4 Bizarre Tales Of On-Set Movie And TV Feuds
We like to think of film sets as jovial places where our TV and movie friends hang out together, farting on each other and sharing ice cream cones or whatever friends do, but sometimes, things aren't so cheery. Sometimes, they're way less cheery ...
Blade: Trinity's Director Bought a Random Biker Gang to Protect Him From Wesley Snipes
Making Blade: Trinity was a nightmare for everyone involved. For one thing, they had to make Blade: Trinity:
But Wesley Snipes apparently had to go and make that even harder by being a complete asshole. According to Patton Oswalt, he spent most of his time on the set locked in his trailer smoking weed because he was only needed for close-ups while his stunt double did everything else, but he also insisted on staying in character whenever he did emerge. Plenty of stars are reclusive druggies or weird method people, but usually, they're not the same guy.
The only exception seems to have been when Snipes noticed another Black actor wearing a t-shirt with the word "Garbage" on it. Oswalt insists it was the actor's own shirt that he had chosen to wear, but Snipes flipped out on the director/Stanley Tucci's Wario, David S. Goyer, huffing, "There's only one other Black guy in the movie, and you make him wear a shirt that says 'Garbage'? You racist motherfucker!" A reasonable misunderstanding, but then he "tried to strangle" Goyer, which is less reasonable.
Goyer was apparently so freaked out that later that night, when the crew went out to a strip club, he approached a crowd of bikers and told them, "I'll pay for all your drinks if you show up to set tomorrow and pretend to be my security." It seemed to have worked for the moment, as Snipes went back into vampire mode (you know, hiding from daylight), but the next day, he had the gall to ask Goyer to quit the movie because he was "detrimental" to it. The director instead suggested that Snipes quit the movie because they'd already gotten all his close-ups and didn't actually need him anymore. This enraged Snipes so much that he communicated with Goyer exclusively through Post-it notes (signed "From Blade") for the rest of the production. It's a rare mic drop that's so effective that its target is literally muted.
Chuck Lorre Gruesomely Killed Off Charlie Sheen. Twice. On The Same Show.
Charlie Sheen went to rehab three times in the previous 12 months, so that gives you some idea of what the cast and crew of Two and a Half Men had been dealing with in January 2011. Specifically, according to legal documents, the actor couldn't remember his lines or show up to rehearsal on time and made "comments poisoning key working relationships." It's not clear exactly which relationships, but after the show was put on hiatus so Sheen could get his shit together, which was more of an order than a kindness, he did the opposite, going on the radio to call creator Chuck Lorre a "clown," a "charlatan," and a bunch of other things you can't call your boss without getting fired. Predictably, he was fired, and he used his newfound freedom to go completely off the rails, winning with tiger's blood and whatnot.
Considering that Sheen's character was only a slightly more wholesome version of himself, there were a number of ways to write him off the show: illness, prison, permanent relocation to Margaritaville, etc. Lorre chose instead to take out his frustrations with Sheen by not just killing his character but doing it in the most cartoonishly gruesome way possible: crushing him beneath a Paris subway train. Mercifully, the death occurs offscreen, but his character's girlfriend paints a colorful word picture by explaining that "his body just exploded like a balloon full of meat," so we weren't entirely spared the visual. It's also implied that his girlfriend pushed him in front of the train after catching him with another woman, just to make Lorre's murderous intentions extra clear.
Extra, extra clear.
Even that wasn't enough, though. In the series finale, it's revealed that Sheen's character had actually been alive the whole time, held captive by his girlfriend. After a series of hijinks, including threatening letters and the mistaken arrest of Christian Slater, Sheen's character's (body double's) ominous return is signaled by the helicopter delivery of a piano ... that falls on top of him just as he reaches his family home.
For the final twist of the much less metaphorical knife, the show's credits explained that Sheen was approached about returning for a slightly different scene in which his character would explain his immunity to the dangers of drugs due to being a "ninja warrior from Mars" before being crushed by the piano, but while "we thought it was funny, he didn't. Instead, he wanted us to write a heart-warming scene that would set up his return to primetime TV in a new sitcom called The Harpers starring him and Jon Cryer. We thought that was funny, too."
Faye Dunaway (Allegedly) Threw Pee at Roman Polanski
Working with Roman Polanski isn't a great idea for, well, a bunch of reasons, but one of them is that he famously terrorizes his actors. Faye Dunaway has a reputation for being no walk in the Target either, with Polanski later vaguely describing her as "easily insulted" and "a gigantic pain in the ass," but she seemed to have some incredibly valid complaints about the way he ran his set for Chinatown. Even Polanski's own recountings make it pretty easy to be on her side. We've already told you about how he ripped a hair out of her head because it was ruining a shot, which he explained was "back-lit and looked awful," so he "stepped to her and quickly not pulled, merely plucked at one inch of the hair careful not to hurt her and she went crazy." Yes, Roman, people tend to "go crazy" when you assault them.
Apparently, that was only the tip of a large, abusive iceberg. It began, according to Dunaway, right from the start, when he pummeled her face with a powder puff at the makeup test as he raged at the makeup artist to demonstrate exactly how pale he wanted her to be. "I came away from the encounter thinking he was a bully," she said, and it only went downhill from there. Mostly, Dunaway couldn't parse Polanski's directions, and he was frustrated that she couldn't read his mind, eventually becoming so fed up with her interruptions that he refused to allow her bathroom breaks. According to director of photography John Alonzo, during one such scene when Dunaway kept pleading, "Roman, I have to pee, I have to pee," Polanski approached the car she and Jack Nicholson were sitting in to correct Dunaway's face and was surprised with a coffee cup to the face. "You c--t, that's piss!" Alonzo recalled him screaming.
Though no jury in the court of public opinion would ever convict her, it's a story Dunaway has been notoriously evasive about. When a reporter for the Guardian straight-up asked if she ever indirectly peed on Roman Polanski in 2008, she answered, "I won't respond to that. That doesn't even deserve the dignity of a response. I don't know the details of that. It is absolutely ridiculous." The reporter tried to get her to confirm that "the story is untrue," but she just demanded, "This from the Guardian? I don't believe it! It is insulting that you would even bring it up!" and ended the interview. Not to read too much into the non-denial, but that's exactly how we respond when someone asks who tried to flush several bags of Cheetos down the toilet.
Kelsey Grammer Was Legit Jealous of a Dog
In 1994, Kelsey Grammer gave an interview that would have no doubt made for a fascinating case study for his psychiatrist alter ego. It was a time when a Washington Post reporter could come right out and call their celebrity subject "disgusting" without being banished to the copy desk, and the star of a popular series could publicly muse about the quality of his onscreen ex-wife's butt, so you already know you're in for some uniquely raw mid-'90s comedy action, but when the reporter asks Grammer how he feels about the unexpected rise to stardom of Moose, the dog who played Eddie on Frasier, it takes a turn from uncomfortably candid to downright pitiful.
"Well, it's just so silly," he responded. "He gets so much attention. I do draw the line when somebody says, 'Oh, he's such a good little actor.'" At that point, Grammer "slamm his hand on the table" hard enough to move the food on it and declared, "That's it! He's not an actor; he's a dog!" He goes on to claim that he "love dogs" but laments the hardships of working with one, comments on the "depressing" lifestyle of a dog who "lives for his tricks and his little hot dogs," questions the network's claim that the dog received more fan mail than he did, and calls Moose a "little " before the reporter presumably hastened to move on with a drawn-out "Okaaaaay."
It wasn't the last time Grammer addressed his weird-ass hostility toward a freaking dog. A year later, in his autobiography So Far..., he attempted to walk back his bizarre outburst in a way that just makes him look even more unhinged. "It's widely rumored that I hate the dog, and it's kind of fun to perpetuate the myth. The truth is, I have nothing against Moose," he begins, but he can't resist getting his shots in. "The only difficulty I have is when people start believing he's an actor," he goes on. "Acting to me is a craft, not a reflex. It takes years to master, and though it does have its rewards, the reward I seek is not a hot dog. Moose does tricks; I memorize lines, say words, even walk around and stuff. But I don't need a trainer standing off-camera, gesticulating wildly and waving around a piece of meat, to know where I'm supposed to look." Basically, Grammer really needs you to know that he's better than a dog. All the Emmys in the world couldn't assuage that kind of insecurity.
To be fair, it does seem like Moose was indeed quite a little expletive. The most polite thing a cast member could say about him was that he was a "complicated little fellow," according to Jane Leeves, who played Daphne. He was a particular nuisance to John Maroney, Eddie's devoted owner. "I was directing an episode and told John to put Moose on his lap," Grammer once said. "John said, 'No! The son of a bitch always bites me.' We had to put sardine oil on his hands." Moose couldn't even be on the set with his own son, who also sometimes played Eddie, because they "hated each other" and always fought. It's not clear why Moose was such a jerk, but he died of old age just two years after the show ended, so perhaps it was something that surely Grammer could relate to: He, too, was just a cranky old man.
Top image: Paramount Network Television