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On-Set Pranks That Prove Hollywood Actors Have Fun

Updated June 14, 2019 5.7k votes 1.8k voters 791.4k views16 items

Many movie fans do not realize the tremendous amount of downtime on a film set. It could take hours for a cinematographer to light a single take, or for a director to block one tracking shot. Of course, movie making is a serious business with millions of production dollars on the line. However, actors have to fill the hours somehow, and just because a producer has a budget to keep, it doesn't mean that shenanigans aren't taking place. We all know that George Clooney is a notorious prankster, and he alone could easily fill this entire list with his impressive prank resume. But he's not the only one. Here are the best on-set movie pranks by Hollywood actors.

One thing you learn by doing a little research into Hollywood pranks is that A-List celebrities worth millions of dollars are just mere human beings who think fart jokes are funny and a crude joke about penis size is not beneath them. Don’t think that acclaimed British actor Alan Rickman appreciated the virtues of a good fart machine? Think again.

Some of the pranks on this list may even cross the line of good clean fun. Just ask Sean Penn how he felt when he thought a real life prison guard was racing towards him with a gun drawn? Or how about the time Paul Newman made director Otto Preminger collapse in shock and fear.

Make your voice heard! Vote up the zaniest and most fun actor pranks below.
  • Tom Hanks Played on Julia Roberts's Love of Knitting
    Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock
    Hollywood superstar Julia Roberts is really, really into knitting. Who knew? In between takes on the set of Larry Crowne in 2011, Roberts would work on her knitting. One day, co-star Tom Hanks arranged for every person on the set to be knitting when the Pretty Woman star arrived for work. Roberts couldn't believe the spectacle created by Hanks, explaining, "I come onto the set to work one day and every single person on the set everywhere — every grip, every electric, every everything is knitting...You walk into a room and 65 men are knitting."
    • Age: 64
    • Birthplace: Concord, California, United States of America
    • Credits: The Da Vinci Code, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile
    Does this sound fun?

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  • Mel Gibson Brought Back the Screams for Jamie Lee Curtis
    Photo: Warner Bros.
    Mel Gibson made sure that original Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis didn't forget her horror movie past on the set of Forever Young in 1992. Gibson scared the bejeezus out of Curtis when he suddenly appeared wearing a hockey mask and carrying a knife.
    • Age: 64
    • Birthplace: Peekskill, New York, United States of America
    • Credits: Braveheart, Signs, Lethal Weapon,The Patriot
    Does this sound fun?

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  • Benedict Cumberbatch Was Tricked Into Wearing Protective "Neuron Cream"
    Photo: Warner Bros.

    When an actor appears in a high-tech science fiction film like Star Trek: Into Darkness, the idea of having to wear a protective facial shield called "neuron cream," may not seem too out of this world. However, Cumberbatch's co-stars made up the safety cream in order to make the English actor look silly when he put the tiny dots of cream on his face. After the prank, Cumberbatch admitted to being gullible, but was also just going along with what he thought were stringent American safety rules.

    • Age: 39
    • Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
    • Credits: The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness, Black Mass, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
    Does this sound fun?

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  • Even Alan Rickman Couldn't Resist a Fart Prank
    Photo: ShenronAlt / via youtube
    No matter how old you are or how many times the fart prank has been performed, it's always going to be funny. On the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Alan Rickman pulled a classic fast one on the franchise's titular hero. Daniel Radcliffe gave the details during a Reddit AMA: "There’s a shot in the great hall of all the kids sleeping in the great hall, and the camera starts very very wide, and comes in so that it’s an inch from my face, a very long developing set, yeah, and Alan Rickman decided he would plant one of those fart machines in my, uh, sleeping bag, and they waited until like -the camera had come in for this huge DRAMATIC developing shot, and then unleashed this tremendous noise in the great hall.”
    • Age: 74
    • Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
    • Credits: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,Die Hard,Galaxy Quest
    Does this sound fun?

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