For many movie enthusiasts, the 1990s ushered in the grand emergence of the ultimate action film. This was the decade when major movies became franchised series that cemented the fame and fortune of megastars on the big screen.
Throughout the monumental era, '90s action stars took on the roles of charismatic heroes who came to “kick a** and take names" - usually with an attractive female sidekick or two. The actors who starred in these roles took on larger-than-life personas they still carry with them today.
Still, that doesn’t tell us much about what these celebrities are like behind the scenes. Just as co-workers revealed the secrets of the 1980s action stars they worked with, stars, stand-ins, and filming crews are more than happy to give us the 411 on what it’s like to work with action stars of the '90s.
While some claim these actors are worth every bit of the positive hype the media gives them (Harrison Ford’s colleagues just can’t stop talking about him!), others confess to more frustrating and surprising experiences on set.
For better or worse, these people are dishing out the inside scoop of what it’s like to work with action stars from the 1990s.
- Photo: The Untouchables / Paramount Pictures
When The Hollywood Reporter interviewed screenwriter David Mamet shortly after Sean Connery's 2020 passing at age 90, he remembered the actor as witty, sweet, and thoughtful. Mamet first met Connery on the set of the 1987 movie, The Untouchables:
During post-production [Sean] was in Majorca, and we made a date to speak on the phone. Before our scheduled call my cousin called. She was in Ohio with a failed marriage, a husband who’d just lost his job, and, no doubt, the attendant kids down sick. She was beyond despair. I told her I’d have to get off the phone as I was expecting a call from Sean Connery, and I’d call her back after the business call.
Then, she got a surprise she could have never expected.
Mamet recalled that he relayed the message to Connery, who immediately asked for the woman's phone number.
I gave it to him, he rang off, called her in Ohio, and chatted for half an hour.
- Photo: Die Another Day / MGM Distribution Co.
According to Halle Berry, Pierce Brosnan was just as much of a suave and heroic man on set as his character, James Bond.
Berry is known for doing her own stunts and has broken numerous bones for the sake of getting the perfect, most realistic versions of her scenes. She insists that these often dangerous stunts and the injuries they inflict bring out some of her very best acting.
Still, Berry once admitted to Jimmy Fallon that she was still embarrassed by an occurrence during the filming of Die Another Day. It turns out Brosnan ended up saving her life on the set. Despite the many action scenes in the movie, Berry's perilous adventure came unexpectedly during a love scene:
I was supposed to be all sexy, and, like, trying to seduce him with a fig. And then I end up choking on it. And then he had to get up and, like, do the Heimlich. So not sexy.
- Photo: Six Days Seven Nights / Buena Vista Pictures3311 VOTES
When Anne Heche decided to openly display her relationship with comedian Ellen DeGeneres against her inner circle’s advice, Harrison Ford had her back. After Heche brought DeGeneres as her date to the premiere of her 1997 film Volcano, many filmmakers were hesitant to hire her. Fox threatened to drop her contract with Dancing With the Stars. She wasn’t even allowed to go to her own movie’s post-premiere party for fear that photographers would catch photos of her on a date with another woman.
Throughout the ordeal, Ford stood by her side and insisted that they make the 1998 romantic comedy, Six Days Seven Nights:
He said, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn who you're sleeping with. We're gonna make the best romantic comedy there is, and I'll see ya on the set." He's one of my heroes. He fought a battle for me, and I would be on any desert island with him any day. He's an extraordinary human being.
He always came on set 100% prepared, knew his lines, his marks, [and] his camera angles. He was easily a one-take kinda guy, but that's always up to the director or other technical difficulties. He nailed it each and every time first take, he could easily switch from character to real person once the director called cut.
Initially, Kyris took the temporary stand-in job in hopes of learning from the best in Hollywood. His willingness to go above and beyond landed him a permanent place on Cage’s payroll, including a heavy travel budget and nights out with celebrities:
I felt like I was working for Hollywood royalty. He had an aura about him that was noticed by everyone on set. So, I was treated with a certain amount of respect too. Most stand-ins in Hollywood were not as fortunate as I, and were not treated as such.
Kyris worked on 20 movies with Cage from 1994 through 2004. Although their relationship remained professional, Kyris often attended parties with the movie stars he worked alongside on set. He was so good at mimicking Cage that he even ended up in the final cut of some of the actor’s most famous scenes!
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During an interview discussing their 2010 movie, Deepwater Horizon, Kate Hudson told reporters that starring alongside her stepfather Kurt Russell prompted inspiring childhood memories that helped shape her own career:
That was cool. What I really, really loved about being on set with him was it was a reminder of where I fell in love with making movies. He’s such a phenomenal actor. He would put so much care and effort into his roles in a way which is different with a lot of young people I’ve worked with. It’s such a different mentality.
Hudson grew up watching Russell and her mother, Goldie Hawn, work through the movie-making process, and often attended filming on set. Deepwater Horizon is based on the true story of the eponymous Gulf Coast oil rig that caught fire in 2010, killing 11 crew members and causing one of the largest man-made environmental accidents in global history.
- Photo: Speed / 20th Century Fox
After seeing the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves on-screen in 1994's Speed and hearing the praise she gave regarding his honest and humble personality, it's no wonder many fans speculated they were dating! (This rumor proved to be untrue.) Bullock credited Reeves for displaying an incredible amount of compassion and concern for her as a co-star - traits she believed were rare in the entertainment field:
I've really developed an incredible amount of respect for Keanu because he's so honest and he's like... there's no BS about Keanu. He doesn't say or do anything to make anybody else happy. He does what he feels is right and he says what he feels and he works so incredibly hard.
Bullock also confessed that the first few encounters with Reeves left her feeling jaded:
I felt like a horrible human being because he's pretty equal with everybody and he doesn't seem to think any bad thoughts, so I felt pretty rotten for the first couple of weeks. There's an incredible ease that's attached to Keanu and I don't know where it comes from... but it's so comforting just to be around him.