Hollywood tantrums are nothing new. But this week, the news emerged that The Walking Dead executive producer Frank Darabont–who was fired from the show in 2011 and is currently suing AMC over profits for the mega-hit zombie show–had a nuclear-sized meltdown at the time of his dismissal that has truly raised the bar for angry and aggressive behavior in Tinseltown.
“Everybody, especially our directors, better wake the f*&k up and pay attention,” he writes in one email, which just came to light in an unsealed deposition. “Or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.” In another email, he explicitly insinuates that a camera operator is suffering a stroke. Yikes. (You can read the whole trove here.)
Of course, Darabont isn’t the only Hollywood big shot to flat-out lose it at work. From Oscar-winning directors to your favorite 90s-era stars, here are 20 times Hollywood stars nearly went postal. And for more Hollywood coverage, don’t miss the 11 times Hollywood celebrities turned into real life superheroes.
The Pain and Gain and The Island director Michael Bay was conscripted into giving a keynote speech at a Samsung event. Unfortunately, technology doesn’t always work (the director could’ve learned that from the roughly one million Transformers movies he’s put out) and the teleprompter failed. He grew flustered and stormed off stage in a huff. One could suggest that Bay memorize the 30 ways to instantly de-stress yourself.
Golden Globe–nominated actor Randy Quaid, of “I’m ba-aack” fame, dodged paying a hotel bill, moved to Canada, and started spouting theories of how there’s a secret cult killing off celebrities, like Heath Ledger, and framing the deaths as accidents. Quaid was the only core cast member from the original Independence Day to not appear in last year’s sequel.
Russell Crowe’s temper is almost as famous as he is. But his worst transgression may have come during the filming for Cindarella Man. While staying a hotel, he tried repeatedly to place a call back to his native Australia. The call never worked. In a rage, he stormed down to the front desk and hit the clerk in a the face with a desk phone. Crowe was charged with felony assault.
During filming for Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale embarked on an expletive-laden rant at the director of photography. It’s unclear what, exactly, the Batman Begins actor grows so angry about—seemingly something to do with lighting—but Bale unleashed on him for nearly five minutes. Perhaps the guy should learn the best method to keep calm when you want to totally lose it.
On the set for I Heart Huckabees, director David O’Russell absolutely lost it on star Lily Tomlin, hurling a plethora of curse words at her when she couldn’t get a line exactly right. (The scene is shot in an office; O’Russell can be seen storming onto set and hurling all of the papers on the desk onto the floor.) According to Tomlin, the two made up mere hours later.
Oh, man. It’s Alec Baldwin time. First up? The voicemail he left for his daughter. During a custody battle with Kim Bassinger over their daughter, Ireland Baldwin, the 30 Rock and Boss Baby star left a rude voicemail for the daughter, calling her a “rude, thoughtless pig”—and, far worse, forgetting her age, saying, “I don’t care if you’re 12 years old, 11 years old.” Don’t be like Baldwin. Be a cool, fun dad instead.
To put it lightly, Alec Baldwin has an illustrious relationship with the paparazzi. He’s yelled at them. He’s threatened them. He’s berated them. But the most notorious example is from 2013, when Baldwin pinned photographer Paul Adao against a car. (For context: Baldwin’s wife had just given birth, and he was having none of it. Among the list of other folks Baldwin is having none of: our president.)
The most outrageous Alec Baldwin meltdown, however—yes, more outrageous than inappropriate voicemails and physical assault—is the notorious airplane incident. Right before takeoff, a flight attendant asked Baldwin to put his phone away. He refused. (The actor was playing Words with Friends.) Then, he lost his temper, started cursing, and stormed into the lavatory, slamming door so loud the pilots allegedly heard it from the cockpit. Baldwin was escorted off the plane. Now, perhaps he would’ve kept his cool if he were sitting in the best seat you can book on any airplane.
While partying in New Orleans, Nicolas Cage got so drunk he allegedly forgot where he lived. During a street-side argument with his wife, Alice Kim—about that “where do we live” fact—authorities were called. They asked Cage to calm down. He dared them to arrest him. They did.
In 2006, Mel Gibson was pulled over for drunk driving. He and the arresting officer got into a verbal tussle, culminating in Gibson saying, “F*cking Jew, the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” The officer wasn’t. But the sheriff’s deputy sure was. Gibson was sentenced to three years of probation. Gibson is currently, yet slowly, moving back into Hollywood’s good graces; last year, he directed the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge. Who knows, maybe he followed our advice and learned how to apologize like a smart and savvy man.
Just last weekend, Shia LaBeouf, of bag-on-his-head-as-performance-art fame, was arrested for public drunkenness. During the arrest, he called a female office a “f*cking bitch,” and informed a black officer that he “was going to hell” due to the color of his skin.
During a standup set in 2006, Michael Richards, like all standup comics, was heckled. Instead of taking it in stride, Richards called the offending audience member the N-word, which—and it is sad this needs saying—should never ever happen. Richards has since starred in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, and…not much else.
Do you remember Sean Young? She was originally cast in Tim Burton’s Batman renditions. However, she broke her arm on set, and the role was recast. She auditioned for the role of Catwoman in later films, yet was passed over for Michelle Pfeifer. (Men all around the world are still celebrating this casting decision.) As retribution, Young dressed up in a cat costume and stalked Burton around the studio lot.
During the mid ‘90s, Christian Slater, in the midst of a multi-day heroin, cocaine, and alcohol binge, attempted to punch his girlfriend in the face at a party. An unnamed man stopped Slater—but not before the Mr. Robot star was able to bite the guy. Slater pleaded no contest to the assault charge levied against him.
There’s that inevitable point in every grown-up child star’s career: All of a sudden, they want to be prestige. For Lindsay Lohan, the opportunity was The Canyons, a low budget film penned by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader (of Taxi Driver cred). The pressure turned out to be too much for Lohan, however, when she skipped out on the first day of filming, got fired, and cried outside of Schrader’s trailer until she got rehired. Throughout filming, she copied one Marilyn Monroe, frequently forgetting lines and locking herself in her trailer for hours on end. For more on Lohan, learn about her steamy tryst with a regular non-famous person.
Wes Anderson had a notoriously difficult time convincing Gene Hackman to star in The Royal Tenenbaums. (Anderson wrote Hackman’s part specifically with the actor in mind.) Hackman eventually caved and took the role—but not without making a fuss. On set every day, he was markedly vitriolic, and one day, he stooped to calling Anderson a “c*nt”—in front of the entire cast and crew. The tough guy attitude makes sense: After all, his work on The French Connection made our list of the 20 most high octane, realistic car chases of all time.
Every guy wants to be James Bond. George Lazenby got the chance and took up the mantle for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. On set, he grew really method, and would repeatedly show up hammered—so drunk, in fact, that he would throw empty bottles of vodka at the crew. Lazenby declined to return as 007 and, as a result, we got Roger Moore instead, something no one in their right mind can ever complain about.
Amanda Bynes threw a bong out of her high rise Manhattan apartment. (Allegedly. Bynes dubbed the paraphernalia a “vase.”) She was arrested by NYPD. After she was booked and released, she went west, and then set a neighbor’s driveway on fire.
While out on the town in ever-bustling Scottsdale, Arizona, Jason London (Dazed & Confused) got blackout drunk, then punched a bouncer, got arrested, and hurled a bunch of slurs at the arresting officers. Oh, and in the ride to booking, he crapped himself.
On the set for Youth In Revolt, Michael Cera had a meltdown that was eerily similar to Christian Bale’s Terminator one—only Cera’s is full of his voice cracks and nervousness. Some reports claim this was satirical and staged. But those are unfounded, so we’re choosing to hope otherwise. And can you blame a man for that?
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