7 most awkward movie sets

Sam Ashurst
Contributor

With Elizabeth Olsen revealing to Yahoo Movies UK that she felt uncomfortable on the set of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, it made us think about of all of those other awkward movie sets that filmmakers had to just put up with.

From the crew of The Shawshank Redemption being forced to stare at a bucket of maggots, to the cast of Batman Forever having to deal with Tommy Lee Jones, to Christian Bale’s light-related temper tantrum, here’s a list of our favourite film sets we’re glad we didn’t have to visit.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Knowing they had to shoot a scene with a live bird, the people behind The Shawshank Redemption did the right thing and called in a representative of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), to make sure they didn’t get sent to prison for the murder of a crow or whatever.

The representative was satisfied with the scene, until it came time to feed a live maggot to the bird. Because, you know, maggots are animals too. A compromise was offered – they could use the maggot, as long as the creature died of natural causes before it was shoved into the bird’s gob.

Rather that ditch the shot, director Frank Darabont decided it was better to ask his crew to keep an eye on a bucket of maggots, waiting for one of them to keel over and die (the maggots, that is, not the crew). Eventually, one of them died of old age (again, the maggots, not the crew) and the shot was achieved. But it was an awkward wait.

2. Batman Forever (1995)

When Jim Carrey bumped into Tommy Lee Jones at a restaurant during the filming of Batman Forever, he was expecting a casual work conversation. According to Carrey, that’s not what he got.

“The blood drained from his face in such a way that I realized that I had become the face of his pain or something. And he got up, kind of shaking, and hugged me and said, ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, okay, what’s going on, man?’ And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.’”

We don’t fancy being on set the day after that awkward encounter. Cheque please!

3. Gone Girl (2014)

Arguably the most preposterous on-set fall-out ever, Ben Affleck shut down the production of David Fincher’s Gone Girl because he’d been asked to wear New York Yankees cap. Affleck is a Red Sox fan.

“I said, ‘David, I love you, I would do anything for you,’ ” Affleck said later. “‘But I will not wear a Yankees hat. I just can’t. I can’t wear it because it’s going to become a thing, David. I will never hear the end of it. I can’t do it.’ And I couldn’t put it on my head.”

Fincher argued that Affleck is, you know, an actor, and his character was a Yankees fan, so he should wear the hat. Affleck refused to back down. Fincher also refused to back down. Meanwhile, the crew were probably wondering if they’d ever get to finish the film. That is, until someone suggested Affleck wear a Mets cap and apparently that was completely fine.

Hollywood is very weird sometimes.

4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

Since Twilight, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have both gone on to make some of the coolest films of the past decade, establishing themselves as two of the most credible actors working today.

But there was once a time when all anyone was interested in was the fact that they were a couple, which explains how the awkward on-set argument they had on the set of Eclipse ended up being leaked, much to the embarrassment of everyone involved.

When Pattinson turned up to set later than Stewart, Stewart accused Pattinson of spending time in a location he probably didn’t want everyone to know about. A crew member claimed: “When Robert arrived, he and Kristen started fighting. She accused him of taking a later flight from London because he had been hanging out too late at a burlesque bar. She accused him right in front of the director and crew.” Needless to say, the crew took a time out, and everyone wished they were somewhere else that day.

5. I Love Trouble (1994)

Given the title of this film, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that it wasn’t the easiest film to make – partly because the two leads didn’t get on. Julie Roberts said that her co-star Nick Nolte was, “completely charming and very nice, he’s also completely disgusting. He’s going to hate me for saying this, but he seems to go out of his way to repel people.”

Oof. Because of this, the stars reportedly spent more time acting to stand-ins than each other, which isn’t great considering this was a rom-com and their characters were supposed to be in love with each other.

6. Terminator Salvation (2009)

Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of Christian Bale’s Terminator Salvation rant, but time has not dulled its awkwardness.

When director of photography Shane Hurlbut decided to adjust the lights during a scene, he distracted Christian Bale, who was doing his best to stay in character as a Terminator-ravaged John Connor.

As it turns out, Connor really wouldn’t like to see a mild-mannered man doing his job during the apocalypse, and unleashed an expletive-filled monologue about how to be a professional (oh, delicious irony). The rant was leaked, Bale apologised, but woooooah boy it’s as cringeworthy to listen to today as it was back in 2009.

7. The Sound Of Music (1965)

Whatever the problems everyone else on this list have, at least they didn’t have to put up with a farmer attacking their set with a pitchfork.

Allow us to explain. When Julie Andrews performs her iconic ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’ song (you know, the one that’s so good they named the film after it) we really hope you appreciate her surroundings, as it led to quite a lot of stress for everyone involved.

The land was hired from a German farmer, who decided to interrupt the shoot by shouting at anyone in his vicinity because the noise was stopping his cows from producing milk. We’re not sure if the shouting helped, but whatever.

Worse, the farmer decided to get his revenge by destroying part of the set – a stream the     production had added to the location, because a stream’s mentioned in the song, so it’s sort-of necessary – with his pitchfork, which took two days to repair.


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