Remember that 2010 Katherine Heigl-Ashton Kutcher assassin rom-com "Killers"? You're not alone, but we remind you of its existence because of a story that emerged from the set. Seems the leading lady preferred to have a stuntwoman perform any scenes that required her to run, something that she acknowledged left Kutcher "rolling his eyes at me."
He's apparently not the only one. The Hollywood Reporter has decided to delve into Heigl's deflating career, which went from winning an Emmy on "Grey's Anatomy" and a $12 million payday for "Life as We Know It" to box office bombs, a random appearance in a Nyquil commercial and an upcoming return to the small screen in a CIA drama from NBC.
"She was poised," says a film exec who worked with her. "I still see her sometimes when I flip around the channels, and she has it. She's got real big movie-star charisma."
So, what went wrong? Blame falls squarely on her long-rumored difficult reputation, which has manifested publicly in, among other things, bad-mouthing her breakthrough role in "Knocked Up" as "sexist," and complaining about how she had to work a 17-hour day on "Grey's" ("I'm going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them," she sniped of the "cruel and mean" schedule).
"She can cost you time every single day of shooting," contends an insider who worked on "Life." "Wardrobe issues, not getting out of the trailer, questioning the script every single day."
Exacerbating the trouble, according to the Reporter: Heigl's protective but prickly mom and manager, Nancy, who purportedly isn't shy with vocalizing her displeasure (and sometimes punctuates that displeasure with four-letter words).
"Whatever you'd say, you were an idiot," alleges the source. "The call would be, 'This is the worst craft service we've ever had! There's nothing to eat! This is the worst wardrobe!' You knew that every day, you were going to get slammed. The frustrating part is [Heigl] is incredibly talented and smart."
Meanwhile, a "high-level" spy on "27 Dresses" says all was well until Katherine had to stump for the hit 2008 film internationally: "There were movie-star demands -- big rooms, the mother there, all the stuff. 'We need the presidential suite at The Bristol!' It was just a sense of entitlement. The biggest stars don't do that kind of thing."
Such was Heigl's reputation that she was reportedly rejected in recent months as the lead for an in-development TV series. "On many levels, she would have been perfect for the role," sighs a source, "but all of us said, 'She's not worth it.'"
Heigl, however, has her defenders, including "Life" producer Denise Di Novi, who insists to THR that the whispers are "way exaggerated." Calling Katherine "hardworking and dedicated," Di Novi says she "would work with her again in a heartbeat. She's an amazing actress."
Still, she acknowledges that Heigl and her mother "are not shrinking violets. They're very straightforward and tell you what they think."
It's a quality appreciated by director Anthony Burns, who recently directed the actress in the low-budget thriller "North of Hell."
"I'm from Texas. I like honesty and to be cool and have a beer and laugh, and they are most definitely like that," he shrugs. "Hopefully the next people [Heigl] works with will get to know her like I did. … She's just a good old girl who likes to speak her mind."
ALSO ON WONDERWALL: