So I have this theory. One way to be a great actor, even a brilliant one, is to be so insane and deluded that you actually believe yourself as a completely different person. When you believe yourself to be something, that’s how you present yourself to other people. And when actors believe themselves, that’s when they can make the part they’re playing truly real. Naturally, this is hugely advantageous for people who are actually crazy.
It’s not unusual to hear a story about some celebrity who is rude to their fans, or to their crew or director. A star with an ego is like foul-smelling gym clothes: it comes with the territory. And there’s something about pretending to be another person or many other people over the course of many years that has to have an effect on people. I can’t imagine anyone being perfectly adjusted as themselves very easily when they’ve lived that sort of life.
There are plenty of cases of great actors being difficult to work with, or just being insufferable in general. There are plenty that seem awful to me, and it’s usually perfectly ok because I don’t care for their work or find them particularly talented. I can ignore them in place of hating them. But what happens when you respect the hell out of someone’s work but still find them awful? It’s a conundrum. All we can do is shake our heads and try to forget who they are and what they’re like in real life as we consume their work like the selfish hypocrites we all are.
Here are 12 individuals who fit this mold: they are either nuts, insufferable, repugnant, or some glorious mix of many kinds of dreadful qualities—at least as far as one is able to know about public figures. The thing is, they’re also great actors, almost uniformly fabulous in virtually every film they make. Damn them all.