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Hump Day Have Your Say ….. Actor and Director Dust Ups


Recently, I watched the film I Heart Huckabees.  As usual when I enjoy a film I attempt to find out a bit more about it.  That is when I first heard about the arguments on set between Lily Tomlin and Director David O Russell.  After a few heads up via twitter to check out the videos on YouTube I ended up watching them.  I was pretty shocked to see the level of anger and complete meltdown by both Tomlin and Russell.  Check out the videos below to see what I am talking about.


Tomlin seems to be the one going crazy in this scene.  I was a bit taken aback  when I initial saw this.  Then I saw this:


I am not sure if Tomlin finally pushed Russell over the edge or Russell was already unhinged to start with.  These outbursts got me thinking about a few other rants and on set meltdowns that I had heard about including the legendary Christian Bale melt down.


Yeah I know that is not the actual footage of the Bale meltdown but instead a recreation using the actual dialogue.  However it still cracked me up.  Don’t get me wrong I think Bale is a great actor but obviously lost his mind for a minute or so on set.  I also realize Bale has gone above and beyond to help out those touched by tragedy.


I know we have probably all had days where we sort of lost it and started ranting and raving.  Well at least I know I have.  Thankfully, I have never had such a meltdown while cameras were running.   Whats your take on actors and directors screaming at each other and dropping F-bombs on set?  Is this simply the way some people operate or is this atypical behavior?  I assume most of us would not be able to conduct ourselves at our day jobs in such a manner without soon ending up unemployed.


I would like to thank Sir Phobos and Joel for pointing out the Tomlin and Russell blow up via twitter when I mentioned I was watching the film.  Great stuff guys :-)



I hope no one spoke to Naomi Watts like that on the set




Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tracy February 6, 2013, 11:36 am

    Tempers flare and some people are better at controlling it than others. Do I think it’s right for an situation like what happened with Bale to take place? No, not really. Do I think he’s an asshole? Meh….I have no thoughts on it actually. The guy is method…it’s not an excuse but I can imagine when you’ve had to put yourself in a different place in order to play a role, it’s probably difficult to snap back and forth on a whim. I don’t think any less of him for the outburst.

    I once had a really nasty disagreement with the plastic kitchen garbage can and kicked the crap out of it all around the kitchen. I won that argument, but would have been mortified if it had been on video. Luckily the roomie didn’t know anything until she walked into the kitchen and saw me looking like the Tasmanian Devil with red hair. Then I sheepishly explained that the trash can and I had a fight.

    • Adam February 6, 2013, 1:47 pm

      Tracy I would love to see that short film… Tasmanian Devil vs the Trash Can. ;-)

  • wordschat February 6, 2013, 11:38 am

    While it is unprofessional for cast to sprout off, better they do than lay back and allow perceived problems in direction, fellow acting and script. Its never as easy as it looks.

    • Adam February 6, 2013, 1:48 pm

      Mark also probably better than some one being passive aggressive the entire time your filming. I am wondering how much this sort of stuff goes on all the time and we just don’t see video evidence.

  • ckckred February 6, 2013, 1:04 pm

    I’ve heard that David O. Russell is a hard director to work with. I don’t think it’s professional for these people to be fighting but I don’t judge their work based on that.

  • Adam February 6, 2013, 1:53 pm

    Ckckred I read where he and George Clooney and Russell allegedly got into it on the set of Three Kings about how Russell was treating some of the extras. Sadly I did not find any footage of that. I totally here what your saying about judging people by the final product. but its still interesting when people lose their minds and start throwing shit about on set. Not many lines of work where you can get away with such behavior.

  • Tracy February 6, 2013, 2:52 pm

    Adam – If I could make one of those cool little animated vids I’d totally make one for you. But I can’t. Sorry to say you’re stuck with the visual in your brain :)

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:32 am

      Don’t feel bad the best I could do would be a stick figure filp book of you kicking a trash can around. I would use my best red crayon for your hair ;-)

      • Tracy February 7, 2013, 8:48 am

        Oh wow, that’s quite a compliment ;) Today I’m less like Tas and more like Gossamer since it’s foggy and my hair tends to freak out when it’s foggy. Now there’s a visual. Gossamer….but in black Uggs instead of sneakers.

        • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:56 am

          I never knew that characters name I had to look it up. ;-)

  • Teddy Casimir February 6, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Besides being one of the people who wished Tracy’s outburst was captured on camera, I must say the fight between Tomlin and Russell is legendary (at least amongst my circle of friends). I want to be an actor and hope never to find myself in such situations, but I can see why conflicts of interest sometimes cause clashes between actors and directors. As for Bale, he scares me.

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:29 am

      Teddy, see that is two votes for Tracy to get her kickstarter campaign going for her live action short.

      Agreed Bale has a short fuse, intense actor but not sure I would want to hang around with him. Especially if we were going to have a few pints.

      • Tracy February 7, 2013, 8:51 am

        It would be the comedy of the century because I’m pretty certain I looked like the biggest ass when it all went down. I was very thankful that none of my roommates saw it go down. Unlike the time when I fell in the movie theater and rolled down the aisle. That’s a story for another time however….

        • Adam February 7, 2013, 9:00 am

          I’ve all most taken a tumble at the theater myself. A bad combination of getting old and gimpy and my eyesight going to hell. I think they coat the stairs in those places with popcorn oil.

          • Tracy February 7, 2013, 9:02 am

            I can’t claim age or eyesight being the cause. This was back in the day when I went to see The Lost Boys. Before the days of stadium seating. My leg feel asleep and I took 1 step into the aisle and went down….then rolled. I found it to be hilarious and laughed the whole way down. The friend I was with didn’t find it so funny however.

  • Joe February 6, 2013, 7:26 pm

    Tomlin scares me.

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:31 am

      Joe, I can see Tomlin going off at the Belfont cause the service is too slow.

      • Tracy February 7, 2013, 8:57 am

        Perhaps someone should douse her in Galaxy Glue.

  • Sir Phobos February 6, 2013, 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the mention!

    I don’t really care if those two want to have at it. I forgot how much of an ass Tomlin came off as. Regardless, if they want to scream at each other, fine. The movie came out great despite all that shit. I love how calm Dustin Hoffman is the whole time, just sitting right next to her, telling her let’s just shoot it, we have adrenaline. I don’t think I could work with her.

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:11 am

      I know right poor Dustin Hoffman, I would have been like “Do you know who I am???? I am fucking Dustin Hoffman, and I don’t need this Bullshit !!!!!!!” ;-)

      Agreed great film

      I just read that Russell put Christopher Nolan in a headlock during an argument about Jude Law at some Hollywood party so maybe he is not so bad after all. He must have hated the latest Batman film as well.

      • Sir Phobos February 8, 2013, 3:42 pm

        Well, Nolan deserved it if it was over The Dark Knight Returns.

  • Julian February 6, 2013, 8:56 pm

    …wow, shit got intense on that Huckabees set. Last i saw Russel was in the directors roundtable thing, and he seemed so nice and…calm. Had no idea he went on a rant like that. I do think the stress of filmmaking can send some normally calm,rational people over the edge.

    A friend of mine who is a aspring actress herself(she’s worked on shorts and i think one indie that didn’t get a distribution deal) said the actor/actress and director usually don’t have the exact same interpretation of the material, and finding common ground is a important part of making films due to its collaborative nature. I’m assuming Russul and Tolin had different visions of the material, and had a hard time reconciling them.

    As a aspring filmmaker i hope to never find myself in a situation like that. With that said i did a short film for a film course one of my friends who acted in it for me said i should be more assertive in my directing

    • Julian February 6, 2013, 8:59 pm

      *when i did

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:08 am

      Julian its strange to see two people so out of control in a film about Buddhism. ;-)

      Hope you never have to deal with a situation like that

  • Pete February 7, 2013, 4:16 am

    I think it’s disgraceful how Bale acted. I hate him every time I hear it. Seriously only certain people behave like that and think they can get away with it.

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 8:21 am

      Pete, I try to balance out my reaction to this episode with thoughts of how Bale visited with victims of the Aurora shooting. We all lose our minds sometimes. However, I would agree that some folks like to take advantage of others when they think they can get away with it or if they have gotten away with that behavior in the past and no one called them out.

  • mummbles February 7, 2013, 2:15 pm

    David O. Russel seems to be the type of director who gets the most out his actors. Almost all the main actors from The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook were nominated and Bale and Leo won! It’s funny you put Bale on here because he worked with Russel on The Fighter and got his oscar for it. You would think if that Russel was a mean guy they would have battled on the set. I figure Tomlin could be to blame but maybe Russel just felt immense pressure, as he said in the video it took him three years to get the movie made and he got fed up with Tomlin (she hasn’t been relevant since the 80’s) who hasn’t been in much lately.

    • Adam February 7, 2013, 10:08 pm

      Mummbles, I did not hear about any on set problems with Bale and Russell. Mark Wahlberg also does not seem like the type of guy to shit from anyone and I did not hear about him getting into it with Russell either.
      I am thinking these sort of disagreements are a lot more common we just don’t usually have audio or video evidence of it.

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