Some people might think that actors have it easy, without realizing that every time you see them playing dead, taking a dive, fending off live birds or their co-stars, it means they actually had to do it over and over, for days on end. That kind of stress can lead to tears, fights, and sometimes, the actor threatening to abandon the movie completely.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Movie Scenes That Almost Made Actors Quit.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
On her first day of shooting The Force Awakens, actress Daisy Ridley almost had a panic attack in the middle of the desert when director J. J. Abrams gave her a note she would never forget. Describing her performance as the billion-dollar franchise’s new heroine as “wooden,” the young actress, who was already terrified of having Star Wars on her shoulders, almost walked away from Rey right then and there. Luckily for everyone, she decided against it.
For the scene in which Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s character is given CPR, the actress had no choice but to be pushed, pressed, screamed at and even slapped by her co-star Ed Harris, all while lying on a cold, wet metal floor. So you can’t blame her for walking off the set when she found out a camera had broken in the middle of the take, meaning they needed to re-shoot it. She eventually returned, giving Cameron enough footage to stretch the scene out to a full five minutes.
One of the longest scenes of its kind, and just another extreme case of the blockbuster director driving his cast to the breaking point.
Things got a little too real on the set of Rocky IV when Dolph Lundgren threw Carl Weathers (‘Apollo Creed’) across the ring. Weathers stormed off and refused to return to set, and production on the film halted for four days until Sylvester Stallone convinced Weathers to return, so ‘Ivan Drago’ could finish putting the future events of Creed in motion.
The French Connection
Director William Friedkin made it well known that Gene Hackman wasn’t his first choice for the hard-nosed star in critical hit The French Connection. Hackman was having second thoughts himself when he had to wear a Santa costume and tackle someone – 27 times. Hackman threatened to leave the film, and even admitted he almost quit a handful of times… while accepting his Oscar for Best Actor.
Alfred Hitchcock isn’t remembered for treating his actors well. And according to actress Tippi Hedren, filming the final attack scene of The Birds was the worst week of her life. The original plan was to use mechanical birds, but instead had real birds flung at her by prop men, while others were actually attached with string. On the fifth day of shooting, she collapsed in tears and a doctor ordered Hitchcock to give her a week’s rest.
As Wendy in The Shining, Shelley Duvall had what Jack Nicholson has referred to as the toughest job he’s ever seen an actor have. She spent most of the film suffering from exhaustion and dehydrated from the amount of crying she had to do. She even began to lose her hair by the end of production.
The scene where Wendy tries to protect herself from Jack with a baseball bat still holds a spot in the Guinness World Records for the most takes. It’s not a demanding scene, but the actors were forced to shoot it 127 times.
Now that the Bohemian Rhapsody scene in Wayne’s World has become one of the most well known sing along moments outside of musicals, it’s impossible to imagine Wayne and Garth banging their heads to any other song. Mike Myers felt so strongly about using Queen’s rock anthem that when the studio pushed for a cheaper song by Guns ‘N Roses, Myers was ready to walk. Since you can’t have Wayne’s World without Wayne, the song stayed and Bohemian Rhapsody became a number one hit 17 years after its initial release.
Faye Dunaway famously clashed with director Roman Polanski on the set of Chinatown. When the director refused to give the actress a bathroom break while shooting the scene where Jack Nicholson surprises her in her car,she questioned her involvement altogether. In the end, it got so bad that Dunaway had to relieve herself into a coffee cup… which she then threw in Polanski’s face.
The Fast & The Furious
The initial script for the first Fast and Furious included a love triangle between Dom, Letty, and Brian. Despite having already signed on to play the character, Michelle Rodriguez fought tooth and nail to have to this plot element removed,since it made no sense to cheat on the alpha male Dom with pretty boy Brian. Rodriguez understood that it wasn’t her decision in the end, and admitted she was willing to quit and suffer the consequences when the filmmakers decided to pump the brakes on the love triangle, choosing Dom’s little sister, Mia, instead.
John Cena may look like someone who’s not afraid of anything, just don’t expect him to take you rock climbing. The pro wrestler turned action star admits that he has a fear of heights, and while making 2009’s 12 Rounds he had to shoot a scene where he repels down the side of a building and then dangles from the rope in mid-air. On a DVD extra, Cena said the stunt made him so uneasy that he almost quit movie entirely.
It’s hard to picture what some of these movies would have been had the stars walked away, but what are your favorite stories of actors pushed to the breaking point? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.