Bizarre Ways Movies And TV Shows Ruined Lives
I don't know if you've heard, but it turns out that sometimes big businesses screw people over. It's even true of Hollywood, where the show must go on no matter what little people get screwed along the way. The result? Stories like these.
Film Crews Tend To Stage Gun Battles Early In The Morning Without Telling The Neighbors
Once upon a time, there was a show called 24, which was about Kiefer Sutherland scowling and shooting an automatic pistol at something offscreen, I think. Look, I only watch the Food Network, so if a show doesn't have Guy Fieri in it, I don't give a shit, and if you loan me a shit, I'm gonna feed it to Guy Fieri slathered in cheese. But back to the matter at hand: 24 was an action show, and that means the producers had to stage fake gun battles in public, as it's expensive to build an entire replica city in which to do that kind of thing. The real people living in these real cities surely don't mind, as long as they know they're seeing delightful Hollywood magic and not actual horrific slaughter.
Well, during a shoot in Hertfordshire, England in 2014, someone on the set of 24 forgot to inform the neighbors of what was up. So when they filmed a gunfight and a car chase that ended in a crash in the wee hours of the morning, at least 20 people called the UK version of 911 after having been awakened by what they presumably thought was a coordinated ISIS rampage.
I mean, this isn't like walking past the set of Stranger Things and thinking the Demogorgon is real. ("It looks like a tennis ball on a stick!") This an era in which mass shootings make the news every few minutes. The sound of multiple machine guns firing at 2 a.m. is the kind of thing that would make you shit yourself, unless you were secretly hoping for the sweet release of death.
This is not an isolated incident, either. In 2017, a pair of film crews were filming scenes in Cleveland -- again, at 2 in the morning -- for two separate movies (one starring Bruce Willis, the other Matthew McConaughey). Again, locals called in with the reports of shots fired, though the story makes it sound like the Americans were a little more chill about it, since somebody firing a machine gun in the wee hours of the morning could either mean a mass killing was taking place or a person was merely exercising THEIR FREEDOM.
Popular Filming Locations Are A Living Hell For Residents
Nick Shcherban lives in Toronto, in a part of town called Riverdale, despite its staunch lack of Jugheads. Right next door to him is a very old house that happens to be the perfect setting for a movie. So perfect that these days, someone is shooting there all the goddamned time. If you don't see why that would be a problem, it's because you've probably never been around a film set. They're utter chaos.
For example, part of the remake of Stephen King's IT was filmed there, and Shcherban hated it. He says the crews set up air conditioning units the size of cars which were so powerful that they literally shook his house. Lights would be filtering into his windows at all hours, crew members would smoke in his driveway, and the noise was nearly nonstop. It got so bad that it drove his wife from their home -- she left to stay with her sister until the filming wrapped up.
A year later, another crew set up shop at the house and Shcherban snapped, setting up a radio in his yard to blast music at the HBO production of Fahrenheit 451, screwing with their audio and forcing them to shut down until police came to shut him up. As soon as police left, he started up again with a second radio. So cops had to come back and take him into custody.
Then you have places like New York's Greenpoint, which serves as a location for everything from Gotham to Daredevil to The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It's the same nightmare of blocked traffic and early morning noise. One street in the neighborhood was covered in dirt for a period piece that was being filmed, and allegedly was just left that way when they were done. They are apparently constantly towing people's cars -- in the comments of the linked article, one resident complains that his car was towed and that crews set up a table of bagels in its place. Hey, famous people are trying to express their art here, peasant!
CSI Turned Random Citizens Into Murder Pervs
There are 16 different versions of CSI currently on TV, some of which carry the NCIS branding due to what I'm going to assume was a typo they got stuck with. It's well-known that in order to meet their quota of 2,000 episodes of TV a year, such shows often work from the headlines, grabbing real murders and swapping around the names to avoid lawsuits. Or maybe a writer was recently house-hunting, met two perfectly nice and normal real estate agents, and decided to base two deviant sex goblins on them in the show. I mean, shit happens, right?
Scott and Melinda Tamkin filed a lawsuit against CSI and one of its writers, one who'd met with them for a real estate deal and later backed out when it seemed like the house was going to be a shitshow for repairs. In the course of writing the episode, Sarah Goldfinger named two characters Scott and Melinda Tamkin. Scott was a mortgage broker and Melinda was a real estate agent. Scott loved booze and BDSM porn, and Melinda died cuffed to a bed ... maybe because of a sex game gone awry! But then, super twist! Melinda killed herself with fluoride to frame her husband, who had ruined their lives with shitty business decisions. That old story.
Now, CSI, like all shows, actually has people on staff to make sure any real-life parallels are changed just enough to hold up in court. And sure enough, when the show aired, the couple were named Scott and Melinda Tucker. Still, before the show aired, Tamkin was the working name, and the draft with that name made initial rounds for casting, and also got into the hands of fans who are into spoilers and inside info. So when the real Scott Tamkin Googled himself one day, he discovered he was set to be a maybe-murderer sex fiend on an upcoming episode of a popular network TV series. It's the kind of thing even a CSI super fan would prefer to have been asked about in advance.
The couple sued for $6 million for defamation and invasion of privacy. And in a twist worthy of CSI itself, they lost because a judge pointed out that the couple in the show had no kids, while the real Tamkins did have kids, and of course, how would anyone know in real life that they liked high-fluoride toothpaste? Clearly this judge had never seen the episode of The Simpsons in which a TV cop has the same name as Homer and it basically ruins his life.
Mrs. Munger's Class Mocked Real Kids' Yearbook Photos
Mrs. Munger's Class on Disney TV wasn't a show exactly, so much as a little filler skit between other shows. It was literally a page from a 1975 sixth-grade yearbook in which the mouths of the photos were animated so that the characters had short two-minute conversations. It was goofy and the kids were all bizarre caricatures in some way. The only problem was, this was a real page out of the yearbook of a dude who worked on the show. They were real former classmates of his, and none of them had given their permission for this. After seeing how they were depicted, four of them filed a lawsuit.
What did they have to be upset about? This was Disney TV, it wasn't like they made one of the kids confess to being the Zodiac Killer. But watch some of the bits, and you'll notice that, say, the only Asian student (one of the real people who sued) says "Hi-ya!" before he karate chops his desk in half. Later on, someone actually calls him "karate chop."
The character named Theodore uses the real photo of a man named Teddy "Theodore" Falce. Falce said he had to be in a class for slow readers back then, something that caused him embarrassment ... and sure enough, the Theodore character on the show is a blithering idiot who routinely can barely string sentences together. Next to him in is a character named Grace, which is literally Falce again, but photoshopped in a wig and a dress.
Edward Jackson also filed suit, claiming his character made him out to be a modern-day "Buckwheat." Jackson is African American, and he's voiced to sound like what a racially clueless person trying to do an impression of an African American might sound like.
Disney responded to the lawsuit by simply taking the segments off the air completely and admitting no guilt, because if you can just sweep something under a rug and pretend it never happened, why wouldn't you?
Southland (Allegedly) Used Real Autopsy Photos In Its Opening Credits
Imagine a loved one died in some kind of horrific crime. Then, years later, you're flipping channels and there they are, their pale lifeless body lying on an autopsy table. You're not seeing some documentary somebody had forgotten to tell you about; it's just the stylish opening credits to a gritty crime drama, one that's been running for years. They were just using your family member's real corpse as decoration. You know, to make it seem authentic.
That allegedly is what happened when Hilda and Jessica Abarca were watching Southland (here is the credit sequence), which ran for five seasons and ended in 2013. The dead man was Andy Nelson Abarca, their son/brother, respectively, who'd been gunned down in a gang shooting in 2005. They filed a lawsuit for violating their privacy, causing distress, and enriching the defendants named in the suit thanks to their misappropriation of the photo.
They say they had never been asked or informed that the photo would be used in this way, so you can imagine their surprise that this series had been showing it in its opening credits for 54 episodes. Here's the kicker: If the accusation is true, it's not at all clear that the show violated the law. It varies by state, but in most places, autopsy photos are a matter of public record. That doesn't mean it's morally okay to plaster someone's lifeless corpse on a TV show to make the fake cop stories seem grittier, but it does mean the family may never see a penny in damages. Still, if you want corpse photos in your show or movie, maybe just take five minutes to throw something together in Photoshop.
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For more ways Hollywood is just the worst, check out 5 Celebrities Whose Lives Got Ruined By Their Movies and 15 Reality TV Shows That Ruined People's Real Lives.
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