Top 20 Most Difficult Actors To Work With

Top 20 Most Difficult Actors To Work With
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
There's no shortage of workplace drama in Hollywood. For this list, we're looking at those actors that have an infamous reputation for complaining, hostility towards other cast members, or just generally being difficult to work with for any number of reasons. Our countdown includes Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, Joan Crawford, Edward Norton, Jennifer Lopez, and more!

Top 20 Most Difficult Actors to Work With

There’s no shortage of workplace drama in Hollywood. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be taking a look at our picks for the Top 20 Most Difficult Actors to Work With.

For this list, we're looking at those actors that have an infamous reputation for complaining, hostility towards other cast members, or just generally being difficult to work with for any number of reasons.

#20: Steven Seagal

Seagal’s appearances on the big screen are becoming increasingly rare these days. Lord knows it’s been a long hard minute since the last time he had a box office hit. That may have something to do with the fact that he’s supposedly a nightmare on set. Not only is Seagal cited as being highly critical of others, but he has also been known to physically intimidate cast members. He purportedly slammed comedian John Leguizamo against a wall simply for laughing at him, because, you know, comedians aren’t allowed to be funny. We’ll put it this way: Henry Rollins has stated he’d rather drink latex paint than work with Seagal again.

#19: Charlie Sheen

While not in the spotlight recently, Charlie Sheen’s personal life was the subject of controversy for years, including domestic issues with his then-fiancée Kelly Preston and his infamous drug addiction. Therefore, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine just how difficult it would be to work with him. His substance abuse and disparaging comments about Chuck Lorre are apparently what got him fired from his career-rejuvenating role on “Two and a Half Men.” We can’t blame him entirely though – if he really is a ‘freakin rock star from Mars’, they may have different sets of customs over there.

#18: Thomas Gibson

The former “Criminal Minds” actor-director was well known for being a constant source of friction on set. Fellow cast members have claimed Gibson is highly demanding, requiring scheduling to revolve around his agenda. Worse, however, is his temper; Gibson was fired from “Criminal Minds” in August 2016 after the final straw in a string of controversial incidents. In 2010, he reportedly shoved an assistant director during a shoot. In 2013, he picked up a DUI, something producers were NOT pleased about. Then, in 2016, Gibson allegedly kicked writer-producer Virgil Williams. An established pain in the ass, “Criminal Minds” simply decided to let Gibson go

#17: Shia LaBeouf

Though he got his start in Hollywood in kids shows and blockbusters, Shia Labeouf’s growth into an artist and filmmaker surprised many. Over the years, he’s made more than a few controversial remarks, engaged in what some would call ‘publicity stunts’ and, according to some, he can also transform into a bit of a jerk. Shia is notorious for his temper and belligerent attitude, even leaving the Broadway production of “Orphans” that he was slated to star in due to constant bickering and fights with his co-stars, especially Alec Baldwin. According to some however, Labeouf was just straight up fired.

#16: William Shatner

Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock may have overcome their differences and become friends in the world of “Star Trek,” but that wasn’t the case for the real-life relationship between actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Shatner was reportedly the jealous type, upset at the amount of fan mail Nimoy received, and insecure over his importance to the show. Shatner apparently stole dialogue from Nimoy and other actors to elevate his own significance – and yet, Nimoy was Shatner’s best man at his 4th wedding. Shatner also apparently feuded with other actors on the series though, like Nichelle Nichols and George Takei. Evidently obsessed with his own status, Shatner reportedly threw fits to make sure he was the center of attention and in control.

#15: Edward Norton

Edward Norton is one of the finest actors in the industry so it comes as no surprise that he takes his craft extremely seriously. We repeat: EXTREMELY Seriously. In fact, Norton has a reputation for “shadow directing.” He sat in on the editing for “American History X,” because he didn’t trust Tony Kaye, and often clashed with the studio during “The Incredible Hulk” over creative differences. While the people behind the film said the dispute was blown out of proportion in the media and a promo tour was planned for the movie, Norton didn’t do any promotion following its release. So yes, he is that one employee who tells everyone else how to do his or her jobs.

#14: Klaus Kinski

Even the most difficult of actors tend to make a few friends in the industry, and even if they don’t, sometimes you can put up with the worst of the worst if they’re simply that damn talented. And then sometimes you have people like Klaus Kinski, who was reportedly so difficult that nobody gave him a second chance. Though not a household name, the German actor appeared in over 100 films throughout his long career. Despite that extensive list, Kinski only ever worked with one director on multiple occasions. All the others refused to deal with him again. To put it bluntly, Kinski has been described as insane. Prone to frequent blow-ups, there really is no comparison to his madness.

#13: Jennifer Lopez

While 2019’s “Hustlers” was very well received, Lopez’s earlier work didn’t do wonders for her reputation. Although she’s known as a very hard worker, Jenny from the block has been called out in the past for so-called “diva behavior.” She’s been said to often make ridiculous demands, like numerous five star hotel rooms to stay in and her own private plane so she can travel in true diva style - all on someone else’s dime, of course. And the kicker? She refuses to perform if her demands are not met. We guess it’s too bad her demands were met in the case of “Gigli”.

#12: Teri Hatcher

It seems Teri Hatcher's behavior fit right in with Susan Mayer’s. Hatcher, most known for her role as the desperate housewife didn’t have to change much of what’s allegedly her personal character to fit into the drama-filled world. Reports indicate Hatcher was extremely cold to her costars on set, making even the easiest scenes uncomfortable to shoot. As an indicator of how poorly she meshed with her “Housewives” family, Hatcher was left out of an end-of-series gift from the ladies to the crew. The feud between Hatcher and the women was well known to all involved with the show, so her snub came as a surprise to no one.

#11: Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl clearly hasn’t heard the expression “don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” as that is exactly what she seems to do on a regular basis. After breaking into the mainstream with “Knocked Up,” Heigl went on record saying that she thought the movie was “a little sexist” and had a hard time enjoying it. The problem with that is this was after she already filmed the movie and received her paycheck... She wasn’t a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy”’s writing either, and she supposedly annoys coworkers on a daily basis due to wardrobe grievances and constant script complaints.

#10: Lea Michele

Don’t sit there and assume the cast of “Glee” reflected its show’s name when the cameras weren’t rolling. Rather, Lea Michele, who played one of the singing stars, Rachel Berry, apparently took on the cutthroat mentality of a real high school diva when it came to her behavior on set. According to reports, Michele was rude to all involved with production, making the cast and crew stand around and wait extensively until she was ready to begin shooting. Crewmembers also claim Michele refused to speak to junior members of the “Glee” staff. On top of that, in 2020, Glee co-star Samantha Ware said Michele made her first television gig “living hell” and described repeated instances of traumatic microaggressions towards the black actress.

#9: Christian Bale

Who doesn’t remember Bale’s eye-opening audio recording that came out publicly in 2009? The grainy 2008 recording exposed an incident on the set of “Terminator Salvation” where Bale absolutely blew up on the film’s Director of Photography, Shane Hurlbut, for walking into his line of vision during a scene. The recording is incredibly disturbing to hear, as Bale unleashes a vicious and unwarranted tirade on Hurlbut. But it’s not just his volatile temper that makes Bale hard to work with. He’s a method actor, which means he fully invests himself in his characters. So when you work with Bale, you don’t just get his craziness, you get the craziness of his characters too.

#8: Bruce Willis

Just take a look at the stoic tough man that is Bruce Willis. Does that seem like a fun guy to be around? According to Kevin Smith, who directed him in “Cop Out,” he is actually a NIGHTMARE to work with. He called his experience working with Willis “soul crushing,” and many other directors have complained about Willis’ unwarranted and misguided input regarding their directing style. Although, he was working on “Cop Out,” and that would probably put anyone in a bad mood.

#7: Sean Penn

When it came out in early 2016 that infamous Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo met and interviewed with actor Sean Penn, the most reasonable question asked by the public was: why? What qualifications does Penn have? Though known as a great actor, he is also famous for being incredibly rude and an overall jerk. We’ll skip all the allegations of domestic abuse and just focus on his very real identity as a nightmare to work with. Allegedly hostile and intimidating, he’s not someone you want to share the screen with.

#6: Mike Myers

Pick your jaw up off the floor! We weren’t expecting it either, but apparently this funnyman is not nearly as fun as his characters. The “Austin Powers” star has been constantly called “moody and temperamental,” and many complain about the degree of control Mike Myers feels he should be able to exhibit over the cast and crew. Many executives in the industry have simply refused to work with him, and rumor has it that he even had a crewmember fired for looking him in the eyes on a particularly bad day.

#5: Val Kilmer

When you’ve had a career as long and as all-encompassing as Val Kilmer, there’s a chance you’ve rubbed some people the wrong way. Many of Kilmer’s ex-girlfriends have spoken of his... eccentric behavior. This sentiment has been further mirrored by Joel Schumacher, who directed Kilmer in “Batman Forever,” calling his behavior towards a crew member “rude, childish, and inappropriate.” Kilmer supposedly fought with camera operators and the wardrobe department on set. Similar comments were made by Richard Stanley, a director who worked on “The Island of Dr. Moreau” who claimed that “Val would arrive, and an argument would happen".

#4: Lindsay Lohan

Everyone’s favorite adorable actress from “Mean Girls” struggled with substance abuse and mental health for some time, but has fortunately turned things around since those days. Back then, her partying and lavish lifestyle apparently often resulted in Lilo being late for work and/or too hung over to concentrate. On top of that, she reportedly racked up a huge hotel bill and made unreasonable demands to directors. “The Canyons” director Paul Schrader for one called her attitude “unspeakable,”, and criticized the actress, who was also a producer and part owner on the project, for failing to promote their film when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

#3: Chevy Chase

Who hasn’t Chevy Chase pissed off? Kindly regarded as perhaps the biggest grump in Hollywood, Chase has been described as an indefensible, cruelly viscous put-down artist. As early as his “SNL” days, Chase was burning bridges with the likes of John Belushi, Bill Murray, and the writers. He’s talked serious smack about most big names in the industry; some notables include Will Ferrell, Howard Stern, Kevin Smith, and Bill Maher. Most recently, Chase destroyed the one good thing he had going with the instant cult classic show “Community.” Chase heavily criticized the series and showrunner while he was still a cast member, and was known to have extremely offensive on-set tirades. Chase is likely a man with few friends left.

#2: Joan Crawford

While some actors are blatantly difficult to work with, there are others who are much more subtle, and perhaps no one played that role better than Joan Crawford. An undeniably beautiful woman, Crawford gained a reputation throughout Hollywood for using her body to control others. A master manipulator, Crawford sparked problems with cast members by reportedly sleeping around with fellow actors and directors. In arguably the most notorious feud in Hollywood history, Crawford developed an intense hatred for Bette Davis, who reciprocated the loathsome sentiment. Keeping to character, the beef developed after Crawford stole Bette’s love, Franchot Tone. It’s an unwritten rule to keep your hands away from what’s not yours, but Crawford never played by the rules.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions:

January Jones
Russell Crowe
Dustin Hoffman
Faye Dunaway
Jared Leto

#1: Marlon Brando

You know that one employee who just doesn’t give a crap, always does whatever he wants, and never listens to the boss? In Hollywood, that man was Marlon Brando. Brando was notorious for ignoring direction, and he wouldn’t even memorize his lines, preferring instead to just wing it during filming, write cue cards to leave somewhere off camera or wear an earpiece. He was also deeply methodical about his acting, which greatly alienated many people when the cameras weren’t rolling. It must have worked though, because Brando is known today as one of the greatest actors ever.