Movie And TV Scenes Actors Outright Refused To Film

Sometimes an actor feels they have to put their foot down. Here are 13 movie and TV scenes actors outright refused to film.  

An actor may ask for a body double for an uncomfortable intimate scene. Or, they may feel the scripted storyline doesn’t make sense for their character. They may even have a religious conflict. 

Find out which then-unknown actor put her entire career on the line when she refused to take part in a scripted love triangle. Which famous actor refused to kiss his male co-star? Which small-screen favorite revealed he refused to cheat on his TV wife?

Uncover the answers to those questions and more.

Photo: The Fate of the Furious / Universal Pictures

  • John Krasinski Refused To Cheat On His TV Wife On 'The Office'
    Photo: NBC

    The writers at The Office certainly got a lot of material from Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam's (Jenna Fischer) up-and-down relationship over nine seasons. In order to drum up some drama on the long-running sitcom, the writers decided to throw a major monkey wrench into their marriage. 

    In a script for Season 8 of the series, the writers penned a scene where Jim kisses Pam’s Dunder Mifflin maternity fill-in Cathy (Lindsey Broad).

    However, Krasinski refused to cheat on his TV wife. “That’s the only time I remember putting my foot down... I remember saying things that I never thought I’d say before, like, ‘I’m not going to shoot it,’” Krasinski shared in the book Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office.

    “My feeling is there is a threshold with which you can push our audience,” the actor added. “They are so dedicated. We have shown such great respect to them. But there’s a moment where if you push them too far, they’ll never come back. And I think that if you show Jim cheating, they’ll never come back.”

    The writers ultimately decided to drop the cheating plot. Instead, Cathy tries to tempt Jim while the company is on a business trip to Florida. Jim rebuffs her forward advances and stays true to his wife and marriage. 

    Seems like Krasinski made the right decision. Fans of The Office were so upset by Cathy's moves they've taken it out on the actor who portrayed her. Broad revealed in 2020 on Twitter, "If anyone is wondering what it was like to be on The Office, the best comedy of this century: I just posted something on Instagram about how my dog was murdered and a bunch of people were like 'F*ck you, Cathy, she deserved it!' So. There ya go!" 

    • Age: 43
    • Birthplace: Newton, Massachusetts, United States of America
  • Mahershala Ali Nearly Turned Down His First Major Film Role Because He Would Not Perform A Simulated Sex Scene On Camera Due To His Religion

    Mahershala Ali Nearly Turned Down His First Major Film Role Because He Would Not Perform A Simulated Sex Scene On Camera Due To His Religion
    Photo: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / Paramount Pictures

    Now we know Mahershala Ali as a two-time Academy Award winner with an impressive filmography. Ali's acting career was just getting started when he landed the supporting role as Tizzy Weathers in David Fincher's 2008 fantasy romance The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

    Despite the possibility of getting his big Hollywood break, Ali nearly turned down the role in the high-profile movie. The actor revealed during a 2020 episode of Common's podcast, Mind Power Mixtape, that because he is an Ahmadi Muslim, he could not perform a simulated sex scene with his on-screen love interest Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). 

    “My old agent called me and said, ‘Mahershala, you got the part.’ And I said, ‘There’s just one thing... There is that one sex scene where they kiss... If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it,’” revealed Ali.

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an examination of a man (Brad Pitt) who ages in reverse. Fincher ultimately did not feel that showing the sex scene between Queenie and Tizzy was important enough to the story to risk losing Ali. 

    Fincher opted to film the scene in a way that could accommodate Ali's religious beliefs. "Taraji and I begin to kiss, and we fall out of the frame," Ali said. "It wasn’t clear if [Fincher] was trying to have, like, some bumping and grinding... which I doubt he was... At that time, 15 years ago, I was still like, ‘Okay, I can only go up to this point,’ just because of - just trying to hold a space of respect for my religion."

    • Age: 49
    • Birthplace: Oakland, California, USA
  • In 2001, Michelle Rodriguez was an up-and-coming actor with the opportunity to co-star in a big-budget action movie called The Fast and the Furious. Despite the possibility of the film becoming a mega Hollywood franchise, Rodriguez would not stay quiet regarding a love triangle subplot. In the original script, both Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) fall for Letty Ortiz (Rodriguez). The actor felt the story arc did not ring true to her character. 

    Rodriguez put her job and perhaps even her entire career on the line when she refused to film the love triangle story scenes. "Is it realistic for a Latin girl who's with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy? I had to put my foot down," said Rodriguez. "I basically cried and said I'm going to quit and, 'Don't sue me, please - I'm sorry, but I can't do this in front of millions of people.' My whole point in being an actress is that I thought I got to live a dream. And I don't dream about being [promiscuous]! Do you?!"

    Thankfully, Diesel agreed with Rodriguez and totally supported her wishes. "Vin was the first one to pull me to the side while I was crying, and he just looked at me and said, 'I got your back,'" recalled Rodriguez. "'Chill out and let me handle this, and you're right - it makes me look bad anyway.'"

    The filmmakers listened. The scenes featuring the love triangle were all cut. 

    • Age: 44
    • Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, United States of America
  • In 1993, Will Smith was a TV star who showed off impeccable comedic timing on the popular series Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Smith decided to test his acting mettle on the big screen by playing against type in the 1993 dramedy Six Degrees of Separation. In the film, Smith portrays a gay con artist trying to grift a wealthy New York City family. 

    When it came time for his character Paul to kiss Trent (Anthony Michael Hall), Smith outwardly refused. He told the director Fred Schepisi he couldn't go through with it. Schepisi adjusted on the fly by using a stand-in and shooting the scene from behind. 

    Smith later regretted his decision. "It was very immature on my part," Smith admitted. "I was thinking, ‘How are my friends in Philly going to think about this?’ I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to artistically commit to that aspect of the film. In a movie with actors and a director and writer of this caliber, for me to be the one bringing something cheesy to it..."

    He added, "This was a valuable lesson for me. Either you do it or you don’t."

    • Age: 54
    • Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • In the uber-successful Fast & Furious franchise, the two bald brawny alpha male lead characters Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) do not always get along. In a case of art imitating life, neither do the actors who portray them. 

    The breaking point between the men apparently crossed the line in 2016 when Johnson posted a not-so-cryptic message regarding Diesel on his Instagram account: "Some [men] conduct themselves as stand-up men and true professionals, while others don't. The ones that don't are too chicken sh*t to do anything about it anyway. Candy *sses."

    It became fairly obvious to any astute spectator watching 2017’s The Fate of the Furious that through clever editing and filming, Diesel and Johnson did not appear together on screen. Johnson corroborated that rumor during a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone. “That is correct,” said Johnson. “We were not in any scenes together.”

    Not a single scene. 

    Their beef also meant cutting a scene where Hobbs and Toretto physically fight it out. Instead of seeing their battle, the audience has to just hear about it through clumsy dialogue. 

    • Age: 55
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
  • Emma Watson refused to be a part of a scene in the meta raunchy 2013 apocalyptic comedy This is the End. In the improvised scene, Danny McBride plays a cannibal and Channing Tatum is his gimp on a leash.

    The rumors were that the English actor stormed off the set in disgust. Seth Rogen, who wrote and produced the film, later addressed what really happened.

    “Emma Watson did not 'storm off the set,' and it's (expletive) that the perception is that she did," Rogen wrote on Twitter. "The scene was not what was originally scripted, it was getting improvised, changed drastically, and was not what she agreed to."

    Rogen also added during a 2021 interview with British GQ that he didn't blame the actor for refusing to be in the scene.

    "I don’t look back on that and think, ‘How dare she do that?’ You know? I think sometimes when you read something, when it comes to life, it doesn’t seem to be what you thought it was," said Rogen. "But it was not some terrible ending to our relationship. She came back the next day to say goodbye. She helped promote the film. No hard feelings, and I couldn’t be happier with how the film turned out in the end. Besides, she was probably right. It was probably funnier the way we ended up doing it."

    • Age: 33
    • Birthplace: Paris, France