15 OF The Grossest Things Actors Did For Movies


John Leguizamo Ate Live Maggots On A Pizza For ‘Spawn’

Photo: New Line Cinema

In the film adaptation of comic book Spawn, John Leguizamo plays the Clown. While his entire character is a little disgusting, no scene is more disturbing than the one where Clown eats a pizza covered in maggots. To truly dedicate himself to the character, Leguizamo decided to eat real maggots on film instead of faking it.

He later confirmed his choice on Twitter, saying, “Yes I did eat maggots in #spawn but only swallowed a few! Ha ha!”

The Zombies In ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Ate Chocolate Syrup-Covered Pig Intestines To Simulate Body Parts

Photo: Continental Distributing

Night of the Living Dead changed cinema when it was released, in large part due to the gore depicted on screen. At the time, films didn’t often show such graphic material.

Scenes that showed zombies feasting on human body parts were created using animal intestines from meat shops, ham covered in chocolate syrup, and limbs from mannequins covered in Silly Putty. While most of these fake limbs were technically safe to consume, meat and intestines covered in chocolate syrup don’t exactly sound appetizing. Unfortunately, the zombies had to dig into their disgusting feast with gusto to simulate the experience of eating a human being.

Jerry O’Connell Put Live Cockroaches In His Mouth For ‘Joe’s Apartment’

Photo: Warner Bros.

In Joe’s Apartment, a young man named Joe moves to New York and struggles to find his place in the Big Apple. In fact, he can’t even get an apartment. When an older adult woman expires right in front of him, however, the keys to her apartment fly through the air and land in Joe’s hand. Taking advantage of the moment, Joe decides to move into her home. Unfortunately, when he steps inside, he’s greeted by thousands of talking cockroaches.

While certain scenes in Joe’s Apartment featured rubber cockroaches, puppets, or CGI, others used real cockroaches. One scene in particular shows Joe pouring a bowl of cereal. Unbeknownst to Joe, his first spoonful includes two cockroaches.

Apparently, the cockroaches in that scene were real. Actor Jerry O’Connell put the real roaches into his mouth for the shot, then took them out immediately before any harm could come to them. Although he kept the animals safe, we can only imagine how disgusting it must have been to put living cockroaches in his mouth.

Nicolas Cage Ate A Real Cockroach For ‘Vampire’s Kiss’

Photo: Hemdale Film Corporation

The original script for comedy-horror film Vampire’s Kiss called on actor Nicolas Cage to suck on a raw egg. While discussing the movie, both Cage and the film’s director, Robert Bierman, decided an egg wasn’t good enough. Instead, Cage decided to eat a real cockroach. As Bierman explained:

Cage said to me, “The thing I hate most in the world are cockroaches. They are my Room 101, so let me eat a cockroach.” He wanted to eat the most frightening thing for him.

I thought, “This is terrific!” I sent my prop people down into the boiler room. They brought me a box, divided up into little sections with tissue paper. The cockroaches were there lined up for me to cast. I think they’re actually called water bugs – they’re bigger than cockroaches.

Despite his fear, when it came time to film the scene, Cage proceeded without complaint. The scene of him picking up the roach, lifting it to his mouth, and downing it after a few chews was all completely real. Not only that, but Cage did two takes, fully ingesting a cockroach each time. To keep himself from getting sick, Cage followed up each roach with a swig of 100-proof vodka, hoping to wash away any potential germs.

Christian Bale Ate Live Maggots And Wrestled A Snake In ‘Rescue Dawn’

Photo: MGM Distribution Co.

In Rescue Dawn, Christian Bale plays Dieter Dengler, a prisoner of war who manages to escape into the Vietnamese jungle. The film was Bale’s first chance to work with director Werner Herzog, and Bale made it clear that he would do anything to bring the movie to life.

Tired of special effects, Herzog took Bale up on his offer. Many of the stunts were performed by Bale himself, but perhaps the most disgusting is when Bale eats live maggots for a scene. Since the prisoners were not given much food, maggots were the only thing available. Rather than creating the shot using special effects, Herzog asked Bale to eat the maggots for real. Before the scene filmed, Herzog ate the maggots himself to demonstrate how it should be done.

Bale also wrestled with a live snake for another scene. Although the snake wasn’t venomous, it was just another example of Bale and Herzog’s commitment to authenticity in Rescue Dawn. 

Choi Min-sik Devoured A Live Octopus (Four Times) For ‘Oldboy’

Photo: Show East

One of the most famous scenes in Oldboy is also the most disgusting. In the film, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) walks into a sushi restaurant and orders a live octopus. Then, he proceeds to grab the living animal in his hands, bite its head off with his bare teeth, and shove the rest of the wriggling aquatic creature into his mouth.

While the scene is sickening to watch, it’s even more disgusting to consider that the moment was entirely real. Not only that, but it wasn’t the first octopus Min-sik consumed. To get the shot right, Min-sik had to tear apart four different octopuses. His guilt about the loss of life was so great that he actually said a Buddhist prayer for each octopus.

To get the raw animal down, Min-sik covered each one in salt. However, that was the only help he got with the scene. Other than that, every bite of octopus was 100% authentic.

Lance Henriksen Got Food Poisoning When His ‘Android Blood’ in ‘Aliens’ Curdled

Photo: 20th Century Fox

One gory scene in Aliens shows android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) being ripped in half by the Queen Xenomorph. As his body breaks apart, he spills out white, slimy blood.

The “blood” in the film was actually a simple mixture of milk and yogurt. While it sounds straightforward enough, the concoction caused serious problems for actor Henriksen. The heat of the studio lights combined with hours of filming caused the dairy blend to go bad. Henriksen accidentally got some of it in his mouth while shooting, leading to a serious bout of food poisoning.

Kane Hodder Volunteered To Put Live Nightcrawlers In His Mouth To Enhance An Effect In ‘Prison’

Photo: Empire Pictures

Horror movie Prison tells the story of an executed prisoner who wants revenge against the prison’s warden. During his mission, he targets both guards and prisoners alike.

In the film, Kane Hodder handled the stunt work and played monstrous prisoner Forsythe. When he stepped into the role of a newly risen man from the afterlife, Hodder offered to fill his mouth with nightcrawlers to increase the effect of the film.

While the offer was undoubtedly disgusting, it forged a close relationship between Hodder and effects supervisor John Buechler, which later led to Hodder being cast as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.

Matt Damon Waded Through Garbage And Excrement In An Actual Landfill To Shoot ‘Elysium’

Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

In the world of Elysium, the Earth has become one big slum filled with poverty-stricken inhabitants. The rich have moved to the moon, leaving anyone without wealth to fend for themselves. To truly capture the unsanitary, polluted feel of the film, some scenes were shot in a garbage dump in Mexico City. Not only was the area filled with trash, but most of the dirt seen on screen was actually a large collection of fecal matter.

While people who weren’t on screen got to wear masks to protect themselves, actor Matt Damon had to face the filth head-on. He didn’t back down, though. He completed each scene without complaint, but did admit that he was covered in black dust after most shots.

Anne Hathaway Sang Her ‘Les Misérables’ Solo Surrounded By Rotting Fish That Decayed Under The Lights

Photo: Universal Pictures

One of the most touching moments in Les Misérables occurs when Anne Hathaway’s character, Fantine, sings the famous “I Dreamed a Dream.” As Fantine reflects on the high hopes she had for her life, her song is juxtaposed with her dirty surroundings and the reality of her existence as a streetwalker.

To convey the true misery of the scene, Hathaway was surrounded by real fish carcasses while filming. As the scene was shot, the fish rotted under the heat of the lights. While the resulting smells brought an air of authenticity to the scene, Hathaway belting out her sad tune surrounded by rotting fish probably wasn’t the most pleasant experience.

The Snow That Falls On The Cast Of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Was Ground-Up Asbestos

Photo: Loew’s, Inc

At the start of the 20th century, people didn’t know just how dangerous asbestos really was. While it’s now a widely recognized carcinogen, it was once a popular ingredient in Christmas decorations, particularly fake snow.

Beyond making its way into individual homes, the asbestos-based fake snow also appeared on the set of The Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy and her friends fall asleep in the poppy field, they’re awakened by a dusting of fresh snow. The snow in the scene was actually asbestos. The carcinogen created a white, fluffy powder that was used commonly at the time, so filmmakers didn’t think twice about using it in the movie.

Walon Green Let A Millipede Crawl On His Face To Get A Two-Second Shot For The ‘Willy Wonka’ Tunnel Scene

Photo: Paramount Pictures

The original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory features a chilling scene in which Wonka escorts his guests through a dark tunnel on a boat. As the boat travels faster and faster, Wonka dives into a screaming monologue about where the boat is going. To add to the creepy feel of the scene, disturbing images and videos appear on the walls of the tunnel. One image shows a young man with a fat bug crawling across his face.

The man in the scene is actually writer Walon Green, who came up with the idea to have a centipede crawl across his face. When it came time to get the shot, however, Green was worried that the centipede would cause him real harm. To make the situation a little more safe, Green grabbed a millipede they had on set and completed the shot with that crawling critter. His commitment to creating a truly scary scene was fantastic, especially since the shot only appears in the movie for about two seconds.

Daniel Stern Really Did Have That Tarantula Dropped On His Face In ‘Home Alone’

Photo: 20th Century Fox

One famous scene in the Christmas classic Home Alone shows young Kevin McCallister escaping the intruders in his house by putting a tarantula on one man’s face. The unlucky actor who had to deal with the crawling critter was Daniel Stern, and according to him, everything about the moment was entirely real.

Not only was the tarantula real, but Stern’s reaction and scream of terror were also genuine. Although Stern originally thought the tarantula would be fake, the crew wasn’t convinced that they could pull off the shot with a replica. Instead, they brought in Barry the Tarantula, a real-life spider who had only a little training. Stern expressed his discomfort with working with the tarantula, mostly because its venom glands hadn’t been removed. Unfortunately, if these glands are removed, the spider perishes.

Although Stern had some misgivings about the scene, he eventually agreed to do it with promises from the animal wrangler that all would be fine. Stern was a little nervous at the start of the scene, but he later admitted that Barry was a pretty incredible scene partner once Stern got used to him.

Tony Todd Got Stung By Bees 23 Times While Playing Candyman

Photo: TriStar Pictures

In Candyman, Tony Todd plays an artist who is lynched and ultimately slain by bee stings. With a story like that, it should come as no surprise that bees were an integral part of filming the movie.

While Todd was willing to be around the bees on set, he did negotiate a little extra cash for his trouble. Every time Todd was stung by a bee, he received a bonus of $1,000. Considering he was stung 23 times, he made pretty good money off of his pain.

Despite the many bee stings, Todd doesn’t regret the experience. After filming the movie, he said of the bee stings, “Everything that’s worth making has to involve some sort of pain. Once I realized it was an important part of who Candyman was, I embraced it. It was like putting on a beautiful coat.”

Michelle Pfeiffer Put A Live Bird In Her Mouth In ‘Batman Returns’

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

While playing Catwoman in Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer made the decision to put a live bird in her mouth. The scene was filmed before CGI was even a possibility, so the only option to bring the effect to life was to do it for real. Reflecting on the moment, director Tim Burton said:

I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed. She had a live bird in her mouth while the camera was rolling. It was four or five seconds, and then she let it fly out. It was before CG, it was before digital. It was so quick, it seems like it was an effect.

Pfeiffer, on the other hand, doesn’t have such a positive memory of the moment. While discussing the bird, she said:

I look back and say, “What was I thinking?” I could’ve gotten a disease or something from having a live bird in my mouth. It seemed fine at the time. I don’t think the bird was [sedated] or anything. We did that scene in one take. I think Tim likes to [torment] me a bit, it’s like a little brother [or] brat kind of thing.

Thankfully, no birds were harmed in the making of this scene.

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