Hollywood is a small town and fame is a bubble. While Tinseltown is an enticing dream factory that regularly churns out most of our favorite flicks and television shows, it’s also a heartless machine, regularly sowing discontent amongst its inhabitants and/or semi-permanent visitors alike.
Roger Sterling once had something cutting and characteristically witty to say about the advertising industry: “Half the time this business comes down to, ‘I don’t like that guy.’”
It’s easy to consider that the similarly image-obsessed Hollywood operates in much the same way. This means that those who are lucky enough to forge lasting friendships in such a viciously competitive and touch-and-go industry are worth discussing.
However, we’d be remiss to not also discuss the rivalries and mutual loathing fests too-- the brightest light casts the darkest shadow and all that.
In many cases, the hatred is born from co-stars who have to act like lovers/friends when the cameras are rolling. It’s unsurprising-- after all, if you’re working closely and for months on end with somebody, chances are there’ll be the dawning realisation of “I don’t like that guy.”
With that said, here are the 10 Movie Actors Who Are Best Friends (And 5 Who Are Frenemies).
15 Best Friends: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were both immediately propelled to the A list after the release of their passion project and Oscar winning movie, Good Will Hunting.
It seems appropriate, because in that movie, Chucky and Will’s friendship is one of the enduringly sweeter elements of the entire story.
In the mid '90s, Affleck and Damon were small-time actors trying to part the sea with their Good Will Hunting script. They eventually got huge actor Robin Williams involved with the project, who of course played Will’s psychologist Sean. Williams loved the part, revealing that Sean was actually a synthesis of Ben and Matt’s father and mother, respectively.
However, making Good Will Hunting was by no means a cake-walk.
Fortunately, Damon and Affleck have been friends since childhood and didn't get the pressures on set get the better of them.
Damon and Affleck met each other when Affleck was only 8 years old and both became interested in acting around the same time. It takes a lot to get in the way of a close relationship like theirs.
14 Best Friends: Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone
Irreverent as ever, Jennifer Lawrence expressed her love for Emma Stone multiple times. “If I wasn’t her biggest fan, I would’ve Tonya Harding’d her in the kneecaps,” she has said.
Given that Hollywood’s problem is that its system invariably pits actresses against one another – due to a lack of strong roles for women within the industry – the fact that two actresses of similar age and talent would maintain a close friendship is all the more remarkable.
Emma Stone remarked, “we both really love and care about each other, beyond being actors. I know we’d be friends if we didn’t do the same job.”
Their friendship began quite humorously. Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games co-star, gave Stone Lawrence’s number. Stone texted Lawrence, and Lawrence immediately replied with a mock-aggressive “f**k off.” They’ve been buddies ever since.
13 Frenemies: Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf
In 2012, Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf co-starred in the period crime drama movieLawless. The two intense actors allegedly came to blows, though the real events were never made entirely clear.
However, director John Hillcoat said of their altercation: “There was definitely a fight between them. It escalated to a point where they both had to be restrained.”
Hardy confirmed this with, “He knocked me out cold. He was drinking moonshine."
"He just attacked me. He’s a very bad boy. He is. He’s a scary dude,” he continued.
Interestingly, LaBeouf looks at the entire situation differently. “That wasn’t moonshine-related all. That was straight love. There was a lot of love on that set in general. I think the man’s a genius. I think he’s incredible."
12 Best Friends: Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio
Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio: a friendship that has lasted 30 years. This is a stunning amount of time to maintain such a friendship, forget weird Hollywood standards.
Although they’ve been in very few movies together, with the latest being the 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby where they played close friends Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway, in the '90s they – along with some other A to C-listers – formed a boy gang.
Considering its name, their exploits were fairly predictable-- sleeping with models, getting into fights, partying, etc.
However, despite their wild teen years, DiCaprio and Maguire’s long friendship began with innocence, when they were only 12 years old and bumping into each other at the same auditions. As time has passed, the two have only become closer.
11 Best Friends: Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd
Like many celebrity buddies, Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd met when they were young actors living in LA. They co-starred in the 1998 rom-com The Object of My Affection. They even dated briefly following the release of the movie.
Over a decade later, they then re-united as old friends to portray an on-screen couple for 2012’s Wanderlust.
When asked in a GQ profile if it was strange to kiss on screen, they both joked that it’s routine by now, that they’ve been making out for decades.
Of course, they’re most famous for appearing on screen together in the hit tv show Friends, in which Paul Rudd played Phoebe’s adorably boyfriend-- and later husband-- Mike.
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston prove that, even in Hollywood, exes can be friends.
10 Frenemies: Bill Murray and Lucy Liu
Bill Murray and Lucy Liu often butted heads on the set of 2000’s Charlie’s Angels. However, their tiff became explosive when Murray stopped a scene cold to point a finger at Liu and say, “What in the hell are you doing here? You can’t act!”
Liu then allegedly threw a volley of punches at Murray and the two had to be separated.
It sounds like it was an unpleasant set. Upon hearing director McG’s claims that Murray headbutted him on set, Murray was furious. Or perhaps he was characteristically deadpan.
In any case, he said “That’s complete c**p. I don’t know why he made that up. He has a very active imagination. He expounded on his answer further with, “No! He deserves to d*e. He should be pierced with a lance, not headbutted.” Yikes.
9 Best Friends: Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy
The ultimate frenemies on screen in the X-Men prequels are actually the ultimate bromantic partners in real life. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy – McFassy? – are an all-time pair.
When asked by an anonymous user on tumblr if they were friends, Fassbender replied “I love James McAvoy. Hard.”
On set for X-Men: First Class, their friendship and mutual trust morphed into an amazing collaboration.
They would even rewrite each other’s lines on the fly. There was an honesty and vulnerability there that undoubtedly elevated the movie. McAvoy said to Fassbender in an interview, “I do mourn your absence when I’m working with lesser dudes.”
Their friendship has been the subject of countless fan art pieces and collage of amusing gifs illustrating their effortless chemistry.
8 Best Friends: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum
In the 21 and 22 Jump Street reboot, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play best friends. In reality, they’re quite close too.
Just before the release of the unexpectedly successful and hilarious 21 Jump Street, Tatum gushed about Jonah: “I haven’t really gotten along with somebody that quickly and easily without a problem, like, ever. We just fell in step.”
Hill affirmed the ease of their friendship, with: “There was never a moment of weirdness or awkwardness. It was just like, ‘hey, wanna be friends? Cool.’”
What makes their friendship particularly unique is how different they are from one another. One is stocky and foul-mouthed, while the other is a straightforward Adonis type.
This unique chemistry is what makes the 21 Jump Street franchise so funny, too.
7 Frenemies: Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte
The enmity between Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte on the set of the 1994 flick I Love Trouble was apparently so intense that the two leads performed to stand-ins more than not.
This must’ve led to some seriously poor chemistry between the two, because reviews were not kind. Apparently, it was shaping up so terribly as a rom-com that Disney was forced to switch gears for the marketing – instead of a rom-com, it was billed as a suspenseful thriller.
Following the release of I Love Trouble, shots continued to be fired.
Roberts told the New York Times that Nolte could be “Completely disgusting.” Nolte fired back with, albeit it was a relatively sedate fire back, “It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting’. But she’s not nice. Everybody knows that.”
6 Best Friends: Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts
Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, two fantastic actresses, have been close friends for over a quarter of a century. Their friendship was first forged on the set of the 1991 movie, Flirting, which was also Naomi Watts’ breakout role.
Kidman, though cagey about revealing the details of her personal life for the most part, isn’t so demure about discussing her friendship with Watts: “Naomi and I are very, very good friends. We’ve maintained that through so many things, which is rare for actresses, and I take a lot of pride in that.”
The glue of their friendship seems to be based on a “mutual respect.”
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their friendship, the two actresses threw a “wild party.” That’s true friendship right there.
5 Best Friends: Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston
While they have a complex relationship in the Marvel movies – as two brothers who are bitter enemies more often than not – they hit it off right away in 2009 when, at similar stages in their respective careers, they were tasked with bringing Loki and Thor to life for the first Thor movie.
Hemsworth said of Hiddleston in an interview with Collider, “We just had a great time doing Thor. You either have chemistry with someone or you don’t and, thankfully, it was there.”
When Hemsworth first joined twitter a few years ago, Hiddleston sent him a lovely tweet – “My goodness. My brother from another mother. Ladies and gentleman, @chrishemsworth.”
Although Loki’s fate in Avengers: Infinity War is far from certain, we hope that the Hemsworth/Hiddleston bromance train keeps on chuggin’ along regardless.
4 Frenemies: Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey
Tommy Lee Jones hated working with Jim Carrey so much on Batman Forever, that in response to Carrey’s friendly greeting of “Hi, how are you doing?," the blood drained from Jones’ face.
“I hate you, I really don’t like you,” Jones told the star bluntly.
When Carrey asked why Jones disliked him, Jones only said, “I cannot sanction your buffoonery.”
This is about as Tommy Lee Jones a reply to anything as possible.
Although sharing the spotlight with a wacky and colourful comedian like Carrey might’ve contributed to his less-than-warm feelings toward his co-star, Jones just didn’t connect with the story material on any level.
When the producer sent him a script for Batman Forever, Jones called back two hours later and simply said “I don’t get it.”
3 Best Friends: James Franco and Seth Rogen
Seth Rogen and James Franco met on the way-ahead-of-its-time television show Freaks and Geeks. They met there on set at the tender ages of 17 and 21 and formed a bond that remains unshakable to this day.
Their bond formed the basis of other hilarious projects, such as Pineapple Express and to a lesser extent, This is the End.
During the hoopla surrounding the release of The Interview, a comedy movie in which North Korea and Kim Jong Un are heavily lampooned, Rogen sent Franco a text that read: “I’m glad it’s you I’m going through this with.” That is heart-warming echo of Sam and Frodo right there.
Franco and Rogen are no strangers to making fun of things. Their parody of Kanye West’s Bound 2 music video, for example, remains a comedic gem.
2 Best Friends: Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes
If Jay and Silent Bob seem tight in Kevin Smith’s Jersey based flicks (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and others), it’s nothing compared to their real-life bond.
This real-life bond was etched in stone when Smith, who heretofore had regarded Mewes as a nuisance, witnessed the young man enter an arcade and proceed to fellate every vaguely phallic shaped object in the room.
However, their close friendship went through a trial-by-fire and was reborn anew when Jason Mewes was in the grips of a lengthy and painful substance addiction.
Smith detailed this eloquently and poignantly in his 2006 blog, Me and My Shadow. Today, they are as close as ever and are currently working on Jay and Silent Bob Get A Reboot.
1 Frenemies: Sean Young and Harrison Ford
Sean Young had a difficult job on Blade Runner. She had to portray a bottled-up robot who only betrayed a hint of humanity. Harrison Ford also had a difficult job. He had to be almost completely charmless-- all edges without so much as a fun Han Solo-esque wink.
Whether this led to friction between the two or not is hard to say, but the cold and miserable Blade Runner set fostered ill will between the two.
Sean Young and Harrison Ford seemed to hate each other by the end of the production. The crew members referred to their love scenes as “hate scenes,” so intense was their animosity.
If their relationship on screen was bittersweet, in real life it was just straight bitter.
“When you’re twenty and insecure, you hope your leading man will be like ‘it’s okay, it’s fine’… Harrison wasn’t generous that way,” Young said of Ford.
Can you think of any other movie actors who are close friends (or frenemies)? Sound off in the comments!
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