A new video that appears to show Dennis Quaid having a roaring meltdown on the set of a recent movie has surfaced online this week, and it’s already raising some important questions.
First, is this real? It has a whiff of Kimmel about it, with even TMZ noting that “it’s possible the whole thing is fake.” No one seems to know what movie it’s from, with some citing the upcoming Robert Redford–starring Dan Rather movie Truth, which features Quaid (as Col. Roger Charles) and is reportedly still filming.
Second, if it’s real, where does this rank among the all-time great on-set freakouts ever caught on tape?
Though the video has only been making the rounds for a matter of hours, I would already rank it above the original classic meltdown from the dawn of the YouTube Era: Lily Tomlin and David O. Russell’s two-person effort from the set of I Heart Huckabees. That video, which was shared in Hollywood’s inner circles for years before making its way online, lucked into some great unintentional comedy in the way Russell keeps storming onto the set via various stage entrances. But ultimately the fun is spoiled somewhat by the way Russell keeps calling Tomlin misogynistic names such as “b---h” and “c--t.” Way to ruin it, Russell.
Quaid’s crackup finds stronger competition in the audio-only tape of Christian Bale’s four-minute rant from the set of Terminator: Salvation. What the clip lacks in visuals it more than makes up for in Bale’s passive-aggressive sarcasm (“Ohhh, good for youuu!”).
The best of these videos derive their appeal from the disconnect between the self-importance of the tantrum-thrower and the silliness of the project (the Terminator: Salvation tirade especially excels here), and in that realm it’s hard to beat Bill “We’ll Do It Live!” O’Reilly’s hissy fit. If this dispute was over important breaking news we might sympathize, but instead it’s over reading the introduction to a new Sting video off a teleprompter.
The Quaid video has a similar appeal, being likely to get the actor more attention than he has in about a decade. Assuming the man holding the cellphone doesn’t turn out to be a prankster like Kimmel, it should take its rightful place in the canon—particularly with such quotable phrases as “Dopey the dick” and “Don’t f--king ‘Dennis’ me!”
Update, April 15: Looks like it wasn’t Kimmel but another hoaxster altogether. Funny or Die has uploaded a video in which they claim to be behind the original clip: