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Dmallon

Difficult to work with

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I noticed a comment on another thread that Paul Muni was not particularly popular with cast and crew. I've always wondered, which actors were the most difficult and disliked by the rest of their coworkers on the set.

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Well, I don't know about the rest of the casts and/or any crews who might've felt he was difficult to work with, BUT it's a pretty well known fact that Steve McQueen's on-set antics weren't "exactly loved" by Yul Brynner while they were filming The Magnificent Seven together, nor by fellow auto racing enthusiast Paul Newman while he and McQueen were filming The Towering Inferno.

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It's interesting, in that Yul Brynner was also a supposedly difficult man to deal with. I've heard that Charles Bronson, although still a minor player at the time was nonetheless a problem on the same set. Back in the day, I know that Lombard and Stanwyck were both popular among their co-workers whereas Miriam Hopkins not so much. Charles Laughton was another star who did little to endear himself to those he worked with. Obviously many of the most endearing on screen personalities were not so pleasant in person, and some screen "villians" were the nicest people around.

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"Difficult" can mean different things. Someone can be a perfectionist and deemed difficult. Then, again, it can be an ego thing or an unpleasant personality (or all three).

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Marilyn Monroe was difficult to work with. Tony Curtis said that kissing Marilyn Monroe was like kissing Hitler. Marilyn's lateness and her dependence on her acting coach were big problems. Also, the actor in a scene with her had to be perfect with plenty of energy on every take because the take she finally got right was the one the director had to use. Billy Wilder warned other actors about this. Whether this was consciously or unconsciously Marilyn's plan, I don't know.

 

 

December's SOTM, Barbara Stanwyck, had the reputation of being thoroughly professional, always prepared, and nice to the crew.

 

 

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(deleted - repeat post. kingrat, you and I had the same thought at the same time about Monroe!)

 

Edited by: EugeniaH on Dec 11, 2012 12:53 PM

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Jerome Robbins was famous for being difficult and in fact nasty to work with. Jo Van Fleet was also said to be difficult.

 

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Yep Dmallon, good point. I suppose my post DID give the impression that Brynner was somehow a "choirboy" next to McQueen, which according to many in the know, was also far from the truth.

 

In fact, I just ran across an interview today on the Net which James Coburn gave a few years before his passing and right after he received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn in 1998's Affliction, and in which he gives the following recounting of his experience on the set of The Magnificent Seven, and which doesn't put Brynner in the best of light, either. Here's the excerpt from that interview...

 

James Coburn: And Sturges Poor John, he really got screwed.

 

Timothy Rhys(the interviewer): How so?

 

JC: Well, The Magnificent Seven. Yul Brynner had a deal that he'd get 20 percent of the gross. And we shot the opening where Eli Wallach played this seemingly benevolent general. Ferris Webster (the editor) put it together and it was great. You wanted to strangle the ****, he was so obsequious. But when Brynner saw it he said, "That doesn't give me anything to play against." He wanted Wallach to play a real bad guy, so he could play the king. John always gave his top actors whatever they wanted. So he went to the company and they said, "No, we like it the way it is. You wanna shoot it over you're on your own." So he borrowed a million dollars against his house.

 

TR: You're kidding! Just to please Brynner?

 

JC: Re-shot the whole thing. And he never got the money back; he lost his house. And Yul kept collecting that 20 percent. John got nothing.

 

TR: John shouldn't have rolled over so easy.

 

JC: JC: No, you're right. But that was his nature, see. He was brought up in the old school, where if you didn't have the actor you didn't have anything. The actor was everything.

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Yep! King..Pharaoh..whatever, eh?! ;)

 

(...and a story which I suppose MIGHT put a whole new spin on a famous line of his: "So let it be written, so let it be done!"!!!)

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Well, can you BLAME him, finance?!

 

I mean, word was Beery would often ground his little outboard fishing boat's motor in the rocks, and thus...well, YOU get it, RIGHT?!..."PROPS"?!!! ;)

 

(...yeah, I know...NOT one of my best there, huh...sorry)

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Jackie Cooper said that Beery was the most sadistic man he ever met. I love seeing him and Harlow go at it in Dinner at Eight, since in real life they hated each other. Is there any truth to the story that he beat the Three Stooges' mentor to death in a parking lot, or is that another Hollywood made up tale.

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I think I remembering hearing Robert Osborne mention that either Leo Gorcey as an individual or the Bowery Boys collectively were difficult to work with.

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I heard that too aimalac. It fact I heard or read that James Cagney had to "slap him down" when they were filming "Angel with Dirty Faces."

 

I also heard John Barymore could be difficult, Glen Ford accused a lot of his co-stars of trying to "steal scenes" and I guess Bette Davis was no walk in the park either.

 

Lori

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