Sometimes, a stupid amount of money isn't enough to motivate famous actors to do their jobs. Whether it's Daniel Day-Lewis refusing to break character or Marlon Brando demanding a personal dwarf, most great thespians can come off as a little eccentric, but it's all in the name of their craft. And sure, we may laugh at them, but it's precisely this dedication and unwillingness to compromise which can turn a run-of-the-mill production into a masterpiece.
Other times, however, they're just assholes. Some stars have ended up changing the way a movie or show turned out not because of any artistic vision, but through ridiculous demands. Such as ...
Edward Norton's official story for why he didn't reprise his role as the Hulk in The Avengers is that it would have taken too much of his precious time. Here's a more likely explanation: Marvel dumped his ass because he was a huge pain in theirs during the making of The Incredible Hulk. First, Norton only agreed to come on board on the condition that he could fiddle with the screenplay, getting to the point where his costar Tim Roth didn't bother looking at the script until he was in the makeup chair because it was constantly being changed. Norton also fought Marvel to make the movie 20 minutes longer in order to include more of his brilliant material.
But perhaps the most heavy-handed use of his brooding star power came up in casting decisions. OK, not casting exactly ... but the creation of an entire character out of whole cloth. It turns out that Norton was such a fan of the HBO Baltimore narcotics extravaganza The Wire that he decided to create a role specifically for Michael Kenneth Williams, who played the show's iconic, sensitive-yet-shotgun-toting stickup man, Omar. According to Williams, his role involved coming between Hulk and the Abomination (Roth) during their big Harlem fight and trying to stop them from destroying his neighborhood. Then he turns around and basically tells Hulk, "You know what, never mind, waste this bitch."
Williams was pretty stoked about it, too, saying that Norton is "from Baltimore, so he really felt passionate about The Wire." For the record, Norton was actually born in Boston and raised in Columbia, MD, a suburb that consistently makes it onto "Best Places to Live" lists and is mostly known for recycling drives and a mall. And sadly, Williams' heroic role was cut down to about five seconds, reducing his participation to "Harlem Bystander." Here's the whole thing:
This means that had Norton appeared in The Avengers, there's a realistic chance he would have insisted on adding yet more characters in order to turn it into an unofficial crossover with whatever show he was obsessed with at the moment. Come on, an Avengers starring Manimal and Judge Judy would've been sheer fucking phantasmagoria.
Sony Pictures Television
Despite being the most successful of all the Party Of Five actresses (OK, that's not saying much), Jennifer Love-Hewitt's career trajectory seems to have crested slightly south of the A-list. Her last big-screen appearance was in something called Jewtopia, which fared rather poorly, despite the sizable fanbase she had built up with Garfield: The Movie and Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties. So she made the probably-wise decision to stick with television, and after serving as a judge on RuPauls's Drag Race, she must have been thrilled at the opportunity to star in her own vehicle (one that didn't involve her talking to ghosts): The Client List.
The Client List centered around Love-Hewitt as a former beauty queen who makes some rather unfortunate decisions, most notably becoming a massage parlor happy endings specialist.
Sony Pictures Television
Similarly unfortunate decisions were also made behind the scenes in the middle of the second season, after Love-Hewitt announced that she would be playing the part of a sexy masseuse/prostitute while obviously pregnant. While the studio brass ran around in circles trying to figure out how to deal with this new development outside of straight-up selling the concept to an online fetish site, Love-Hewitt reportedly demanded that the show be rewritten so that Brian Hallisay, the man responsible for putting her in a bumpy way in real life, could reprise the role on TV.
We sorta see her point. After all, what was she supposed to do, pretend some other dude was her baby's father on the show? What is she, an actress?
Sony Pictures Television
Having already watched Hallisay's character go from "cameo" to "series regular" as he and Love-Hewitt became involved, and perhaps fearing that the show would slowly morph into the tale of a massage-giving family, the Lifetime executives entered a Mexican standoff with the actress. Love-Hewitt stood her ground, whereupon the show was abruptly cancelled. Sadly, The Client List would end its run well before any chance at syndication, depriving the world of a chance to watch a woman heavy with child give handjobs to the star of Hostel: Part III in perpetuity. Hey, maybe there's a role for him in Garfi3ld: The Great Catsby or whatever.
Sony Pictures Television
Jim Caviezel's most enduring role will probably be his portrayal of God, Jr. in Mel Gibson's torture-as-edutainment epic, The Passion Of The Christ. If you saw it, you might remember that the actor had no apparent compunction about playing the role authentically, in that Jesus probably died shirtless while wearing nothing but his turn-of-the-millennium skivvies.
So it might come as a bit of a surprise to learn that Caviezel is something of a prude when it comes to nudity, and is quite adamant about concealing his manly bumps, at least where sex scenes are concerned. Even as far back as 2001, when he had to perform in a steamy sequence with Jennifer Lopez in Angel Eyes, he refused to take off his undies and urged Lopez to keep her bra on. The result was a red-hot lovemaking session in which the characters are filmed almost entirely from the shoulders up.
According to Caviezel, the reason he's so adamant about maintaining a level of body shame commensurate with a Mennonite swimsuit calendar model is his devout Catholic faith. Which is great, but who keeps forcing him to take these roles? While shooting High Crimes in 2002, Caviezel threatened to take his covered ass off the movie unless he and costar Ashley Judd kept their clothes on at all times, leading to a sex scene where he removes his shirt to reveal ... another shirt.
20th Century Fox
And then there was the topless love scene in The Count Of Monte Cristo, where he demanded the faux-copulation be filmed from a respectable distance, and also that his costar wear flesh-colored pasties in order to "put something between her breasts and his chest." Presumably, due to the phallic symbolism, all swords had to be added in post.
At least he's not entirely averse to the thought of appearing nude, as long as it's absolutely pertinent to the role: "You're never gonna see my butt on film unless I'm in the Holocaust, walking around." He has also gone on the record to say that, "I've yet to see butts and breasts act themselves out of a scene," which takes us to the root of the problem: The dude's clearly been watching the wrong movies all his life.
Shannen Doherty is probably known more nowadays for her erratic behavior than any film project she's been a part of, but whether she's getting into drunken bar fights in West Hollywood or weaving like a road warrior across multiple lanes on the Ventura Freeway, at least she brings a certain mystique to the table. Part of that mystique means never knowing what kind of wacky, good-natured hijinks she's liable to pull on a set -- like completely screwing up the continuity of your movie with a calculated scheme to swindle some free clothes, which is exactly what she did on Kevin Smith's Mallrats.
As Smith alleges in the DVD commentary for that movie, Doherty began laying out her plot to purloin some fancy new mid-'90s duds by including a clause in her contract which stipulated she could keep any and all clothes worn during filming. The next step was when she insisted that her character required no fewer than three wardrobe changes, even though the story spans the course of exactly one day -- an unlikely plot point that you bet your ass those unforgiving bastards at IMDb have noticed and pointed out. Either Doherty's character is a serious kleptomaniac, or she's really good at layering.
Maybe she reverted to 90210's Brenda Walsh mode for a minute there and felt a little entitled? Or maybe it was because, as Smith also reports, it was "Shando" who "singlehandedly got Mallrats the green light" in the first place. Nonetheless, it was a pretty weaselly move. We might have expected something like that from Jason Mewes (or certainly from pre-Daredevil Ben Affleck), but it probably came as a shock when Smith discovered that little Jenny Wilder from Little House On The Prairie was grifting him out of the type of clothes she could have easily picked up on sale at Target. But he must have at least he been grateful that she wasn't around for the filming of Clerks, when the loss of about $45 might have bankrupted his entire career before it even began.
What was your favorite part about the original Ghostbusters? Sure, Sigourney Weaver was a laugh-a-minute onscreen, and Rick Moranis' portrayal of Louis Tully / Vinz Clortho was an expertly nuanced tour de force, but we're willing to bet that for most people, it was Bill Murray. However, he almost wasn't in it -- which means there almost wasn't a Ghostbusters at all. And the only reason Murray did show up was because he wanted to get this other movie made:
We can't blame you if you haven't heard of the book The Razor's Edge, or either of the movies that were based on it. All of them tell the story of a World War I soldier who gets depressed, goes on a spiritual journey, and winds up hanging out with some lamas in Nepal. It's pretty much the opposite of hilarious. And yet Murray liked the story so much that he wrote his own screenplay for a new film version, which he wanted to star in. Unfortunately, the studios weren't too keen on forking out millions in order for the goofy guy who had just finished Caddyshack and Stripes to star in a dramatic, nation-hopping, "path to enlightenment" flick, for some reason.
Murray's solution was to essentially hold another film hostage. See, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were having trouble finding any bankable stars to join them in the strange little movie about blue-collar paranormal waste technicians they were making. John Belushi was originally supposed to be the guy who would get butts into theater seats, but when he switched sides and became an actual ghost, it looked like they were up slime creek without a proton pack. Murray seemed like the perfect choice ... but he'd only do it on the condition that the studio pay for his crazy-sounding, "one man's search for himself in Nepal" pet project.
According to former Columbia Pictures chairman Frank Price, "the only way I had a chance to get Ghostbusters made was if I did this thing without demanding a commitment from Bill." So it wasn't even guaranteed that Murray would follow through with the deal, apparently. He could have just fucked off and stayed in Nepal, since his movie was shot first. Even Murray admits that he "told them I'm going to do The Razor's Edge or there will be no more Biggie Goes to College Movies" (whatever that means).
Of course, Ghostbusters went on to become the iconic blockbuster that we all know and love, while The Razor's Edge flopped like a carp, made only half of its budget back, and nearly caused Murray to give up show business for good.
Look. You can be a person who has Ghostbusters Playmobil items, or you can be some chump who does not.
Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements. An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. A young woman from the trailer park and her very smelly cat. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, a new novel about futuristic shit, by David Wong.