Take the typical workplace and multiply it by a billion, and you have the chaos that is a Hollywood set. With actors’ egos, petty feuds, and creative differences, it’s safe to say that not all sets are created equal. Some are actually downright toxic!
From Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher calling title actor Val Kilmer psychotic to Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise getting physically violent on the set of The Outsiders, here are some of the craziest set fights.
Tootsie: Dustin Hoffman Vs. Sydney Pollack
The 1982 film Tootsie is light, playful, and full of laughing moments. Somehow, a story about a cross-dressing down-on-his-luck actor doesn’t make for a playful behind-the-scenes experience, with star Dustin Hoffman and director Sydney Pollack were at each other’s throats.
Their arguments were primarily over creative differences with the script. Each of them even took it upon themselves to rewrite it over a weekend! In the end, Pollack thought the film was going to be a universal failure. Boy, was she wrong!
The Outsiders: Rob Lowe Vs. Tom Cruise
In 1983, The Outsiders was released, showcasing some of the hot young stars of the time, including Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe. But it seems as though the movie wasn’t the only time the two co-stars were fighting.
Lowe got a little carried away during one ruthless fight scene, accidentally punching Cruise a bit too hard in the face. Cruise retaliated right away, and crew members had to break the two actors up. Apparently, he didn’t get the “accident” aspect!
The Lords Of Flatbush: Richard Gere Vs. Sylvester Stallone
If you’ve seen The Lords of Flatbush, then you might recall that Richard Gere isn’t actually in the film. Well, there’s a very specific reason for that, and it’s because of two things: mustard and Sylvester Stallone.
Tensions were high between the two actors even before the mustard incident, but everything blew up during lunch one day. Long story short, the two were eating in a car, and Gere accidentally dropped mustard on Stallone’s pants. To eliminate further feuding, the director fired Gere.
The Abyss: Ed Harris Vs. James Cameron
Fake fighting and punching might be common in action films, but there was nothing fake about Ed Harris’ jab to director James Cameron’s face. While filming a particular underwater scene, Cameron didn’t take the necessary precautions to ensure all of the actors and crew were safe.
This resulted in Harris being underwater a bit longer than necessary while Cameron proceeded to film! Clearly, the actor wasn’t too thrilled he nearly drowned on camera, so he punched the director.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?: Joan Crawford Vs. Bette Davis
Joan Crawford and Bette Davis are known for more than their classic films; they’re known for their years-long feud. Apparently, going after the same parts gets people a bit angsty towards one another. So, you can only imagine the pettiness on the set of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Pretty much, they made each other’s jobs harder! During a scripted fight, Davis clocked Crawford across the face. In retaliation, Crawford filled her pockets with rocks during a scene where Davis had to drag her across the floor.
I Heart Huckabees: Lily Tomlin Vs. David O. Russell
There is no love lost between comedic actress Lily Tomlin and I Heart Huckabees director David O. Russell. While the two might look cordial in public, it’s said to be out of professionalism rather than actual forgiveness of what happened on the film’s set.
Apparently, Tomlin could do no right in the eyes of the director, getting cursed and yelled at. At one point, Russell even swept an entire stack of papers off a table! Talk about a flair for the dramatic.
Terminator Salvation: Christian Bale Vs. Shane Hurlbut
Christian Bale is well-known for being a hardcore method actor, connecting with his characters in such a way that truly brings them to the silver screen. Unfortunately, for those around Bale, that means keeping quiet and not distracting him.
Well, the director of photography for Terminator Salvation, Shane Hurlbut, didn’t get that tiny memo, walking around set and distracting Bale’s inner-John Connor to the point of a verbal assault from the actor. Bale later commented on the incident, calling himself a punk. Still, not cool, Mr. Bale.
Batman Forever: Val Kilmer Vs. Joel Schumacher
Apparently, Batman isn’t too nice. Well, at least Val Kilmer isn’t, according to the crew and director of Batman Forever. While filming, Joel Schumacher wanted nothing more than to finish the film and not deal with Kilmar abusing his crew.
But there is only so much a person can take, and one day Schumacher had enough of the egotistical actor. While the two were separated before a punch could be thrown, Schumacher’s still on record saying, “I didn’t say Val was difficult to work with on Batman Forever, I said he was psychotic.”
Annapolis: James Franco Vs. Tyrese Gibson
Up next in the “on set punching match” is actors James Franco and Tyrese Gibson. It’s unclear why tensions were so high between the two, but they made it well-known on set that they didn’t care for one another. Even so, they kept it professional until their little sparring match.
During their fights scene rehearsal, Franco went a little too hard, prompting Gibson to tell him to lighten up. Franco didn’t take that well, and an actual fight broke out. So much for constructive criticism.
When it comes to drama, the set of Beverly Hills 90201 had almost if not more than the actual series. Well, at least in the case of Shannen Doherty with virtually everyone else. Allegedly, Doherty was incredibly self-centered, turning up to shoots late and arguing whenever the chance struck.
One particularly bad argument was between her and co-star Jennie Garth. Their fight got so heated that blows were actually thrown, and their castmates had to step in to break them up. Eventually, Doherty was fired for her behavior.
Charlie’s Angels: Bill Murray Vs. Lucy Liu
Funny guy Bill Murray wasn’t too comedic on the set of Charlie’s Angels. At least, not according to one of his co-stars, Lucy Lui. Allegedly, one of the fights between the two actors is the reason Murray was replaced with Bernie Mac in the sequel film.
The story goes that Murray stopped a scene, pointed to Liu, and said, “what in the hell are you doing here? You can’t act.” Lui didn’t take that too well, punching Murray until crew members got her off.
Terms of Endearment: Shirley MacLaine Vs. Debra Winger
For actresses Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger, they might have well been their characters Aurora Greenway and Emma Greenway in Terms of Endearment. The two fought off-camera nearly as much as their characters fought on camera!
Thankfully, their arguments never resulted in physical blows, but that’s only because of Jack Nicholson, who acted as the honorary bouncer whenever MacLaine and Winger were going head-to-head. It must have been something if Nicholson was seen as a level-headed one!
Three Kings: George Clooney Vs. David O. Russell
George Clooney is known to be one of the nicest men in Hollywood. But when you throw hot-headed director David O. Russell into the mix, anything is possible. After weeks of him yelling on the set of Three Kings, one little thing finally made Clooney snap.
One day, Clooney saw Russel yell and throw one of the young extras to the ground. Being the charming man he is, Clooney came to the young boy’s defense, throwing hands with Russell until the two men were pulled away.
Criminal Minds: Thomas Gibson Vs. Show Writer And Producer
For 256 episodes, Thomas Gibson played level-headed FBI Agent Aaron Hotchner of the Behavioral Analysis Unit in Criminal Minds. Unfortunately, for the rest of the cast and crew, Gibson was nothing like his character. The actor has a bit of a temper.
In this instance, his attitude was projected towards a writer and producer. He and the writer were at odds with how his character was developing. So, in an astounding display of “I didn’t get what I wanted,” Gibson kicked the producer! He was then written out of the show.
Creed: Tony Bellow Vs. His Cornerman And Sylvester Stallone
While revisiting Rocky Balboa in Creed was a great career move for Sylvester Stallone, the actor strayed a bit close to the character. Well, technically, this fight wasn’t his fault; it was Tony Bellows.
The British professional boxer played a boxer in the movie, but he got a little hot-headed during one of the fight scenes. Bellow actually went after the actor playing his cornerman! So, Stallone stepped in, stopping the fight. Or so the story goes.
Zodiac: Robert Downey Jr. Vs. David Fincher
For Zodiac‘s cast and crew, working with director David Fincher was no walk in the park. He demanded hard work, long hours, and multiple takes (sometimes up to 70) with minimal breaks, something actor Robert Downey Jr. tired of real quick.
In protest of the toxic work environment, RDJ decided a little payback was in order. So, he relieved himself in multiple mason jars and left them around set. A visual and smelly representation of what Fincher was depriving everyone of — potty breaks.
Fitzcarraldo: Wener Herzog Vs. Klaus Kinski
The movie Fitzcarraldo has gone down in history for being one of the most dangerous productions ever. Unfortunately, the main reason for the danger was because director Wener Herzog and actor Klaus Kinski wanted to seriously injure one another.
Herzog was even offered by one of the native chiefs of the area to poison the actor! After the actor’s passing, Herzog said, “Klaus was one of the greatest actors of the century, but he was also a monster and a great pestilence.”
Casino Royale: Peter Sellers Vs. Everyone
The original Casino Royale, aka James Bond’s silver screen debut, was considered a nightmare to work on unless your name was Peter Sellers. Not only did he infuriate the filmmakers by reworking the dialogue while the cameras were rolling, but he also punched the director!
Oh, and that’s not all. Sellers refused to be in any scene with Orson Welles, demanding someone stand-in for him. Somehow, he was never fired and was allowed to play Evelyn Tremble.
Who wouldn’t be excited to be part of a Wes Anderson flick? Answer: Gene Hackman. The actor made it well-known on the set that he was not thrilled his agent forced him to take a role he didn’t want, making life miserable for the cast and crew in the process.
Hackman’s co-star Anjelica Houston was actually scared to be around him because his attitude was so bad! The only person who wasn’t afraid to be around Hackman was Bill Murray.
Man On The Moon: Jim Carrey Vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
While filming the biopic Man on the Moon, Carrey picked a fight with Jerry “The King” Lawler, a former pro-wrestler. In the film, Carrey plays Andy Kaufman, a comedian who just so happens to pick a fight with Lawler, who just so happened to be playing himself.
So, naturally, Carrey did the same thing, taunting and picking on the wrestler off camera. It got to the point of Carrey spitting in Lawler’s face and the wrestler having to be physically restrained so he wouldn’t hit the actor.
U Turn: Sean Penn Vs. Oliver Stone
For actor Sean Penn and director Oliver Stone, life on the U Turn set was tense, to say the least. In Hollywood, both men are known for their intense personalities and hot tempers, so putting them in the same room was never a good idea.
Penn believed Stone was getting in the way (he’s the director?), and even once said talking to him was like “talking to a pig.” Well, tell us how you really feel, Sean.
Chinatown: Faye Dunaway Vs. Roman Polanski
The film Chinatown is a classic, with beautiful cinematography and extraordinary talent from lead actress Faye Dunaway. But the result doesn’t mean the process was smooth. Actually, it was the opposite! Dunaway and director Roman Polanski clashed so badly on set to the point of cussing matches!
At one point, Polanski refused to pause a scene so Dunaway could use the restroom. The thing he didn’t know is you don’t stand in the way of a woman and the bathroom. A fight erupted.
Maidstone: Rip Torn Vs. Norman Mailer
Actor Norman Mailer was a huge fan of improvisational acting, which backfired while filming Maidstone opposite Rip Torn. During one particularly violent fight scene, the men got a bit too into the moment.
The two men provoked each other to the point of them actually getting into a fistfight, rolling around on the grass, beating each other up. Mailer even bit Torn’s ear at one point! It was only when they began choking each other that the crew stepped in. The fight made it into the film.
The Score: Marlon Brando Vs. Frank Oz
Frank Oz was sorely mistaken, thinking casting Marlon Brando for The Score was going to be fun and easy. Alas, Brando had no respect for Oz as a director, constantly undermining him and making up strange rules.
One such rule was Brando refusing to be shot from the waist down. As one can imagine, his refusal made filming quite difficult. Brando even showed up to set in his birthday suit one day, just to prove his point and distrust of Oz’s direction!
As it turns out, there’s drama on and off camera on the Grey’s Anatomy set, particularly with actor Isaiah Washington. Apparently, the actor earned a reputation of having a short-fuse and being difficult to work with.
One day, some of the cast was late, and Washington blew up on the only person there, Patrick Dempsey. The two wound up exchanging blows with one another. It wasn’t too long after that Washington was fired from the show.
The Infiltrator: Bryan Cranston Vs. His Co-Star
Bryan Cranston goes deep undercover in a drug cartel in The Infiltrator. And while he didn’t necessarily spark any fights on set, he did get a little too handsy with one of his fellow actors.
Cranston’s character is in a coffee shop during one scene, paranoid that a waitress is about to blow his cover. The actor was very much into his role, and while he was supposed to attack the other actor, Cranston would up punching a bit too hard.
Executive Decision: Steven Seagal Vs. John Leguizamo
If you’ve ever seen the thriller Executive Decision, then you might remember Steven Seagal’s character having a very early and surprising death in the film. If not, sorry for the spoiler. Rumor has it that the death wasn’t originally in the script, only being written in after Seagal got physical.
After walking around set and telling everyone he was their “leader,” Seagal’s co-star John Leguizamo laughed (who wouldn’t?). Apparently, Seagal didn’t take that well, throwing Leguizamo against a wall.
I Love Trouble: Julia Roberts Vs. Nick Nolte
Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte make it no secret that they dislike one another. The two actors even requested to film separately during the production of I Love Trouble. Both used stand-ins when they had to be in a scene together, but post-production was no better.
During an interview, Roberts called Nolte “completely disgusting.” Obviously, Nolte retaliated, saying, “she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that.” Obviously, neither has any issue bad-mouthing the other to the press!
Blue Collar: Richard Pryor Vs. Everyone
Blue Collar might have had a cast of hot-heads, but no one’s temper boiled over more than Richard Pryor. Pretty much, the actor had a bone to pick with everyone on set, primarily his co-stars.
Pryor got into fistfights with Harvey Keitel multiple times, after more than a few not-so-nice verbal exchanges. But one of the worst instances was after a scene Pryor broke a chair over Yaphet Kotto’s head, solely because he thought the other man upstaged him. Yikes.
Easy Rider: Dennis Hopper Vs. Rip Torn
Here’s another case where the angsty actor who started the fight didn’t actually appear in the film. In this instance, it’s Rip Torn in Easy Rider. The actor was known to be hard to work with, having a bad temper and a “my way or the highway” attitude.
Obviously, this caused a bit of friction with his co-stars, especially Dennis Hopper. During one heated argument, Torn pulled a knife on Hopper, resulting in him getting fired and Jack Nicholson taking his role.
The Infiltrator: John Leguizamo Vs. Juan Cely
It would seem that Bryan Cranston wasn’t the only actor in The Infiltrator that got a bit too into character. John Leguizamo wound up doing something similar to Cranston, getting into an actual fight with actor Juan Cely because he was so “in the moment.”
During an interview, Leguizamo said, “[Cely] and I started getting into the scene too much, and started hitting each other. And pretty soon, we were fighting for real. It wasn’t fun. That wasn’t fun.”
Mister Roberts: Henry Fonda Vs. John Ford
While filming Mister Roberts, actor Henry Fonda and director John Ford got into a tiny little spat. Well, technically, Ford got into it with Fonda, who was doing nothing more than speaking to the director about the script.
After a long day of filming, Fonda went up to Ford to discuss some notes he took on the script. After Fonda was finished, Ford punched him square in the face! Talk about not boosting employee morale.
Mister Roberts: James Cagney Vs. John Ford
Henry Fonda wasn’t the only one director John Ford went after while on the set of Mister Rogers. Fonda’s co-star James Cagney argued with the director so much that one of their fights almost turned into physical blows.
During their argument, Cagney said, “You said that we would tangle…before this was over. I’m ready now. Are you?” While Cagney threw down the gauntlet, Ford didn’t take up the actor’s challenge. Probably wise.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will Smith Vs. Janet Hubert
The sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air might have been all about family relationships, but when the camera wasn’t rolling, Will Smith and Janet Hubert were anything but familial. The two actually couldn’t stand one another, prompting Hubert to leave after three seasons.
During production, Smith painted Hubert as a diva and difficult to work with. But Hubert wasn’t fond of the young actor, calling him egotistical and immature. It took years for them to iron out their feud.
Anger Management: Charlie Sheen Vs. Selma Blair
Considering the show’s name is Anger Management, we want to go on record saying it’s ironic that tempers were high on set, especially between Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair. The two actors had one too many artistic differences, resulting in Blair being fired by Sheen.
The thing is, Sheen fired Blair via text message, like a middle school break-up. Instead of saying “it’s not you, it’s me,” though, Sheen threw a few colorful words at the actress. He didn’t like how she disapproved of his managerial style.
Charmed: Alyssa Milano Vs. Shannen Doherty
At first, Charmed stars Alysa Milano and Shannen Doherty got along swimmingly on set. Doherty was even a bridesmaid at Milano’s wedding! But that easy-going friendship didn’t last for the two actresses, and they began butting heads.
According to Milano, the two just clashed. During an interview, she said, “I think it’s hard when you put… two very different people together,” she said. “I’m very laid-back and passive… [Doherty’s] got a lot of energy, she’s very headstrong, she wants to get the job done.”
Any Given Sunday: LL Cool J Vs. Jamie Foxx
LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx took their character’s football rivalry in Any Given Sunday and brought it off-camera. The two actors were not fans of one another, getting into more than one altercation. The last one ending with the police being called.
While on set, Cool J punched Foxx in the face and again in the back of the head when he was walking away. In retaliation, Foxx punched Cool J. Neither pressed charges, and they never worked together again.
Ugly Betty: Lindsay Lohan Vs. America Ferrera
American Ferrera didn’t enjoy Lindsay Lohan’s superiority complex while on the set of Ugly Betty. Lohan smoked to the point of the crew having to re-paint her dressing room, she made a mess, and she wouldn’t even show up to set unless Ferrera was already there.
Her diva attitude led Ferrera to cut her six-episode deal down to four. Needless to say, the two won’t be appearing in anything anytime soon.
Lawless: Tom Hardy Vs. Shia LaBeouf
The details of Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf’s fight on the set of Lawless is a bit fuzzy. But one thing is for sure; the two definitely had a mild feud going. In one account, LaBeouf knocks Hardy out cold.
In another, the two get into a wrestling match, and Hardy accidentally knocks himself out. But, according to the director, “there was definitely a fight between them. It escalated to the point where they had to both be restrained.”
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Sean Connery Vs. Stephen Norrington
Fans of Sean Connery expected the actor to work for many more years after the release of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Ironically, it was his time on the set of the movie, working with director Stephen Norrington, that made him quit the industry.
The two argued pretty much after each scene, with Connery saying Norrington lacked experience and the younger director coming back saying Connery was stubborn. Production was even delayed because of their arguments!