Becoming a celebrity requires talent, hard work, perseverance, and a crapload of good luck. Or, alternatively, just the last thing. That probably explains why Hollywood types are so susceptible to agreeing to stupid bets -- in their minds, they're waltzing through their cosmically charmed lives, incapable of ever being wrong or losing the smallest argument. To the delight of the rest of us mortals, that's not always the case. Because the consequences are often hilarious ...
Morgan Freeman is often referred to as the "Voice of God" because of his velvety smooth delivery, and because he's literally played God. The man has narrated everything from penguin marches to Visa commercials to the voice commands on Batman's beefed-up bike ... and one lucky A-hole's phone greeting. This A-hole:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Recently, Freeman teamed up with his Dark Knight trilogy co-star and fellow smooth-voice-haver Michael Caine for a heist movie about a bunch of old farts who are after one last score. The film, Going In Style, was directed by Zach Braff, best known for playing a man who overcomes his various mental incapacities to become a doctor in the touching medical drama Scrubs. It seems that Freeman and Braff had a disagreement on set. Braff claimed that the shot they were preparing was Freeman's last on the film, while the actor insisted that it couldn't be so. Unashamed to take advantage of an 80-something's memory, Braff proposed a bet: If he was right, the owner of one of the most distinctive voices on the planet had to record the outgoing voicemail message for his phone.
And that's why, when anyone calls Braff, they get ear-sexed by Morgan Freeman himself asking them to leave a message. It's almost worth calling Zach Braff to hear. Not surprisingly, Freeman is also really, really goddamn tired of people asking him to do the same for them. Perhaps Daniel Day-Lewis, now that he has nothing to do all day, can fill this niche and record messages as Abe Lincoln.
Back in 2011, Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz were making Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides when, for some mysterious, unexplained reason, they started thinking about shit.
It started with Depp using a fart machine to play pranks on his co-stars on set, but the poop obsession soon went much, much further. According to Cruz, at one point she and Depp made a bet with each other. She didn't disclose the details, but we're thinking it was something like "Which one of us will be the male star of the next Tim Burton movie?" What's important is that the loser of the bet had to dress up like Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo, a South Park character who is exactly what he sounds like. And that loser was Cruz.
South Park Studios, Walt Disney Studios
Granted, they were both fans of the show, so it wasn't like Depp tackled her and shoved her into the poo costume. Also, Depp was reportedly pretty proud of the suit, which he apparently fashioned himself (out fabric, we hope). Pictures of the event supposedly exist, as Depp managed to snap some in the middle of his several giggling fits. Unfortunately, other reported instances of Depp treating women like shit aren't so funny.
"Daring friends to get tattoos" is a pastime primarily enjoyed by 1) college freshmen, 2) prison inmates, and 3) big-name celebrities. Take Stephen Baldwin, for example (we didn't say the name was big because of him). How desperate was the Stephenest of the Baldwins for a job back in 2008? So desperate that when Miley Cyrus jokingly said she'd get him a guest spot on Hannah Montana if he got the "HM" initials tattooed on himself, he fucking did it.
Wanna feel sad? Baldwin never even appeared on Hannah Montana.
Tom Hardy also fell victim to such a dare. Somewhere on his person, there's a shittily scrawled tattoo that says "Leo knows everything." Why? Because while they were making The Revenant together, Leonardo DiCaprio bet him that Hardy would grab a Best Supporting Actor nomination, as if that wasn't something that everyone who watched Hardy in The Revenant could have told him. (Maybe they did, and he's got "Ralph the janitor rules" tatted on his dick.)
These kinds of bets are everywhere. Diane Kruger, whom you may remember as the victim of Quentin Tarantino's choke fetish in Inglourious Basterds, bet director Faith Akin that their film Aus Dem Nichts wouldn't make it into the Cannes Film Festival. She ended up getting a Best Actress award there, along with a brand-new anchor tattoo. Jai Courtney of Suicide Squad made a soccer wager with co-star and fellow Aussie Margot Robbie, and ended up with a tattoo version of the her home state when he lost. At least he didn't make the bet with the method-acting Jared Leto, or Courtney would have ended up with about a dozen more "HAs" on his body.
When Fifty Shades Of Grey made the improbable jump from Twilight fan fiction to something more than five people have read, many pointed out that maybe not everything in these books abided by the whole "consent" thing. At what point does a sexual encounter go from "This is awesome, keep doing me" to "That thing is for whipping horses, I did not request this"? One notable celebrity who had a problem with the books was former Disney TV star Christy Carlson Romano, who voiced the titular character in Kim Possible (a series that definitely exists because some executive was super proud of their pun).
After sitting through the Fifty Shades movie, Romano was so certain that America would turn its back on that filth that she made a public bet with her husband: If the BDSM extravaganza stopped being the number-one movie in the country after its first weekend, Carlson's husband would have to stand outside their New York City apartment in his skivvies. If the film stuck around like something you'd catch from an 1800s sailor, then she'd have to do the same thing.
America did not answer her call.
Note that this happened in the middle of February, a notorious month for the desire to remain clothed while outside. Still, Carlson stuck to her guns, holding a sign that read "#consent" and remarking how misogynistic the movie was as she walked out onto her freezing cold balcony in lingerie. Per the terms of the bet, she then froze her barely covered ass off for a full minute (and there's video evidence of that). Still, it's hard to fault her for having more faith in her country than most. Here's hoping she didn't make any particularly embarrassing bets around last November.
Joe Dante (Gremlins, The 'Burbs, Innerspace) is one of those directors to blame for the fact that everyone who grew up in the '80s won't shut up about their childhood. So while his name isn't bandied about like the Spielbergs and the Lucases, he's had a fine career -- which almost didn't happen, and was actually born out of a bet.
In the '70s, Dante was working as a lowly trailer editor. One day, B-movie producer and secret architect of modern Hollywood Roger Corman was having lunch with a colleague, Joe Davison, when a wager was proposed. Davison claimed he could produce a movie for as little as $90,000 -- an unheard-of amount even for people used to passing off chunks of plastic as outer space monsters. Corman accepted the bet, knowing that you couldn't even get Burt Reynolds to put on a shirt for that pitiful sum of money. Since he couldn't afford, say, Francis Ford Coppola for that amount (back then), Davison entrusted the making of the movie to two of his trailer editors ... one of whom happened to be Dante. In interviews, Dante has said that it was more like $60,000, so someone must have pocketed a third of the cash along the way.
Anyway, this is where Dante's film-chopping talent came in handy. He knew that filming action scenes for this movie would be financially impossible, so he was stuck filming scenes of actors talking. However, by setting the movie itself in the seedy world of low budget movie-making, Dante had the perfect excuse to throw in parts of other movies made by Corman's company. Free use of stock footage led to them splicing all kinds of shit that didn't make sense, but they fudged the details after the fact by filming scenes that were similar to the stock scenes. With ten whole days to make the movie, Dante and pals somehow pulled it off. For a cool $80,000.
According to Wikipedia, the movie made a million bucks. Yeah, no shit that guy went on to make more.
New World Pictures
When noted German director (and even more noted maniac) was shooting his movie Even Dwarfs Started Small, one of his dwarf actors was accidentally struck by a car. Then, in a separate incident, the same actor caught fire. Since the actor's name wasn't Klaus Kinski, Herzog wished him no ill, and put out the fire with his own person. Still, the event left the director unsettled. He stood in front of his cast and crew and promised, "If all of you get out of this film unscathed, I am going to jump in the cacti." You know, like they teach at leadership seminars.
And jump in the cacti he definitely did. A seven-foot-tall cactus with three-inch needles, to be exact. So while his cast emerged unscathed, Herzog did not, carrying cactus shrapnel in his body for years after. We don't know if he bounced off the cactus upon impact or if he kind of just stuck to it, but either way, he plays it off like no big deal: "People make too much of that. It was nothing, a gesture of sharing, something to entertain the actors" ... who were sadists and hated him, apparently?
The fact that Herzog kept a cactus handy at all times is the least surprising part of this story.
If you want to hear more of Zach Braff's voice (and oh, boy who doesn't) check him out in his critically acclaimed role as Chicken Little.
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