Many people think actors have it easy. All they have to do is show up to a movie set, recite a couple of lines, and collect their millions, right? It turns out that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, acting in films can be incredibly difficult and strenuous. From simply having a long day on set to shooting scenes that are mentally and morally taxing, there are plenty of ways actors can struggle. And even on the “easy” days, they can simply disagree with the creative choices taken by the writers and directors.
Just take these 20 famous scenes, for example. Did you know that they almost made the actors quit?
1. Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious): When Rodriguez first read the script, it initially called for a love triangle between her character, Letty, and Brian and Dom (played by Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, respectively). This annoyed her so much that she demanded it be removed from the film. Once she threatened to quit, directors changed the script.
2. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis (Black Swan): Apparently shooting the intimate scene between real-life friends Portman and Kunis was one of the hardest things they ever had to shoot. Even though they eventually made it through, they initially considered leaving the project.
3. Carl Weathers (Rocky IV): Production on this classic film was halted for four days when Weathers was thrown across a boxing ring by costar Dolph Lundgren and he angrily stormed off set. Sylvester Stallone eventually convinced him to return so they could finish shooting the film.
4. Johnny Depp (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape): When Depp’s character insulted his costar’s character, played by Darlene Cates, by calling her a “beached whale,” it upset him so greatly that he later apologized to her and walked off set several times while crying.
5. Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four): During one scene in particular where Alba’s character, Sue, has a breakdown and cries, the director, Tim Story, told her to remain stone-faced because he thought it made her look prettier. This greatly upset her and nearly caused her to leave the film altogether.
6. Ian McKellen (The Hobbit): Having to film all his scenes by himself and in front of a green screen in Peter Jackson’s retelling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel proved to be too much and made McKellen want to quit. Thankfully, he made it through.
7. Al Pacino (The Godfather): When the producers of this classic mob film were critical of Pacino’s performance, he almost quit. It wasn’t until director Francis Ford Coppola told the producers to back off that Pacino was brought back to continue the project.
8. Russell Crowe (Nottingham): Crowe was reportedly so against starring in a rendition of Robin Hood where the titular character is the antagonist and the Sheriff was the protagonist that he all but quit the film, In the end, he decided to stick it out.
9. John Cena (12 Rounds): Cena doesn’t mind taking a beating from some of the world’s biggest wrestlers, but when it comes to heights, he’s not so brave. So when his role in this action film required him to rappel down a building and dangle in the air, he almost backed out.
10. Tippi Hedren (The Birds): How would you like to have live birds diving at your head all day? Well, that was what it was like filming the final scene in this Alfred Hitchcock classic for a whole week! The film crew threw bird after bird at Hedren, until on the fifth day, she fell to the floor in tears and had to receive a week off. She later called shooting the scene the worst week of her life.
11. Brad Pitt (Interview with the Vampire): It wasn’t until several years after this film’s release that Pitt eventually told producer David Geffen how miserable it was to film. But when informed that, if he backed out, he would lose $40 million, he decided to stick around.
12. Jim Carrey (How the Grinch Stole Christmas): Allegedly, the makeup sessions required to transform the famous funnyman into the green, grumpy Grinch were so painstakingly long that he almost quit. It didn’t help that the contact lenses he had to wear were extremely painful, too.
13. Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix): Apparently Watson was so sick and tired of the strenuous studio schedule and hundreds of public appearances that she nearly quit the franchise. She later admitted that when the films finally wrapped, she was overcome with an immense sense of relief.
14. Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay): According to reports from the set, filming the flaming sewer scene took three weeks. To make matters worse, the costumes added an additional 20 pounds to the actors’ bodies, and the temperatures were so unbearably hot that Lawrence almost quit.
15. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant): By this point, it’s practically public knowledge that DiCaprio didn’t exactly enjoy one scene in this film, which required him to devour real, raw bison liver. (He’s a vegetarian.) Oh, the things you do to win your first Oscar!
16. Jason Miller (The Exorcist): While shooting the classic scene in this horror film where the young girl projectile vomits (pea soup), Jason Miller’s character was supposed to be hit in the chest with the substance. It actually hit him in the face. His shock was so genuine that it made the final cut of the film, but he wasn’t happy about it—and nearly stormed off set at the time.
17. Michael Keaton (Batman): Nowadays, superhero costumes are made to fit comfortably so an actor can be in one for an entire day. But Keaton’s Batman costume made him so claustrophobic that he almost had to stop filming. In the end, he managed to work that uneasiness into his character.
18. Mike Myers (Wayne’s World): Anyone who has seen this ’90s SNL comedy remembers the opening scene where Wayne and Garth drive around Chicago while headbanging to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But when studio execs pushed to change it to a more affordable Guns ‘N Roses song, Mike Myers almost quit.
19. Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens): During Ridley’s first day of shooting, she suffered a panic attack while filming in the desert. It was at that point that the film’s director, J.J. Abrams, told her that her acting was “wooden.” This upset her so deeply that she nearly walked away right then and there.
20. Shelley Duvall (The Shining): On set of this freaky horror flick, Duvall was reportedly exhausted and severely dehydrated. This only made it much worse when she had to film the scene where she swings the baseball bat a grand total of 127 times. If you feel the horror emanating from her character in the film, that’s because it’s 100 percent real!
It might seem like actors and actresses have easy jobs, but these 20 examples prove it’s anything but that!
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