Shooting a movie can get stressful. Careers are on the line, studios are risking millions of dollars, and with all the moving parts involved, from the performers to the camera crew to the boom operator, etc., it can take a lot of time and a lot of tries to get just one shot right.
On top of all that, sometimes actors simply don’t like each other, adding to the tension.
In fact, sometimes actors really, really don’t like each other. Take, for instance, the rumored ongoing feud between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel. On Instagram, Johnson referred to Diesel as a “candy ass”, and when filming of Fast 8 wrapped, Johnson thanked everyone except Diesel. Maxim reports that Diesel often took a long time to come out of his trailer, and that’s why Johnson is so upset.
The Johnson vs. Diesel debacle is far from the only personal conflict in movie history. The following 15 on-set feuds stand out as the biggest of all-time:
15. Ben Affleck vs. David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Let’s start this list off with a good-natured feud.
Like many of his fellow Boston natives, Ben Affleck is a die-hard Red Sox fan. He hates the Yankees with a passion. So when director David Fincher asked Affleck to wear a Yankees hat during the filming of Gone Girl, it didn’t exactly go well. The scene called for Affleck’s character, Nick Dunne, to wear a hat as a sort of impromptu disguise to avoid attention. This character is from New York, so Fincher figured it made sense to put the guy in a Yankees hat.
“I said, ‘David, I love you, I would do anything for you,'” Affleck said about the incident. “But I will not wear a Yankees hat. I just can’t. I can’t wear it because it’s going to become a thing, David. I will never hear the end of it. I can’t do it.’ And I couldn’t put it on my head.”
After a few days of struggle, Affleck and Fincher compromised on a New York Mets cap. “I really wanted it to be a Yankees cap but, being from Boston and not being very professional as an actor, Ben refused to wear a Yankees cap,” Fincher said. “I mean it did not come to blows but we had to shut down production for four days.”
14. Ryan Gosling vs. Rachel McAdams (The Notebook)
The relationship between McAdams and Gosling’s characters in The Notebook is one of the most memorable romances in recent cinema.
But the actors themselves didn’t care for each much, at least not at first. The two had constant screaming matches with each other. At one point, Gosling wanted McAdams to leave the set entirely.
“Maybe I’m not supposed to tell this story, but they were really not getting along one day on set. Really not,” said The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes. “And Ryan [Gosling] came to me, and there’s 150 people standing in this big scene, and he says, ‘Nick come here.’ And he’s doing a scene with Rachel [McAdams] and he says, ‘Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me? I can’t. I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this.’”
13. Jamie Foxx vs. LL Cool J (Any Given Sunday)
On the set of Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday, LL Cool J took his performance a little too far for Jamie Foxx’s tastes.
Both actors played football players in the movie, and in one scene LL Cool J went off script and gave Foxx a good shove in an attempt to make the action feel more real.
That started a series of altercations, which got so serious that someone called the cops. According to Miami-Dade Police, in addition to pushing Foxx, LL also punched Foxx while filming. At this point, Foxx asked LL to let him know ahead of time if he was going to hit him. But LL struck him again in the head despite this agreement, and then Foxx punched back.
Foxx and LL have put this scuffle behind them, as they’ve since performed together a few times together. “When you’re grown, you don’t really have time for all that,” Foxx said. “When you’re young, it’s cool to have your emotions on your chest. But we’re grown now.”
12. Kenny Baker vs. Anthony Daniels (Star Wars)
R2-D2 and C-3P0 bickered with each other plenty on-screen, and their real-life counterparts apparently did the same. The tone was decidedly different, though. There was no playful edge here – just two guys who straight-up didn’t like each other.
It all started when the late Kenny Baker (R2-D2) attempted to say hello to Anthony Daniels (C-3P0), who rejected the greeting. According to Baker, Daniels said, “Can’t you see I’m having a conversation?” and turned his back.
“It was the rudest thing anyone had ever done to me,” Baker said in 2005. “I was furious. It was unbelievable.”
“I thought it was just me he didn’t get on with but recently I’ve found out he doesn’t get on with anyone,” Baker said in 2009. “He’s been such an awkward person over the years. If he just calmed down and socialized with everyone, we could make a fortune touring around making personal appearances. I’ve asked him four times now but, the last time, he looked down his nose at me like I was a piece of [expletive].”
11. Julia Roberts vs. Nick Nolte vs. Charles Shyer (I Love Trouble)
According to the LA Times in 1994, the trouble started early on between I Love Trouble co-stars Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. The crew reported that Roberts and Nolte rubbed each other the wrong way immediately and were soon insulting each other on a regular basis. They avoided spending time together as much as possible, with each lead using stand-ins as acting partners more frequently than their co-star.
Both actors were also annoyed by the movie’s director, Charles Shyer, who made them to improvise lines to the same scenes over and over and over again. Roberts and Nolte had such toxic chemistry that the marketing for the movie had to entirely switch genres, cutting what was originally a romantic comedy into a sort of suspense-thriller.
Later, Roberts would said that although Nolte is “charming and nice, he’s also completely disgusting.”
10. Bill Murray vs. Lucy Liu (Charlies’ Angels)
Bill Murray is known for playing aloof characters, but when’s he involved in a movie, he takes his job very seriously. “Look, I will dismiss you completely if you are unprofessional and working with me,” Murray said. “When our relationship is professional, and you’re not getting that done, forget it.”
During the filming of Charlie’s Angels, the cast and crew sensed tension between Murray and Lucy Liu. Apparently, Murray had a problem with Liu’s professionalism. This came to a head when Murray stopped a scene out of frustration. “I get why you’re here, and you’ve got talent,” he said to Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. He then turned to Liu, “But what in the hell are you doing here? You can’t act!”
Liu was furious. She started throwing punches, and the two stars had to be physically pulled apart. It was enough of an ordeal to stop Murray from returning to the Charlie’s Angels franchise. Bernie Mac took over his role in the sequel.
9. James Franco vs. Tyrese Gibson (Annapolis)
When preparing for a role, James Franco likes to take the method approach and put himself through the same experiences as his character. For example, when he played a homeless drug addict in City By The Sea, Franco himself went homeless for a little while. “On City by the Sea, I slept on the streets and all that,” Franco told GQ. “Was it necessary or not? Who’s to say? But I did it.”
Apparently Franco went a little too method for Annapolis, a mostly-forgotten 2006 naval academy drama that also starred Tyrese Gibson.
The climax of the movie pitted Franco and Gibson’s characters against each other in a boxing match and Franco, being the method actor that he is, didn’t pull his punches. “I respect method actors, but he never snapped out of character,” Gibson told Elle magazine. “Whenever we’d have to get in the ring for boxing scenes, and even during practice, the dude was full-on hitting me.”
8. Dennis Hopper vs. Rip Torn (Easy Rider)
Dennis Hopper almost got ripped to shreds by Rip Torn… or did he?
Hopper’s first directorial effort, Easy Rider, is a true classic. It remains to this day the most iconic movie about ’60s counterculture, and its unprecedented financial success encouraged every studio to start taking more risks.
At one point, Rip Torn was up for the role that eventually went to Jack Nicholson. Both Torn and Hopper agree that they sat down for dinner with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern to discuss the movie. But that’s where their tales diverge.
Hopper claims that Torn threatened him with a knife because of changes that were made to the script. Hopper told this story to many people throughout the late ’60s and ’70s, and he repeated it publicly to the nation during a 1994 interview on The Tonight Show. Torn was furious when he saw the story televised. According to him, Hopper was the one who pulled a knife (which isn’t too hard to imagine), and all he did was defend himself. Torn sued Hopper for defamation, claiming that Hopper’s version of events were not only false, but also damaged Torn’s reputation and career for decades.
In court, Southern said Torn was telling the truth. Torn won his lawsuit and an appeal and was awarded $475,000.
7. Shirley MacLaine vs. Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment)
Debra Winger was something like the Jennifer Lawrence of the early 1980s. With her effortless charm and sex appeal, she was a hit with critics and audiences alike. She was nominated for a BAFTA for her role in Urban Cowboy (1980), and she received Oscar nominations for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and Terms of Endearment (1983).
Winger was apparently also a little like Lindsey Lohan. She would stay up all night partying; she had a coke habit. Allegedly, she’d even show up to work high sometimes.
Shirley MacLaine wasn’t having any of it. She often clashed with Winger, making it known to everyone that she was very much annoyed by Winger’s wild child ways. Winger didn’t like that. One day, she lifted her skirt up and farted at MacLaine.
Both MacLaine and Winger were up for Best Actress at the Oscars for their performances in Terms of Endearment, and when MacLaine won, she made a point of exclaiming “I deserve this!” during her acceptance speech.
6. Richard Dreyfus vs. Robert Shaw (Jaws)
Many of the entries on this list are notable for the ironic fact that two stars who got along on-screen (or were supposed to, at least) actually hated each other off-screen. This rivalry was not so. Dreyfus and Shaw’s characters in Jaws weren’t supposed to get along. They were opposites: one, a whiny-voiced intellectual, the other, a chalkboard-scratching bully.
That’s just about how it played out in real life, too. Dreyfus complained about the conditions involved with shooting the film, and Shaw would go out of his way to make Dreyfus uncomfortable. Shaw constantly made fun of Dreyfus’ weight. Right before filming a scene, Shaw would tell Dreyfus to “mind his mannerisms”, which would break Dreyfus’ concentration and make him uncomfortable.
Dreyfus says that in private, though, Shaw was kind to him. But anytime they got near the set, whether the cameras were rolling or not, Shaw would get nasty. It’s possible that Shaw didn’t actually hate Dreyfus, but rather was using this technique to make Dreyfus’ performance feel more realistic. That’s how you do it, Franco!
5. Richard Gere vs. Sylvester Stallone (The Lords of Flatbush)
Richard Gere was fired from The Lords of Flatbush, a 1974 film about a group of kids in Brooklyn who form a gang. Given the movie’s premise, it was clear that actors involved were going to do a lot of fighting. In one improv-heavy scene, Gere grabbed his co-star, Sylvester Stallone, by the jacket and roughed him up a bit.
Stallone just told Gere to calm down, and that helped to settle the tension for a hour or two. But then came lunch time. It was cold out, so Stallone was eating in his car. Gere climbed in with a sloppy chicken sandwich. Stallone warned Gere not to get any grease on his pants and Gere told him not to worry about it. Gere took a big bite, a lot of grease spilled onto Stallone, and Stallone shoved Gere out of the car. Stallone then gave the director an ultimatum. If Gere wasn’t fired, he would quit.
What makes this feud really special is this: Gere believe that this incident inspired Stallone to start the unfortunate rumor that Gere was once rushed to the ER to have a gerbil removed from his rectum. That’s the kind of rumor you really don’t want following you around…
4. Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?)
Better Davis and Joan Crawford already had a history before the filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Davis developed a crush on actor Franchot Tone during the making of 1935’s Dangerous. Before the production of Dangerous wrapped, Crawford invited Tone to her home and greeted him naked. Soon, they were married.
“They met each day for lunch,” Davis said. “[Tone] would return to the set, his face covered with lipstick. He made sure we all knew it was Crawford’s lipstick. He was honored that this great star was in love with him. I was jealous, of course.”
Later, Davis quipped, “She slept with every male star at MGM, except Lassie.”
Crawford hit back: “Poor Bette. She looks like she’s never had a happy day, or night, in her life.”
So when the two met on the set of their movie together, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, they didn’t exactly like each other. Davis kicked Crawford in the head (accidentally, she claimed), and Crawford put weights in her clothes during a scene where she had to be dragged by Davis.
Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her work in the movie, but Crawford was not. Not to be outdone, Crawford called every actress up for the award and offered to accept it on their behalf if they couldn’t make it. At the Academy Awards, Anne Bancroft won over Davis, and none other than Crawford took the stage. “To deliberately upstage me like that – her behavior was despicable,” Davis said.
3. Faye Dunaway vs. Roman Polanski (Chinatown)
A little screaming and shoving and farting is nothing compared to what went on between Faye Dunaway and Roman Polanski on the set of Chinatown.
Exhibit A: Dunaway asked about her character’s motivation, and Polanski answered, “Say the (expletive) words. Your salary is your motivation.”
Exhibit B: When a stray hair in Dunaway’s face was messing up a shot, instead of just sweeping it aside, Polanski walked over and plucked the hair right out of her head.
Exhibit C: Dunaway asked if she could use the bathroom, and Polanski said no. Understandably upset, Dunaway apparently then peed in a coffee cup and threw it in Polanski’s face.
Over 30 years later, in 2008, The Guardian asked Dunaway about that incident. “I won’t respond to that,” she said, incensed. “That doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a response… This from the Guardian? I don’t believe it! It is insulting that you would even bring it up!” After that outburst, Dunaway got up and walked out of the interview.
2. Werner Herzog vs. Klaus Kinski (Fitzcarraldo)
Klaus Kinski is a pretty passionate guy. Just check out this video of him hollering at a production manager on the set of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo.
When it comes to Kinski’s outbursts, that’s about as mild as it gets.
The rest of the cast hated him. “I remember scenes where Klaus was attacked, and how the other actors used to take such pleasure in punching and kicking him,” Herzog said. “He was often quite badly hurt.”
Kinski and Herzog also fought often. “We had a great love, a great bond, but both of us planned to murder each other. Klaus was one of the greatest actors of the century, but he was also a monster and a great pestilence. Every single day I had to think of new ways of domesticating the beast.”
Herzog wasn’t really joking when he used the word “murder”. When Kinski threatened to walk out of a shoot, Herzog held him at gunpoint until he agreed to stay. Later, Herzog went to Kinski’s hut with the intention of setting it on fire with Kinski inside, but he was stopped by Kinski’s dog.
1. David O. Russell vs. The World (Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees)
David O. Russell is known for a few things: he likes to work with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and critics usually love his movies (not always, though). Also. Russell is famous for his hot temper.
On the set of Three Kings, Russell had a habit of launching into profanity-heavy tirades against crew members and extras. George Clooney, one of the film’s stars, wrote a letter to Russell, asking him to calm down. Things mellowed out after that… until an extra got nervous about a scene that called for him to throw Clooney onto the ground.
Russel allegedly shouted “Do you want to be in this [expletive] movie? Then throw him to the [expletive] ground!” and, perhaps to demonstrate, threw the extra down and began kicking him. The second assistant director jumped in and scolded Russell – and Russell fired the second assistant director on the spot.
Clooney tried to intervene. “David, it’s a big day. But you can’t shove, push or humiliate people who aren’t allowed to defend themselves,” he said. Russell grabbed Clooney by the throat; Clooney fought back. Afterward, Clooney said “it was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life.”
And then there’s I Heart Huckabees. During that production, Russell freaked out and threw the c-word at Lily Tomlin. Even if you like Russell’s movies, it’s hard to defend the dude’s personality.