Why Do Stars Sabotage Their Stuff?

You'd think after years of auditions and months on the set, you'd want to be rewarded for your work.

That is, unless you're Katherine Heigl. The "Grey's Anatomy" star bad-mouthed her show last week when she dropped out of this year's Emmy race and cemented her reputation as one of Hollywood's most temperamental talents.

"I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination," she said in a statement released by her publicist Thursday. "In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials."

"Grey's" didn't take kindly to her criticism. An unnamed insider from the show told EW.com, "The show bent over backwards to accommodate her film schedule, and then she criticizes the show for lack of material? It's an ungrateful slap in the face to the very writers responsible for her Emmy win in the first place." (Indeed, Heigl thanked the show's writers when she won a best supporting actress Emmy last year.)


ABC and "Grey's" creator Shonda Rhimes declined to comment on Heigl's attack. But don't be surprised if Dr. Izzie Stevens doesn't stick around Seattle Grace much longer. A network insider said her flirtation with film, starring in "Knocked Up" and "27 Dresses," probably has her itching to get out of her "Grey's" contract and focus on the big screen full-time.

"It's pretty clear she wants off the show," said the network executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "That's a scorched earth comment. There's no other way to look at it. You just don't blow up your own writers. It's just an unspoken rule."

"Usually, once someone agrees to do a pilot, they're locked into the show for five years," the exec said. "When something like this happens, it's a tough dilemma for the network. You don't want to ruin a hit show, but you don't want to have a cancer on the set. Sometimes an actor tries to make things so miserable that they're forced to exit."

This isn't the first time Heigl has bit the hand that fed her stardom. Last year, she told Vanity Fair she thought Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," her first big-time big-screen role, "was a little sexist." She also dropped out of salary renegotiations for "Grey's" last year, reportedly because she believed the studio didn't value her as much as the show's other stars.

Heigl's rise to the top of Hollywood's most haughty comes as another hard-to-work-with actor tries to banish his bad rep by making fun of it. Ed Norton, known as one of Hollywood's most temperamental actors, is rumored to have dropped out of doing a full-blown press tour for "The Incredible Hulk" because of a disagreement he had with producers over the final cut of the Marvel comic-book flick, which opened Friday. He wanted it to be longer. They went with faster.

"'It's as much Marvel's fault as it is Edwards','' Louis Leterrier, the director of "The Hulk," told Entertainment Weekly. "And my fault. It's everybody's fault! Or no one's fault, in a way. I regret that [Marvel and Norton] didn't come to an agreement where we could've all worked together."

In a statement released by his publicist to ABCNEWS.com, Norton downplayed the dispute.

"Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other's opinions is the heart of filmmaking," he said. "Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a 'dispute,' seized on by people looking for a good story and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself, which Marvel, Universal and I refuse to let happen."

It makes sense that Norton would want to dispel the rumors rather than ignore them. He famously sparred with Tony Kaye, the director of "American History X," when Kaye accused Norton of re-editing the film to give himself more screen time. Kaye told ABCNEWS.com that his "ego got the better of him" in that battle, but now, with "The Hulk," he thinks Norton's in the wrong.

"I think he should write and direct his own films. He has enormous adoration and he's a fantastic actor, but he's in the midst of this kind of sea, this rocky sea of his ego, and he's being beaten by it," Kaye said. "He's obviously very uncomfortable with his performance in 'The Hulk.' Maybe he's embarrassed about it. But he's part of a team. He should honor the studio that endorsed him in the process."

So he did. In a skit he taped for Thursday's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Norton poked fun at the rumors while publicizing the film. Pretending to be on the set of "The Hulk," Norton blew up at a green-painted Guillermo, Kimmel's lovable security guard sidekick (and for the purposes of the skit, Norton's body double) for not being "hulky" enough.

"Who the f*** are you," Norton growled. "We have some serious work to do here ... so just shove off."

When Guillermo tried to show he was tough enough for the role, Norton got heated.

"You don't want to do this man; you don't want to make me angry," he said. "Hey, did you see f****** 'Fight Club'? Do you know what I'll do to you man? Did you see 'American History X?' Do you want your face on the curb?"

Finally, to the camera, he sighed: "This is my first big action movie and this is what I f****** get."

Maybe Heigl should take a cue from Norton before she becomes known as a sabotaging star: If she can't be nice, maybe she can be funny.