Contract Negotiations

The rich and famous are rich and famous for a reason – their unreasonable demands. Turns out actors are not immune. The following are actual clauses found in movie contracts.

Samuel L. Jackson has it in his contract that he gets a break during filming to play golf twice a week. Priorities!

The late Garry Marshall was so close to Hector Elizondo that he put a clause in his contracts stipulating that the actor was guaranteed a role in all Marshall films. Elizondo never knew about the clause but obviously benefitted, appearing in all of Marshall’s films, up until the director’s death last year.

Steve McQueen had a crazy grudge against Paul Newman. When the two starred in The poster_0Towering Inferno in 1974, McQueen demanded that he not only have top billing, but also the exact same pay as Newman—and the EXACT SAME number of lines, which seems like a pretty shitty way to write a script. The two fought it out about the top billing and eventually producers settled on a compromise for the poster: McQueen’s name is first, but Newman’s name, while second, is slightly higher up. Also the picture of McQueen is on the left, but Newman’s picture is again slightly higher up. This coined the term ‘diagonal billing’ because you know movie stars have egos and this shit definitely has come up again.

While working on (the now defunct) Eloise in Paris in 2010, Uma Thurman insisted on receiving heavy discounts if she decided to buy any clothes and\or wigs used during the shoot. Also, “no other cast member [may] receive more favorable dressing rooms.”

Roger Moore asked for and received “unlimited” Montecristo cigars on his James Bond films – I mean, what better way to get into character?

Will Ferrell, who takes pride in being an ass, demanded the following:

1 Electric three-wheel mobility scooter
1 headset microphone (Janet Jackson style)
1 flight of stairs on wheels
1 fake tree on wheels
1 rainbow (can be painted on canvas) on wheels
Guinness beer
Smart Water or Fiji Water
Coke, Diet Coke, 7Up
Raw roasted almonds
Protein bars: Peanut butter chocolate Zone Bars, Peanut Butter Power Bars

Just the necessities, obviously!

Will Smith had a two-and-a-half million dollar trailer built for himself. His contract makes sure the trailer has a spot on every movie set. It sits on 22 wheels, has 14 televisions, and $30,000 worth of leather upholstery. It has a full kitchen with over $$100,000 worth of granite countertops. It has sliding doors like the Star Trek Enterprise, which lead to a wardrobe room. It has pistons that allow it to transform to have a second story, which houses a screening room for watching dailies. There’s a shower in a $25,000 bathroom that has a magic glass door, which can go between opaque and transparent with the push of a button. Sean and I saw this monstrosity on the streets of Manhattan while he was filming MIB3, and you bet the locals were complaining about its size and its generally fucking up traffic, and blocking out sunlight in the surrounding apartments.  Charming?

Lindsey Lohan, known for being oh-so modest, demanded a private jet with a hairstylist, a makeup artist, and a manicurist onboard. She also insisted on a 1-year Russian visa, a Ritz-Carlton penthouse suite, and a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, and that was just to appear on a talk show. I think she may be overestimated her cachet.

While filming Gravity in Surrey, George Clooney insisted on a custom-made beach hut complete with hot tub, private landscaped garden, and basketball court built next to his trailer. He let production pick up the £100,000 tab while making $20M for the movie. Life is fair!

Tom Cruise’s “thing” is as weird as he is: thongs. He’s got thongs written into every contract – up to 50 of them per movie since he only wears them once. He feels they’re imperative for shooting action scenes, keeping him loose and unrestricted. I have a feeling that my underwear is not what’s holding me back. I also doubt the thongs are helping him out all that much, but it’s a nice justification for your fetish, isn’t it?

But just to leave you with something positive, not all contract riders are inspired by selfish greed. Robin Williams always wrote in his contract that on every film he made, production had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. Remember that next time you watch one of his old gems.

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19 thoughts on “Contract Negotiations

  1. mydangblog

    What’s with Will Farrell and wanting to wheel things around? Also, I didn’t realize that Will Smith was such a diva! Love the Robin Williams tidbit–he was a pretty awesome guy.

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  2. Christopher

    Learning that about Robin Williams makes me want to go back and watch The Fisher King again.
    Also it should be noted that Steve McQueen is now known for his charitable works, including buying $50,000 worth of food and medical supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua and helping to support an orphanage in Taiwan from 1966 through the 1970’s. When filming in areas affected by poverty he’d often ask, or have someone ask for him, “What can I do to help?” He was private about it and a lot of what he did wasn’t publicly revealed until after his death.

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  3. Birgit

    So Tom Cruise likes ass floss. He is a weird one and now, every time I see him swing from a building I know what his undies are…ickkkk. I knew about McQueen and Newman but it was more McQueen and Newman having fun at McQueen’s expense. It’s a shame about the others and it makes me think they need to have their heads deflated. You forgot about Liz Taylor and the expenses she did. When making The Blue Bird, she wanted food from a certain restaurant in LA and got it delivered…to Russia..I believe. Robin Williams shows what it’s truly about and how we need to look at it.

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  4. raistlin0903

    Man, actors can seriously be weird at times. Never knew about MCQueen and Newman. Towering Inferno was such a great movie, it puts things in a very different perspective when I see it next time. Always knew that Tom Cruise was weird, but thongs is taking weird to a whole new level though. Thankfully this all ended up positively with Robin Williams. Such a great actor and wonderful human being, truly one that is missed. Loved this post, a really fun read 😀

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