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Steven Seagal Thinks Tom Arnold Is Being "Paid to Badmouth Him," Co-Star Claims

Arnold has been telling an unflattering set story from their 2001 movie Exit Wounds for years.

Several Hollywood actors have shared stories about Steven Seagal, ranging from claims that he is hard to work with to making serious accusations of sexual assault. And, apparently, the action star believes that at least one of these actors has criticized him publicly because somebody is paying him to. His Exit Wounds co-star Tom Arnold has been retelling a story about Seagal being difficult on that set for years, including at this month's San Diego Comic-Con. He told Entertainment Weekly after his panel that a "mutual friend" told him about Seagal's conspiracy theory, namely that Arnold is being paid to trash him. Read on to find out what story Arnold says he'll continue to share and why. (Hint: it's not because anyone has offered him money.)

RELATED: Steven Seagal Is "Ludicrous in Real Life," Co-Star Brian Cox Said.

Seagal and Arnold co-starred in a 2001 action movie.

Seagal and Arnold both appeared in the 2001 action movie Exit Wounds, in which Seagal plays a detective and Arnold plays a radio show host. The movie also features DMX, Eva Mendes, and Anthony Anderson, and was directed by Andrzej BartkowiakExit Wounds isn't a bright spot on any of their filmographies, however; it has a 33 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Arnold says Seagal refused to rehearse or block his scenes.

Steven Seagal and Tom Arnold in "Exit Wounds"
Warner Bros. Pictures

Over the years, Arnold has been sharing a story from the set of Exit Wounds about Seagal accidentally falling into water after refusing to rehearse a scene. As reported by EW, Arnold most recently re-told the story at a San Diego Comic-Con panel while promoting his new show Underdeveloped.

"Steven Seagal goes, 'I don't want to rehearse.' He never wanted to rehearse," Arnold said at the event. "He just sat in his chair the whole time for 45 minutes. He could have it rehearsed it, blocked it, done everything."

Because he didn't want to walk through the scene before shooting, Seagal got mixed up. They were filming on a houseboat, and he walked out of the wrong door. "He had argued so long he forgot what door to go out," Arnold said.

"He starts heading to that door and I looked at Anthony Anderson and I was like, 'Should I tell him?' He goes, 'No.' And [Seagal] opens the door and he goes, 'Oh, [expletive]' and disappeared in the ocean," the 64-year-old star recalled.

He knew Seagal wouldn't be happy.

Warning: Explicit language in the video above.

One of the previous times that Arnold told the story was during an interview with HuffPost Live in 2014. And he noted that his co-star wouldn't be happy about him sharing it publicly.

"We were shooting on a houseboat on a lake up in Toronto," Arnold began before launching into the tale of Seagal falling off of the boat. "He starts walking out toward—it's a door, but it's not the right door. It's the door that goes into the ocean."

Arnold also said that Seagal had been coloring his hair with a temporary dye, so it ran down his face after he fell into the water. "He comes up and he's sort of embarrassed and the black stuff is running off," the True Lies actor said.

Arnold did call Seagal a "great man" to HuffPost Live but added that he knew he'd catch flak for telling the story.

"I love Steven Seagal," he said. "He's a good dude. He's awesome. And he's very sensitive. For real. Like this, he's going to hear about it. He's going to say, 'Why did you..?' And I'm going to be like, 'Oh my god, it's an amazing story, buddy. Legend building.'"

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He says Seagal thinks someone is paying him off.

Tom Arnold at the premiere of "FUBAR" in 2023
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

After his SDCC panel, Arnold spoke to EW about an interesting recent conversation he had about Seagal.

"A mutual friend we have said, 'Hey, I talked to Steven and I'm gonna set up a [meeting]. And I go 'No, don't do that.' He goes, 'Well, he wants to know who's paying you to badmouth him,'" the comedian said. "I go nobody is paying. If he had a sense of humor at all, he'd know that everybody I do movies with, I do a story—Arnold [Schwarzenegger], people I love, all these different people. You don't have to pay me to tell stories. The problem with him is he's got so many."

He's less sympathetic to him now.

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

Arnold may have had nice things to say about Seagal a few years ago, but he went on to allude to the sexual assault and harassment allegations that have been made against the action star in his EW interview.

"I also know women that he's done things to that are friends, that are in the business," Arnold claimed. "I'm like, 'Okay, well, [expletive] him. Really [expletive] him.'" Arnold added that he now believes Seagal's behavior goes beyond being an "[expletive] on the set."

When Seagal was asked about the assault claims that have been brought against him in a 2018 interview with BBC Newsnight, he walked out.

RELATED: Oliver Stone Said Working With Richard Dreyfuss Was "The Single Worst Experience" of His Career.

Other co-stars have slammed Seagal.

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

You don't have to look far to find the uncensored opinions of other people who've worked with Seagal. John Leguizamo, Seagal's co-star in the 1996 movie Executive Decision, called him "washed up" and a "bully." Brian Cox, who worked with the actor in 1996's The Glimmer Man, wrote in his memoir that "Steven Seagal is as ludicrous in real life as he appears on screen." Anthony Hickox, the director of the action star's 2005 film Submerged, said that he was a "nightmare" and "impossible." The actor was also banned from Saturday Night Live and is considered the show's worst host by series creator Lorne Michaels.

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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