What do Ant-Man, American Hustle, Ocean's Twelve and Run, Fat Boy, Run, have in common? "Many things!" you may scream. They're all films for one (and good ones at that). They all include marvelous actors... They all have the letter 'A' in them...
But also, the set of all of these movies played host to some of the biggest pranks in Hollywood. From Rudd's "Basic Instinct" prank fail, to Simon Pegg getting Mars Bar'd, here's a list of some of the best practical jokes pulled by our favorite A-listers.
Allow them to educate you...
1. Paul Rudd vs. Michael Douglas - 'Ant-Man'
It's Michael Douglas's last day of shooting and, after being completely in awe throughout production so far, Paul Rudd thought he'd take the opportunity to win some man points by showing Michael that he could be himself in his presence. A thought process that lead to the aha moment - 'I'm gonna basic instinct him.'
So, with pants unzipped and junk rearranged 'over and out,' Rudd pulled down his shirt to protect his modesty until the appropriate moment. However, he made a rookie error as he didn't take into account that when he sat down the waistband of his trousers would move his package north and thus non-visible. As Michael gave his monologue, Paul tried to rearrange himself, using his shirt as an aid, to which Michael Douglas turned mid-speech to ask, "what are you, a fucking pervert?" It had basically appeared that Rudders had been pleasuring himself to Douglas's dulcet tones... which, although totally understandable, is pretttty cringeworthy.
2. Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper vs. Jennifer Lawrence – 'American Hustle'
Knowing that Jennifer Lawrence was particularly uneasy about shooting a scene in a Boston graveyard, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper decided to play a rather macabre prank on their female co-star. Uneasy though she was, she continued through the shoot like a trooper until, suddenly, she let out a scream. JLaw had spotted a tombstone with her name and 'Born August 15, 1890. Died April 1, 1913' inscribed on it's surface. "That’s my name!” she cried. “Is this just a coincidence, or am I going to die?”
In actuality, Bale and Cooper had roped in the prop department to help with the stunt. Laughing, they pointed towards the date of death, “that’s April Fools’ Day, dummy.”
3. George Clooney vs. Brad Pitt – 'Ocean’s Twelve'
Pitt kicked off the ping-pong prank war on the set of Ocean's Twelve, knowing full well that George Clooney is notorious for his pranking capabilities. While shooting in Italy, Brad set out a memo to the Italian speaking crew members telling them that Clooney wished to only be referred to as 'Mr. Ocean' for the duration of the filming. In retaliation Clooney sent a book of accents to Meryl Streep along with a note which read, “Dear Meryl, this book really helped me with my accent for Troy. I hope it helps you too," and signed by Brad. Ouchhh.
Gotta give it to the guy, it takes a lot of balls to prank Streep.
4. Simon Pegg vs. Benedict Cumberbatch – 'Star Trek Into Darkness'
On the set of Star Trek Into Darkness, Simon Pegg simultaneously pranked multiple members of the cast, with Benedict Cumberbatch falling for it the hardest. Filming took place in a "high-tech laboratory" and actors were informed that they had to wear 'neutron cream' to adhere to health and safety protocol. Additionally, they must jump around periodically to 'help with the ions.' Several cast members were filmed with dots of cream on their face, however Cumberbatch actually signed a precautionary form which read, “neutron cream does not exist” and “jumping up and down and shaking my hands makes me look like a silly bastard.” Lulz.
5. Lord of the Rings Crew vs. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan – 'The Lord of the Rings'
After gaining a prankster reputation on the set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the tables were turned on Dominic Monaghan, a.k.a. hobbit Meriadoc Brandybuck, by the entire cast and crew. Monaghan and Billy Boyd, a.k.a. Peregrin “Pippin” Took, were given a revised version of the script for a scene in which they encounter Treebeard the Ent. The scene basically involved both hobbits falling through the branches of the talking tree, losing their clothes on the branches in the process and then snuggling up on the ground to keep each other warm. Reportedly Boyd described their journey to the set that day saying, "This could be really good and really funny," but, "how can we do a naked scene in Lord of the Rings? Can this be real?"
6. Where the Wild Things Are Cast and Crew vs. Spike Jonze – 'Where the Wild Things Are'
Even Spike Jonze, co-creator of MTV's Jackass, is not immune to a few prank gags and this was certainly the case for the director on the set of Where the Wild Things Are. In a rather The Parent Trap fashion, they hid Jonze's baby (/Vespa) on the roof of a sound stage and then, once he'd discovered it, splattered the poor guy with a mixture of yoghurt and rice. A messy and peculiar prank, but Jonze took it like a champ and laughed it off. You can see footage of the practical joke as an extra on the Blu-Ray release.
7. Josh Hutcherson vs. Jennifer Lawrence – 'The Hunger Games'
Poor JLaw, an easy target it seems. Her co-star Josh Hutcherson decided to scare the pee out of her (literally) on the set of The Hunger Games in 2012. Using the dummy corpse of a deceased 'tribute' and sticking a toilet paper roll in its hand, Josh sat the 'swollen, gnarly-looking and mangled' creature down in the toilet of Lawrence's trailer. Unsurprisingly, on finding said gross corpse, Jen screamed and “peed her pants.”
Reportedly she's now on the lookout for a "real dead body" to prank him back with.
8. Steven Spielberg vs. Harrison Ford – 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'
Director Steven Spielberg played a glorious prank on Harrison Ford while filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom back in the '80s. In one scene, Ford is tied to a rock, preparing himself for a good flogging. However little did he know that Spielberg had roped in Barbra Streisand to deliver the beating, which she did in style. While Ford was facing the other direction, she walloped him while gleefully crying, “this is for all the money you’re going to make on Return of the Jedi!”
Well played, Babs.
9. Thandie Newton vs. Simon Pegg – 'Run, Fatboy, Run'
The usually (or seemingly) demure Thandie Newton went to fairly gross heights to get a reaction out of Simon Pegg while filming Run, Fatboy, Run. Starting with the classic cellophane-over-toilet prank, things quickly developed into more visual territory by putting a Mars Bar in Pegg's toilet bowl and sprinkling the Mars/toilet seat/surrounding area with apple juice. However, Pegg annoyingly never gave her the satisfaction of a reaction. That was until she filled all of his water bottles with vodka, which he gulped down the next morning to immediately spit out and screamed "Newton!". Perseverance is key, folks.
10. Tom Hanks vs. Julia Roberts – 'Larry Crowne'
Bless Tom Hanks, he's a gentle soul.
Apparently Julia Roberts is a bit of a knitting fiend and was often seen around the set of Larry Crowne crafting colorful scarves and hats. As a harmless and really quite sweet practical joke, Hanks secretly ordered a bunch of yarn and knitting needles to the set and had the entire cast take a crash-course in knitting. When Julia Roberts arrived on set, to her surprise, she found everyone in the building (literally everyone, including the lighting guys), knitting away. She was, reportedly, thrilled and even offered up some secret knitting tips.
11. Woody Harrelson and Nick Nolte vs. Sean Penn – 'The Thin Red Line'
These guys pulled quite a few pranks during the filming of The Thin Red Line, but the most elaborate of all actually occurred off-set. One night, Nick Nolte phoned up Sean Penn real late, pleading for him to come down to the police station to bail him out. On arriving, Penn discovered Nolte handcuffed in a cell alongside another 'detainee,' when suddenly a shot went off in another part of the station and a guard ran onto the scene pointing his gun directly at Penn. Hysterically, Woody Harrelson then confessed that it was all a joke. Penn got his own back when en route back to their hotel by dumping Harrelson on the side walk and making him find his own way home.
Lighten up, Penn.
12. Jason Sudeikis and Rawson Marshall Thurber vs. Jennifer Aniston – 'We’re the Millers'
Another harmlessly sweet one to find in the outtakes reel of We're The Millers. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber, the prankster, got Jennifer in one particular sing-along scene that was supposed to be set to the TLC track 'Waterfalls.' Instead though, while sitting in an RV waiting for the song to start with fellow cast-members Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter, a puzzled expression crossed Aniston's face. Thurber, sneakily (although come on, pretty predictably) switched the track to 'I'll Be There For You,' the theme tune from Friends.
Once the reality of the situation dawned on her, Aniston reportedly, “poked [Thurber] and Jason in the ribs afterward like, ‘You got me.’”
13. Harrison Ford vs. Carrie Fisher - 'Star Wars IV: A New Hope'
During a British TV interview with Justin Lee Collins, Carrie Fisher laughed that on the set of Star Wars IV: A New Hope Harrison Ford gave her quite the surprise. On leaving her room, Ford apparently took the opportunity to strip butt naked and hide within her closet. As if that wasn't enough, he pretended to hang himself using the only item of clothing left on his body - a tie.
Thankfully Carrie didn't seemed to be phased by his faux-suicide, nor his unexpected bare behind.