Johnny Depp and Mark Wahlberg both turned down the chance to join George Clooney in the cast of 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven. Speaking at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival, Clooney said, “Some very famous people told us to fuck right off. Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp. There were others. They regret it now.”
Bill Murray was replaced by Bernie Mac in the Charlie’s Angels sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle because there was a lot of on-set drama with Murray. Director McG claimed that Murray headbutted him, describing it as “square in the head. An inch lower and my nose would have been obliterated.” Murray has vehemently denied this, saying, “That’s complete crap! I don’t know why he made that story up. He has a very active imagination.”
Mark Wahlberg may have passed on Ocean’s Eleven, but he desperately wanted to win the film rights to the Fifty Shades of Grey book series — but was outbid by Universal Pictures and Focus Features. Wahlberg was furious about the missed opportunity, saying at the Hollywood Reporter’s Producers Roundtable, “We were aware of the book from very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war. … We were so close to having it. That was one of the few times I was going to fire Ari (Emanuel, his agent).”
Eliza Dushku and Jesse Bradford were arrested — and jailed! — while on a trip to Tijuana in the middle of filming the 2000 cheerleading opus Bring It On. Director Peyton Reed told BuzzFeed, “Eliza and Jesse and a couple of the cheerleaders decided to cross the border into Mexico and party, and they ended up in a Mexican jail and had to be bailed out.”
In 2006, a Chinese billionaire named Jon Jiang set out to make a big-budget, Hollywood-style blockbuster called Empires of the Deep — about a human and mermaid who fall in love — but things did not go well…at all. The screenplay went through 40 drafts and 10 screenwriters, actors (like Sharon Stone and Monica Bellucci) signed on and then ran for the hills, directors came and went, and — after a troubled shoot — the movie has spent years mired in post-production hell.
Tom Cruise earned $100 million for his work on 2005’s War of the Worlds, a figure that — when adjusted for inflation — is closer to $150 million today. How did he earn so much? By taking a lower salary up front in exchange for a significant portion of the film’s first dollar gross, essentially betting on himself and the film.
Colin Farrell says Miami Vice was the last film he made while still using drugs and alcohol, and he has no memory of making it. “I couldn’t remember a single frame of doing it. I was at the premiere and didn’t know what was happening next. But it was strange because I was in it.”
Legally Blonde had to dump its original ending after test audiences hated the film’s last five minutes. How did the movie originally end, you ask? Well, it had Reese Witherspoon’s Elle kissing Luke Wilson’s Emmett, then cut to a year in the future where Elle and a now-blonde Vivian (Selma Blair) hand out Blonde Legal Defense Fund pamphlets on campus.
They soon gathered the cast for reshoots, and if you look closely at the new graduation ending and compare it to the rest of the film, you’ll notice Witherspoon’s hair is redder. This is because she was in the middle of shooting another film, The Importance of Being Earnest, when she did the reshoots.
Bill Hader based Officer Slater — the character he played in the 2007 comedy Superbad — on a real-life cop who arrested him when he was a teenager after a prank went wrong. He told Jimmy Kimmel last week that when making the film, he mentioned to Seth Rogan, his co-star and the film’s co-writer, that “I got messed with by a cop with glasses,’ and Seth was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s, like, so lame. I can’t take a cop with glasses seriously!'”
The up-and-coming but largely still unknown actor Kel O’Neill spent weeks playing Eli Sunday in 2007’s There Will Be Blood until he was fired and replaced by Paul Dano.
Russell Crowe is most famous for his Academy Award-winning performance as Maximus, but he recently revealed he almost dropped out of the film because he thought the script “was rubbish, absolute rubbish.”
Speaking of Gladiator, it’s finally getting a sequel next year starring Paul Mescal as Lucius, but in the 2000s, Crowe — despite his character Maximus dying in the original — tried to spearhead a frankly batshit sequel that would follow Maximus as he entered the afterlife.
Chloë Sevigny performed oral sex on costar Vincent Gallo in the climax of the 2003 film The Brown Bunny. 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.”
Director Sam Raimi secretly inserted footage from his 1990 film Darkman (starring Liam Neeson as a burn victim turned superhero) into 2002’s Spider-Man.
Billy Bob Thornton got rip-roaring drunk to film the scene in Bad Santa where his character Willie T. Soke drunkenly melts down at the mall and attacks a decorative Christmas donkey. Thornton told PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing he started his day by drinking three glasses of red wine, a vodka and cranberry juice, and then a few Bud Lights. “By the time I got to that scene there, I barely knew I was in a movie,” he said.
A remake of the ’80s comedy Revenge of the Nerds filmed (briefly) in 2006. Fox Atomic was two weeks into filming the remake with Adam Brody, Jenna Dewan, and Kristin Cavallari 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.
Ice Cube wrote a script for a fourth Friday film in the 2000s that he said “was the shit,” but Warner Bros. rejected it. The reason? The plot was about Craig and Day-Day going to jail for selling weed (before it was legal). “They were like, ‘Yo, we don’t want Craig and Day-Day in jail…’ I was like, ‘What you mean? This shit is funny.’ Then, after they rejected it, they had all these movies about going to jail.”
Jim Carrey’s character Joel talks a lot about his ex-girlfriend Naomi in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but she’s never seen in the film. The production did, however, shoot scenes with the character — and none other than a pre-Grey’s Anatomy Ellen Pompeo played the role.
And lastly, 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. In a 2013 interview with Germany’s Interview magazine, Pattinson explained why he didn’t just simulate the scene, saying, “Try it. I can tell you right now, no chance. It just doesn’t work.”