From on-set shenanigans to before-they-were-famous moments, every nostalgic celebrity has stories from their long careers in the spotlight. Maybe it's rubbing elbows with a famously eccentric actor like Nicolas Cage or Christopher Walken, or maybe it's pranks pulled by stars you didn't realize were jokesters. Some of these tales might not be so funny to those involved (sorry, Richard Gere), but we can't help laugh about a feud that's sparked over dripping mustard grease.
In any event, we're glad we heard these stories to brighten up this year. Vote up the funniest gems we found in 2021 about these nostalgic celebs.
- Photo: Catch Me If You Can / DreamWorks Pictures
Actor Seann William Scott co-starred with Hollywood legend Christopher Walken on the 2003 film The Rundown. Scott recalled:
It was one of the first days of filming, and he looked really sad, standing outside of his trailer... And I was like, "Christopher Walken... Is everything OK? You look all sad."
Scott said Walken replied, "Actually, I am sad. It’s my birthday today, and I didn’t get a cake or anything." Of course, a timeless cinema treasure like Walken deserves all of the cakes, so Scott went about getting him a cake before Walken let him in on the ruse:
And then he looks at me, he goes, "I’m just kidding; it’s not my birthday. But I’ll say it is in a week and I guarantee you they’ll bring me a cake..." It was the weirdest thing. And then a week later, they’re singing him "Happy Birthday" and bringing him a cake. And he looks over me and [winks]. It wasn’t his birthday!
- Photo: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear / Paramount Pictures
In an essay for Entertainment Weekly, Priscilla Presley paid tribute to her The Naked Gun co-star and friend Leslie Nielsen, who passed from pneumonia complications in 2010.
She recalled how nervous she was the first day on set, and what Nielsen did when she met him:
It was my first day on the set of The Naked Gun, and I was nervous. This was my first major movie. I had been an admirer of Leslie's work long before Airplane! but did not know anything about him as a person.
That day Leslie walked over to me with his hand in his pocket and asked how I was doing. I began to tell him, but Leslie was looking around making a funny face like he was smelling something. Then I heard this disgusting sound coming from, of all people, Leslie! I didn't know how to react. He couldn't have... could he? He saw the look on my face and started laughing. He took his hand from his pocket and pulled out this gadget that he carried with him all the time... his whoopee cushion.
That prank broke the ice to a friendship I will always cherish. You'd never know he was as old as he was because there was always a kid inside ready to play.
- Photo: Catwoman / Warner Bros. Pictures
Halle Berry was a rising star in the 1990s, and if that feels like yesterday, it's probably because she hasn't seemed to age since then. Her memorable acceptance speech in 2002, after becoming the first Black woman to win the Best Actress Award (for Monster's Ball), is legendary Oscar history. But when she earned a Razzie Award a few years later, she managed to make losing look cool.
Catwoman came out in 2004 and was a huge bust both critically and commercially. Berry later said she agreed to be the character after a spin-off film for her Bond character, Jinx, was nixed, and she hoped to show that Black women could be action stars and superheroes. The film received multiple Razzies, including "Worst Actress" for Berry.
While many actors aren't champing at the bit to publicly accept an award for being terrible, Berry was game. She attended the "ceremony" and gave a bitingly funny acceptance speech where she parodied her tearful Academy Award moment and got in on the joke:
I’ve got so many people to thank, because you don’t win a Razzie without a lot of help from a lot of people... First of all I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of sh*t God-awful movie. You know, it was just what my career needed. I was at the top and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom. It’s hard being on top; it’s much better being on the bottom...
When I was a kid my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser then there’s no way you could be a good winner. If you couldn’t take criticism, then you were not worthy of getting praised. So I ventured into my career of acting; I started off in beauty pageants... and I won the first three in a row... I got to the Miss USA pageant and there I was on the stage with the first runner up... and one of us would win. And she was this buxom, blond, blue-eyed Texan. And I looked at her and I thought, "Oh God, I’m probably going to lose."
Sure enough, they called the winner. It wasn’t me; it was her. I looked at her and all I could hear was my mother’s voice in my head, and I thought, "OK, here’s my chance." But all I wanted to do was f*cking slap the sh*t out of her. So, as you can imagine, I want to f*cking slap the sh*t out of these Razzie people that brought me here tonight. But I won’t do that. I’ll do what my mother taught me and I’ll stand here graciously. I’ll take the criticism, take it as a lesson learned, and hope to God I never see these people ever again.
The 2006 film version of the highly successful novel The Da Vinci Code had an all-star cast that included Sir Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, and Tom Hanks as professor Robert Langdon. While filming a fight scene, Bettany, who played the albino monk Silas, punched Hanks in the stomach so hard that the two-time Oscar winner farted.
According to Bettany, the fart was especially loud because action scenes are typically filmed on nearly silent sets due to the risk of accidents.
Bettany recalled in an Esquire interview:
I was like, holy sh*t, what am I going to do? It's Tom Hanks, the biggest star in the world, and I've just made him fart. He looked at me and I looked at him. And he went, "What's wrong with you?"
The sound did not make it into the film, but it remains a fond and semi-embarrassing memory for Bettany.
- Photo: Star Wars: A New Hope / 20th Century Fox
The original Star Wars, released in 1977, was on the forefront of sci-fi movies that changed the cinematic world. Co-stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher played siblings in the trilogy, and their chemistry was as tight off-screen as it was on the screen.
Hamill's relationship with Fisher was a deep friendship, and he recalls the love she had for life:
She was so committed to joy and fun and embracing life. She had an Auntie Mame quality to her. I would do crazy things to amuse her on the set. Making her laugh was always a badge of honor.
I remember during Empire we were split up storywise; it was a difficult film to shoot and there was a lot of tension on the set. I was off in the swampland with the puppets and robots, but at least Carrie and Harrison got to work with human beings.
Once at lunchtime she said, “You should try on my jumpsuit.”
I said, “The one-piece white jumpsuit? You’re what, 5’2"? I’ll never get in!”
She said, “Just try.”
I put on that Princess Leia zipper jump suit and it was so tight I looked like a Vegas lounge singer. If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, she had me put on one of those bald cap masks with the Bozo hair and glasses and nose and then she walked me around the back lot.
- Photo: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com
Drew Barrymore had such an early start to her career that she's rubbed elbows with most of Hollywood. And during the early 1990s, she was BFFs with Hole singer Courtney Love. Frances Bean Cobain, Love's daughter with Nirvana's late front man Kurt Cobain, was born in 1992, and Barrymore was even named her godmother.
In 2007, Barrymore told Jane magazine she hadn't seen Love or Frances for a few years, but she still holds fond memories from her friendship with the singer. When asked for her best story about Love on Watch What Happens Live, Barrymore recounted:
Courtney and I were at the backstage of a Seattle club. We’d just come from seeing Green Day. We were going to see Beck play at a coffee house and the bouncer said, "I’m sorry, you can’t come in; you don’t have a backstage pass." Courtney looked at him and goes, "My face is a backstage pass," and then swept him aside and just walked in, and I was just left still standing there, [saying], "I mean, kinda awesome!"