The network that specializes in millennial drama has definitely found itself in as many dramatic situations behind the cameras as well as in front of it. The juiciest stories of drugs and feuds come from wild, power crazed, actors, but on the other side of the coin, the CW has developed a reputation for producing many of the more responsible and professional television actors in the business. Some of the stars have been known to begin to confuse their character’s fame with their own invulnerability, and other have become too seriously influenced by the troubled youths they play on screen. Below, this list explores just how badly things can go when money, youth, and pressure are mixed together into a volatile combination.
On the other hand, when they get it right, the perfectly cast actor for a role results in a magical match that can be contagious to the other players, and the finished product comes through on screen all the better for their talent. Everyone knows those people who are good at their jobs, and those who need the world to revolve around their problems just to be reminded someone cares. It’s no different producing television, but their work day has to result in a great piece of primetime entertainment. Here are 8 CW Stars Who Are Difficult to Work With (And 7 Who Are Delightful).
15 Manu Bennett - Not
First things first, Bennet’s turn as Deathstroke was a seminal portrayal of the character and his performance can arguably be tracked to the revitalization of the character in the comic and cinematic universe. Unfortunately, his extracurricular activities have affected the past few years of his career, and the character’s return to the show is in jeopardy.
In 2015, at Alamo City Comic Convention in San Antonio, Texas, Bennett was arrested for misdemeanor assault in the midnight hours of a convention after party. Further elaboration on the incident is probably unnecessary. Since it was Manu Bennett, the whole thing was obviously over quickly.
For his part, Bennett has apologized outright for his behavior, offering no excuse for a drunken mistake. This sort of incident isn’t unheard of and accounts of the altercation suggest that Bennett was provoked, but this was still a severe scandal for the New Zealand native. Who also, by the way, provided the voice and frame for Azog the orc, from the Hobbit trilogy, after getting his break in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. This black mark may not marr Bennett’s reputation forever, but Deathstroke fans definitely have reason to be concerned for how this affects the character’s future in the CW’s DC universe.
14 Melissa Benoist - Delightful
The always bright and sunshiny, Melissa Benoist is the first and last word in CW charm. After getting her start from the stage to her breakout on Glee, Benoist has shouldered the responsibility of playing Krypton’s last daughter as well as anyone can expect her to. Instead of retreating from the platform, Benoist has made the most of her position as a role model for young girls everywhere. She’s not hesitant to speak out or make declarative statements, not just about the show’s direction, but toward feminism and the state of world affairs.
In 2017’s Women’s March on Washington, Benoist soared as an advocate for women everywhere, posted on social media and wrote extensively on the need for reform and summoning the courage to stand up and demand equality.
In addition to her comfort wearing the Supergirl cape off camera, Benoist has been praised at length by director Kevin Smith for her likeability on set as well.
Smith has directed several episodes of Supergirl and each time, he raves about how great, professional, and positive Melissa Benoist’s leadership is as star of that show. Hollywood can seem pretty complementary, but the results show up in each episode.
13 KJ Apa - Not
The CW’s Riverdale has reminded audiences what they liked about the Archie comics’ small town setting. Fuse the old happy go lucky themes into a darker, lurking, mystery, and the show was a surprise hit during its first season. Since then, the shine has worn off the apple a little bit, ratings have dipped, not only for the latest season, but also for leading man KJ Apa, who plays Archie Andrews.
This New Zealand transplant has come to Hollywood to take the spotlight at the center of his own show, but his social media chops haven’t quite been honed to the scrutiny of the spotlight. In this day and age, there’s really no excuse to even digitally spread horrible ideas, so fans reacted appropriately when they noticed that he posted a like on a comment that advocated fat shaming and publicly shamed the overweight online. A curious but isolated incident was quickly compounded when another one of his Snapchats inelegantly compared the advantages of Beer and Women.
These two social media stumbles aren’t the clumsiest thing a nineteen year old has ever done, but apologies for these actions haven’t been rushed out, earnestly or otherwise.
12 Grant Gustin - Delightful
Once CW’s The Flash was off to the races, the show established a proof of concept for the Arrowverse. Following up the successful series about Oliver Queen with another, very different and even more well received show, created the two cornerstones of the multiseries episodic television odyssey that DC and the CW have created.
Grant Gustin’s casting, and his resulting performance, is just as responsible for today’s Arrowverse as anything else. One thing that’s made itself clear in the genre, is that casting is key, as it takes a real professional, in many different ways, to be able to sell a double life as a superhero week after week. Audiences have been completely fooled into thinking Gustin is capable of such things. He’s also a star who broke out on Glee, maybe that’s why he maintains a confidence and sensitivity that really does feel like he’s grappling with superpowers.
Gustin was so well received by fans that his snub from consideration for the role in the cinematic arm of the DCEU was met with online protest and petition. For his part, Gustin has always been very complimentary of Ezra Miller and welcomed him with open arms to the Flash family. Kevin Smith has also sung Gustin’s praises on his podcast after directing him multiple times.
11 Teri Hatcher - Not
The inimitable Teri Hatcher reigned over primetime television for two decades as everyone’s Lois Lane, before she became a Desperate Housewife. When she returned to Supergirl as an homage to her history with the franchise, fans rejoiced at the prospect of Hatcher’s reunion with Dean Cain on the same show, even if their two characters didn’t have much interaction.
Now that it’s been half a dozen years since her role on Desperate Housewives, many stories have begun to surface that Hatcher has developed one of the most rigid reputations for diva behavior in network television. This probably stems from a rift that occurred sometime in the early seasons of Housewives, and festered into real life drama among the cast members.
The actual events that took place behind the scenes of Wisteria Lane are kept quiet, but speculation says that tension arose from a battle for the spotlight between two leads Hatcher and Eva Longoria.
Whatever was or wasn’t said, near the end of the show’s run, the cast had socially ostracized Hatcher from work functions and any friendly conversation. It was great to see the iconic Lois Lane’s return, but fans shouldn’t be surprised if her role as Mon-El’s mother was a one time thing.
10 Tom Cavanagh - Delightful
The producers of The Flash always find new ways to keep Tom Cavanaugh on set. Since his initial role as Harrison Wells from the main universe, his character has taken almost every twist possible to super villain and back again in four seasons on the show. Cavanaugh is often given the most plot fixer-y parts to come out of nowhere with, and multiple episodes and seasonal arcs have been devoted to the pitfalls of his character.
All of that indicates that the show loves having Cavanaugh around, but additional reports from his castmates confirm that the actor behind Harrison Wells is just as a great a teammate as his character. Spending most of this season in a comedic role, his character took a dramatic turn in Flash’s season four finale. Harrison Wells vowed to return to Earth-2 to spend more time with his daughter, Jesse Quick, implying he would leave Team Flash for the foreseeable future. But this is good news for Cava-nauts, the team behind the show have already announced that the character will be merely changing direction and in season five will see yet another giant leap for Harrison Wells. One of the best gimmicks of the show, the many faces of HR, has a way of foiling the main themes; as goes Wells, opposite goes the heart of Team Flash.
9 Robert Knepper - Not
Here’s one case that proves that the most spotless resume can’t also be a difficult coworker. Robert Knepper, who’s an extremely prolific character actor, with a career all over film and television dating back to 1986, has more recently appeared in the Arrowverse as The Clock King, William Tockman, and he followed that up with a season of iZombie, as Angus McDonough, Blaine’s father.
At the end of 2017, multiple women came forward to accuse Knepper of sexual harassment and assault until the total reached 5 women coming forward. Knepper has stated that they are all lying. At least one of these cases is still ongoing and headed toward trial. The CW, for their part, received news of the accusations while Knepper was in the middle of shooting his work for iZombie, and the character has been taken out. Producers on the show insist the two events are unrelated. CW executives conducted an investigation into Knepper’s work on their current show and found no evidence of misconduct in that work situation, but the accounts submitted by his accusers are detailed, so Knepper’s career is already headed into a downward spiral.
8 Danielle Panabaker - Delightful
Danielle Panabaker’s performance as the classic DC character, Caitlin Snow, has resonated with fans from the beginning. Her story almost never takes center stage, but she’s an essential member of Team Flash and audiences have no trouble believing she’s both the sweetest, and smartest, person in the room. In addition to playing the loyal friend, her struggle against Killer Frost keeps a little bit of her personality a mystery, enticing fans to keep a close eye on one of the show’s most consistent characters.
The real life person appears to have no such problem with repressed anger, Panabaker is routinely lauded by her colleagues for her professionalism and talent. The kind words are likely thanks to her experience as a career screen actor. Danielle Panabaker has an extensive resume that began on Family Affairs and The Bernie Mac Show, when she was in her early teens. With already over fifteen years in the business, Panabaker must have found the secret to staying zen on the set, but off the set, her activities are pretty generous also. The real life Caitlin Snow routinely supports youth art education through the charities Art of Elysium and the Young Storyteller’s Foundation, as well as Unicef.
7 Taylor Momsen - Not
Gossip Girl, the teen drama helmed by The O.C. mastermind, Josh Schwartz, was met with critical success for its blend of soap opera drama, sitcom level humor, and primetime performances, but the show’s success didn’t always result from smooth sailing behind the scenes. Lead Taylor Momsen started out as good girl character Jenny Humphrey, but when the real world actor’s spiral started to look too much like the on screen version, the relationship between Momsen and the show became strained over her four seasons on the show.
By the end of things, her character was downplayed into a former story thread, and she was written out of the show and the actor was fired for what the producers euphemistically referred to as “unreliable and erratic behavior”. Since then, Momsen has made good on her rock and roll lifestyle, forming the band The Pretty Reckless and releasing several albums as a singer/guitarist. While some actors can survive a certain amount of bad behavior, Momsen stepped too far over the line, even for someone playing a character who’s up to much worse on screen. The CW has been known for their low tolerance of scandal and the high expectations they have of their actors. Very few are ever outright fired though.
6 Chris Wood - Delightful
After debuting step by step on Supergirl, in the second season, Chris Wood’s Mon-El has earned a place as a regular on season three. His character’s range and unique connection to the rest of Supergirl’s group of friends, along with his (not quite gone forever) relationship with Kara, made him a common source of plot explication and character development, acting equal parts foil and friend
Long time fans will know that Wood is a CW veteran. Before Supergirl, he made his debut as a regular on network television on The Vampire Diaries as Kai, after a brief stint on The Carrie Diaries, a Sex and the City prequel. He’s been with the network ever since, sometimes booking simultaneous jobs, quickly becoming a reliable supporting male character.
On the side, Wood throws his philanthropic efforts behind I Don’t Mind, an organization that educates and advocates against the stigma of mental illness.
I Don’t Mind believes that by reducing the fear around talking about emotional literacy and mental struggle, not only will those suffering most, get better a little more easily, but the entire culture moves adopts more open mental health. This message wasn’t brought to you by Chris Wood, but it could have been, he’s just that nice a guy.
5 Penn Badgley - Not
Penn Badgley was another actor who wasn’t 100% thrilled with the wild success of Gossip Girl. Since the show’s conclusion, Badgley has repeatedly expressed his regrets at the turns his character took on the show. Dan Humphrey, who turned out to be the show’s secret antagonist, was a little bit too one dimensional in Badgley’s opinion.
In one interview for a subsequent project, Greetings From Tim Buckley, in which he plays the musician Jeff Buckley, the actor draws a clear line, praising how good it felt to be working on something he could take pride in. Badgley’s not the first to criticize Gossip Girl for its vapid themes, but the show definitely had a strong fan base, causing a mini phenomenon. Even if it didn’t, there’s a better way to be classy about jobs one would try to put in their past, it’s too bad Penn Badgley couldn’t resist setting the record straight, placing his character’s woes on the writing. For their part, the CW production team feels like their depiction of the Dan Humphrey character was, ironically, closest to Badgley’s true personality. It’s worth noting that Penn Badgley’s acting career has scaled back since 2012, but he is appearing in a new Lifetime series, You. Hopefully he enjoys his work more on this one.
4 Caity Lotz - Delightful
The Caity Lotz career track has built itself the long slow way, proving herself again and again in a method that should be taught in acting textbooks. Lotz comes to acting from the world of dance, getting her break in entertainment by earning spots on Avril Lavigne and then Lady Gaga’s touring dance team. From there she took roles in music videos until her first acting job in one of the Bring it On sequels. She got her first real role in Mad Men, as Don Draper’s niece from his secret family in California.
From her debut on Mad Men, Lotz paid her dues with smaller roles before becoming Sara Lance in Arrow in 2013’s first season. Fans could see the potential in Lotz almost as soon as her character came on screen, and even though she was taken out in the show’s opening events, Lotz came back to play the role of Sara several times to haunt Oliver about his past. The network’s strategy to bend over backwards to keep her in the universe finally succeeded when she was brought back to life via a Lazarus pit and Caity Lotz rejoined the Arrowverse. Since then she’s continued to astonish on an expedited rise to become the lead on Legends of Tomorrow from sheer force of performance.
3 Calista Flockhart - Not
From one television veteran to another, Calista Flockhart, kept the whole first season of Supergirl grounded with her portrayal of Cat Grant, president and founder of CatCo, formerly the main workplace on the show. Flockhart’s performance as Kara’s early mentor and boss was a fan favorite and provided an emotional link for Supergirl’s alter ego, some stakes for her normal life. Unfortunately, due to the show’s new direction in season two, Flockhart requested to leave the show.
Originally, the first season of the show aired on CBS, and was subsequently shot in the CBS production studio in the Los Angeles area. When CBS dropped it, the CW picked it up almost immediately to produce a second season, but that shift entailed a move to Vancouver, BC, the setting of many CW shows. On the show, her departure was written out as part of a buyout and her retirement from corporate life, but Cat Grant has made a handful of appearances since, sometimes available for a cameo to check-in on Kara’s progress. Of course, Flockhart was consistently in her rights to ask to be written off the show, Canada’s not for everyone. But, it’s a shame for fans of the powerhouse cast and her example of female leadership on the show.
2 Stephen Amell - Delightful
Even on the small screen, the actors playing superheroes have to bring a certain amount of gravitas to their roles in order to make audiences believe that they really might be heroes. When Stephen Amell became the leading man for the CW’s Arrow, they hit a bullseye with their casting. Because it’s television, and the actor will be playing this extremely demanding role for multiple years, the most important thing is for the lead actor, Amell in this case, to be able to balance the shooting schedule, conventions, training, and philanthropy, and still find time to develop a life and career.
Stephen Amell, started his career out of Toronto in 2004, beginning with spots in Queer as Folk and Degrassi: The Next Generation. He then began piling on as many recurring parts and bit roles as he could through the late 2000s, appearing on Heartland, CSI: Miami, Blue Mountain State, and The Vampire Diaries. In 2012, he was cast as Oliver Queen, and he began to create the televised version of a character that has been orphaned with billions of dollars and becomes a superhero. He’s pulled it off with a combination of grit, humility, and humor, and off the set, he manages to be a nice guy too, known for his in-person fan meetings.
1 Katie Cassidy - Not
The vitriol behind Katie Cassidy’s performance on Arrow has been largely shapeless, but there are so many petty accusations swirling around Cassidy that the actor has developed more of a diva reputation, than a difficult one. The woman behind Laurel Lance got a very polarizing response for her performance. For whatever reason, maybe it was the character’s writing, the show was never able to find the classic Black Canary voice that Lance was heading towards. Her evolution as a member of Oliver’s support system has been up and down as she mostly struggled with her own demons following the death of her sister and mother.
When her character was finally taken out at the end of season four by Damien Darhk, rumors swirled about whether or not it was at her request, the producer’s insistence or a bit of both.
No matter the reason, that creative decision felt strained, and while the CW would like fans to think that they were just pulling a rabbit out of the hat with Laurel’s passing, they had no idea how bad the backlash would be. Some might argue that more of an indictment of Felicity Smoak’s character than Laurel’s, but even now that she’s become Black Siren, Cassidy’s struggling to succeed in the the show’s long run.
Which of these surprised you most? Let us know in the comments!
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