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This Action Star Is "Impossible" and a "Nightmare," Director Claims

Director Anthony Hickox made a career shift after they worked together.

Making movies can be a high-stress process, and tempers can flare, but it's not every actor who gets called out by the people they work with after the fact. There are certainly those whose alleged bad behavior has earned them a reputation, including an iconic action hero. In an interview with Dread Central, director Anthony Hickox, who is best known for making horror movies, opened up about an actor he worked with who was so difficult that he inspired Hickox to make a change in his career.

This actor wasn't just a problem for him, either. Other people in the industry have complained about this celebrity's reported lack of professionalism. Read on to find out who Hickox branded "a nightmare" and what happened on their set to make him feel this way.

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Working with the actor soured Hickox on the action genre.

Anthony Hickox at The Supper Club Los Angeles in 2010
ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

In an interview with the horror movie site Dread Central in 1999, Hickox was asked why he stopped making horror movies, which were his signature. Hickox films in that genre include Waxwork, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat.

"It wasn't intentional; I love horror, it's my favorite genre. I guess I got sidetracked into the low-budget action genre. I had a big mortgage to pay and I was being offered these movies one after the other, and I love to shoot, so," Hickox explained.

At the time of the interview, Hickox was in the process of going back to horror, making the 2004 film, Knife Edge. He continued of the action movies, "I must say I do enjoy blowing [expletive] up! But it was beginning to get a little mind numbing, especially the one I did with [Steven Seagal]; I just decided 'I can't do this [expletive] anymore.'"

Seagal was a "nightmare" to work with.

Steven Seagal at a pre-Grammy party in 2005
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Hickox went on to describe his experience working with Seagal on the movie Submerged.

"He is a nightmare!" Hickox said. "He's impossible; he doesn't turn up, he refuses to say any line that's written, it's just ridiculous. I sat back when I was making it and said, 'I'm a better director than this,' so I went back to what I like to do, which is write and direct horror."

The interviewer joked that Seagal was to thank for Hickox's return to horror, and the director said, "Things happen in strange ways, you know? I'd probably be doing a [Jean-Claude] Van Damme picture now if I hadn't done the Seagal one, so we'd be thanking Van Damme (laughs)." (However, Van Damme doesn't have a reputation for being easy to work with, either.)

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Hickox blamed Seagal for the movie's failure.

Steven Seagal at German Comic Con in 2018
Markus Wissmann / Shutterstock

In an interview with The Shlock Pit, Hickox spoke in more detail about what went wrong on the set of Submerged. He claimed that the original script was "brilliant."

"It started life as a full-on horror and sci-fi," he said. "I just thought wouldn't it be great if you were stuck at the bottom of the ocean with [expletive] aliens on your submarine! … And then Seagal came on board."

"We'd planned everything and he was like, 'I don't think this movie should be on a submarine.' Erm, but it's called Submerged and it is on a submarine! And then he was like, 'But I want a big opera scene'—I mean, this is literally how it happened—'I want an opera scene.' But, you're on a submarine! 'Yeah, well, I've decided I don't like aliens and I don't like monsters, and I don't want to be in a monster movie.' And basically that's why it ended up like it did. We had no clue what we were doing: no script, and the whole mind control thing in the final film was made up the last week before shooting. It was really insane. At that point, again, I should have quit, but I needed the cash."

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He's not the only colleague to speak out about the actor.

Steven Seagal at Weekend of Hell 2018 in Germany
Markus Wissmann / Shutterstock

Seagal has faced many complaints and allegations over the course of his career, ranging from being difficult to work with to claims of sexual abuse. (Seagal walked out of an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2018 when asked about the abuse claims.)

When it comes to being difficult on set, one of the most publicized instances was Seagal's time hosting Saturday Night Live in 1991. The actor was reportedly banned from the show afterward and multiple cast members have spoken out about the experience. SNL creator Lorne Michaels even commented on Seagal during a future episode. When Nicolas Cage hosted in 1992, the star said during his monologue that the audience probably thought he was "the biggest jerk who's ever been on the show." Michaels responded, "No, no. That would be Steven Seagal."

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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