Bronson Pinchot, best known for the lame but lovable 80s sitcom ‘Perfect Strangers,’ told the AVclub about on-set abuse, and how he will never endure it again.
He says of filming ‘Courage Under Fire’ in 1996: “That was a low point, because Denzel Washington was behind the incredibly cowardly bullshit of ‘This is my character, not me.’ He was really abusive to me and everybody on that movie, and his official explanation was that his character didn’t like me, but it was a dreadful experience. I spent my salary on time with my shrink just for helping me get through it, and what that led to was the very next big movie that I did. I should have said to the producers, ‘You get that guy in line, or I’m out of here.’ Life’s too short.
“But the next movie I did, the director was getting a lot of crap from his star, and he started to take it out on me one day, and just like a German shepherd—you know when a German shepherd stands up on its hind legs and puts its paws on your shoulders?
“I put my hands on his shoulders and I very gently but firmly said, “I don’t do abuse, and if you say one more word of abuse to me, I’m on a plane, and you don’t have enough money to keep me here.” And that was the end of it, and I’ve never taken abuse again. And I wasn’t vile or anything, it just ripped out of me. Denzel Washington cured me forever of thinking that there is any amount of money or anything that could ever, ever make it okay to be abused. The script supervisor on that movie said it’s like watching somebody kick a puppy. He was so vile. And after that, I just would never endure it again.”
Working actors like Bronson get very little credit, because they’re not wildly famous or regularly splashed across magazine covers. What it comes down to is being able to live your dream — and still be the person you want to be. If you haven’t seen ‘True Romance,’ it is one of my favorite movies that features the actor. He doesn’t have a leading role, but you can’t forget his part. The sign of a true character actor!