Movie Villains Who Have Been Heroes In Real Life

The entertainment business is full of people who give off a different perception of who they are. It’s well known many actors who often play the good guys may not be so likeable in real life. And those who often play gangsters, killers and scummy characters are very nice to be around. Everyone loves to play the villain because you can get away with so much more. But there comes a time in which the bad guys aren’t who you think they are.

Danny Trejo plays bad guys to teach kids a valuable lesson

Before he turned to acting in the 1980s, Danny Trejo was in and out of jail and prison for many years. At one point, he had met Charles Manson in the early 1960s while in prison. But following a riot in 1968 at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, Calif., Trejo was put in solitary confinement after hitting a guard in the head with a rock. But this gave Trejo the time he need to reform his life and get off drugs and alcohol for good.

Beginning in 1985 in Runaway Train, he was cast in a small role as a prison boxer. And from there he has appeared in over 400 roles in movies and on TV. He has a face and a look of someone you didn’t want to mess with. And he was often cast as bad guys or inmates in movies who were either killed, seriously injured or incarcerated. Trejo said it was because he wanted to show people these things await them if they turn to a life of crime. By the beginning of the 21st Century, he was appearing in family-friendly movies like the Spy Kids movies.

But some other actors really stepped up to help when others needed it.

Ted Levine demanded Brooke Smith have better working conditions

The Silence of the Lambs is considered one of the greatest movies of all time and greatest horror movies. However, filming the movie wasn’t too easy for the cast and crew. Filming took place mostly over the winter months in 1989 and 1990 when temperatures were brutally cold at times.

Levine plays the serial killer Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill, who kidnaps, kills and skins plus-size woman to make a woman’s suit. One of the people he kidnaps is Catherine Martin (Smith) who spends most of her scenes in the bottom of a well wearing nothing but light gown. Levine and Smith spent most of their time on set together and would often eat lunch together to discuss their scenes. The crew began to joke that Smith was developing Stockholm Syndrome. Jodie Foster, who plays the movie’s protagonist and heroine Clarice Starling called Smith Patty Hearst.

The set for the pit Smith was in had her having to be climb up through a trap door and move dirt over the door and herself. She often didn’t have anything to rest on during takes except sitting down in the dirt. One day, she had to go to the bathroom. And rather than let her, the production team kept her in a set she couldn’t get out of until she had to just squat and urinate in the dirt.

This pissed Levine off who went to the producers and demanded that Smith be taken better care of. And since Levine at the time was just a what’s-his-name character actor, he could have been fired, but the director Jonathan Demme and producers changed their way of filming. Smith and Levine remained friends after filming completed and it was released, even though Smith said they have spoken in a while.

Jason Vorhees’ actor demanded better health conditions for his co-stars

You may not know the name Ted White. But the legendary stuntman, who at 96 as of this post, had performed as a double for John Wayne and Clark Gable to name a few. By the time he was cast as Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, he was 57. You may recognize him in movies like Starman and Romancing the Stone where he played small roles.

Director Joseph Zito cast him because he need a larger man and the former Marine is a big guy at 6-foot-4. But something bigger than his build was his consideration for his fellow actors. Filming started in October of 1983 and lasted well into the winter of 1984. One scene in the movie had a character, Samantha (Judie Aronson), skinny-dipping in very cold water temperatures at night. The actress would then get into a raft boat.

However, she was getting very cold between takes and kept asking Zito for breaks in between filming where she could put on warmer clothing. Zito refused and at one point Aronson broke down crying on set. This infuriated White who looks like the guy you don’t want to make mad. Aronson would develop hypothermia and White threatened he’d walk off the set. White later said he only took the role because he needed the money. Evenutally, Zito allowed better treatment of Aronson.

During another scene, Jason is supposed to crash through a shower and assault another character, Doug (Peter Barton). The actor had been injured during a previous role and had to have surgery. So, White demanded that Barton be allowed to use a crash pad. However, White didn’t get along with Corey Feldman who plays Tommy Jarvis and Zito allowed White to crash through a stunt window a little earlier than planned to get back at Feldman’s reported “bratty” behavior. Feldman’s reaction seen on screen is genuine.

Still, White would later criticize the violence in the movie even saying a scene in which a character, Paul (Alan Hayes), is killed by having his groin impaled with a spear gun and hoisted up in the air was too gruesome. White is the only actor to play Jason over 12 movies to refuse to be initially credited partially out of the poor working conditions and worries it ruin his career. He has since embraced the fandom.

Margaret Hamilton became the motherly figure Judy Garland needed

Judy Garland became so memorable for her role as Dorothy on The Wizard of Oz it’s so sad to realize that she was constantly being treated bad off screen. She was put on “pep pills” to remain thin. And since she was only 16 at the time of filming, she was in no condition to say no. Her own mother had began given her pills before she was even 10.

So, filming on the set, as a child, she needed someone to turn to. And that was the Wicked Witch of the West. On screen, Margaret Hamilton scared so many people. Even when she appeared decades later on the Sesame Street, it was considered such a controversial episode it was never shown again. And the way she screamed, “I’ll get you, my pretty!” has become a classic line.

But when Fred Rogers had her on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, she seemed like such a sweet, friendly woman. And that was what Garland needed. She may have only been in her mid-30s at the time of filming but she became Garland’s surrogate mother. When Hamilton was injured during filming suffering burns, Garland would visit her and help her take care of her son.

Filming the rape scene in The Accused was too much for the cast

The Accused won Foster the first of two Oscars within a short period. One of the movie’s most crucial if not totally brutal scenes is the scene in which her character is violently raped by three people in a game room of a bar while others cheer. Filming such a scene in the late 1980s would require several precautions to be taken. And it was rehearsed, it had to be filmed very carefully. Now, movies have intimacy coordinators and in the era of MeToo something would be hard to film even on a closed set.

But filming of the movie was hard for Foster as it took five days to complete. She later said she zoned out while filming. It was actually rougher on the actors playing the rapists. Leo Rossi who plays Cliff “Scorpion” Albrect, a sleazy bar patron who more or less encourages the rapes, took his family to Vancouver to film. He said that Foster and Kelly McGillis, who played the prosecutor, Kathryn Murphy, would often babysit on the weekends so he and his wife could go out. And the character he plays is such a creep.

But the actors who had to actually film the scenes close to Foster had worst reactions. Steven Antin, who played the college student Bob Joiner, broke down crying on set and had to be comforted by Foster. Woody Brown, who plays another rapist, Danny, got so sick he ran from the set and vomited outside his trailer. It is a brutal scene to watch.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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