55 Movies That Were A Nightmare Behind The Scenes
Making a movie isn't always as simple as pressing "Record" and watching magic happen, despite what a bunch of iPhone commercials and teenagers on TikTok would have you believe. With great budgets come great responsibility, and few people are as wildly irresponsible as filmmakers.
1. The 2013 Evil Dead remake did a noble thing by rejecting the use of CGI. However, all the practical effects made it so that, in practice, the actors were tortured. There was a blood-vomit scene so bad it nearly suffocated Jane Levy and a scene where she was buried alive with plastic over her face.
2. After the original Guardians of the Galaxy, people started buying up Sony Walkman units on the internet, at flea markets, and really wherever they could find them. This made it difficult for the props masters working on the sequel because they needed a bunch of 'em, and eBay prices were approaching $8000. They finally just had to make some non-functional replicas.
3. Chewbacca's costume was mostly made out of yak hair and mohair. This meant that if it ever got wet, like in the snow of a Hoth shoot or in a trash compactor, it would smell like a gross, wet animal. Worse, actor Peter Mayhew's mere body heat was enough to melt the Chewie mask right off, requiring reattachment.
4. The makeup budget for Dallas Buyers' Club was a whopping $250 because the studio pulled about $8 million from the film's total budget. Makeup designer Robin Mathews had to get really creative, doing things such as rubbing cornmeal and grits onto Matthew McConaughey to simulate rashes. For her efforts, she earned herself an Oscar, and we mean really earned it.
5. Marlon Brando made a ton of insane demands on the set of The Island of Dr. Moreau. The most bonkers was almost assuredly trying to include a reveal that his character, the titular Dr. Moreau, was secretly half-dolphin the entire time. His big floppy hat was supposed to have been hiding a blowhole. Luckily, cooler and more human heads prevailed.
6. The Shape of Water brought in a dancing double to take over for Doug Jones, who had been doing a bang-up job inside the fish-man suit. The dancer got into the suit and started vomiting everywhere, making it really hard to finish the romantic dance scene they were trying to get.
7. Gene Hackman was nothing but a mean-spirited jerk throughout the entire filming of The Royal Tenenbaums. He hated that the role was written with him in mind, resented how little he was being paid, and verbally abused Wes Anderson the whole time. Bill Murray had to come in and basically stare Hackman down in order to keep the shoot moving.
8. The monument to opulence Wolf of Wall Street had a ridiculously indulgent sex scene where Margot Robbie is on her back on a pile of money. Unfortunately, with all the movement of simulating sex, she got paper cuts all over her back.
9. Topher Grace did a stellar job portraying garbage human and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke for the movie BlacKkKlansman. Unfortunately, doing so required listening to hours of tape of the guy, watching interviews he'd done, and reading Duke's autobiography. To unwind and get himself out of that nasty headspace, Grace edited all the Hobbit movies down to one two-hour film.
10. Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique costume smelled like pee because, well, there just wasn't a convenient way for her to go to the bathroom. She could use a funnel type thing, but it forced her to pee standing up, and pee drips got into the costume. Over time, that really made it reek. Once, while peeing standing up, she was accidentally shot with a BB gun by James McAvoy.
12. When Quentin Tarantino had a theater set burn down in Inglorious Basterds, they really burned it down. No CGI. Just one small problem: while everyone was instructed to keep the flames away from the actors, the flames were right on top of Eli Roth and Omar Doom in a matter of about 30 seconds.
13. It's vital to protect national parks, no matter what type of park they are. So when Mad Max: Fury Road was running out of places to film their explodey cars movie, they took to the Namib Desert in Africa. Many plants' water supplies were disrupted by all the tire tracks, which could take centuries to return to a natural state.
14. The Duffer Brothers jokingly told the actor playing Max in Stranger Things (Sadie Sink) there'd be a kissing scene, and she wasn't thrilled about it. They later creepily wrote in a kissing scene because they thought it was funny how uncomfortable she got.
15. The '90s Batman films were famous for ridiculous costumes. But one of the biggest costuming issues was about codpieces. Val Kilmer was upset that Chris O'Donnell got a bigger piece in Batman Forever, and it turned into a whole costuming dispute in the sequel, Batman & Robin. And yet, all we remember is the Batnips issue.
16. Even though he didn't come out publicly until after he was done with the series, Blue Power Ranger Billy (played by David Yost) was regularly bullied on set for his sexuality. Homophobic slurs were thrown around at him regularly until he finally just up and walked off set, never to return.
17. The director of Steel Magnolias, Herbert Ross, was an absolute bully towards Julia Roberts on set. He had her eating less than 1000 calories a day. When actors like Dolly Parton stood up for Roberts, Ross told her to go take some acting lessons.
18. The cast of Caddyshack had requested to be paid in cash for their roles in the movie. The reason is likely that they had to pay their drug dealers, who were super instrumental to the making of the film. By "super instrumental," we mean the cast was high pretty much the entire time.
19. Game of Thrones had to go pretty far out of its way (including writing in extra entrances and exits) to keep Cersei and Bronn off the set at the same time. Turns out that Lena Headey and Jerome Flynn are exes in real life, and as a result, are just not on speaking terms. Having them near each other would've resulted in chaos.
20. Because of laws that prevent children from working too much, Bob Saget would often rehearse with a child-size blow-up doll. Bored enough one day, he started pretending to, erm, do the doll in a way that's normally reserved for much larger and more lifelike dolls.
21. The Wizard of Oz went through 16 writers and 4 directors before they could settle down and get the story right. The first director was fired after a few weeks, the next bailed to go film Gone With the Wind, the third filmed most of the movie before also going off to finish Gone With the Wind, and was finally finished by King Vidor.
23. The scripts for Star Trek: The Motion Picture kept getting swiped by Gene Roddenberry so that he could make changes, which wholly confused everybody working on the movie. He also had a longstanding feud going with Leonard Nimoy, so he kept "forgetting" to include Spock in the film.
24. The only production company (after years and years of looking for a partner) willing to make John Travolta's Battlefield Earth was Franchise Pictures, which embezzled $30 million out of the budget. This movie already required tons of costuming and high-cost things so, while it was always destined to suck story-wise, this helps explain the trash visuals.
25. James Cameron focused a little too carefully on how sexy the Na'vi designs were for Avatar. He'd repeatedly ask male crew members point-blank if they'd want to have sex with the female Na'vi. One artist who complied knew that Cameron preferred athletic women, and designed the blue aliens accordingly.
26. The Great Hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter franchise was the setting for many big moments in the series, particularly whenever feasts were happening. The problem was that they had to keep all that food out for the duration of a shoot, and it started to reek of rotting food as the day went on. Warwick Davis noted that sometimes it would sit out for 3-4 days so as to avoid remaking all the food.
27. The Gizmo puppet from Gremlins was one of the hardest puppets that the puppeteers had ever worked with. They had to make an ongoing list of things the puppet could and could not do, and by the end, they were so frustrated that they threw darts at the thing to let out their frustration. The footage of that vent sesh was actually kept in the film.
28. George Lucas couldn't get Howard the Duck to be CGI, so he had to get a costumed character for the role. They kept putting children, ranging from 8 to 12 years old, inside the Howard suit, and it traumatized them. One peed themselves inside the suit, and one child's guardian had to insist that there be no child present inside the suit for Howard's sex scene.
29. While filming the Civil War movie Glory, you would think that a lot of precautions would be in place to ensure that the subject of slavery was treated with the caution and historical respect it deserved. Except there was a whipping scene, where Denzel Washington was actually getting whipped, and director Edward Zwick made it so that Washington was going to be whipped longer than he expected, ensuring a very real but also very tragic reaction caught on film.
30. Fury was an intense World War II movie with an all-star cast, including Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Isaacs. And to really make himself (and apparently also the rest of the cast and crew) feel like they were in a 1940s war zone, Shia LaBeouf didn't shower for four straight months. Things got so nasty, he was eventually banished to a separate hotel for the duration of the shoot.
31. Someone spiked a batch of lobster chowder with PCP on the set of Titanic. Dozens of crew members, including director James Cameron, ate some and had to go to the hospital as a result.
32. John Belushi was a raging sexist on the set of Saturday Night Live. He would sabotage work done by female writers, refuse to act in their sketches, tell higher-ups to fire them, whisper lines written by women, and loudly badmouth female hosts.
34. One of the big reasons that "mockbusters" like Sharknado get cranked out with all the camp and absurdity that they have is that the studio doesn't think it's making a joke of a movie. Writers are hired who are trying, no joke, to make high-concept films out of premises that seem bonkers by most standards. And on set, when they do things like spray-paint a Nerf gun black, that's not for a bit -- they really think it looks like a cool and totally legit firearm.
35. George Romero's gold-standard zombie movie, Day of the Dead, used real people and real blood and guts (from pigs) to give the feel of dead bodies everywhere. Actors laid down and had a false floor placed over them with the pig guts everywhere for the shoot's duration. The problem is that meat gets rotten when left out for long periods of time, and everyone went home just absolutely reeking.
36. The sequel to Speed, subtitled Cruise Control, was essentially the same idea as the first, but director Jan de Bont had trouble getting people on board. His original writer had a few good ideas, but de Bont scrapped them and had him fired in favor of a fever dream he'd had about a runaway cruise ship. He also couldn't get Keanu Reeves back, or any of the other Keanu Reeves lookalikes in Hollywood at the time. Finally, the dramatic cruise ship crash ended up costing $25 million, more than the entire budget of the original movie.
37. The way that Andy escapes prison in The Shawshank Redemption is through a sewer tunnel, and before filming, the crew's test run showed that if they really got actor Tim Robbins to do that, he'd likely get sick (or worse) from inhaling toxic garbage. They changed it up, so he just had to crawl through a mess of chocolate syrup and sawdust, which is only messy instead of messy and poisonous.
38. The terrible Mike Myers Cat in the Hat movie was a mess on set. Myers kept making dirty jokes and being obnoxious during the shooting, so director Bo Welch took the famed "it'll get fixed in post" approach, hoping that Myers' inappropriate garbage would be cut from what was supposed to be a kids' film. But an initial screening got a PG rating, so it all stayed, and Welch could only groan.
39. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, there was a scene where some dwarves and the Bilbo have to hide in barrels in order to get smuggled into Laketown. The problem was that the barrels had to be filled with fish, too -- real fish. The stink got all over the actors and their clothes and lingered for a long time.
40. Michael Bay didn't hire trained acting dogs for Transformers. Instead, he got old police dogs, which are basically hard-wired to chase down and attack fleeing criminals. They inevitably broke their chains and pursued a terrified Shia LaBeouf while the crew had to try to stop the dogs. Bay's only response was to laugh.
41. Harrison Ford caught dysentery while filming Raiders of the Lost Ark in Tunisia. It was so bad that a fight scene was altered so that Ford wouldn't look like he was pooping his pants during it.
42. The Rugrats writers and illustrators would occasionally prank their bosses with horrifying fake scripts and storyboards, some of which involved baby Tommy walking (crawling) in on his parents having sex or lines about Uncle Stu incestually thinking about his niece. This was apparently their way of blowing off steam at work, which, yikes.
43. Matthew Perry was so high for three seasons' worth of the show Friends that there's a permanent black hole in his memory where those seasons should be. He straight-up does not remember filming any of it.
45. Out of all the drug-fueled stories that happened on the set of Dazed and Confused, the worst might be that Milla Jovovich got married at age 16 to Shawn Andrews, apparently, because she wanted a bank card. This lasted for about a month before her mother got involved and got her an annulment.
46. Brad Pitt tore his Achilles heel while playing Achilles in the movie Troy. This delayed production for a couple months because Pitt could barely even walk, let alone handle things like fight scenes.
47. Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski kept trying to (literally) kill each other over the course of several movies. The closest Herzog got was during Aguirre, The Wrath Of God -- Kinski threatened to leave the set, and Herzog responded by threatening to shoot him in the back. Herzog maintains today he'd totally have done it.
48. The famous kiss upside down in the rain between Spider-man and MJ was really hard on Tobey Maguire. The in-the-rain part of that scene basically waterboarded the poor guy, forcing him to gasp for breath through the sides of Kirsten Dunst's lips.
49. Judy Garland was treated so, so horribly on the set of The Wizard of Oz. They stuffed her full of amphetamines and into corsets to make her skinnier. They also had her on a strict diet and made her smoke like 80 cigarettes a day.
50. Rapper Vanilla Ice has a hobby that he turned into a TV show -- flipping houses. You decide which thing was lamer. But what's dumber is that during the course of that show (humbly named The Vanilla Ice Project), he had some of his crew help rob a neighboring house for some items to use on set and landed him 100 hours of community service.
51. Rip Torn got really drunk and robbed a bank and ended up having to serve time in prison. This forced the Men In Black movie series and 30 Rock to have to write his characters' deaths in.
52. We very nearly didn't have any Ewoks in Return of the Jedi because designer Ralph McQuarrie hated the things. Even stupider, David Prowse had a bad habit of spoiling plot twists in public speaking appearances.
53. Robert John Burke replaced Peter Weller for Robocop 3, but nobody would replace Weller's Robocop suit with one that would fit Burke. Burke was a little bigger than Weller, and having to cram his body into it was wildly painful for the duration of the shoot. Which really sucked because the thing weighed a whopping 150 pounds.
54. It took a lot of persuasion from Robert Zemeckis to get the Wilson Sporting Goods people to give them some volleyballs to use on Cast Away. There was always a huge risk of destruction or deflation of the balls, and they lost plenty of them, so they were hoarded like war rations on set and guarded intensely.