Neil Calloway looks at when an actor realises one of their movies is a turkey…
For reasons that it would take a long German word to explain, we like it when films go wrong, and we also like it when actors spill the beans about unpleasant filming experiences they’ve had. Two stories this week reinforced the idea that we all like a little gossip that an actor hated working on a film.
First, we had Shia LaBeouf saying that the Transformers movies were “irrelevant” and “dated as fuck”. It’s quite naively sweet of LaBeouf to compare the films to Easy Rider and Raging Bull and realise that a movie based on a toy range and think it’s going to come out on top. Seriously, what was he thinking? Still, it’s good to know he isn’t completely deluded.
In a similar story, Christopher Eccleston – a person nobody is going to mistake for a ray of sunshine anytime soon – returned to the familiar news that he hadn’t enjoyed working on G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Thor: The Dark World. Again, who could have predicted that a Northern actor best known for his work in downbeat realist British TV would not have had a great time working on a big budget movie based on a toy franchise?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that some actors don’t enjoy working on certain films – even people who enjoy their jobs have bad days, and actors can sign up to films that are radically different to the finished product thanks to rewrites, changes of director and the movie being dramatically cut in the edit. They sometimes – as Eccleston mentions when he talks of feeling like a whore for doing G.I. Joe and Thor – do movies for the money, or the hope that they’ll get a better offer if they play the Hollywood game for a while. It rarely works out.
Of course, with a few notable exceptions, these stories rarely come out at the same time as the film; actors are usually contractually obliged to promote a film in the press or they risk losing part of their fee. However, you know all was not well when a safe distance down the road, in an interview when they’re promoting another project to a friendly journalist, it all comes out. How uncomfortable they felt, how they were mis-sold the movie, how the original script was great, how the director had final cut taken from him.
And we love it when it happens. When it turns out that an actor hated a big, dumb movie they were in as much as we did, we punch the air, partly because we like it when people or things are unfairly rewarded, or even exist – studios could surely have made better movies than G.I. Joe or Transformers, and if someone who was paid to be in it hates it, then we’re right to hate it too.
We love great movies, but it’s always more fun when an actor hates a film we hate.
Neil Calloway is a pub quiz extraordinaire and Top Gun obsessive. Check back here every Sunday for future instalments.