Actors blamed for delaying a movie

Countless factors go into making a movie, and each one needs to go flawlessly for a script to translate into a hit major motion picture. Needless to say, it's no small undertaking–a fact which becomes even more painfully apparent when a single cast member derails an entire production. Whether it was because of bad behavior on the set, financial disagreements, or artistic differences, each of the following actors have been blamed for at least a few months–if not years–of delays between cameras rolling and their movie making it to a theater near you.

Dwayne Johnson and Fast 9

This particular incident is admittedly a rumor, but one thing is certain: the ninth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise has been officially delayed from 2019 to 2020. While the studio has yet to offer a detailed explanation for the bump, one of the franchise's stars, Tyrese Gibson, has a theory of his own.

"Fast family, right? Nah. It's about Team Dwayne. Three years," Gibson wrote during a series of heated exchanges that spanned multiple Instagram posts, passive-aggressively referring to the Fast spinoff film poised to star Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Gibson claimed that movie is holding up Fast 9, and threw the blame directly at Johnson, a star who has enough sway to determine which film gets priority.

It makes sense: if Universal wants to get a spinoff out there fast, they're not going to want two different Furious movies cannibalizing each other at the box office come 2019. So with Johnson's go-ahead—and a much smaller roster of stars to juggle—it's easy to assume they'd just crank out a spinoff and postpone the main series in order to keep revenue flowing and franchise fatigue at bay.

Whatever's really going on behind the scenes, the public dustup between Gibson and Johnson was relatively short-lived. Just days after threatening to quit the franchise over his co-star's perceived slight, Gibson posted another update assuring fans he'd had "a real heart to heart" with one of Johnson's "associates," and expressing excitement for that ninth installment.

Robert Downey Jr. and Sherlock Holmes 3

There's a reason we haven't seen Robert Downey Jr.'s take on Sherlock Holmes return to the big screen since 2011, and it's got everything to do with the actor's superheroic MCU alter ego. That's right: Sherlock Holmes 3 is on ice while Downey is busy handling business with the Avengers, according to Holmes producer Joel Silver. It makes sense that the massive superhero movie franchise paying Downey ridiculous sums of money would have a contractual hold over him until he's done avenging, but it doesn't relieve the pain of missing out on another one of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock films. Hopefully Downey can wrap the fourth Avengers without a hitch and cast his gaze back to 221B Baker Street in time for a 2021 release of Sherlock Holmes 3.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Dr. Strange

The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't conquer the box office by catering to actors' demands, but there have been exceptions. Just ask Benedict Cumberbatch, who managed to pause the MCU during director Scott Derrickson's pursuit of the actor to play the title character in Doctor Strange. Although he was apparently the only actor Derrickson seriously considered for the role, he initially turned it down due to scheduling conflicts.

Cumberbatch's other obligations meant the casting search continued longer than Derrickson would have liked, but ultimately, Doctor Strange was delayed to allow Cumberbatch a second chance at becoming the sorcerer supreme. "If you can't jump on board when the ride's going past, that's usually it," Cumberbatch later explained. "So the hugest compliment they paid me was to come back to me. It motivated me to try to fulfill their faith in me."

The delay turned out to be worth it: Doctor Strange was both a critical and commercial success, thanks in no small part to Cumberbatch's performance in the role.

Matt Damon and Jason Bourne

While the truth regarding Jason Bourne's delay-addled history has never been officially confirmed by Universal, it's long been heavily rumored that the 2016 entry in the franchise was postponed while the studio negotiated for Matt Damon's return. For the longest time, Damon wasn't slated to come back for the fifth installment–until the studio accepted his condition regarding the return of director Paul Greengrass. As the story goes, once Greengrass hopped back on board, so did Damon–a move that ejected director Justin Lin along with Jeremy Renner, who led the franchise through its Damon-free Bourne Legacy spinoff.

Considering this narrative perfectly aligns with producer Frank Marshall's fervent denials of Damon's return at a point in the film's development when massive overhauls were clearly being made, all evidence points to the original Jason Bourne being the cause of the delay.

Bruce Willis and Death Wish

In one of the most straightforward cases of an actor delaying a movie, MGM announced that its Death Wish remake needed to be pushed back from its late 2017 release date in order to allow star Bruce Willis to be available for press and promotion. Willis, as well as Death Wish's director Eli Roth, were both filming other projects around the time MGM had initially hoped to release the remake; in order to avoid a messy press schedule for its topline talent, the studio ultimately bumped the release date into 2018. And it's a good thing they did, too—aside from freeing up Willis and Roth's schedules for PR, it gave them more time to read our deep dive into the behind-the-scenes story of the Death Wish franchise.

Brad Pitt and The Fountain

While there's no bad blood between them, Darren Aronofsky openly admits that Brad Pitt is the reason his film The Fountain took so long to make. Pitt was initially attached to star in 2002—but when the production team was just a few weeks out from the start of principal photography in Australia, Aronofsky received notice from Pitt that he was leaving the film. Losing his leading man at the last minute set the production back a long way—and was a punch in the gut to the writer-director, who'd already spent millions to make the film a reality. Aronofsky equated it to a long-term relationship breakup, where no one thing was to blame; he felt the two of them had just grown apart creatively. Alas, such is the world of fine art.

Dieter Laser and The Human Centipede 3

In a less refined case of creative differences, Dieter Laser, the original star of Tom Six's gross-out franchise The Human Centipede, caused a delay in the third and final installment due to his personal issues with the script. He and Six got in a public argument and Six cited Laser's "laughably big" ego as the reason they had to delay the film, prompting Laser to explain that the story and character he'd been pitched at the beginning of the project were absent from the script he received from Six when it came time to make the movie.

Thankfully for fans of the trilogy, some closed-door talks allowed the two to work out their differences and move forward with the third Human Centipede film. This resulted in its eventual release, much to the gleeful disgust of horror fans worldwide. This might be the one case where "better late than never" doesn't apply.

Adrian Grenier and Entourage

Unlike the fictitious A-list celebrity Adrian Grenier played in Entourage, the real-life actor doesn't command nearly as high of a fee–nor do his titular group of friends. Understandably interested in changing that, the four stars of the show demanded wages that were competitive with their co-star Jeremy Piven when Warner Bros. started moving forward with the Entourage movie—a move that ended up stalling the production, making sure no one got paid for quite some time. When asked when the movie would finally be released, producer Mark Wahlberg replied, "As soon as them guys stop being so greedy." This prompted Grenier to shoot back with "I will sign any deal that gives ALL the boys an opportunity to share in the upside of success EQUALLY."

Grenier seemingly got his wish, as he and his three show brothers ultimately received contracts that were more to their liking and the film finally moved forward. Unfortunately, critics didn't think it was worth the wait, and audiences didn't bother finding out.

Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean 5

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales had an especially messy production history fraught with numerous delays and lots of behind-the-scenes drama—much of which was later pinned on leading man Johnny Depp. He made big waves during his fifth go-around as Jack Sparrow in the blockbuster franchise, just not of the right variety: between illegally smuggling his dogs into Australia during shooting, reportedly often showing up late, and injuring his hand—not to mention a messy public falling out with ex-wife Amber Heard—the making of Pirates 5 was not a smooth ride for Mr. Depp. All this evidence regarding the star's troubled times makes it easy to understand why it took Disney much longer than expected to release this sequel.

Marlon Brando and Mutiny on the Bounty

Actors causing problems behind the scenes isn't anything new–it's a tradition that goes back decades. Marlon Brando, who starred in 1962's Mutiny on the Bounty, was singled out as the sole reason $6 million and months of labor were wasted during production. According to Lewis Milestone, the film's director, Brando put plugs in his ears specifically to drown out instructions on the set, argued over every scene in the script, refused to shoot the finale, and ultimately demanded that he be allowed to make his own ending. All these outbursts resulted in costly delays during the film's development—and proved more than a little ironic, given that Brando was filming the classic story of a deadly mutiny while leading a real-life insurrection of his own.