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7 Celebrities Who Are Very Difficult to Work With

michael jordan yelling

Hey! Not now – I’ve got a game to win!

The life of a celebrity is often much different than the average person. Can you imagine what it’s like having people wait on you, hand and foot, for years and years? Be surrounded by yes-men and yes-women? How about the sheer expectation of friends and family alike? Even some strangers feel like you owe them something.

More importantly, can you imagine what your own outlook on life and people might be, if most of your interactions consisted mostly of adulation, disrespect (ever have several people walk up to you during a family dinner outing and ask for autographs?) and even hatred? How do you think you would react?

How about having your personal life shared recklessly, with rumors treated as facts and facts treated as rumors? Uber-legend Michael Jordan once had his concentration broken while practicing for a Playoff game.

His unbreakable routine of shooting free-throws in the supposedly-secure United Center was broken when a father sneaked in there with his young child, and told the child to sneak up on Jordan and stand next to him until Michael noticed him.

Apparently, security had accepted money from the boy’s father and allowed them in – against team regulations and building rules. Michael quietly signed the requested autograph and jogged out of there, his concentration broken and his tolerance for selfish fans waning.

And this is just an arguably minor instance of what some celebrities go through. Although it might be a reason why some of them are so difficult to work with, it meant to be an excuse for their behavior – because frankly, there are some who deal with it quite well and are civil and tirelessly understanding. The following difficult celebrities to work with haven’t always handled it very well, and we’re calling them out on it.

1.Kiefer Sutherland

jack bauer pointing gun viralcontent

Really, Freddie – this is the guy you want to make angry?

Who would’ve ever thought the likely pro-social psychopath Jack Bauer was difficult to work with? In mid-2014, actor Freddie Prinze Jr. seemingly came out of nowhere and dished on his working relationship with Bauer’s real-life alter-ego: Kiefer Sutherland.

Freddie Prinze Jr. worked with Sutherland in Season 8 on the set of the hit TV show “24.” He recounted his time as “terrible,” and claimed that ‘Sutherland was the most unprofessional dude in the world.’

Prinze Jr. took special offense to being made to take his shoes off during scenes they shared together, because Sutherland is 5’4” (according to Prinze Jr; other sources put him closer to 5’8”) and Freddie is a taller-than-average 6 feet.

kiefer sutherland difficult celebrity to work with

He doesn’t look like an asshole. Does he?

For his part, Sutherland apparently doesn’t feel the same way about Freddie Prinze Jr. – he had some rather nice comments about him and the other actors in Season 8 as far back as 2009.

Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who worked with Sutherland on 24 in 2005, candidly talked about how he was a very angry young man who likely got her character killed off because of off-screen disputes between them.

In Jack’s Kiefer’s camp, however, is actor Louis Lombardi – who played CTU analyst-extraordinaire Edgar Stiles in Season 5 of 24.

Just a few days after Freddie’s rather catty and unflattering admission about Kiefer to ABC News, Lombardi told US Weekly that his experience with Jack was “absolutely the opposite.

“[sic] Kiefer was one of the most professional actors I’ve ever worked with. He wanted the best out of everybody. I have nothing but great experiences with him. He’s a gentleman.”

Ouch.  Lombardi then went on to say that most of the actors on the set of 24 found Sutherland to be the same way – “professional and likable”. It’s starting to sound like maybe Prinze Jr.’s feeling the effects of his partner being the only one bringing home syndication checks. Or not – who knows?

Although there isn’t any question that some actors find it difficult to work with the “unprofessional” Kiefer Sutherland, others would argue that it’s unprofessional to dish on working relationships with costars – especially since most humans have good and bad days.

2. Harvey Keitel

harvey keitel difficult actor


Intensity may be his middle name – but don’t tell this celebrity that. Harvey Keitel once flipped on a psychiatrist that told him he was intense; perhaps he felt this was the way to disprove him.

With his considerable acting chops and breathless resume in both theater and film, Keitel has always thought of himself as simply very devoted to his craft.

harvey keitel smug look

Now that you’ve put those hand-cannons down, wipe that smug look off your face.

Even in this telling interview with director Ethan Silverman, Keitel comes off as somewhat combative.

It’s easy to imagine him absolutely chewing up a less competent interviewer over any little mistake or misperception. Perhaps this isn’t a bad thing, however.

What lends a bit of credence to his reputation of being difficult to work with is his firing from the movie Apocalypse Now, when director Francis Ford Coppola grew tired of trying to get Keitel to ditch his method-acting style to play the character Willard.

Keitel was also let go from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut because of creative differences and alleged antics.

This article by Jason Matloff can probably give you more of an insight into Keitel; it’s the transcript of a 2004 interview.

There’s little question that he’s a difficult actor to work with for most directors – but that may be because he takes himself just a little too seriously.

It could also be the reason why he tends to be so good in his scenes, so perhaps we should sit back and enjoy the movies he doesn’t get himself fired from.

3. William Shatner

willam shatner as captain kirk

Imagine being with him on a trip across the galaxy. Cryo-sleep, please.

According to many sources – most importantly, his own cast-mates – William Shatner’s ego is bigger than the Star Trek Enterprise.

As Captain Kirk, he was known as quite the prima donna on the show – once demanding the construction of a gym in his area of the set and refusing to work until it was built.

This can perhaps be chalked up to concern regarding his figure – he was, after all, rather svelte as Captain Kirk.

The next story about Shatner as a terrible celebrity to work with and be around is less justifiable. In 2004, the Planet Expo Convention was used as a proper send-off to war hero James Doohan, who played Star Trek’s Chief engineer, Montgomery Scott.

Doohan was beset with advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s and pulmonary fibrosis.

The deadly physiological cocktail was to kill Doohan less than a year after the final diagnosis, and all his old crew-mates and legions of fans attended the “One Last Time…Beam Me Up Scotty” Convention.

According to Star Trek’s George Takei, however, Shatner wanted no part of the sentimental mess. Other sources confirmed that Shatner told event organizers:

“I don’t want to do this and I really don’t want to deal with all this Alzheimer’s crap.”

George Takei – who played the helmsman of the USS enterprise, as well in some of the Star Trek movies, added more fuel to the fire:

“It was not surprising, but yes shocking. This is the usual thing that happens, on the set whether it was the TV series or the movies, or at conventions. This was another convention where he decided he was not going to do what they wanted him to do, and he walked out.”

captain kirk difficult celebrity to work with

Yes – we got you, Bill

4. Bruce Willis

bruce willis with shotgun

Is he really acting?

Out of all the celebrities that are difficult to work with we’ve covered, Bruce Willis just might take the cake – he’s been known to behave badly towards fans and co-stars alike.

Unlike the single incident that catapulted Christian Bale into the spotlight in 2009, Willis has been linked to on-set fracas in almost every single one of his movies.

Ever since the 1980s, as his star began to rise, Willis has been unveiled to the public as a not-so-nice guy on the set. He was brash, demanding and unforgiving to the crew.

He even used social media to lambast director Michael Bay, at the suggestion that the producer-director might one day direct one of Willis’ Die Hard movies – which is strange, considering they had huge success on 1998’s Armageddon. Yippee-kay-yay! Apparently, no one can do right by ole Bruce.

bruce willis kevin smith laughing

Hey – is that Silent Bob?! I think he plays Kevin Smith in real life.

Perhaps the most shocking public expose (is there any other kind?) of the effect Bruce Willis can have on cast and crew is what quiet funny man and director Kevin Smith said about Mr. Die Hard on the set of Smith’s movie Cop Out.

Kevin minced no words, calling his professional time with Willis a ‘soul-crushing’ experience. Bruce couldn’t be bothered to sit for photo shoots, and he held up production at will when he refused to leave the actor’s trailer.

The experience was so poor that Kevin Smith didn’t hold back when asked for his assessment of the cast at the conclusion of filming:

”Everyone knows who it is. Put it this way – remember the really funny guy in the movie? It ain’t him. He’s a f!@%ing dream. Tracy Morgan, I would lay down in traffic for. Were it not for Tracy, I might’ve killed myself or someone else in the making of that movie.”

bruce willis diehard crawling

Got…to…get…out of here. Bad publicity’s on my trail.

Wow. When you consider what Bruce Willis did to interviewer Jamie Edwards for the English radio station Magic 105.4 in answer to some boring, trite, rote questions, it’s easier to imagine the stories of Willis being unprofessional – and enjoying himself while doing it.

5. James Cameron

james cameron director

Iron Jim, himself.

And coming in at the 5th spot, we have Mr. Titanic, himself. Or perhaps, Mr. Avatar – since the latter outgrew the world-breaking box-office success of 1997s Titanic.

Uber-director James Cameron has parlayed his incredible movie-making skills into a net worth just shy of a billion dollars, and racked up as much acrimony as admiration along the way.

His most telling moniker may very well be Iron Jim, as cast and crew know him – they flip it around to ‘Mij’ when he’s having a temper tantrum.

Cameron has a knack for stripping actors of all humanity and molding them into the perfect, pliable objects he needs on-set.

In The Abyss, for example, he refused to let an actress take a much-needed bathroom break during filming, telling her to just pee in her suit. In fairness, she was in a wetsuit and underwater at the time sooo…

As a difficult celebrity to work with, some of the other antics of Iron Jim are borderline outrageous – and often done without restraint.

After one grueling film in which Cameron managed to make the crew all but hate him, he pushed through and finished what would be one of the best movie sequels ever in Aliens, biding his time until the end of filming. On the last day, he assembled the crew and skewered them with this send-off:

‘This has been a long and difficult shoot, fraught by many problems. But the one thing that kept me going, through it all, was the certain knowledge that one day I would drive out the gates of Pinewood and never come back, and that you sorry bastards would still be here.’

james cameron in water titanic movie

As hard on himself as he i s on the crew – or so we’ve been told.

Cameron, to his credit, is known to push himself even beyond the arguably ridiculous limits he imposes on world-renowned actors.

He almost drowned while filming The Abyss, he replaced a cameraman to personally shoot an extremely dangerous scene that required him to hang out of a moving van in Terminator 2 with a helicopter swooping perilously close to his head, and he had live ammunition tested too close for (most peoples’) comfort.

Given the huge successes his films have endured, James Cameron might be a difficult celebrity to work with – but the work always seems to pay off considerably.

6. Wesley Snipes

wesley snipes blade weapons

Dude – just pay them next time.

First off – is it really that difficult to believe that a vampire isn’t the easiest creature to get along with? Wesley Snipes has probably been moderately unmanageable throughout his whole career, given that plenty of action stars with top-billing seem to be jackasses.

There’s just something about the widespread adoration from fans that seems to go to their heads and make a difficult celebrity to work with.

But the tax-dodging celebrity is a special case. From arguably disparaging comments he made regarding black women in a 1997 interview with Ebony magazine, to his inarguably abominable attitude on the set of Blade Trinity, Snipes has mostly himself to blame for the lack of cinematic opportunities that preceded his three-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

In fairness, many would argue that the sentence was a bit of a witch-hunt – would ten years probation not have sufficed for a first-time, nonviolent offender?

Nonetheless, Snipes burned many Hollywood bridges with producers and cast-mates alike with his off-screen performance on Blade Trinity.

The relationship between the martial-arts star and director Blade director David Goyer was so charged that Snipes refused to interact with him personally, taking and sending any message via his personal assistant or by Post-It Note.

blade wielding gun

Post-it Notes, dawg? Post-it Notes?!?

Yes; a vampiric monster-killer took the passive-aggressive route of leaving notes everywhere telling the crew and director what he wanted done.

The storm brewed after a minor (well, not to Wesley, apparently) disagreement regarding a crew-member Snipes wanted fired. Goyer refused, and the gloves came off.

In fairness, not every cast member had something bad to say about Snipes, but neither did they say anything that could be misconstrued as praise.

At the very best, according to actor Ryan Reynolds, Snipes was very “intense” on set, all the time – which brings back visions of fellow tough celebrity to work with, Harvey Keitel. A well – we’ll see if Snipes’ reputation for being difficult has died down after his prison stint; old fans are definitely looking forward to more of Blade.

7. Steven Seagal

steven seagal

M.C. Douche

First off, there’s a reason why Seagal takes the top (or bottom – whichever way you want to look at it) spot: violence.

None of the above difficult celebrities to work with have ever been accused of actually putting their hands on a cast-member.  In a decidedly unfriendly fashion, at that.

During filming for the 1996 action flick Executive Decision, Seagal wasn’t just a blowhard who took himself way too seriously – he was also a brute that took every opportunity to impose his gigantic, 6’5” frame on fellow actors and crew.

In a story related by comedian John Leguizamo to several media outlets, Seagal actually picked up Leguizamo and slammed the much smaller man against a wall.

silva hugging seagal

This man taught Silva that kick. Yep. On a related note, I’m selling baby unicorns.

What precipitated that reaction? Well Seagal had walked onto the Executive Decision set and randomly announced:

“I am in command here. What I say is law. Everyone will listen to me no matter what.”

Leguizamo broke into laughter at the absurdity of such an unnecessary and bizarre pronouncement, upon which Seagal pretty much rushed him against the brick wall and knocked the wind out of poor John.

But mostly, people who aren’t diehard fans of Seagal dislike him because he’s just weird – it’s like the guy has no sense of self-perception whatsoever.

It’s easy to see how this would make him a celebrity that’s hard to work with. These days, Seagal can be seen hanging around the MMA crowd, telling reporters about how he taught Anderson Silva the front kick to the face that felled the mighty Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Ah well; at least – for the time being anyway – Seagal won’t be using that move on his fellow actors.

anderson silva front kicks vitor belfort


8. Kanye West

kanye west tongueNeed we say more? Mr. West was recently described as one of the most self-absorbed celebrities ever by a recently-terminated bodyguard.

Kanye fired the guy for allegedly trying to flirt with his wife, Kim Kardashian West.

But of course, it’s his word against the rap and fashion icon’s word, so that’s pretty much a wash.

What’s not a wash, however, is the meme to the left making fun of Kanye’s sense of style (using the term ‘style’ loosely).

It probably does take a monumental sense of self-absorption to leave the house wearing a glitter jacket as a Black man, – but hey let’s not bring race into it.

There’s no denying that Kanye is a bit of a pioneer, however, so maybe the glitter coat thing catches on and he actually has people buying it at the almost certainly insane price point. Good luck, Mr. Kardashian West.


  1. Doc
    August 17, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

    Good stuff.
    Being in the public eye truly has it’s costs.
    To remain humble and gracious, might be a form of “acting” they have yet to practice.


  2. Stan the Man
    August 31, 2014 @ 3:46 am

    I agree, Doc! To whom much is given, much is expected. I do think, though, that we (society in general) idolizes these guys way too much. We have to do a better job of separating fact from fiction – they are NOT role models. Nor should they be taken as such.


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