JOB SEARCH / SEP. 24, 2015
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Jobs From Hell: Actors

All jobs come with a hefty load of bull-sh*t and aggravation. No matter how much you love what you do, eventually you will succumb to: boredom, micromanagement, personality conflict or thermostat disagreement syndrome (I’m sweating balls over here Marcy, just put a goddamn sweater on!!).

OK, sure you’ll have to deal with a variety of people at work, but some carry a higher risk of being absolutely insane. For entertainment purposes, we are going to talk about one of those jobs today. A job you might even say is cursed (but that might be hyperbole for the sake of including a hyperlink to another really cool article, click and you shall learn)

See Also: Hollywood’s Working Class: The Worst Jobs in Hollywood

What job allows you to run around, pretending to be someone else, while playing elaborate (and expensive) dress up? Other than professional man-child (which I hear pays horribly) the other profession that is acting. Although acting seems like an awesome job for the layman, it can be a hellish combination of grueling hours, diva-like a$$holes and persnickety bosses (A.K.A. directors). Well, since they entertain us so well already, let’s have a good laugh at the hellish conditions actors are exposed to at work.

Directors from Hell

So as the title indicates, Directors are the individuals on set that are in charge of developing and preserving the overall vision and tone of a film. Usually, they accept feedback from their talent (i.e. their actors, screenwriters etc.) and modify their vision to include the ideas of highly experience veterans of the film industry. I said usually…there are some directors that are so one-minded, obsessive and stubborn that the difficulty of working with them is legendary.

OK, so first on this list is the creator of horror/suspense cinema Alfred Hitchcock. Why you ask as you wave your limited edition, collector’s bundle of Psycho? Well, because ole Hitch said that “actors should be treated like cattle” and he contradicted that by treating his talent like trash/objects. His most infamous anecdote is during the filming of The Birds Horny Hitch became obsessed with young actress Tippi Hedren but that’s just the beginning. In the infamous attic scene, Tippi was promised that animatronic birds would be used instead of real ones. But as any director worth his/her salt knows the only way to make emotion convincing is to make it real. So Hitchcock built a cage around the set where the scene was to be filmed and proceeded so spend a week throwing live birds at the young actress. Pecked, bloodied and fatigued the actress finally suffered a nervous breakdown.

Another director that attempts to mentally break his actors like some sort of twisted, demented drill sergeant is David Fincher, the colossally talented man behind high caliber movies such as: Zodiac, Fight Club, Seven, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and most recently Gone Girl. Apparently he’s a colossal dick too. This man is such as douche that he threatened to delete Jake Gyllenhaal’s last 10 scenes as part of “a Pavlovian experiment”. He wanted to see if he could “condition” Gyllenhaal into crying out of anxiety/frustration by just hovering his finger over his laptop’s delete button. Nice.

The Hurt Locker (without the undeserved Oscar)

So sometimes that pain is more, let’s say self-inflicted or self-initiated. During the filming of the fourth iteration of the Rocky series, Stallone asked the monolithic human/actor/Chemical Engineer, Dolph Lundgren, to try to knock him out. He gave it his best, which injured Stallone to the point where was refused coverage by his insurance because his injuries were consistent with those seen in people that were involved in head-on collisions. So from pretty much the most epic of injuries to the most ridiculous, Hilary Swank received stitches after being hit with Gerard Butler’s suspender when he was stripping during the filming of P.S I Love You. The erroneous suspender snapped away from Butler’s clothes and hit Hilary dead in the face. The results were suspenseful…I guess you just have to take it on the chin sometimes.

OK, I’m done, back to the gore. Although the still Oscar-less Leo has given us many Oscar worthy performances throughout his admirable career, one stands out due to personal injury/maiming. In the now infamous scene during Django Unchained, Leo smashes his hand down on the table, destroying a glass and cutting his hand deeply. While still in character he used the injury as a prop and even smeared his own blood on his terrified co-star, Kerry Washington, as a show of his character’s dominance over Washington, who was playing a slave.

Speaking of cut hands, Jake Gyllenhaal (yes from the Zodiac movie actor/David Fincher Guinea Pig) received a gash to the hand in a scene of the movie Nightcrawler in which his character loses it, grabs a mirror and starts screaming into it. The mirror shattered resulting in Jake getting cut and during the latter part of the movie can be seen hiding his injured hand behind his back.

The king of the movie mishaps, though, must be everyone’s Klutzy uncle, come action movie hero, come real life hero Harrison Ford. He tore his ACL in the Fugitive, had an intestinal bug that cut down a whip vs sword fight during Raiders of the Lost Ark to a one bullet shot (nerds will get the reference), spinal injuries during the Temple of Doom and although not film related, the characteristic scar that he has on his chin is a result of him busting up his face in a car accident. Oh, and he also has the tendency to crash land an airplane every once and while.  

Payday ain’t that great

OK, so you’re going to argue a million bucks for a movie is a million bucks, but you are overlooking a significant distinction here. First a million bucks for a movie that makes hundreds of millions is chump change. Secondly most movies film for three to five months five days a week, with days being a minimum 10 hours, but more than often running from 12 to 20 hours.

So if you do the math with 14 hours being more or less the average day: you are looking at whopping, bone crushing 70 hour workweeks (compared to your piddle-y 40 hour workweeks). In a third of a year actors put in roughly 1400 hours (about six months’ worth of hours for 9 to 5ers like us) and again make hundreds of millions of dollars for the studio while risking life and limb too…so they work hard for their money.

See Also: Hollywood’s Latest Genre: Old Dude Action Movies

Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.

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