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27 Shocking Events In Hollywood History That Actually Happened

Hollywood is a WAY crazier place than you think.

1. Ethan Embry was so stoned while shooting Can't Hardly Wait that the only thing he remembers about the experience is being asked by the director if he was "altered."

Columbia/Sony

Embry confessed to the Hollywood Reporter, "At the time, when we were shooting, I was the world’s biggest stoner." He smoked so much pot, in fact, that costar Jennifer Love Hewitt once gave him 50 breath mints before she had to perform a scene with him.

2. Chloë Sevigny performed oral sex on costar Vincent Gallo in the climax of the 2003 film Brown Bunny.

Sevigny and Gallo kiss outdoors
Wellspring

The experimental movie is about a motorcycle racer (Gallo) who is haunted by tragic memories of a former girlfriend (Sevigny), but it's most known for that scene and its reception at the Cannes Film festival (more on that later).

Gallo, who also wrote and directed the movie, told Film Freak Central that he pitched the project to Sevigny (with whom he'd had a previous relationship of sorts) by saying, "Remember that night in Paris when I did that thing to you but you didn't do it to me because you weren't so into it? Well, you might have to do that. On film." He went on to say that, to his eyes, the scene was needed to demonstrate the connection between male sexuality and self-loathing.

That Sevigny agreed to be in a sure-to-be-notorious scene was surprising, considering that she was a well-known, Academy Award–nominated actor, but she stood by her decision over a decade later.

“I’d probably still do it today. I believe in Vincent as an artist, and I stand by the film,” she told Variety in 2016, adding, “It was a subversive act. It was a risk."

Unfortunately, the risk didn't quite pay off. The debut screening of the film at the Cannes Film Festival ended in massive boos, with famed film critic Roger Ebert calling it the worst film ever shown at the festival.

3. Norman Lloyd was a couple of months shy of 100 when he filmed his role in 2015's hit Trainwreck.

Norman as his character says "none of these bums are the equal of babe ruth"
Universal

Norman — who played a cranky resident of the assisted living facility in the Amy Schumer comedy — worked with Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock much, much earlier in his career. Later, he was in Dead Poets Society and St. Elsewhere.

Norman drove a car and played tennis until he was 99, and he will turn 107 in November! You can read an interview with him here.

4. In 2006, a remake of the '80s comedy Revenge of the Nerds starring Adam Brody, Jenna Dewan, and Kristin Cavallari went into production, but it was never finished.

Adam Brody and Jenna Dewan
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

The production company Fox Atomic was two weeks into filming the remake when they pulled the plug. Why? Well, it seems two things went wrong — Georgia's Emory University rescinded their agreement to let the production film on campus after reading the script, and film dailies weren't impressing Fox Atomic executives.

5. A sequel to the 1999 hit 10 Things I Hate About You was also filmed — for a month — before it too was shut down.

A poster for the film using the same font as the original
Vision Films

More than a decade after 10 Things I Hate About You, the film’s director, Gil Junger, and one of its producers, Andrew Lazar, set out to make a sequel entitled 10 Things I Hate About Life. It didn’t feature any of the original film's characters, but would advance situations from the original as it told the story of two suicidal people who fall in love. Huh.

They started filming in December 2012 with Evan Rachel Wood, Hayley Atwell, and Billy Campbell, but stopped a month later either because A) the film company parted ways with its president and was having trouble making payments, or B) Evan Rachel Wood left the film due to her pregnancy.

At one point, they hoped to start filming again — and even released a promo trailer — but it never happened. The film company sued Wood, who pushed back with her lawyers, but it appears the litigation fizzled out. The film remains unfinished.

6. LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx had such a massive fight on the set of Any Given Sunday that the police were called.

Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J dance onstage wearing suits
RINGO CHIU/AFP via Getty Images

Oliver Stone's 1999 NFL football drama Any Given Sunday was a testosterone-filled project, so perhaps it's no surprise that co-stars LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx went at it one day.

LL and Foxx were filming a scene where their football player characters were arguing on the sidelines next to their coach, played by Al Pacino. This scripted argument soon turned real with Foxx slapping LL, and the legendary Pacino tried in vain to break up the fight between the much younger men.

Cinematographer Sal Totino recounted to The Ringer in their oral history of the film that LL threw a "fucking massive punch that hits Jamie in the face. Jamie goes back and hits the push bar on the techno-crane. I thought he snapped his neck. Jamie pops up, full-blown fight going on. Punches are flying everywhere."

Six-foot-five co-star Andrew Bryniarski added, "Oliver (the director) grabbed my arm and said, 'Andrew go do something!' I’m like, 'Fuck.' So I tackled LL Cool J, pinned him to his stomach."

Things got so bad that Foxx called the police, though no charges were pressed. LL and Foxx get along better today — that's them in the photo above singing together at a 2015 tribute concert to Stevie Wonder.

7. In 1964 a glamorous young movie star named Dolores Hart stunned Hollywood by leaving it all behind to become a nun.

Hart with Elvis Presley in a romantic movie still and later as a real life nun
Paramount, Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Hart burst onto the movie scene at 19 years old in 1957, when she played Elvis Presley’s love interest — and shared a kiss with him — in the hit Loving You. From there, she established herself as a glamorous leading lady, starring in nine more features, including the cult classic Where the Boys Are. She seemed destined for a long career as a movie star, but in 1960, while portraying St. Clare in the religion-themed film Francis of Assisi, she met Pope John XXIII. When she told him she was playing Clare in the film, he said, "No, you are Clare!" This played a role in leading her to her true vocation.

So, in 1964, the 24-year-old broke off an engagement, left acting behind, and traveled to the Abbey of Regina Laudis monastery in Connecticut to become a nun. She still lives there today, although she did return to Hollywood to attend the Academy Awards in 2012. That year, God Is the Bigger Elvis, a documentary about her life, was nominated for an Academy Award.

You can read about more huge stars who quit Hollywood and started totally different lives here.

8. Prince William and Prince Harry shot cameos as stormtroopers in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but were cut out in the end.

The princes with the cast of the film
Wpa Pool / Getty Images

The brothers didn't mess up their cameo royally (sorry) but, rather, were cut because they stand over six feet tall and looked out of place with the rest of the more average-height stormtroopers.

9. Harrison Ford made a cameo in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial but ended up forever an outtake.

Elliot sits opposite Ford in a principal's office
Universal

Considering that E.T. was written by Harrison's then-wife, Melissa Mathison, and directed by his Raiders of the Lost Ark collaborator Steven Spielberg, it makes sense that Harrison would make a cameo. But his part as an uptight principal who reads Elliott the riot act after all the drama in the escaping-frogs scene didn't add much, so out it went.

10. Kirsten Dunst was accidentally given a real joint to smoke instead of a fake one while filming Woodshock, and had to be sent home for the day.

A trippy, double exposed photo of Dunst
A24 / Via A24

The movie featured the smoking of a lot of pot, which Dunst told Jimmy Kimmel was “movie pot,” i.e. fake pot made with herbal tobacco. However, after filming one scene, something felt...different. “I started to feel like I was losing my mind. I went to the director and said there’s something wrong with me, I think I need to go to the hospital. Like, there’s something seriously up. I’m shaking, I’m hot, I’m just flipping out.”

A producer on the film did some investigating and discovered that a real joint had gotten mixed in with the faux ones, and Dunst had smoked the whole thing on camera.

"I couldn't film anymore," Dunst said. "They sent me home."

11. Chris Farley was originally hired to perform the voice of Shrek, and he'd already completed 80–90% of Shrek's lines when he died of a drug overdose at age 33 on Dec. 18, 1997.

Chris Farley and Shrek
Paramount/Universal

The film's co-screenwriter, Terry Rossio, was a fan of Farley's performance as Shrek, writing, "What struck me most seeing him work was his willingness to reveal himself, lay himself out bare, over and again, for the sake of his performance."

Nevertheless, rather than attempt to complete the film with Farley's audio (and, perhaps, an impersonator completing the missing lines), Universal recast the role. In came Farley's Saturday Night Live costar Mike Myers, who had the script reworked to fit his comedy persona.

Farley's brother, Kevin, said, “The studio needed to do what they needed to do. It was a bad time, bad timing…a tragedy. Mike did a great job with Shrek. He knocked it out of the park.”

12. When Paul Walker died barely halfway through filming Furious 7, the filmmakers completed his performance with the help of groundbreaking CGI and his brother.

A CGI version of Walker in the film
Universal

Paul Walker's death in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013 left The Fast and the Furious franchise without a key star in the middle of production on a sequel expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars.

Despite the huge stakes, the studio suspended production and, while mourning Walker, left the film's future up in the air. Director James Wan told BuzzFeed, "I actually want to give credit to the studio for not jumping at that. Because they were just as shocked. They truly loved Paul. It hit everyone really hard. We truly did not talk about finishing the movie until Paul was buried and we had a memorial for him. It was in the following weeks that we started thinking if this was something that we could actually finish without him."

The challenge of finishing a film of this size without its star was incredibly daunting, but the ingenuity of Wan and his team made it possible. First, they poured over every bit of footage (including outtakes) that they had of Walker from all of the films. They then used the footage to create a bible of Walker's facial expressions in different situations that the visual effects artists could reference when creating CGI of Walker.

They also hired Walker's two brothers as stand-ins to many scenes (with Walker's face often digitally superimposed over theirs) and to do some line readings. In some instances, a line would be half said by Walker and half said by one of his brothers. The screenwriters also rewrote the ending to complete Walker's story arc so the franchise could continue without him.

All in all, the film was delayed a year and the budget ballooned by tens of millions of dollars, but it was worth it, as Furious 7 acted as a fine tribute to Walker and became the most successful film in the franchise, grossing upward of $1.5 billion.

13. Even more improbably, Carrie Fisher's role in in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was created using outtakes from The Force Awakens and CGI.

Fisher in Rise of the skywalker
Disney

After having killed off Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker in episodes 7 and 8, the filmmakers wanted Carrie Fisher, to play a large role as Princess Leia/General Organa in episode 9. Sadly, Fisher, 60, died of a sudden cardiac arrest on Dec. 27, 2016.

Instead of cutting her out of the film, director J.J. Abrams decided to take unused scenes of Fisher from The Force Awakens to create original scenes that could fit into the new film's plot. This took a lot of creative thinking on the part of Abrams and co-screenwriter Chris Terrio. Abrams told Vanity Fair, "We started looking at what these shots were; we started writing scenes around these shots, completely new contexts, new locations, new situation...whenever you see Carrie, we completely constructed, lit, and composed the shots around the original pieces that we had."

A lot of visual effects work was also needed to make the older footage work (one reason among many: Fisher had different hair and costumes in The Force Awakens). In general, Fisher's facial expressions were from actual, earlier footage, but her body and movements were created by CGI.

Love it or hate it, you can't deny the filmmakers succeeded in making Princess Leia a part of the last Star Wars film in the original series.

14. Kevin Costner tried to make a sequel to The Bodyguard — but this time around, instead of protecting Whitney Houston, he would've been guarding Princess Diana!

The Bodyguard poster and a photo of princess diana
Warner Bros. / Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images

The Bodyguard — starring Kevin Costner as a former Secret Service agent hired to protect a music star played by Whitney Houston — was a huge hit in 1992. Even if you never saw the film, you almost certainly know the soundtrack, which featured Houston's smash "I Will Always Love You.”

A few years later, Costner pursued a wild idea — to make a sequel where his bodyguard character would be tasked with protecting a member of the royal family, and he wanted Princess Diana to star! According to Costner, Diana was cautiously interested in making her film debut and consented to Costner having a script written for them. Sadly, the finished script reached Costner’s desk just a day before she died.

15. Beetlejuice almost had a sequel too — with a totally unexpected concept to be titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.

michael keaton and winona ryder in beetlejuice and the hawaii sunset
Warner Bros. / Leekris / Getty Images

Two years after the release of Beetlejuice, director Tim Burton hired playwright Jonathan Gems to write a movie where the Deetz family moves to Hawaii so Charles can develop a resort. As it turns out, the resort is being built on an ancient burial ground which brings more spirits — including Betelgeuse — back into their lives. Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton were reportedly onboard to return, but then Burton instead went off to direct Batman Returns, effectively killing the project.

Many years later — in 2015 — Winona Ryder and Tim Burton both said a sequel was in the works, but, sadly, last year Tim Burton, when asked if it was still happening, said “I doubt it.”

16. The first film to dramatize the story of the Titanic hit screens just 29 days after the ship went down — and starred an actor who survived the sinking.

The poster for Saved from the titanic
Eclair Film Co

After vacationing in Italy, 22-year-old movie star Dorothy Gibson boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912 to head home to New York. She was playing bridge when the ship hit the iceberg and was lucky to escape on the first lifeboat.

Upon returning to New York, Dorothy’s employer, Éclair Film Company, immediately suggested making a movie. Dorothy co-wrote the script — which took the structure of her telling her parents and fiancé about what happened to her on the ship — and even wore the same clothes she’d worn on the ship while filming. The resulting film, Saved from the Titanic, ran only 10 minutes (this was typical at the time as theaters showed a lot of one-reel shorts) and mixed newsreel footage and stock images of icebergs with new footage filmed at a movie studio in New Jersey and on a docked ship in New York Harbor. The movie was a huge hit globally (although some criticized it as an exploitative cash grab).

In the end, the film, like the Titanic itself, was doomed. In 1914, the only known prints of the film were lost in a studio fire.

17. James Cameron's Titanic originally had a long action scene that test audiences rejected — to the point where it was entirely cut out of the final film.

Billy Zane's valet wades through water in the ship, toting a gun
Paramount/Fox

In the version we all know, Billy Zane's Hockley — as the ship sank — chased Jack and Rose below deck before giving up. But test audiences saw a version where Hockley, instead of giving up, sent his valet/bodyguard Lovejoy after them. A Leo-Lovejoy fight scene followed, and test audiences hated it. Director James Cameron later said, "Audiences accepted the jeopardy of the ship sinking so strongly that the idea of a guy chasing them around with a gun didn't seem that plausible or scary." Once the scene was cut, test audience scores soared.

18. Here's one more Titanic factoid: Matthew McConaughey was nearly cast as Jack instead of Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rose was nearly played by Claire Danes instead of Kate Winslet.

McConaughey and Danes
Brenda Chase / Getty Images

McConaughey did a screen test for the role with Kate Winslet that went so well, he came away from it convinced he had won the role. Interestingly, in 2017, Kate Winslet was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and when Colbert said the studio wanted McConaughey but director James Cameron insisted on Leonardo DiCaprio, she nodded and said, "Yes."

Danes, meanwhile, was courted by the production to play Rose, but turned the part down because she knew the film was going to be big and she wasn't ready for the attention that would bring. “It was going to propel me to something I knew I didn’t have the resources to cope with," she said on the podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. "I knew I had to do a lot of foundation-building.”

19. In 1992, the chairman of Paramount Pictures spent a whopping $2.5 million on a film treatment that was a mere two pages long.

Joe Estherhas and the poster for the film Jade
Lucy Nicholson / Getty Images / Paramount

Sherry Lansing had just ascended to the top spot at Paramount when she made a splash by paying Joe Eszterhas (pictured above) the huge sum of money for just two pieces of paper. The story becomes less shocking when you learn that Eszterhas was the world’s most famous screenwriter in the ‘90s, earning $26 million for the scripts he sold during the decade.

Eszterhas turned the two-page treatment into a feature-length erotic thriller titled Jade, which was released in 1995 starring David Caruso and Linda Fiorentino. Jade didn’t fair nearly as well as Eszterhas’ previous erotic thriller, Basic Instinct. It was a major bomb, grossing barely 1/5th of its budget. Amusingly, despite the huge payday for the treatment, Jade earned Eszterhas a Worst Screenplay nomination at the Golden Raspberry Awards.

20. The ending of Legally Blonde was totally re-tooled after it underwhelmed at a test screening.

MGM

At the test screening, the movie ended with Reese Witherspoon's Elle kissing Luke Wilson's Emmett, then cutting to a year in the future when Elle and a now blonde Vivian (Selma Blair) hand out Blonde Legal Defense Fund pamphlets on campus. Co-writer Karen McCullah told Entertainment Weekly, “The test-screening audience didn’t feel like it was an exciting enough ending for her, success-wise." So while still at the movie theater, the filmmaking team brainstormed the graduation speech ending.

Reshoots soon commenced, and if you look closely at the last two scenes, you'll notice Witherspoon's hair is more reddish. This is because she was in the middle of shooting another film, The Importance of Being Earnest, when she did the reshoots. Also, Luke Wilson wore a wig, because he'd shaved his head for The Royal Tenenbaums.

21. Forrest Gump was adapted from a book that described Forrest as being 6'6", 242 pounds, and having a huge penis.

The cover of the forrest gump book
Doubleday/Paramount

"Jenny pulled down my undershorts an her eyes get big an she say, 'Whooo — lookit what you got there!'" is an actual line from the book. 😳

There are other differences too. For example, in the book by Winston Groom, Forrest goes to space as an astronaut. And the famous scene in the movie where Forrest runs across the country? That was an invention of the film's screenwriter, Eric Roth, who only used the book as a loose guide while reshaping the story into the one we know today.

22. Forrest Gump nearly had a sequel where Forrest was a single dad raising a little boy with AIDS.

OJ, Forrest, and and image of the Oklahoma City bombing
Hal Garb / Getty Images/Paramount/ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

When Winston Groom released a follow-up novel, Gump & Co., in 1995 (which tracked Forrest’s life through the '80s and '90s), Paramount explored adapting it into a film sequel.

Eric Roth — who won Best Adapted Screenplay for the original film — went to work on a sequel. As he had with the original, Roth only used the book as a loose guide, although his script also spanned the major events of the '80s and '90s. Roth put Forrest in the back of O.J. Simpson’s Bronco, had him dance with Princess Diana, and placed him on the periphery of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Roth turned in his script on Sept. 10, 2001. The next day, of course, was 9/11, which changed everything. Roth says that, when he met up with Tom Hanks to discuss the draft, “We looked at each other and said, ‘This movie has no meaning anymore.'"

23. Rachel Weisz played Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns but was replaced by Maria Bello in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Weisz in the mummy and Bello in the last film
© Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

If you believe director Rob Cohen (who was taking over for Stephen Sommers, who directed the first two Mummy films), Rachel Weisz dropped out because the new film aged the characters, and her character would now have a 21-year-old son. Cohen told Heat, “I got a very angry phone call from her agent, saying she'll never play the mother of a 21-year-old. I said, 'OK, good, fine, bye.'" 



However, Weisz says she dropped out because the filming would have required her to spend five months in China away from her 2-year-old son. There were also rumors that Weisz thought the script had major problems.



It’s also possible that Weisz — who had recently won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and was appearing in higher-quality films — was less than enthusiastic about the series’ new director, whose previous film has a miserable 12% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.



In the end, it was a good decision for Weisz, even though the film was a box office hit. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was the worst-reviewed film in the series and has a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of…you guessed it...12%.

24. The Disney executive who bought the screenplay for The Sixth Sense ended up losing his job over the purchase.

Bruce Willis in the sixth sense
Getty Images

David Vogel, the president of Disney's Buena Vista Motion Picture Group, was so blown away by M. Night Shyamalan's screenplay for The Sixth Sense that he bought it the same day he read it — for a whopping $2.25 million and with a commitment to let Shyamalan direct. He also neglected to get the purchase cleared by his bosses, but figured after eight years in his position he'd earned the right to do so. This set off a series of events that led to Vogel leaving the company.

In the end, this all blew up on Disney which, perhaps in a fit of anger at Vogel, arranged for another company to finance the film. As a result, Disney only ended up keeping 12.5% of the profits of the most successful live-action film in their history.

25. Robert Pattinson, when called on to simulate masturbating in the 2008 film Little Ashes, felt his efforts weren't coming off realistic enough, so he went ahead and did the deed on camera.

Pattinson winces in pleasure in the film
Kimberly White / Getty Images, PT Films/Aria Films

If masturbating on the set of a major motion picture sounds surreal, perhaps it's fitting that Pattinson was playing surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.

In a 2013 interview with Germany's Interview magazine, Pattinson revealed that his authentic orgasm face is captured in the film. When asked why he didn't simply pretend, Pattinson replied, "Try it. I can tell you right now, no chance. It just doesn’t work." He went on to say that he was worried the scene might ruin his career, but very shortly after production wrapped, he got the call telling him that he'd been cast in Twilight.

Fortuitously, it seems that Pattinson's acting chops have improved since those early days of his career. He has since successfully simulated masturbation in four movies: High Life, Damsel, The Devil All the Time, and The Lighthouse.

26. Nicole Kidman was the original star of David Fincher's Panic Room but was replaced by Jodie Foster after an unfortunate incident.

Kidman, then Foster in the film
J. Vespa / WireImage / Sony

Nicole Kidman was 18 days into filming the thriller when she injured her knee on set. She’d injured the same knee the previous year while filming Moulin Rouge!, and X-rays revealed she'd now suffered a hairline fracture. This meant she needed to be off her feet for months. So, while she wasn't fired, she did have to drop out of the film.

This was bad news for the studio, which would incur big insurance penalties if it didn’t recast quickly without suspending production. Unfortunately, this was early 2001 when everyone was anticipating a writers’ strike, so almost every big-name actor was already engaged filming one last movie before Hollywood shut down.

Enter Jodie Foster, who was available because a film she was about to direct, ironically enough, had to be shut down when its star Russell Crowe suffered an injury. She stepped into the role with only a week’s preparation and had to perform it on a set — including the titular panic room — that had been designed for the much taller Kidman. Oh, and she was pregnant! Big sweaters and a few post-baby reshoots got them around that, though; and in the end there was no need to, ahem, panic, as the movie was a big hit.

27. And lastly, Eric Stoltz played Marty McFly in Back to the Future for seven whole weeks before he was fired and replaced by Michael J. Fox.

Eric Stoltz and Michael J Fox both performing the same scene as Marty Mcfly
Universal

This is probably the most famous story of an actor being fired after production began. Filmmakers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale originally wanted Michael J. Fox to play Marty but weren’t able to cast him because he was busy filming the hit sitcom Family Ties. So, Eric Stoltz, who the head of Universal Sid Sheinberg was a fan of after his dramatic turn in Mask, was cast as Marty. Sheinberg was so convinced Stoltz was the right guy that he told Zemeckis he could reshoot with someone else if it didn’t work out.

Stoltz filmed almost all of the classic scenes from the film but eventually there was no denying he wasn’t right. While Stoltz was a fine actor, his performance was too dramatic and lacked the comedic touch the role required. The filmmakers reached out to Fox again (was he really, really not available?), and arranged a deal where he would film Back to the Future at night after he wrapped that day’s shooting of Family Ties. Zemeckis broke the news to Stoltz himself and said it was “the hardest meeting I've ever had in my life and it was all my fault. I broke his heart." Interestingly, the role of Jennifer — which had gone to Melora Hardin (later Jan fromThe Office) in the Stoltz version — was also recast.

Stoltz probably doesn’t love missing out on a massive franchise, but he has had a long, successful career since famously appearing in Pulp Fiction.

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