The Hollywood star system relies on mega-celebrities who need to continuously churn out stellar performances that their fans will love. But because the major studios depend on the public's perception of acting talent and fame, producers and directors have to put up with some pretty absurd behavior behind the scenes.
Prima donnas have been part and parcel of entertainment since the dawn of time, but the modern film industry might just take the cake when it comes to ridiculous superstar behavior. From angry rants to physical altercations, disgusting pranks, and even drug use, some stars clearly let their fame get to their heads far too much.
Keep scrolling for 15 movie stars who are notoriously difficult to work with, plus five who are complete saints, both on the set and off.
20 Difficult: Christian Bale
Christian Bale is one of the preeminent actors of his generation, having displayed his talents in movies large and small. The man has played Batman, John Conner, and Patrick Bateman, all iconic roles that would solidify his reputation for adding nuance to known entities. But his rant on the set of Terminator Salvation revealed just how hard he can be to work with.
19 Difficult: Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe is another insanely talented actor who has put together a shockingly good resume over the years, with hits including L.A. Confidential, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, and Cinderella Man, among man others. But he also got some bad press for being a handful on the set of Cinderella Man, after a controversy that may have affected the film's box office haul.
18 Difficult: Terrence Howard
In a land of notorious divas and selfish movie stars, Terrence Howard stands out as a guy who just can't keep himself under control. Typically, Hollywood will put up with bad behavior among huge stars, but Howard was notoriously so difficult on the set of Iron Man that he was replaced by Don Cheadle, who played James Rhodes for the rest of the franchise.
17 Difficult: Edward Norton
The fact that many of the most talented actors in the world seem to develop reputations for naughty behavior seems to make sense: these are people who are paid huge sums of money to let their emotions out. But Ed Norton severely hurt his career and he even struggled to get cast in many movies after being difficult to work with both during and after filming 2008's The Incredible Hulk.
16 Difficult: Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis may not be known for having the incredible acting range of some of the other ornery stars on this list, but there's no doubt that his resume over the years can rival anyone in Hollywood. It's hard to imagine how much more he could have done than the likes of the Die Hard films, Pulp Fiction, Unbreakable, and more if he'd only been easier to work with.
15 Difficult: Chevy Chase
Comedian and actor Chevy Chase may occupy a warm spot in many hearts for his stellar performances in films like the Vacation movies and Groundhog Day (not to mention his attempt at a career revival in the TV show Community), but he also earned a severe reputation for being almost the opposite of funny while working on set.
14 Difficult: Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty was a massive star in the 1990s, thanks to appearances on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed, but there's a good reason she hasn't been heard from much lately. Prima donna behavior only gets tolerated in Hollywood amongst the creme de la creme, and as much as Doherty might have thought she was at the top of the heap, she clearly wasn't worth the trouble to producers and directors.
13 Difficult: Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone may have had pretty good reason to be angry after finding out that her role in Basic Instinct included one of the most notorious scenes in all of lurid Hollywood history—but she also was apparently pretty rough to work with before she found out, as well. Even the likes of a confirmed and proud egomaniac like the late, great Robert Evans couldn't stand her.
12 Difficult: Jared Leto
Few actors seem to be as notorious for their on-set antics these days as Jared Leto. The method actor and determined supporting castmember seemed to think he'd reached a new level of privilege when he was cast as the Joker in Suicide Squad, famously going so far as sending a live rat to costar Margot Robbie's trailer, as recounted by director David Ayer.
11 Difficult: Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis is a name that frequently comes up during discussions of the greatest actors of all times, but this is one method actor who is also typically in the discussion as being among the most difficult to work with of all time. Sure, when he refuses to drop character while playing Abraham Lincoln, that's one thing, but when he insisted on being treated as a spastic paraplegic the whole time on the set of My Left Foot, it gets a little old.
10 Difficult: Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin might have turned in the role of a lifetime when he went on SNL and poked fun at the real-life President of the United States, but the gig was presaged by his turn as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. Unfortunately, though, both hilarious-yet-scary roles might have been closer to real-life than anything else, and Vanity Fair reported early in 2019 that Baldwin was on his way to treatment for anger management.
9 Difficult: Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer seemed to be well on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and one of the best actors of all time. Then, he vanished pretty much entirely from big pictures for much of the 2000s. Apparently, he'd been developing a reputation for feuding with actors including Marlon Brando and Tom Sizemore.
8 Difficult: Marlon Brando
It almost makes perfect sense that Marlon Brando would be impossible to work with. The brooding mega-star is often regarded as the best actor of all time, from his earliest to his latest roles. But by the later years of his career, he apparently was so lazy he wouldn't even read scripts—and people on the set of The Godfather had to hold up signs with his lines.
7 Difficult: Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf's very public disintegration has become well-known internet fodder, though his antics seem to match his professional career, as well. LaBeouf now seems to have turned another page in the book of his life and wants to get back to acting, but gnarly stories like the one Rupert Grint told The Guardian might make a comeback rather unlikely.
6 Difficult: Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman's career was on the up-and-up after appearances in The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy, though some strange stories began appearing shortly thereafter. On the set of Marathon Man, Hoffman caused so many delays trying to get into his character's sweaty mindset that the great Laurence Olivier is often credited as having said to him, "Why not try acting? It's much easier."
5 Sweetheart: Matt Damon
Matt Damon is one of the most successful actors of all time and he's starred in tons of hits since his breakout roles as the titular character in 1997's Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck. After so many roles, including in the Jason Bourne franchise, Syriana, Invictus, and The Martian, no one has anything bad to say about the guy.
4 Sweetheart: Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks comes across as the sweetest guy in the film industry—because he's apparently the sweetest guy in the film industry. From movies like Sleepless in Seattle to Cast Away, Philadelphia, Saving Private Ryan, and Forrest Gump, he's always a lovable character. Now, to prove he's the ultimate good guy, he's playing Mr. Rogers, the ultimate real-life good guy.
3 Sweetheart: Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is the most decorated actress of all time, but she hasn't let the fame and success go to her head. Streep has even endured some tragedy, as her boyfriend John Cazale succumbed to cancer in 1978, which perhaps helps her see the point of remaining a grounded, personable actress while she's racking up Oscar noms.
2 Sweetheart: Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman might look pretty intimidating with his shirt torn off, pecs and biceps flexing, and a menacing growl on his face—his typical look during any of the films in which he's played Wolverine—but the guy is about as nice as they come in Hollywood. His well-publicized obsession with his wife Deborra-Lee Furness is always cuter than cute.
1 Sweetheart: Bill Murray
While some actors who gravitate towards humor are actually horrible people to work with—Chevy Chase and Jonah Hill come to mind—it's a welcome breath of fresh air to learn that Bill Murray has maintained a reputation for being a true class act throughout his career. According to The Telegraph, he even went home with some fans to party and ended up doing their dishes!
Sources: The Telegraph, Billboard, IMDb, and Wikipedia.