6 Actors Who Had No Clue What Movie They Were Making
When you read about the habits of famous movie actors, you begin to understand why they're famous, whereas your IMDb page consists of nothing but a walk-on role in the straight-to-LaserDisc Death Murder 2: Kill (because you were hungover and ignoring signs and yelling product assistants that day).
Yes, some actors upend their whole lives to reach the heights of artistic authenticity that can only be achieved through a pretentious refusal to admit acting is not real life. Others steadfastly refuse to take part in a film unless extraordinarily deranged circumstances be met first. And others ... yeah, uh, we're not sure why they're famous, either. Here are six examples of actors who phoned it in and were rewarded with fame, fortune, and sometimes even critical acclaim.
Westworld Baffled The Crap Out Of Even The Actors
Over the course of its 10 episodes, Westworld's sexy robot cowboy intrigue has captured the internet's imagination. Fans spend their time poring over every minute detail, analyzing the twists and turns, and speculating on where the plot will go next. Well, rabid Westworld fan, your guess is as good as anyone else's on the cast, because nobody has a flipping clue what this show is about.
Except those damn fine jugs of milk.
For instance, the mysterious Man in Black, played by the eternally underrated Ed Harris, has been a continual source of intrigue and plot twists. Turns out Harris himself was only recently finding out about a lot of those twists himself. As filming went on, he was slowly piecing together important details of his character's life. He had no idea that SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Jimmi Simpson was playing his younger self until he started suddenly spending copious amounts of time on set. The two never discussed their roles, despite them literally playing the same person. When the twist was revealed, Harris simply patted Simpson on the back and said, "I hear you do a good job." (Presumably, he couldn't watch the show because it's on at the same time as Family Guy.)
Harris was also pretty shocked at the maze twist -- not that he cared to know any of it anyway. At every turn, Harris's main concern is simply doing his job and going home. New guy on set playing his role? Fine. Compelling backstory that sheds light on his mysterious character's origins? In his words, "whatever was going on with him in the past, is the in past." Harris could not be bothered to give any semblance of a fuck about any of that shit.
"When's this freaking movie come out, anyway?"
Meanwhile, American Idol superfan Sir Anthony Hopkins knew even less than Harris, but he cared so much more. Hopkins would inquire about his character's fate and be met with a big, fat silence. He would ask if he could simply know what to expect in the following week's episode and got a resounding "No." The spoiler hoarding got so bad that the good knight's scripts were delivered with the other actors' lines blacked out, so he had no idea what he would be reacting to when he was speaking. Hopkins requested a full script, like any sane person would, but they had the temerity to turn him down.
Those are the heads of the interns who deliver the scripts behind him.
As a result, when asked what drove his character, his answer was "I honestly don't know." And that's how you make classic television, people.
Suicide Squad Got Its Script At The Last Possible Minute
DC's supervillain mashup romp was ... not well-loved by the moviegoing public. But almost everyone who saw it will agree that Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith as Deadshot were the best parts of it. It's admirable that actors would put so much passion into a film we'll find in $1 bins within six months. However, neither of them had a clue what the movie was about before signing up. Or even during filming, for that matter.
"Hey, when does Robert Downey Jr. show up for his scenes? I'm dying to meet Stan Lee."
When Robbie was approached for the coveted role of Harley Quinn, she asked the usual questions one would want answered before signing on to what would probably amount to a decade of booty shorts and green screens. Questions like "Is there a script? Or other actors attached? Is there even a director for this goddamn thing?" Only one of those received a yes -- David Ayer was set to direct. For Robbie, that was good enough. She signed on to play the character comic book lovers have been dying to see for decades without knowing what she was gonna say, do, or look like for the entire movie.
"Don't worry. No one will even notice your nonsensical mouth words, anyway." -- Hollywood
Harley's bosom buddy Deadshot required an equal amount of non-preparation. Smith admitted that he didn't truly know anything about his character even during filming, because the script was such a guarded secret. Ayer would simply send bits and pieces to the actor in question on a need-to-know basis in an attempt to reveal as little information about the plot as humanly possible. Nobody on set had any clue what their character's purpose or motivations were. According to Robbie, "We don't know what our characters' relationship is really gonna be [because] it's ever-changing. We're not being secretive, we just actually don't know."
Except Jared Leto, who knew that his purpose was to make us reconsider seeing this movie.
Of course, it turned out that this was less about method acting and more about the script being thrown together in under two months, only to be fiddled with and rehashed right up to the end. The result: $745 million worldwide and guaranteed sequels and spinoffs. Hollywood magic!
At One Point, Darth Vader's Actor Stopped Giving A Damn
For a franchise that has brought so much joy to nerds everywhere, Star Wars employed a surprising amount of actors who hated every minute of it (when they weren't stoned out of their butts, anyway). Ironically, one of the most vocal dissenters happens to be a man whose voice we never hear, the man behind the iconic ventilation mask himself: Darth Vader's body actor, David Prowse.
Pictured here having decapitated a cosplaying fan.
Initially, Prowse put every effort into the role, before eventually discovering that George Lucas planned to overdub his lines with James Earl Jones' smooth voice. This left Prowse feeling angry and insulted. While he has denied the longstanding rumors that he stopped learning his lines and became a nuisance on set, he did admit to "getting creative" with the dialogue from that point on. "Asteroids do not concern me, I need a ship," for instance, became "Hemorrhoids do not concern me, I need a shit."
"I am altering the dialogue. Pray I do not alter it any further."
Prowse's belligerent behavior carried over into all of his interactions pertaining to the franchise. He partook in a documentary which saw him bashing Lucas every step of the way. He let the big Empire twist out of the bag a full two years early when, during a stint as a guest speaker at UC Berkeley, he rambled, "Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker ... are hooked up in a do-or-die lightsaber duel when Luke learned that Darth is, in fact, his long-lost father." (And yet he didn't warn us about the Ewoks.) He even went on record saying the best part of his miserable experience with the franchise was when received those sweet, sweet dolla bills.
"Search my bank account, you know it be true."
Yet through all of his active hatred, Prowse was not officially cut loose from the series until he insisted on using signed autographs as a means to remind the world of his sci-fi contribution by scrawling the words "Dave Prowse is Vader" across various merchandise and boobs rather than the less obstinate "Dave Prowse as Vader." This stubborn insistence on claiming full credit for the role was the final straw, leading to Prowse's indefinite banning from any and all Star Wars-related events from that point forward. Ah, well. You'll always have YouTube, Dave.
Daniel Radcliffe Was Drunk As A Skunk While Filming The Last Harry Potter Movies
Popular opinion would have you believe that the young Harry Potter cast are all lovely, talented, well-adjusted people who have thus far escaped the negative effects of child stardom. Well, if that glib title up there didn't tip you off, that wasn't the case. And since the magical franchise spanned the entirety of poor Daniel Radcliffe's teenage years, he got to rebel while filming the very thing that made him feel like he needed to act out in the first place. Starting with Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, Radcliffe spent his off hours enthusiastically hitting the butterbeer a little too often.
"I told you to hold the butter part, asshole."
His drinking became such an issue that he would show up to work still utterly sloshed, forcing him to recreate the magic of Hogwarts through the real-life enchantment of inebriation. Radcliffe himself would later go on to heavily criticize his acting in these films, pointing to his dead-eyed stare as evidence of his drunken state, leading viewers to speculate which scenes he's wasted in.
Note that this doesn't account for his normal blinking thing.
Keep in mind, all this partying and self-destruction took place when Radcliffe was only 18. He lost all interest in drinking by the time he turned 22. Can you still be considered a successful adult if you overcame your childhood demons in your early 20s? We sure hope so.
Michael Fassbender Hated Every Second Of Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender certainly has his share of questionable credits to his name, but of all the films that got his blood boiling, it's the one that gave him an Best Actor Oscar nomination that was the absolute worst. We're talking about the most lazily named Steve Jobs biopic yet, Steve Jobs.
Or Talk And Walk: The Movie.
According to Fassbender, he was not concerned in the least with portraying his character as a likable man, choosing instead to focus on Jobs as "someone who had a vision" (read: a motivated douchebag). Of course, accurately portraying a man famous for his tech-savvy career is a lot easier when you have any idea what you're talking about. Fassbender maintained that the mounds of tech-specific dialogue flew well over his head, blaming Aaron Sorkin's overly verbose script as the culprit. While still in rehearsals, he became so overwhelmed with the role that he would beg his driver to crush his arm in the car door so he wouldn't have to go to work, saying, "If I put my arm in the door, you should slam it. It should cause a break and it should get me out of this gig." Either the driver declined or Fassbender is a tragically fast healer.
"Can we rehearse this scene with a real gun? You know, for fun."
Following the film's release, Fassbender was asked where his inspiration for his intense performance had come from. Did he study the life and public appearances of Steve Jobs? His only response: "I studied Ashton Kutcher." That is, the guy who also played the Apple bigwig in a reviled 2013 biopic, Jobs. They should have given him the Oscar nom.
Nobody Knows If Bill Murray Will Be In A Movie Until The First Day Of Shooting
Bill Murray is a sprite, playfully flitting from one adventure to the next, wandering wherever the wind and alcohol take him. This isn't just Bill Murray in his downtime; this is Bill Murray all the time. Ol' Bill refuses to employ an agent, and he sure as hell ain't doing a casting call. So how do the biggest directors in Hollywood get a hold of the business's most mercurial actors? They dial an 800 number, of course. The fabled number doesn't even have a voice message; callers are met with an impersonal beep before pleading their case for one of the world's most beloved actors to please put in an appearance in their movie, maybe, if he feels like it.
Phones are Bill Murray's #1 enemy.
Whether or not Murray intends to participate in a film is then entirely up in the air. Historically, directors and casting managers would have no idea whether or not their request would be granted until filming began and Murray randomly strolled onto set. When Chris Elliott was offered the role of Ernie McCracken in 1996's Kingpin, it was under the strict condition that should Murray show up, he would be immediately fired. Amazingly, Elliott agreed to those terms, and was offered a small cameo when Murray flipped a coin or whatever and decided to take the part.
It was the opposite of a Cinderella story.
Paul Feig went through the exact same process almost 20 years later when he attempted to bring Murray onto the Ghostbusters remake for a cameo. Right before filming was set to begin, Feig began wondering if he too would need to find a backup actor willing to be booted should the silver-screen nymph materialize. It was probably easier to get Harold Ramis to show up, and he's dead. The crew wasn't entirely sure whether or not Murray was officially attached until he manifested on set, blessing the production with his presence. It sounds like a chaotic way to do business, but there's something reassuring in Murray's unique approach to life. He lives and works on his own terms, and no overdressed Hollywood bigwig will ever change that.
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For more instances where actors would've had broken arms than be in a film, check out 5 Famous Actors Who Hate Their Most Iconic Roles and 21 Famous Characters That Actors Wish They'd Never Played.
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