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Quiet on the Set (Because the Star is Sleeping)

February 21, 2017

We’ve all fallen asleep while watching a movie or a TV show—but these actors managed to doze off while they were filming a movie or a TV show.
Actors Sleeping on the Job

Norm Macdonald

In 1995, the Saturday Night Live star acted in one of his first movies, Billy Madison, with fellow SNL star Adam Sandler. The movie is about a wealthy slacker (Sandler) who decides to go back to school, but until then he sits around a pool all day with his friends, getting drunk. Macdonald played one of those friends. While filming around the pool one day, Sandler says he delivered a line to Macdonald…and Macdonald just sat there and said nothing. He was wearing sunglasses, so it took Sandler a moment to realize that he was asleep. Macdonald later said he knew why he dozed off: His character was supposed to be drunk, and so Macdonald had had too much to drink as well.

James Phelps

Don’t read this if you haven’t finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, book or movies. James Phelps played Fred Weasley, brother of Harry Potter’s best friend, Ron Weasley, since the beginning of the movie series. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the last Potter film, Fred dies. It’s a pivotal, extremely sad scene—Phelps as Fred lays there with his eyes closed while his co-stars cry. But Phelps didn’t have to do much, and he had to keep his eyes closed tight, and so…he fell asleep.

Robert De Niro

This ensemble film New Year’s Eve is made up of different episodes involving different people on New Year’s Eve. One of those pairings involved Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Robert De Niro. At one point, De Niro’s character is in a hospital bed, dying. Swank, playing De Niro’s daughter, was thrilled to work with De Niro and thought he was just acting really hard when they were filming a scene, when she noticed his eyes twitching in order to stay open and then closing. Swank later said that she was moved and felt a “connection” with De Niro as they filmed the powerful scene. Then, Swank says, De Niro suddenly jolted upright and said “Anyone got that coffee?” He was asleep, of course.

Joe Morton

Before he became a regular cast member on Scandal, Morton was doing a guest-star stint on the show while looking for other work. He was filming a pilot for a show called Proof in 2015 at the same time as he was doing Scandal, so he was flying back and forth between Vancouver (where Proof was being made) and Los Angeles (where Scandal is taped). Scandal accommodated him during this time by making his job a little easier—his character was in the hospital, unconscious, so he didn’t have any dialogue to worry about. Eyes closed, no lines to deliver, laying in a bed, exhausted from working too shows—Morton dozed off.

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