John Leguizamo Based An Awful Character On Steven Seagal

John Leguizamo says he based his character from The Menu on his encounters with Steven Seagal while making Executive Decision.

By Michileen Martin | Published

John Leguizamo is part of the ensemble cast of Hollywood’s new critical darling The Menu, and while promoting the new horror thriller he says he based his character on Steven Seagal. The Moulin Rouge! star plays an actor past his prime in the film, who Ralph Fiennes‘ character despises. Leguizamo told Entertainment Weekly he took inspiration from Seagal and went on to call him “kind of a horrible human.”

After revealing his inspiration for his The Menu character, John Leguizamo said, “I had a bad run-in with him. We did a movie together. It was Executive Decision. He’s kind of a horrible human.”

The truth is this might be the tamest thing John Leguizamo has ever said about his experience with Steven Seagal during the making of 1996’s Executive Decision. On QTV, as FilmInk recalled in 2016, Leguizamo claimed Seagal physically assaulted him after the former actor laughed at the latter claiming to be “in command” of production.

“[Seagal] Taekwondo’ed my ass against a brick wall and hit me with his elbow,” John Leguizamo said. “He’s six-foot-five, and he caught me off guard. He knocked all of the air out of me, and I was like, ‘Why?!’”

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John Leguzamo, Ingo, Neuhaus, BD Wong, Whip Hubley, and Joe Morton in Executive Decision (1996)

Earlier this year, John Leguizamo told the New York Post a story adding to the long list of allegations against Seagal about intentionally hitting stuntpeople. He said the late stunt performer Gene LeBell warned Seagal about hitting his stunt performers on purpose. When Seagal allegedly refused to listen and kept intentionally hitting the performers, LeBell “put him in a chokehold and said, ‘You ever do that, I’m going to choke you to death.’”

We aren’t in any position to prove John Leguizamo’s allegations about Steven Seagal on the set of Executive Decision; but between his accusations, similar allegations from other celebrities and Hollywood crew members, Seagal’s support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the numerous sexual assault allegations against him, the phrase “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” does come to mind.

Regardless, thankfully these days John Leguizamo’s career is in a much better place than that of the guy who allegedly “Taekwondo’ed” him up against a wall so many years ago. Along with The Menu, the Super Mario Bros. veteran is about to star in the bonkers holiday action movie Violent Night opposite David Harbour. Leguizamo plays a charismatic villain who takes a wealthy family hostage, while Harbour plays the actual Santa Claus who uses his Christmas powers to kick ass and save the good guys.

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David Harbour and John Leguizamo in Violent Night (2022)

You can see John Leguizamo in his Seagal-inspired role right now in The Menu. You’ll have to wait until Friday, December 2, to see him lock horns Ol’ Saint Nick in Violent Night.