Superheroes are supposed to represent the best of humanity. Whether that’s Batman using his wealth and torturing his own body to help protect the less fortunate or Superman using his incredible abilities to save the world over and over again, these modern mythological gods are shown month after month doing amazing things that the public can only aspire to do. Now, as we see these heroes jump from the printed page into live-action, we hope that the actors playing these characters can be just as amazing as the characters they portray. But what happens if the actor playing the hero is actually a jerk?
There are plenty of examples of superhero actors doing good. We all know about Robert Downey, Jr. giving a child a prosthetic arm. There’s also Chris Evans, who basically is the true Captain America even off screen. But not all these superhero actors are great people. Honestly, the stars on this list all have less than stellar reputations. Some of them yell at crew. Some allegedly yell at other actors. There are Divas (men and women) that expect everything to be about them. There’s even one who was thrown out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! These 15 actors have such horrible on-set reputations, it’s a miracle they were cast in superhero films to begin with.
15 VAL KILMER
Believe it or not, Val Kilmer actually played Batman once. Sandwiched between the great Michael Keaton and the absolutely dreadful George Clooney, Kilmer was the Batman that was just... there. Overshadowed by completely bonkers actors like Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones, Kilmer is just simply forgettable as Bruce Wayne, aka The Batman, in Batman Forever. But on-set, Kilmer definitely is someone people remember.
“I don’t like Val Kilmer, I don’t like his work ethic, and I don’t want to be associated with him ever again,” says director John Frankenheimer about Kilmer. Ouch. Even his brother Mark thinks that Kilmer is a bit of a jerk, saying, “We all have grandiose, narcissistic tendencies.” Eh, not really. Over the years, Kilmer’s on-set antics have made enemies all over Hollywood, and it’s clear to see why his star has fallen quite a bit since the mid-‘90s when he donned the pointy ears.
14 MEGAN FOX
Megan Fox isn’t the leading lady she used to be. Her moment of glory almost lasted the full 15-minutes, but after the terrible Transformers films and the ill-advised Jonah Hex adaptation, Megan Fox has pretty much faded into obscurity. But don’t cry for her too hard, because reportedly, Megan Fox is hard to work with.
After her appearance in the second Transformers film, Megan Fox actually called her director, Michael Bay, Hitler. “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is,” said Fox. Who says that about their boss? Even if Bay is a horrible person, and he very well might be, that’s a bold statement. So bold, that crew members from Transformers signed an open letter claiming that Fox is, “... as about ungracious a person as you can ever fathom.” They go on for hundreds of words, giving examples of her alleged horribleness.
13 EDWARD NORTON
Edward Norton holds a rare distinction. He is the first, and only, headlining superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be completely recast. Sure, Terrance Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle, but Howard was only a supporting cast member. Edward Norton was Bruce Banner. But after his antics on and off-set, Kevin Feige and company booted him from the MCU and the rest is history.
Why was Norton banished from the MCU? Simply put, he’s not a great team player. After Marvel bent over backwards to sign him as Banner in The Incredible Hulk, going so far as to assure him they’d hire another screenwriter to work with him to polish the script, Norton still managed to be a complete diva. He, alone, completely rewrote the script two months before shooting, changing loads of dialogue and character motivations. Then, in the edit, Norton screamed at the producers and director to get his vision on screen, with director Louis Leterrier recounting the screaming matches in interviews. All’s well that ends well, and Mark Ruffalo is now the world’s Bruce Banner.
12 MARLON BRANDO
How sad would it be if you found out that Superman’s dad, Jor-El, was a piece of crap? Recent comic book stories notwithstanding, Jor-El is supposed to be the selfless father that ensured that his son would survive and be the best person he could be. Well, that gets thrown out the window when your dad is Marlon Brando.
Brando was legendary for two things – being a great actor and being a big-time pain in the butt. Brando took Diva-ness to a whole different level! Towards his later years, the actor refused to memorize the script, chose his own wardrobe, and even shaved his head just because. According to reports, the actor was so hated on the set of The Island of Doctor Moreau that Val Kilmer, no saint himself, actually did insulting impressions of Brando that ended up in the movie.
11 GWYNETH PALTROW
Unlike the incredibly down-to-Earth love of Tony Stark’s life Pepper Potts, the actress who plays her, Gwyneth Paltrow, has something of a reputation on-set. By most accounts, her issues are the same ones that make her a divisive figure in the public eye. In numerous interviews, Paltrow has said things that have, for lack of a better word, irked people. But, it’s the issues she had on the set of Iron Man 2 that put her on this list.
An anonymous source who was on the set of Iron Man 2 says, "Gwyneth is not friendly to anyone, and tends to make people feel awkward and uncomfortable. She wasn’t outright rude to Scarlett [Johansson], she just didn’t ever speak to her. Gwyneth went out of her way to avoid Scarlett." This seems par for the course for the actress, who was voted “Most Stuck-Up” in Movieline in the late-‘90s.
10 RUSSEL CROWE
“I will kill you with my bare hands.” That’s not a statement you would ever want directed at you, let alone by a co-worker. But according to a book about Dreamworks Studios, Russell Crowe said that to a producer he was working with on Gladiator. This was well before Crowe suited up as Superman’s dad, Jor-El, in Man of Steel. However, according to reports, the incident is one of many stemming from Crowe’s on-set rowdiness.
Crowe has always been known as a bit of a badboy, on and off-set. Stories have surfaced about his wild partying and his propensity for getting involved in physical altercations. This is the same guy who was arrested for striking a hotel clerk with a telephone because he couldn’t call his wife in Australia. Thankfully, Crowe’s on-screen son, Henry Cavill, seems to be a pretty great dude.
9 SHARON STONE
It may come as a surprise to some, but Sharon Stone is rumored to be a bit of a pain to work with. The actress, perhaps best known for her role in Basic Instinct, has had a legacy of being one of Hollywood’s most allegedly derided Divas. The actress, who many CBR readers might remember from the garbage fire that was Catwoman, has been so hated on-set that directors who worked with her go public with their complaints.
In the last few years, even after her star power had faded, she filmed Golden Boy with director Pupi Avati. He had this to say about an incident on-set where reporters were filming, “She wouldn’t come back on the set until the photographers and especially that damned TV cameramen had gone away. Obviously we did so and she, like nothing happened, shot the scene. The thing that I found most absurd is that she had to call to the States and to close herself in a car, instead of coming to ask us directly.”
8 CHRISTIAN BALE
By all accounts, Christian Bale is an intense actor to work with. For almost every role, the actor literally changes his body to match his character. He most famously went from being rail thin in The Machinist to bulking up to play The Caped Crusader in the Dark Knight Trilogy. But being intense and committed doesn’t mean you can treat co-workers like trash.
While most of the actors on this list have reputations that are told via hearsay, Bale is famous for having an on-set meltdown that was recorded and shared with the world. In the recording, from the set of Terminator: Salvation, Bale is heard tearing into a crew member. In a four-minute rant, you can hear Bale cursing and calling crew members names and demanding answers for simple mistakes. But hey, he was a pretty awesome Batman, huh?
7 JANUARY JONES
You know you might havea personality issue when you have an 11-year old saying you’re mean. That’s the case with January Jones, who’s most major film role came in X-Men: First Class, where she was arguably the most contentious part of an otherwise good movie, with her soulless portrayal of Emma Frost. Her acting aside, she has an even worse reputation behind the camera.
Jones is best known for playing Betty Draper on the hit series Mad Men. In the show, Jones worked with a couple child actors, who played her children. One of those actors, 11-year old Jared Gilmore, left the show and didn’t have great things to say about his “mom.” He told TV Guide, “Be careful around January (Jones). She's not as approachable as the others. She's really serious about what she does. Everyone else is so nice.” If Jones can’t even be sweet around children, what hope is there for her adult co-stars?
6 WESLEY SNIPES
Wesley Snipes is perhaps the reason that the modern superhero movie exists. His Blade films were partially responsible for putting superheroes back on the Hollywood map. And according to actors who worked with him, Snipes is definitely aware that his Blade is a big deal. Actor/Comedian Patton Oswalt, who worked with Snipes on Blade: Trinity, has spoken out about how difficult it was to work with the actor.
“Wesley was just f****** crazy in a hilarious way. He wouldn’t come out of his trailer, and he would smoke weed all day,” said Oswalt, in an interview. Snipes also didn’t get along with director David Goyer. After an altercation that Oswalt witnessed, he had this to say about Snipes’ relationship with Goyer, “…for the rest of the production, he would only communicate with the director through Post-it notes. And he would sign each Post-it note ‘From Blade.’” Sure, Snipes is definitely a great Blade, and he can sure cut to the quick in real life with a lot of people, too.
5 ALEC BALDWIN
You could probably guess from his public tweets that Alec Bladwin is a bit of a “handful” in real life. Sure, when he’s on-screen, even in silly superhero movies like The Shadow, Baldwin is all business and brings something unique to every role. But behind-the-scenes, the actor is exactly what you might think an A-List star would be like.
A 30 Rock co-star of Baldwin’s, Cheyenne Jackson was asked in an interview what it was like to work with the actor. “He’s really, really great at what he does. What I learned from him was really good comic timing and don’t get in his light,” said Jackson. Yes, how dare you ruin Baldwin’s lighting! According to other sources, Baldwin also is known for showing up late to set, yelling at staff and having outrageous demands.
4 GENE HACKMAN
Gene Hackman might be best known by those at CBR as the evil villain Lex Luthor, but apparently, when he’s on-set, he might be even worse than Superman’s greatest foe could ever be. Granted, as of yet, he doesn’t have any world-conquering schemes, but who knows? While we don’t know specifically how he acted as Lex Luthor during filming Superman, when he was working on the Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums, Hackman was difficult, to say the least.
With co-star Gwyneth Paltrow admitting publicly that she was “scared” to work with Hackman, and Angelica Huston admitting the same, it shows just how great Hackman is as an actor that people still like working with the guy. According to director Wes Anderson, the cast took it upon themselves to protect him from Hackman. “You did defend me, all three of you did at various times but that’s making it sound bad. [Well], he did call me a worse name,” said Anderson. That worse name is not fit for print at CBR, but you should probably look it up.
3 TERI HATCHER
Teri Hatcher is probably best known as Lois Lane on the very silly Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. On that show, she was able to play a strong, confident and actually, pretty adorable Lois Lane. But in later years, co-stars have come out to say that the Teri Hatcher that viewers know and love is far from the real person.
According to one of her Desperate Housewives co-stars, Hatcher is “the meanest woman in the world.” Wow, that really cuts to the core, huh? There are really no two ways to read that. Another co-star said that Hatcher purposefully distanced herself from the rest of the cast. It got so bad that when the cast bought gifts for the crew, when production ended on the series, they intentionally left Hatcher’s name off the gifts. That’s pretty cold.
2 BRUCE WILLIS
Bruce Willis is one of the most legendary action stars in Hollywood history. While he hasn’t graced a Marvel or DC film, as of yet, Willis has donned a cape, err, raincoat in the superhero film Unbreakable. In that film, Willis gives a great performance as a struggling dad who works hard to fill the shoes of a hero that his son wants him to be. If only Willis would try that in real life.
According to director Kevin Smith, who worked with Willis on the not-so-great Cop Out, working with Willis was far from ideal. “It was difficult. I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where one component is not in the box at all. It was f*****g soul crushing,” Smith said. Just imagine, on a performance review at your job, your boss says working with you is “soul crushing.” There might not be a worse term to use in describing a co-worker.
1 JARED LETO
By now, the antics of Jared Leto on the set of Suicide Squad are legendary. The actor, who stayed completely in character as the maniac Joker, used the freedom that his role provided to send incredibly inappropriate gifts to the cast of the film, as well as just generally being a bit... let's go with "mischievous."
According to co-star Will Smith, this is what it’s like to work with Leto. "We worked together for six months and we've never exchanged a word outside of 'action!' and 'cut!'" Smith said. "We've never said 'hello,' we've never said 'good day.' I've only ever spoken to him as Deadshot and him as the Joker. I literally have not met him yet... Not a single word exchanged off-camera. He was all in on the Joker." We all love watching the Joker on screen, but could you imagine working with the guy?