John Krasinski Refused To Let Jim Cheat On Pam, Plus 13 More Scenes And Storylines Actors Flat-Out Rejected
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American actor and writer
Warning: This post includes discussion of sexual assault.
1.The eighth season of The Office originally included a scene where Jim (John Krasinski) cheated on his wife, Pam (Jenna Fischer), by kissing the new office administrator, Cathy (Lindsey Broad), while the pair were on a trip for work. But Krasinski thought the moment would alienate audiences, so he refused to film it.
In Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office, Krasinski wrote, "That’s the only time I remember putting my foot down. I remember saying things that I never thought I’d say before, like, 'I’m not going to shoot it.'” He went on, "My feeling is there is a threshold with which you can push our audience. ... But there’s a moment where if you push them too far, they’ll never come back. And I think that if you show Jim cheating, they’ll never come back."
Show creator Greg Daniels wrote that he wanted to include the moment because he "needed to worry [the audience] that maybe I was going to give them a bad ending so they were happy when they got a good ending." But ultimately, he agreed with Krasinski and cut the scene.
2.During a Hot Ones interview, Jessica Alba said that she flat-out refused to film a scene in the water with a real shark when she starred in Into the Blue. Said Alba, "For some reason, they caught a wild tiger shark. ... And they were like, 'It's in this cage, so it's docile!' And I'm like, 'It's a fucking tiger shark.' And it was like a seven-foot tiger shark."
The plan was for the shark to swim by Alba and her costar, but it would get way too close — and be way too real of a shark — for Alba to feel comfortable. She said, "I was on Flipper, we had fucking rubber dolphins, you can do this with a goddamn rubber dolphin, you don't need a real-ass shark in the middle of the fucking ocean with chum in it. And maybe I lost my mind, and maybe I yelled all of that." When the director insisted that she get in the water because they were wasting time, Alba instead got on a boat and returned to shore, after first telling the director if he was so eager to get her in the water, maybe he should jump in himself.
3.Joseph Fiennes, who plays the odious Commander Fred Waterford in The Handmaid's Tale, told Entertainment Weekly that he refused to film a scene where Fred rapes his wife, Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), while the two are on a diplomatic mission in Canada during Season 2.
The assault would've occurred in Episode 9, after Fred was confronted by Luke, the husband of his handmaid June/Offred. Said Fiennes, "I guess in many ways, as abhorrent and nasty and evil as Fred is, I have to defend parts of him. ... I had to go out on a limb and refuse to do it because I felt that even though Fred is who he is, he’s human. And I think that he would be reeling from the interaction with Luke, and that suddenly the reality comes face to face with him and he would be digesting that and trying to understand it, and he wouldn’t necessarily be switched on by being in Canada in a new hotel and trying to heavily persuade his wife to do something that she wouldn’t want to do."
Fiennes fought for his position through "long emails and defending and pushing, and feeling that Yvonne had tracked Serena so beautifully that her disenfranchisement with the regime and Fred was so beautifully charted it didn’t need a heavy scene to kind of suddenly push her over the edge." These arguments proved effective, and the scene was never filmed.
4.On an episode of the podcast Mind Power Mixtape, Mahershala Ali revealed that he requested that an intimate scene he shared with costar Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button be toned down because he was "just trying to hold a space of respect for my religion." Ali converted from Christianity to Islam in 2000.
After learning he got the role, Ali told his agent at the time, "If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it." Director David Fincher agreed to rethink the scene, and in its final iteration, Ali and Henson kiss, then "fall out of the frame."
5.When he played Jesus Christ in Mary Magdalene, Joaquin Phoenix refused to film a scene that involved Jesus giving a blind woman her sight back by rubbing mud in her eyes. This muddy miracle is based on a story from John's Gospel, though in the Bible, the blind person is a man. Either way, Phoenix wouldn't do it.
He told CNN, "When I got there, I thought, 'I’m not going to rub dirt in her eyes.' Who the fuck would do that? It doesn’t make any sense. That is a horrible introduction to seeing." Instead, he healed the woman by licking his thumb and placing it on her eyes, with no mud involved.
Said Phoenix, "It freed me up, in some ways, to discover what is truthful in the moment. That moment is not so much about a real miracle. It’s about someone who has been dismissed by society finally being seen, embraced, and encouraged to join the broader community. To me, that is a miracle. There’s something profoundly beautiful about that sentiment."
6.Michelle Rodriguez, who stars as Letty Ortiz in The Fast and the Furious franchise, almost quit during production of the first movie over a storyline involving her character cheating on her boyfriend with another man. Rodriguez told the Daily Beast, "They just followed the format without thinking about the reality of it. Is it realistic for a Latin girl who’s with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy? I had to put my foot down."
She went on to say, "I basically cried and said, 'I’m going to quit,' and, ‘Don’t sue me, please — I’m sorry, but I can’t do this in front of millions of people.'" Rodriguez's costar, Vin Diesel, took her side, and the cheating scene was dropped. Said Rodriguez, "Vin was the first one to pull me to the side while I was crying, and he just looked at me and said, ‘I got your back. Chill out and let me handle this, and you’re right — it makes me look bad anyway.’ And there you go. That was the beginning of the Letty fairy tale.”
7.During a 2017 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Matthew Perry said that he shot down a Friends story idea that would've seen his character, Chandler, become a regular at a male strip club because he enjoyed the sandwiches they served.
Perry, who described the storyline in response to Cohen's question about an episode that "jumped the shark," said, "And I called up and I said, 'Let's not do this one.'" That was enough to kill the idea, and Chandler's quest for strip club sandwiches never saw the light of day.
8.Anna Kendrick told Harper's Bazaar UK that when she was working on Pitch Perfect 3, she said no to a kissing scene between her character, Beca, and Theo, a music executive played by Guy Burnet, because she thought a romance between the two would be "fucking problematic" in light of their preexisting professional relationship.
Kendrick, who rejected the romantic storyline in its entirety, said, "And they still wanted to have a version at the end when we kissed, and I still said no."
9.When Zendaya starred as Rocky Blue on Disney's Shake It Up, she refused to kiss someone on camera, as she hadn't had her first kiss yet and didn't want the moment to be televised.
Zendaya told British Vogue, "I remember being on Shake It Up and being like, ‘I’m not gonna do this. I’m going to kiss him on the cheek because I haven’t been kissed yet, so I don’t want the kiss to be on camera.'"
10.In Season 2 of The Witcher, Geralt (Henry Cavill) discovers that love interest Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) is still alive after previously believing that she'd died in battle. Cavill told Syfy Wire that he and Chalotra successfully argued to producers that their characters' reunion shouldn't be as focused on physical intimacy as it was originally intended to be. So the pair kiss, but leave it there...for now.
Said Cavill, "We wanted it to be emotional rather than sexual. It was really, really important and we had to lean away from what was originally on the page. ... That's not how they behave. How they behave is they just want to be with the person and emotionally recognize their existence again in that shared space. So, Anya and I worked to make sure that that was an emotional beat rather than anything else."
11.Glenn Close told Vanity Fair that she refused to cry in a scene from Air Force One, the 1997 film in which she played vice president Kathryn Bennett, because she thought it would make the character appear inept and fearful.
Close said, "One thing I remember was [that] they had a scene around that table where she broke down crying, and I said, 'I will not do that. I don't think that would happen. Not my vice president. My vice president would not break down into tears. She would step up to the challenge.' So they changed it."
12.When Morgan Freeman starred in The Shawshank Redemption, director Frank Darabont wanted his character, Red, to play a harmonica given to him by his best friend, Andy, during the film's final scene when the pair had finally left prison for good. But Freeman wasn't impressed by the idea.
Freeman told the Daily News, "Frank thought I should be blowing that harmonica that Andy gave me. And I refused." He characterized the use of the harmonica as "sort of asinine, sort of cliched, sort of unnecessary, and overkill."
13.When James Corden played a janitor in the British soap opera Hollyoaks early in his career, he refused to film a scene that involved a cruel fat joke.
Corden told the New Yorker that in the scene, his character's bedroom had large photographs of unhealthy food stuck on the walls. Said Corden, "I thought that they were just really being nasty about anyone that’s overweight. I remember saying to the guy, ‘I don’t know one person who would take a picture of a hot dog and a burger and stick them on the wall.’" He didn't film the scene until the pictures were removed.
14.When Hollywood legend Bruce Lee starred as Kato in The Green Hornet, he refused to lose a fight to Robin in a crossover special between his show and Batman. According to Newsweek, Van Williams, who played the Green Hornet, recalled in a documentary, "[Lee] walked off the show. He said, 'I'm not going to do that.' He said, 'There's no way that anyone would believe I go in there and fight Robin and lose.'"
Ultimately, the fight between Robin and Kato ended in a tie rather than an outright defeat. Film critic Ric Meyers joked to Newsweek, "Even before I knew about kung fu and Bruce Lee, I was laughing when it was Robin versus Kato. It was so obvious that Robin would have been a smudge on the carpet within five seconds."
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