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Steven Seagal Is "Washed Up" and a "Bully," Former Co-Star Says

The actor based his recent character on the action star.

His legacy is his string of action movies—and his bad reputation. Over the years, many who have worked with actor Steven Seagal haven't had the kindest words for him, from Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels saying he was an unwelcome guest host to one of his directors calling him a "nightmare." In a new interview, one former co-star actually revealed that he based a "washed up" character he recently played on Seagal. And he clarified that it's OK he did so, since he views Seagal as a "bully." Read on to see who gave this unflattering portrayal and why there's no love lost between him and the action star.

READ THIS NEXT: This Co-Star Said He'd "Had Enough" of Brad Pitt.

They co-starred in a 1996 movie.

John Leguizamo in "Executive Decision"
Warner Bros.

The actor who called Seagal "washed up" is John Leguizamo, who co-starred with Seagal in the 1996 film Executive Decision. The action movie is about the rescue of passengers on a hijacked flight.

Leguizamo claims they got into a physical altercation.

Steven Seagal photographed in Berlin in 1996
Karl Mittenzwei/picture alliance via Getty Images

Leguizamo has claimed that Seagal got physical with him during production of the film.

"The first day of rehearsal, there was the director [Stuart Baird], Joe Morton, B.D. Wong, Oliver Platt—we're all big actors, we're all big boys, we're all experienced. And we start rehearsing and he came in and was like, [low, breathy voice] 'I'm in command. What I say is law,'" Leguizamo told The A.V. Club in 2012. The actor said that, he laughed at Seagal, who then "slammed [him] with an aikido elbow against a brick wall and knocked all the air out of [him]."

"I dropped to the ground, and all I could say was, [gasping] 'Why? Why?'" Leguizamo recalled. "I really wanted to say that he runs like a [expletive] and has no hair, but I was afraid. [Laughs.] So on the days when we shot the scene where he died, I showed up so early. I wanted to see him die. It was like a fantasy."

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Leguizamo based his new character on Seagal.

Leguizamo stars in the ensemble comedy-horror The Menu, playing an actor who's past his prime and wants to revive his career. The 62-year-old star said he was inspired by Seagal in his performance.

"I've met lots of these stars like that, maybe before they were washed up," Leguizamo told Entertainment Weekly. "I mean, now they're washed-up. I kind of based mine on Steven Seagal. I had a bad run-in with him. We did a movie together. It was Executive Decision. He's kind of a horrible human."

Similarly, on The View, Leguizamo said that he based the character on "action stars that became washed up and failures." He added, "I'm not gonna name names, but if one pops into your head—Steven Seagal, by any chance."

He's not afraid of speaking out against him.


#JohnLeguizamo is naming names of the "washed up" action star he based his character in #TheMenu on. 👀

♬ original sound – siriusxm

Promoting The Menu, Leguizamo appeared with some of his co-stars on SiriusXM. During the interview, he again mentioned Seagal and called the 70-year-old actor a "bully."

"I've worked with a lot of action stars, who are now washed up, so that was easy for me to pick who that character would be," the actor said. Pressed by the rest of the cast to name names, Leguizamo responded, "Alright, it's Steven Seagal. I based it on him. But he's a bully, so I'm OK with that. And he's getting older, so if he catches me on a red carpet I'd be able to run away." He added, "He's 6-foot-5 and he's an aikido master and he's beat me up before, so yeah, I know I'm not gonna win. but I'm gonna be quick."

In his 2012 interview with The A.V. Club, Leguizamo claimed that he heard from Seagal's publicist that the actor had promised to "knock him out" if he saw him on the red carpet. "That's the only downside to my comment: He can actually knock me out. He runs like a girl, but he hits like a 6-foot-5 dude who has trained his whole life," the star said.

When reached by Best Life, a representative for Seagal said, "Currently Mr. Seagal is in Moscow fulfilling his duties as a Special Envoy for US/Russian relations. He cannot be reached for comment."

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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