Tuesday, October 7

Battling Coworkers

Of course we've all had coworkers we didn't get on with, maybe didn't speak to or had a battle royal.  Movie stars can have the same problems and some of those times it hits the press.  And often when their feuds make the news, it's called creative differences.  Other times one or more of the parties deliberately alerts the press.  Some are just plain difficult to get on with and a few to follow have actually been in more feuds than the one I am listing.  Be sure to duck.

Joan Crawford
Mercedes MacCambridge

Despite the title, Johnny Guitar is a 1954 western about two butch women who have very different ideas about the railroad coming to town.  They hated one another up on that colorful screen but it didn't compare to how they felt off screen.  Crawford had a history of being cruel to female costars.  On this film she was not only the star but one of the producers.  She wanted her arch nemesis to be a blonde.  She was miffed when MacCambridge was hired over her objections and madder further when the younger actress wouldn't bleach her hair.  It was warfare from then on, with the entire company taking one side or the other.  Most were against Crawford.

William Holden
Jennifer Jones

They pulled off a lovely romance in Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing in 1955 but in real life they barely spoke.  He usually slept with his leading ladies but not this time.  It's been said she complained about most everything on the film and when he didn't sympathize with her, she turned on him.  He, in turn, didn't much care for her imperious behavior but decided to bury the hatchet.  He presented her with a bouquet of roses and she threw them in his face. 

Laurence Harvey & Capucine

Laurence Harvey

She is my all-time favorite actress and he is one of my top five favorite actors and Walk on the Wild Side (1962) another one of my favorite films.  It grieves me that these two didn't get on at all.  Harvey was an effete snob who, after making Room at the Top, The Alamo and The Manchurian Candidate, thought this film was beneath him.  She was not much of an actress but was brought aboard because she was the producer's girlfriend of the moment and Harvey resented her presence from the start.  She didn't like their kissing scenes because he isn't man enough for me.  He responded with perhaps if you were more of a woman, I'd be more of a man.  Honey, kissing you is like kissing the side of a beer bottle.  Years later these two bisexual actors were still raking one another over the coals.

Bette Midler
Ken Wahl

The film was appropriately titled Jinxed (1982) and neither made any secret about hating one another.  It stems from him ungallantly saying that when he did kissing scenes with her, the only way he could get through them was to think of his dog.  Ouch.  For a woman who early on expressed reservations about how she looked, it was a crushing blow to her fragile self-esteem. This was one frigid set.  Director Don Siegel had a heart attack during production.  She threatened to sue and he took the story to reporters.  She said it was the worst professional experience of her life and where is he today?

Tommy Lee Jones
Jim Carrey

It's not too hard to get that these two wouldn't see eye-to-eye.  One is stuck in the goofy, unrelenting comedy mode and the other appears to have no sense of humor at all.  On the 1995 set of Batman Forever, it's been reported that Jones was a bully while Carrey was a complete gentleman.  Director Joel Schumacher has publicly said that Jones scared the hell out of Carrey and felt threatened by him... perhaps his talent or his scene-stealing.

Faye Dunaway
Roman Polanski

Two efants terribles, that's for sure.  The film was 1974s Chinatown.  It seemed a given to me that these two would do battle.  She's always been a diva actress and he's always been a control-freak director.  The story goes that he plucked a hair from her face because it was ruining the shot, which she didn't like.  Then apparently she asked him something about character motivation and he yelled at her say the effing words... your paycheck is your motivation.  Later she asked to go to the bathroom as a scene was being orchestrated and he told her no.  One day she allegedly threw a cup of urine in his face.  Charming, charming, charming.  Somehow all turned out a superior film.

Richard Dreyfuss
Robert Shaw

While production problems reigned on the set of Jaws (1975), there was a war raging on between two of the costars, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss.  Many it seems put the lion's share of the ruckus on Shaw who picked at Dreyfuss relentlessly (Why you couldn't even do 10 pushups.  At your age that's criminal).  Shaw, frequently loaded and well-known for his explosive, often outrageous comments, simply zeroed in on Dreyfuss and wouldn't let go.  It likely added some extra zest to their characters' relationship which was also a bit snarky.

Bill Murray
Lucy Liu

He was in the first Charlie's Angels (2000) feature and apparently walked in on a scene involving the three ladies, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, and blurted out something about their inability to act.  Oh, who can imagine Murray being so blustery?  I can.  Apparently Liu was grossed out at his comments and the two hurled insults and obscenities at one another.  Note that Murray was replaced in the sequel by Bernie Mac.

Angelina Jolie
Johnny Depp

There was apparently a lot of attitude spread around the Italian set of the movie bomb The Tourist (2010).  Insiders expected some real chemistry between the two stars but like a boxing match, they went to their own corners and chilled.  Jolie couldn't abide Depp because he didn't clean up and he thought she was just too full of herself.

Mae West & W.C. Fields

Mae West
W.C. Fields

Their battle was actually work-related, although one can readily assume that neither was the other's type.  He was a raging alcoholic (those drunken roles he played weren't necessarily a show of good acting) and of course she liked musclemen.  Their only picture was 1940's My Little Chickadee.  She had written the original script but he didn't like it and apparently Universal, scared of two monumental egos, decided to let him write some of his own lines.  It's been said that rascally costars would go to each one and tell them the other one was writing scenes to get more screen time.  They hassled one another throughout production and were barely speaking at the end.  West said she would never work with him again.

Shirley MacLaine
Debra Winger

They both have reputations as being difficult to work with.  Who didn't see this one coming?  Each has had issues with others.  This was an uneasy alliance from day one on the set of Terms of Endearment (1983).  MacLaine apparently copped an attitude over Winger's alleged drug use and Winger retaliated by farting in MacLaine's direction.  It's likely a bit more deep-seated than that.  It's a wonder their performances turned out as great as they did.  Both were Oscar-nominated for best actress and when MacLaine won, her acceptance speech included I deserve this.  And the battle continued...

Yul Brynner
Steve McQueen

It's always been said that one of the title stars of 1960s The Magnificent Seven thought he was a little more magnificent than the others.  That would, of course, be the aforementioned Mr. Brynner.  Few in Hollywood have had his imperiousness, his self-righteousness, his tyrannical demeanor.  He probably had a problem on all of his film sets.  I very much enjoyed most of his work and I was always a fan of McQueen's (and yes, he's coming up one day on his own posting) and this bad boy took one look at Brynner and thought, oh please, gimme a break, Dude. And McQueen sought to annoy Brynner at every turn, in every way until His Majesty wigged out.  In the script, they were the only two who rode off together.  What acting!

Marlon Brando
Frank Sinatra

Truthfully, I think I would have been surprised had there not been a problem between these two during the making of 1955's Guys and Dolls.  The bottom line here deals primarily with professional jealousy... from Sinatra toward Brando.  Brando had the lead which Sinatra had coveted.  It was a little humiliating for him to accept the other role.  And it didn't help that Sinatra had wanted to play Brando's role in On the Waterfront, which won him an Oscar.  What's more, the Great One of American Actors was going to sing in this flick, further encroaching on the Great Singer's territory.  Oh, it was trouble alright. Sinatra could throw temper tantrums like no other and Brando was the king of needling.  The filming turned into games of one-upmanship. 

Julia Roberts
Nick Nolte

It didn't escape anyone's notice that the film was called I Love Trouble (1994).  If we don't know exactly what the problem was we do know there was at least one big ego that needed a lot of stroking.  Those who came to work with them have said there was mutual dislike from the get-go.  A lot of their supposed scenes together was actually an editor doing very fine work.  The press caught wind of it and quoted her as saying he was disgusting and he apparently said she's not a nice person; everyone knows that.

Bette Davis & Susan Hayward

Susan Hayward
Bette Davis

They played a warring mother and daughter in 1964s Where Love Has Gone, based on Harold Robbins' titillating fiction of the Lana Turner murder case.  The producer said he knew they wouldn't get along from the beginning and he thought that would be good for the characters.  Neither really wanted to do the film.  Both were temperamental divas and often difficult to get along with.  She was never friendly with costars and would retreat to her dressing room.  Davis found this behavior rude and made it known.  On the other hand Davis never really got on with people she didn't know.  Hayward's contract said the script had to be filmed as originally presented to her and when Davis started rewriting some of her own scenes, Hayward flipped.  They had some frosty words with one another and then never spoke again unless the cameras were rolling.

Richard Gere
Sylvester Stallone

Boy oh boy, a couple more outsized egos, especially one.  They say they came to physical blows on the set of The Lords of Flatbush (1974) after Gere spilled something on Stallone.  The day-to-day bickering caused a bad case of no chemistry on the screen and one day Gere was told to not return to work.  See, Richard, it didn't turn out so badly after all.

Charlton Heston
Richard Harris

Harris found Heston prudish and stuck-up, which stemmed from their first assignment together, 1959s The Wreck of the Mary Deare.  It's a wonder they agreed to work together again but that they did six years later in the Sam Peckinpah western, Major Dundee.  In the film the characters snarled at one another and in real-life they detested one another.  Harris, like most people, knew Heston was a prima donna on movie sets but rather than ignore him as many coworkers did, Harris taunted him.  Harris, on the other hand, was an outrageous drunk, coming to the set late and often drunk, which Heston could not abide.  For years afterwards Harris would take every opportunity to deride his costar.

James Franco
Tyrese Gibson

I am one of the few people on the planet who liked 2006s Annapolis where the characters these two guys played did not care for one another.  It involved some gritty snarling with each character trying to out-man the other.  It seems that throughout filming Franco stayed in character (channeling his Daniel Day-Lewis) and Gibson, like most actors, did not.  So when Franco was rude and nasty to Gibson, it was really his character acting that way, not the actor.  It's a bit hard to swallow this one and Gibson apparently didn't.  What is apparently not worth doubting is that these two did not get on.

Russell Crowe
Oliver Reed

Their characters in Gladiator (2000) had quite the bromance and it must be a tribute to the acting abilities of both that we didn't pick up on the fact that they could hardly stand one another.  Oddly enough, the bad boy himself, Mr. Crowe, appears to have gotten off scot-free in the blame game.  Observers have said their friction stems from another alcoholic actor problem.  Reed was frequently soused and could be most difficult to work with.  He also died of a heart attack while making the film.
Gene Nelson & Gloria Grahame

Gloria Grahame
Gene Nelson

Oh, it has been well-documented that she was a bitch on the set of Oklahoma (1955).  She was going through a terrible marriage, insecure about her singing and toying excessively with her facial looks via surgery.  She was chronically late and snappy with most people.  But as Ado Annie, she was partnered chiefly with dancer Gene Nelson, playing Will Parker, and as such, he took the brunt of her trauma.  He said he would never work with her again.

Robert Downey Jr.
Terrence Howard

Maybe it's about taking the title Iron Man too seriously.  Mr. Howard apparently has stated that if it weren't for him, Mr. Downey wouldn't even be Iron Man.  I don't know... I wasn't there.  But those who were said there were some frosty times on the set of that first film and what we all know is that Mr. Howard wasn't in the sequels.  Wtf?

Ryan Gosling
Rachel McAdams

Does it kind of break your heart that the engaging stars of the beloved The Notebook (2004) did not get along?  I'm sure glad I didn't know this at the time.  They appeared to hate one another and not only had screaming matches on the set but Gosling asked for a stand-in for her in scenes that required reaction shots on his part because he couldn't stand looking at her.  Whatever happened, it later dissolved into a love match for a time.  Go figure.

Jennifer Grey
Patrick Swayze

If I didn't rattle your cage on the one above, does it work for this couple in 1987s Dirty Dancing?  Johnny and Baby may have had a thing for one another but for Jennifer and Patrick it was clearly another matter.   They say their mutual dislike germinated on a prior film together, 1984s Red Dawn.  By the time they danced together in the Catskills, he said she was a royal pain with her emotional outbursts being too disruptive to the filming.  They were not close during the filming but to their mutual credit, they got over it as the years went on and the following for the film was built.

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