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Actors Who Were Allegedly Abusive On Movie Sets

Between the long hours, crappy craft service offerings, grueling reshoots, and any number of other factors like weather or timing, a movie set can be an undoubtedly stressful place for anyone involved, from the gaffers to the main stars. For that reason, it makes sense that those working on long shoots can get pretty frustrated, and sometimes, it's understandable to act out or get upset when you're feeling pushed to your breaking point. 

However, there's no simply excuse for meltdowns or behavior that takes things way too far. Allegations of abuse can be pretty tricky, but as far as some actors go, stories and rumors have circulated for years about how they've treated their co-stars or their crew. Whether they're pushing fellow actors to try and get a better performance, smashing things on the set, or simply just being mean to everyone involved, here are a few stars who were allegedly abusive on movie sets.

Bill Murray is reportedly a bully

Despite how beloved Bill Murray might be to audiences around the world, he can supposedly be difficult to the point of abuse on set if he's unhappy with the production. According to Murray's What About Bob co-star, Richard Dreyfuss, Murray got pretty drunk on set with regularity, going so far as to verbally attack Dreyfuss and drunkenly throw an ashtray at his head (luckily for everyone, Murray missed). While describing Murray as an "Irish drunken bully," Dreyfuss didn't pull any punches about how unpleasant his experience was with the famous comedian.

Murray also ran into some trouble while working on the first Charlie's Angels reboot, alongside Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. Murray didn't return for the sequel, partly because he refused to reappear with Liu. After telling Liu she couldn't act (after which Liu physically attacked him), Murray reportedly head-butted the film's director, McG. And while Murray denies the assault, he did announce in an interview years later that the director "deserves to die." It's one thing to have a bad experience on a film, but it's quite another to verbally abuse one of your co-stars, let alone explicitly detail how the film's director should meet his demise years after the fact (Murray made sure to stipulate it should be with a lance, rather than a mere head-butt).

Rip Torn wasn't afraid of getting into fights

A comedy legend who appeared on everything from The Larry Sanders Show to Men in Black to 30 Rock, Rip Torn was an instantly recognizable star throughout his storied career, but he also had his fair share of scandals. The comedian, who passed away during the summer of 2019, was once arrested for breaking into a bank under the influence while carrying an illegal firearm. He later claimed in court that he was so drunk he thought that the bank was his house. But on set, Torn got into even more trouble.

On the set of Maidstone, which was directed by famed author Norman Mailer, Torn apparently had a rough time working with the writer, attacking him with a hammer on set in front of Mailer's screaming children. (Mailer got his revenge, nearly biting Torn's ear off in retaliation). Later, he would end up fired from Easy Rider after an intense altercation with co-star Dennis Hopper, which led to a lawsuit where Torn sued Hopper for claiming he'd pulled a knife on him. In any case, Torn was quickly replaced in the film by Jack Nicholson. Torn may have been larger than life on-screen, but apparently, he was the same way when the cameras weren't even rolling.

Christian Bale was incredibly abusive on the set of Terminator Salvation

There are a few particularly famous on-set meltdowns that aren't so much "alleged" as they are "infamous." One perfect example of this is the time Christian Bale went absolutely nuclear on a crew person during the filming of Terminator Salvation when said crew member apparently walked into a shot and ruined a take.

After the director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, walked into Bale's eyeline during a scene, Bale went completely ballistic, throwing a bona fide tantrum and eviscerating an unsuspecting Hurlbut. His profanity-filled rant was captured on tape, so everyone got to hear Bale attack the DP for walking through the background (despite the fact that Hurlbut said he was simply looking at the light), ask Hurlbut if he should "rip [his] lights down," and threaten to physically assault the DP.

Bale later apologized for his behavior, but it seems to be emblematic of the method actor's time on the film as a whole. Nearly ten years after Terminator Salvation's release, he revealed that he deeply regrets doing the film in the first place and only signed on out of "spite" once people started warning him away from the part. Hurlbut clearly didn't deserve Bale's abuse, but it seems as if the star was looking for any reason to lash out during this process.

Steven Seagal allegedly attacked his Executive Decision co-star

One of the biggest action stars of all time, Steven Seagal allegedly has a bit of a real-life violent streak. Throughout his career, rumors have circulated about incidents ranging from him actually breaking Sean Connery's wrist to killing a puppy to instances of sexual harassment and assault, but one of his victims has been extremely outspoken over the years.

John Leguizamo, known for films like Moulin Rouge! and John Wick, as well as his one man show Latin History For Morons, has made no secret of the fact that Seagal apparently attacked him on the set of their 1996 action flick, Executive Decision. According to Leguizamo, when Seagal realized that Leguizamo's character was in charge of his character in the film, that bothered the action star, who told the room that he would call the shots. When Leguizamo laughed, he alleges that Seagal slammed him against a brick wall, knocking the wind out of the smaller actor and landing him on the ground. Leguizamo has been retelling this story for quite some time, so even if you're a hardcore Seagal fan, it seems likely that this definitely happened.

Dustin Hoffman was reportedly terrible to Meryl Streep during Kramer vs. Kramer

As one of the most beloved and acclaimed actresses of her generation, Meryl Streep seems like a pretty reliable source of information, so when she decides to speak out against abuse on film sets, it definitely seems legitimate. In early 2018, she opened up about an experience she had with Dustin Hoffman on the set of their 1979 film, Kramer vs. Kramer, and while the movie won Oscars for both actors, it didn't exactly make them BFFs.

During a particularly intense scene, Streep revealed that Hoffman actually struck her across the face rather than performing a traditional fake slap for the cameras, attacking her in the very first take (which Streep described as "overstepping"). During another scene, Hoffman threw a glass of wine at her, which hit a wall behind her and left shards of broken glass in her hair. He also verbally abused her, hoping to get certain reactions during their scenes together. It's lucky Streep wasn't put off from acting entirely by this experience, but it's possible Hoffman could've discouraged one of the best actresses alive with this repugnant behavior.

Tom Hardy went to war with the director of The Revenant

Tom Hardy's instance of on-set abuse is another case that definitely happened — the actor readily admits it — but for once, it seems as if an attack during filming might've been a little bit justified. Hardy teamed up with Oscar-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant in 2015, appearing alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter in a film that chronicled frontiersman Hugh Glass' (DiCaprio) harrowing journey through the tundra after suffering a bear attack.

Iñárritu's intense directing style was on full display during The Revenant. Throughout the entire filming process, the director insisted on only using natural light, which made for a much longer schedule. Plus, he was constantly shifting locations, and the cast and crew had to deal with some pretty grueling conditions. Crew members were fed up with the entire experience, and when Hardy stuck up for their hard work, he and Iñárritu got physical. The altercation ended with Hardy pinning Iñárritu in a headlock to "ease tension" on the set. Not only does Hardy own up to this incident, he even made T-shirts for the entire crew with a photo of himself choking out Iñárritu, so it seems like he's pretty proud of his handiwork. 

James Franco allegedly abused his Annapolis co-star

Known as a man of many "talents," James Franco has made a name for himself by wearing as many hats as possible throughout recent years. In addition to his acting career, he's made films of his own, attended multiple universities, and even wrote a book of short stories. As such, he's built up a bit of a reputation, and it seems like some of his more unique characteristics can be a bit hard to handle at times.

According to his Annapolis co-star Tyrese Gibson (of The Fast and the Furious fame), on the set of the 2006 drama, their fight scenes got a little too real even for Gibson, who's used to huge action set pieces. In an interview with Elle in 2007, Gibson told the women's magazine that he would "blow up" James Franco's house given the chance after his experiences on Annapolis, where Franco (famously a method actor) would actually punch Gibson during their action scenes. Gibson claims he asked Franco to "lighten up" while they were practicing, but Franco literally didn't pull any punches, leading to plenty of discord between the two during filming. "He never lightened up," Gibson told the magazine, which, when it comes to Franco's public image, is a bit too easy to imagine.

Nick Nolte was reportedly very unpleasant towards Julia Roberts

If you're ever mean to the actress known as "America's Sweetheart," you'd better prepare for some backlash, something Nick Nolte experienced firsthand during his time working with Julia Roberts.

Directed by Charles Shyer, I Love Trouble is a classic romantic comedy where Nolte and Roberts star as two reporters fighting over a huge story. But apparently, Nolte was plenty of trouble on set. Roberts claimed Nolte was a huge chauvinist, referring to him as "disgusting," to which Nolte fired back, "She's not a nice person." Roberts even did an impression of him years later on The Late Show With David Letterman, and though she didn't name which co-star she was referring to, it was pretty clear to anyone watching that she was talking about Nolte. To this day, Roberts has remained one of the country's favorite actresses while Nolte has fallen pretty far from grace, so it's interesting to see who came out on top after this clash.

Johnny Depp was supposedly a lot of trouble on the City of Lies set

Between multiple allegations of domestic assault, rumored laziness on set, and money troubles, Johnny Depp has been a bit off the rails since the height of his stardom, and it seems as if these issues are starting to affect his time on set.

The Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts star was taken to task in the spring of 2018 after allegations that he attacked a crew member during a drunken tirade on the set of one of his latest films. While Depp was filming City of Lies, in which he stars as real-life LAPD officer Russell Poole, the schedule went way over, at which point a location manager informed director Brad Furman that production needed to wrap up for the day. Apparently, Depp took issue with this request, and after reportedly smoking and drinking for the entirety of the day, he got physical with the location manager, verbally abusing him before (weakly) attempting to punch him ... and then offering the manager a large sum of money to punch him back. (The manager declined.) Johnny Depp's antics have gone from eccentric to alarming over the years, and this alleged incident is yet another mark against the long-time character actor.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were constantly battling and abusing each other

One of the most famous on-set grudges in history was shared by co-leads Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? And when a feud between two diva-level co-stars is so intense and fraught that it inspires a full miniseries years later, you know the stories will be pretty top notch. 

After decades of fighting over men, Academy Awards, and leading roles, the two women ended up together in Baby Jane. The film finds Crawford as a disabled former actress, and Davis plays her insane sister who spends the movie tormenting her. Throughout filming, the actresses would pull cruel "pranks" on one another that skewed seriously abusive, including actually hitting each other during close-ups. Plus, there was the time when Crawford infamously sewed weights into her dress during a scene where Davis had to drag her co-star across the room. (The scene required several takes, injuring Davis.) In the end, Davis scored an Oscar nomination over Crawford, but Crawford actually got the last laugh when she appeared onstage to accept the statuette in place of winner Anne Bancroft, who was absent from that year's ceremony and had beaten Davis for the award. Nobody fought on-set like Crawford and Davis, and though it makes for great Hollywood legend, there's no question that the two tormented each other (and likely those around them) during Baby Jane.