As I was poking around the wondrous offerings of the internet (because that's what I do), I happened to find a little gem of an interview that Jennifer Aniston did a few years ago with Elle that I never knew about: She once threw a chair at a director.
Yes, really, the woman many still consider to be America's Sweetheart once pulled a full diva move on set - but as it turns out, the reason why she did it was actually...sort of great:
I threw a chair at a director. It wasn't my proudest moment. He was treating a script supervisor horribly.
When the director walked in, I threw a chair at him. I missed, of course. I was like, 'You can't speak to people like that.' I can't tolerate it.
While throwing furniture was maybe not the best way for her to have handled it, I still admire Jen for sticking up for the underdog and not being afraid to stand up for the people on set who don't have much of a voice. It just goes to show you that tabloids will always, ALWAYS try to twist stories of celebrities losing their cool on set in a way that paints that actor or actress in the worst possible light, because it equals sales. So I thought it would be interesting to find stories of actors having meltdowns - and then explain their side of the story.
Consider this a trial: Me, the defense lawyer. The celebrity, the accused. You, the jury.
COURT IS NOW IN SESSION!
THE ACCUSED: CHRISTIAN BALE
THE CRIME: Losing it completely on a crew member during the filming of Terminator Salvation
THE DEFENSE: Let's just get this one out of the way, shall we? Christian Bale, while a fan favorite for his iconic performances like Batman and Patrick Bateman, has earned a rep for having a rather touchy temper. But...that's why you hire Christian Bale. You hire Christian Bale for his intensity, how into character he gets. He's the reason people will see your film, and he has enough star power to draw audiences to a movie they might not otherwise have watched, simply because he is in it.
On the day of the verbal tirade, Bale was going on two days with no sleep, so he had been up for 48 hours straight, filming intense scenes in terrible weather. Tell me, how many of you would be at your most patient? You're in the middle of shooting the most high-stress, high-intensity scene of the entire movie and it's all up to you to get it exactly right. No one else. Just you. You're right in the middle of it, right in the zone, exhausted and frayed nerves and all, and you're so close to being finished, all you want is a shower and to sleep, but you're almost done because you're in the zone and--*cue the record scratch*--a camera man walks directly onto the set and completely ruins the shot, the moment, and your concentration. A camera man who should have absolutely known better than that.
Tell me, how would you react in that moment? Would you simply smile and say, "Oh, no worries. It's okay that your sloppiness completely wrecked this moment and we have to start over." Or would your frustration and lack of sleep boil over? Somehow, I think most of us would fall into the latter category. Bale may have a fiery temper, but I don't think we should continue to crucify him for this, should we?
We, the jury, have hereby found Christian Bale...
THE ACCUSED: STILL CHRISTIAN BALE
THE CRIME: Assaulting his mother and sister on the night of The Dark Knight UK premiere
THE DEFENSE: A year before the Terminator Salvation incident, the internet was abuzz with the news that Christian Bale had "assaulted" his mother and sister in his hotel room. But here are the facts that many of you don't know: In the UK, it's possible to file assault charges against a person for a verbal altercation alone.
On the night of the UK premiere of The Dark Knight, Bale was approached by his sister and mother at their pricey Dorchester Hotel for which he had paid, and his sister asked him for another $200,000 dollars to raise her kids. His mother had deliberately chosen that moment to spring the request on him as she knew he could not leave due to the throng of paparazzi outside the hotel. They also knew Bale was depressed over the death of Heath Ledger and suffering strains in his usually-solid marriage.
When Bale denied his sister's request for a hand-out, his sister decided to say some nasty things about Bale's wife, and that's finally when he broke and started yelling, then tried to push them out of the room so they would leave him alone and the altercation would not get worse. His sister and mother then went to the police - and then immediately to the tabloids to tell the tale of how he had "assaulted" them.
So in summary: On one of the biggest nights of his life, his mother and sister deliberately cornered him, hoping his inability to escape would force him into giving his sister a considerable sum of money after he'd already paid for his entire family to be in London. When that failed, they then turned to cheap shots about his wife, with whom he was already having issues and naturally feeling overprotective. He yelled at them but never hit or punched them, and they immediately went to the papers to sell their story.
We, the jury, hereby find Christian Bale (again)...
THE ACCUSED: GEORGE CLOONEY
THE CRIME: Beating the crap out of director David O. Russell on the set of Three Kings.
THE DEFENSE: I-I'm sorry. It appears Mr. Clooney would like to represent himself at this trial. I will let his own words speak for him:
For me, it came to a head a couple of times. Once, he [David O. Russell] went after a camera-car driver who I knew from high school. I had nothing to do with his getting his job, but David began yelling and screaming at him and embarrassing him in front of everybody. I told him, "You can yell and scream and even fire him, but what you can't do is humiliate him in front of people. Not on my set, if I have any say about it."
Another time, he screamed at the script supervisor and made her cry. I wrote him a letter and said, "Look, I don't know why you do this. You've written a brilliant script, and I think you're a good director. Let's not have a set like this. I don't like it and I don't work well like this." I'm not one of those actors who likes things in disarray. He read the letter and we started all over again.
But later, we were three weeks behind schedule, which puts some pressure on you, and he was in a bad mood. These army kids, who were working as extras, were supposed to tackle us. There were three helicopters in the air and 300 extras on the set. It was a tense time, and a little dangerous, too.
David wanted one of the extras to grab me and throw me down. This kid was a little nervous about it, and David walked up to him and grabbed him. He pushed him onto the ground. He kicked him and screamed, "Do you want to be in this fucking movie? Then throw him to the fucking ground!" The second assistant director came up and said, "You don't do that, David. You want them to do something, you tell me".
David grabbed his walkie-talkie and threw it on the ground. He screamed, "Shut the fuck up! Fuck you", and the AD goes, "Fuck you! I quit". He walked off. It was a dangerous time. I'd sent him this letter. I was trying to make things work, so I went over and put my arm around him. I said, "David, it's a big day. But you can't shove, push or humiliate people who aren't allowed to defend themselves". He turned on me and said, "Why don't you just worry about your fucked-up act? You're being a dick. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? Come on, pussy, hit me".
I'm looking at him like he's out of his mind. Then, he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, "Hit me, you pussy. Hit me". Then, he got me by the throat and I went nuts. Waldo, my buddy, one of the boys, grabbed me by the waist to get me to let go of him. I had him by the throat. I was going to kill him. Kill him. Finally, he apologized, but I walked away. By then, the Warner Bros. guys were freaking out. David sort of pouted through the rest of the shoot and we finished the movie, but it was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life.
We, the jury, hereby find George Clooney...
COURT IS ADJOURNED!