From a distance, acting seems like the most fun job in the world. All your days are filled with make-believe, cool clothes, and guys in green unitards with tennis balls on their heads for company. But the world of acting can be quite un-glamorous at times too, like when actors have to deal with disgusting props -- or even disgusting co-stars. So from dead frogs to David Boreanaz's doodle, here are the most unappetizing behind-the-scenes stories from your fave TV shows.
When it comes to carnage, Game Of Thrones doesn't pull any punches. The fantasy show's cast spends every other scene nose-deep in blood and guts. Though it could be worse. They could have to eat the blood and guts, like Daenerys Targaryen does in the first season. Of course, not even the Game Of Thrones producers would demand that actress Emilia Clarke eat a real horse's heart ...
No, no. They made her eat something much worse.
In a very bloody behind the scenes video, Clarke revealed that she was convinced by the props department that her fake heart dinner was going to taste like a big gummy bear. That makes it sound awesome, except that it actually tasted like bleach. The arteries, meanwhile, were some type of large, uncooked pasta. By the time the scene was in the can, Clarke had eaten "like 25 of the things." And while Daenerys managed to keep down her toilet-horse heart, Clarke admits that she did the very un-khaleesi-like thing of heaving into a bucket between takes.
The heart also needed to stay "fresh"-looking, so the production crew periodically added more fake sugary blood, which was extremely sticky. So sticky, in fact, that Clark got stuck to everything, including herself. At one point during filming, she left the set for a while and didn't come back. That's because she had blood-glued herself to a toilet. Eventually, she managed to remove enough of the stickiness and the blood to return from the bathroom -- an experience we're sure every lover of Khal Drogo has had to endure.
Speaking of blood, Buffy The Vampire Slayer is another popular show with a hidden ick factor. No, we're not talking about all the vile demonic onslaughts or vampiric feasts, but the on-set antics of Buffy and Angel.
While fans were all about the Buffy and Angel sex scenes, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz were all about making those scenes as annoying as possible for each other. According to Gellar, before she and Boreanaz shot a kissing scene, they'd tank up on stuff like tuna fish and pickles, which would make even the strongest vampire long for the smell of garlic. Gellar also made Boreanaz's job of ravishing her as tricky as possible by pinning or sewing shut her shirts and pants, forcing the brooding hunk to fiddle with her clothes like he was a nervous ninth-grader.
However, Gellar's chastity needlework was the exact opposite of the Boreanaz stratagem, which involved getting butt naked at the drop of a hat. "It's shocking how often he was comfortable being naked and how giggly he is," recalled Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia). Gellar added that Boreanaz would "literally come out with no pants on just to see if you could keep a straight face." The Buffy cast went on to clarify that when they say he went "naked," they do mean completely naked. Apparently seeing no need for a "sock," Boreanaz made these forays onto the set entirely au naturale, which is French for "inches away from a workplace harassment claim."
When you're talking about a show that relies heavily on people drinking fake blood, you expect a certain level of behind-the-scenes grossness. But according to True Blood actress Anna Paquin, showrunners do want to keep their vampiric actors as comfortable as possible. That's why they offer that blood both in regular and diet.
In the show's first season, Bill (Stephen Moyer) tricks Sookie (Anna Paquin) into drinking a bunch of his blood. Paquin, knowing she'd otherwise be chugging the sanguine equivalent of a six pack of extra-big Coke bottles, opted for the sugar-free fake blood, of which she had to drink "probably a gallon." Unfortunately for Paquin, sugar-free also meant taste-free. "It only tastes like the latex tubes it's coming through," she recalled, which made her "want to gag." After her first experience of being vampire lite, Paquin said "never again," and from then on, she'd only settle for the Real Thing.
But the studio-approved blood was nothing compared to the grossness of the cast and crew's own antics. At some point during filming, the crew found a dead squished toad on the set. A dark omen, to be sure, but you don't work on a vampire show and not develop some gallows humor. So they took the dead frog, laminated it, and hung it on a lanyard. Dubbed the "Toad of Shame," this monstrosity was presented to any cast or crew member who screwed up on set by being late, breaking something, leaving their cellphone on, etc. According to Stephen Moyer, whoever earned the most toads each season was "awarded a rather hideous trophy adorned with golden toads and be forced to make a speech," so at least someone on that show got an award to put on their mantle.
Despite being so clean-cut and dapper, Star Trek had plenty of opportunities to be disgusting. Take Klingon cuisine, for example. But even a big helping of bregit lung wasn't as unpleasant as some of the food-related perils the actors had to endure behind the scenes.
As Trekkies will recall, in The Next Generation, Deanna Troi's chocolate obsession is the stuff of legend, as the character tends to eat chocolate like it knows a shortcut to her brain's pleasure center. Unfortunately, unlike fleet officers, actresses have to live on lemon slices and the faint memory of real food to stay thin enough for the producers. So behind the scenes, Troi's chocoholism was more very sludgy wine tasting.
In the Season 5 DVD special features, actress Marina Sirtis discusses her infamous "The Game" scene, wherein Troi teaches Commander Riker to (very sexily) eat a chocolate sundae.
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"You've seen the space suit," Sirtis explained, "I was melted down and poured into it every morning, and I couldn't possibly eat as much chocolate as Troi was supposed to eat." Afraid of bursting at the seams, she devised a plan. "I only like dark chocolate, so I told the props guy to get me milk chocolate," she said. "And I would put it in my mouth, and at the end of the scene ... I had a bucket and I would spit it out." And if you rewatch the scene (which we did many times, for research purposes), you can see that, through some excellent miming and subtle editing, Sirtis never actually swallows a single bite.
But watching Sirtis make sweet, sweet love to her bowl of chocolate ice cream wasn't the most disturbing food scene Jonathan Frakes had to endure. During a dinner scene in the episode "Conspiracy," an alien-controlled Riker nearly takes a mouthful of still-wiggling worms, but bails at the last moment. But Frakes the actor wasn't nearly as lucky. In reality, he totally ate at least one of those worms, stoically admitting during an interview: "Unfortunately, grub worms did cross my lips."
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When reading a list of the grossest TV show moments, you wouldn't expect to find Glee and its merry band of music nerds in it. What, did someone bring stale donuts to the set? Did Chord Overstreet have some BO from all the working out he does? Let's face it, the show was too schmaltzy and twee to ever do anything foul on purpose. Which is why it's so perfect that their kitsch accidentally made someone vomit their guts out.
Toward the end of the show's final season, Lea Michele sang her own rendition of "Let it Go" -- the number one cause of migraines among parents everywhere. The scene was gorgeous, complete with a ball gown and softly falling snow, with one teeny tiny problem. "I was singing. There was snow falling," Michele recounted on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "I looked up, trying to make it magical and beautiful, and ended up choking on the snow and vomiting." As Michele was singing her heart out, she accidentally swallowed some of the (no doubt unhygienic) fake snow, making her lose her craft services lunch on set -- and on camera.
Of course, the crew on the Glee set are nice and friendly folks, which is why they didn't give Michele a hard time -- except by making a slow-motion version of the epic upchuck and playing it to her every chance they got. To her credit, Michele recovered quickly enough to finish the scene and play Elsa for the crew's children, presumably in her back-up princess costume. Of course, none of this ever made it to air, though you'll notice that in the final version of the scene, Michele is doing her very best not to look up.
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