What It's Like To Work With Notoriously Eccentric Actors

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Vote up the stories that prove these actors are seriously eccentric.

There’s no question that Hollywood, as an industry, tends to attract eccentric, strange, and sometimes downright weird personalities. After all, it takes a certain type of person to be willing to subject themselves to the scrutiny of the public, to say nothing of the strain involved in the craft and process of acting. It often takes a great deal of work to slide into the personality of a character, and so many actors, in both movies and TV, have adopted some often bewildering strategies for doing so

In a number of behind-the-scenes interviews, those who have appeared with some of Hollywood’s most notoriously wacky performers have been very forthcoming about what it’s like to actually work with them.


  • 1
    544 VOTES

    Heath Ledger Preferred A Real Beating To Stage Punches

    Heath Ledger Preferred A Real Beating To Stage Punches
    Photo: The Dark Knight / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The late Heath Ledger was a man of many talents, capable of playing such a wide range of roles - from the heartthrob of 10 Things I Hate About You to the tormented cowboy of Brokeback Mountain to the deranged monster of The Dark Knight. At the same time, he also earned a reputation for his absolute commitment to his roles, disappearing into them to such an extent it could be difficult for his castmates to see the difference.

    Christian Bale, who starred with Ledger as Batman, recalled a particularly disturbing incident in which Ledger seemed to really want him to fight with him. 

    As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realizes that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction. Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on. I was saying, “You know what, I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t.” And he’s going, “Go on. Go on. Go on…” He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.

    544 votes
  • 2
    517 VOTES

    Nic Cage Shared A Hand-Drawn Picture Of A Shrimp Man From His Dreams

    Nic Cage Shared A Hand-Drawn Picture Of A Shrimp Man From His Dreams
    Photo: The Sorcerer's Apprentice / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Being eccentric has become Nicolas Cage’s brand in front of and behind the camera. He is the subject of countless memes extolling and drawing on his over-the-top performances, some of which have become almost camp in their level of self-awareness and puncturing of normal standards of Hollywood acting.

    Numerous magazine articles and features have shared some of the truly bizarre encounters others have had with him, but few are quite as unsettling and delightful as the one told by Jay Baruchel, who starred with Cage in the equally bizarre film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

    As Baruchel tells it, Cage has a tendency of sharing his dreams with his co-stars: 

    [O]nce I was like, "How was your night?" And he was like, "I had this dream; there was a shrimp man! He had a human body and a shrimp head! He was just pointing at me saying, 'SHRIMP YOU F*CK. SHRIMP YOU F*CK!' And I drew it to show you!" And like, 20 minutes later, his assistant, this lovely Englishman, came over like, "Mr. Cage wanted you to see this." And it’s just a drawing of a shrimp guy, with a shrimp head and a human body.

    517 votes
  • 3
    400 VOTES

    Christopher Walken Faked His Birthday Just For The Cake

    Christopher Walken Faked His Birthday Just For The Cake
    Photo: The Rundown / Universal Pictures

    With his oddly inflected voice, unique physical features, and penchant for taking on odd roles, Christopher Walken has repeatedly shown himself to be one of Hollywood’s most strangely versatile performers. Very often, there is an edge to his voice, a sense of menace and almost malice, which may help to explain why he has appeared in so many villainous roles, in both a Bond film and even in the live-action remake of The Jungle Book (in which he plays King Louie). 

    This isn’t to say he isn’t capable of humor: far from it. In fact, Sean William Scott, with whom Walken appeared in the comedy film The Rundown, recounted how Walken was willing to use a bit of deception to get an (undeserved) birthday cake: 

    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 okay? You look all sad.” Walken replied, “Actually, I am sad. It’s my birthday today, and I didn’t get a cake or anything.” And then… 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!

    400 votes
  • 4
    257 VOTES

    Crispin Glover Got In A Screaming Match Over A Broomstick

    Crispin Glover Got In A Screaming Match Over A Broomstick
    Photo: Back to the Future / Universal Pictures

    Crispin Glover is one of the most recognizable faces from the 1980s, in large part because of his appearance in Back to the Future as the nerdy and eccentric George McFly, father of the movie’s hero, Marty. He went on to play a number of other equally strange characters, including Andy Warhol (certainly one of his bizarre roles) in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. 

     Michael J. Fox, who played Marty in Back to the Future, said Glover wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the film’s director, Robert Zemeckis: 

    I haven’t spoken to Crispin since the movie, but I always liked him. I remember on the first movie, him and Bob Zemeckis really going at each other about this one scene: Crispin wanted to do it with a broom and Bob didn’t, and oh my God! The indignation! As soon as they moved on and it was safe, I poked my head out of the dressing room, and Chris [Lloyd] poked his head out, and we looked at one another and were like, “Thank God that was nothing to do with us!”

    257 votes
  • 5
    345 VOTES

    Gwyneth Paltrow Forgot She Was In Films With Tom Holland

    There’s no question Gwyneth Paltrow is Hollywood royalty, considering her mother is renowned actress Blythe Danner and her father was director and producer Bruce Paltrow. Though she has been in many notable roles in both film and television, she has more lately gained a bit of notoriety for her various entrepreneurial efforts, including her lifestyle company, Goop. Both in her stage roles and interviews, she often has a faint air of abstraction, as if she is gazing at something her interlocutor can’t see.

    Tom Holland, who appeared with Paltrow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, recalled her forgetfulness

    One time when we were shooting Avengers: Endgame, she was in her blue suit, and I was in my Spider-Man suit and she came up and she asked me for a photo with me and Robert [Downey Jr.] and then I think she posted it and she said, “Robert Downey Jr. and myself and this guy.” I was just the guy.

    345 votes
  • 6
    287 VOTES

    Tom Cruise Was So Intense He Developed A Zit In Hours

    Tom Cruise Was So Intense He Developed A Zit In Hours
    Photo: Mission: Impossible II / Paramount Pictures

    Both on camera and off, Tom Cruise seems to exude a certain eccentric intensity. It’s there in his performance as the bratty and arrogant Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, and arguably it reached its apotheosis when he jumped up and down on a couch during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Thandiwe Newton, who co-starred with Cruise in Mission: Impossible II, spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about some of the actor’s strange ways of engaging with his co-stars

    So this scene was happening, and Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the sh**tiest lines. And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes… “Let's just rehearse on camera.” So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, “I'll be you. You be me.” So we filmed the entire scene with me being him - because, believe me, I knew the lines by then - and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful… I can't think of anything less revealing. I remember at the beginning of the night, seeing this slight red mark on his nose, and by the end of the night, I kid you not - this is how his metabolism is so fierce - he had a big whitehead where that red dot was. It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit. I saw it growing, and it was like the zit was me, just getting bigger and bigger.

    287 votes