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Ellen Barkin Says She Was Screamed at on "Animal Kingdom" Set: "I Hated Those Men."

In a new interview, the actor says she wanted to leave the drama series from the start.

For four seasons, Ellen Barkin starred on the TNT crime drama Animal Kingdom. But if it was up to her, she would have left the series a lot sooner. In a new interview with HuffPost, the actor said that the Animal Kingdom set was "not a pleasant place to work" and that she had been asking to be written out of the TNT show for years. Barkin also claimed that men she worked with "screamed" at her.

The new interview focuses on the 68-year-old star's experience as a woman in Hollywood and the sexism she's faced on sets and in the press. She contrasted what she's dealt with in the past with her latest role on the the Peacock series Poker Face, which she praised as a "very safe environment." Read on to see what else Barkin had to say.

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Barkin starred on Animal Kingdom for four seasons.

Barkin starred on Animal Kingdom as Janine "Smurf" Cody beginning in 2016 and left the show in 2019. Executive producer John Wells told TVLine of her exit, "You know, we always do everything based on story. And since we were talking about what to do and where we'd gotten with the Smurf story, it seemed like good storytelling."

Meanwhile, TV Line reported that Barkin "liked" a number of tweets in which fans expressed anger about her exit. She tweeted herself, "Next episode Smurf's will is opened. She left her boys a hit tv show. Carry on Codys…well, maybe not all Codys."

Animal Kingdom ended in 2022 after six seasons on the air.

She wanted to exit the show much earlier, however.

Ellen Barkin on "Animal Kingdom"
TNT / YouTube

In her new interview with HuffPost, Barkin said that she wanted to leave Animal Kingdom from the start. She claimed that she wasn't allowed to be written off, but that co-star Scott Speedman was accommodated when he requested it. (Speedman left the cast after three seasons on the show.)

"I wanted out," Barkin said. "They didn't kill me. I had been asking to leave for four years."

Still, she said of the show, "That was some of the best work I've ever done."

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She said men on the set yelled at her.

Ellen Barkin at the "Animal Kingdom" premiere screening in 2016
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Barkin told HuffPost that Animal Kingdom "was not a pleasant place to work," and claimed that men screamed at her on the set without naming any names.

"My head just whipped around," she said. "I was like, 'What the [expletive] is going on here?' Men used to come in my trailer and just scream at me. How's that? With me pushing them out the door saying, 'Get out of my trailer.' That's what it was like for me to go to work."

She added, "I was like, 'Wow, I hate these men.' Most of them were just like little boys."

Best Life has reached out to Warners Bros. Television for comment but has not yet received a response.

She felt disrespected when she was replaced by a younger actor.

Before Barkin left the show, a younger version of her character appeared in flashbacks. This continued after she left the series, which meant her character continued on without her. After she left, Smurf was played by actor Leila George, who is nearly 40 years younger than Barkin.

"Want to talk about treating women disrespectfully? On my show, there's a young me," Barkin told HuffPost. "Oh, what is that?"

Barkin is much happier with her latest project.

As opposed to her time on Animal Kingdom, Barkin spoke very positively about her work on Poker Face, the new mystery series starring Natasha Lyonne and created by Rian Johnson. Her episode premiered in early February and features Barkin as a washed-up TV star trying to mount a comeback in a small town dinner theater. The Drop Dead Gorgeous star was particularly pleased with how many women were working on the set.

"It's a very safe environment," she said. "I was never taken care of like this. Never."

She continued of the show, "[It's] not just that I had a good time and it was fun, but I was so relaxed and safe. I haven't felt that way since doing Ocean's [Thirteen] with my friend George Clooney, because I knew nothing was going to happen to me bad. You just go into the safest environment."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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