menstruating at the time. Either the information was too personal to reveal to the director, so Pappritz lied, or she told him the truth and Hitchcock simply altered the story to avoid discussing her personal matters publicly. We may never know. In fact, aside from this neat little trivia spot, little is known about Pappritz at all.
1 Forced: Terrible Scene in A Dog's Purpose
By now, you've probably seen the video of a poor dog on the set of A Dog's Purpose, scared out of its wits, forced into the water to shoot a scene. You were probably outraged. We were. Sure, the video appeared to show only the most condemning part of the shoot, but that doesn't matter. Anyone who's seen a dog knows that this one did not want in that water and was forced. According to a producer on the film, the dog was excited to go in the water during other shoots and in rehearsal. The video that leaked, he claimed, was an outlier.
While we can clearly see that the edited video is suspicious, it's still pretty damning. The producer suggests that the dog was "NEVER forced into the water." Yet, had the dog not clung to the side of the pool for dear life, it would have been forced in. The trainer grabbed the dog by the collar and pulled him out when it saw that the dog was fighting to get out. Then, at the end of the video, we see the dog's head goes under water for a few seconds. Again, this wasn't planned and it only makes the situation with the scared dog at the beginning of the video look even worse.
Which of these surprised you most? Let us know in the comments!