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What It Means to Be a Difficult Actress vs. a Difficult Actor

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | August 11, 2016 |

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | August 11, 2016 |

Before Suicide Squad was even announced, all focus has been on Jared Leto and his “method” behavior on set and beyond, to the annoyance of the cast, crew and us as people on the internet. But there was something extra obnoxious about his behavior, and all method and “difficult” behavior on set. Finally, our friend Sarah (Cinesnark) pointed it out.

There seems to be a bit of a difference between what behaviors mark a woman as “difficult” versus a man, and the ramifications (or lack thereof) of being difficult. Here is who comes up in a cursory Google search of difficult actresses and difficult actors and what “difficult” means for each:


Lea Michele — throws tantrums on set

Katherine Heigl — said a movie was sexist, complained about writing

January Jones — isn’t as friendly as fellow cast members, had a child of mysterious parentage

Teri Hatcher — castmates didn’t like her, thought she was the star of the show

Shannen Doherty — castmates didn’t like her

Sean Young — cosplayed as Catwoman to get the part, stalked James Woods

Debra Winger — complained about castmates


Val Kilmer - allegedly punched out Tom Cruise, clashed with multiple directors, ate a locust on the set of Tombstone just to weird people out, had directors fired, didn’t speak to Joel Schumacher for two weeks during Batman Forever, burned a cameraman with a cigarette, got into a shoving match with Schumacher, got into a fistfight with Tom Sizemore

Marlon Brando — refused to read scripts or memorize lines, refused to act with Frank Oz (THE DIRECTOR) on set, repeatedly fucked up lines so Frank Sinatra would have to keep eating cheesecake which he hated, had lines fed to him via earpiece, may have put on pants for shooting but definitely wandered around set in his underwear

Alec Baldwin — all this stuff, complained that the air was too dry at 30 Rock (the building), yelled at staffers, wanted to quit 30 Rock (the show) because he thought it was in a creative decline

Bruce Willis — described by Kevin Smith as “soul-crushing to work with,” created a fake username and lashed out about Michael Bay on the Ain’t It Cool News message board, couldn’t remember lines even with cue cards, Stallone called him “greedy and lazy,”

Charlie Sheen — is Charlie Sheen

Jared Leto — sigh

Shia LaBeouf — always showed up on set for Lawless drunk, kept cutting his face on purpose on Fury, insisted on having unsimulated sex in Nymphomaniac despite his girlfriend not being cool with this, whatever the fuck this was, plagiarism

Edward Norton — has a clause in his contract that ensures full script approval as well as his own final draft of the script AND final cut. Tony Kaye tried to take his name off American History X because Norton edited it so much.

Not only is there a massive difference in terms of behavior levels, but also in terms of career levels they were allowed to achieve, let alone levels of success still enjoyed. Sean Young and Jared Leto are essentially the same. But one, simply by being intolerable for the sake of his art, and, of course, being male, will enjoy a long, rich career. Whereas one is basically finished.

Women in all industries across the board are required to be polite, not overly emotional, patient, fair, calm, not overly sensitive, never cry, never yell, be accommodating, shrink, make room, be ladies. Because when we’re not, well, no one wants to be Sean Young, do they?

But men never have to be.