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Hostility on the Set

Generally, actors tend to get along well with their co-stars, and this tends to shine through on-screen. They may become close friends, and a Romance on the Set may ensue in some cases.

This is not about those actors.

In some cases, some actors may be at each other's throats during filming, or even a director with one or more actors. While this does not always show on the big screen, it can cause issues like lack of chemistry between the actors. On the other hand, if the characters they are playing are antagonistic to each other, this can help add authenticity to their performances and increase their respect for each other.

This may occur due to, or even be the cause of a Troubled Production, and/or Creative Differences. It can also be caused by a Creator Breakdown on the part of one or more actors, or the director. Often leads to Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Compare Wag the Director, when the main stars create conflict with the director by running circles around them.

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Real Life Examples

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Forever:
    • The working relationship between director Joel Schumacher and actor Val Kilmer was said to be very, very bad. Tellingly, Joel does not talk much about Val in his audio commentary for the film.
    • There were also reports that Tommy Lee Jones disliked Jim Carrey, so much so that he wouldn't even have lunch with him. According to Carrey, the first time he met Jones, the veteran actor growled, "I do not sanction your buffoonery." Which is funny considering Jones would spend his entire screentime trying to out-ham the ham master Carrey.
  • Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte had a very heated feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. While they had been able to work together on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? despite this, on this film it was too much. Joan Crawford checked herself into the hospital, claiming she fell ill, but in reality just did not want to work with Bette Davis again. This led to her being replaced with Olivia de Havilland.
  • Invoked by Alfred Hitchcock on Rebecca. Laurence Olivier treated Joan Fontaine horribly, feeling his wife Vivien Leigh should have had her part instead. Hitchcock told Joan that everyone else hated her too, in order to create an authentic feeling of isolation for her.
  • During the filming of Black Swan, director Darren Aronofsky would try to pit Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis against each other to make their antagonistic scenes together more authentic. Unfortunately for him, both of them caught on to what he was doing very early and instead sent congrats to each other by phone when Darren told one of them the other was doing great.
  • During production of Fantastic Four (2015), director Josh Trank was abusive with the cast, crew and the producers, and this was one of the major contributing factors to its Troubled Production.
  • During filming of I Love Trouble, Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts began to dislike each other, and it got to the point that reviews of the film said that they had no chemistry on-screen. Roberts eventually stated that Nolte was the worst actor she had to work with.
  • The Lord of the Rings: There was something of a rivalry between the extras playing Elves and the extras playing Uruk-hai. The Uruks coined the nickname "cupcakes" for their Elven counterparts. This apparently started because the Elven extras (who were largely local college students) weren't getting into character as soldiers, so the Uruk-hai decided to start taunting, jeering, and otherwise acting like actual members of an opposing army. This got the Elven actors riled up enough to be in character.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Charlize Theron claimed that Tom Hardy and George Miller "went at it." Hardy would later apologize to Miller at the film's Cannes premiere. For that matter, Theron and Hardy didn't get on either, due to his Method Acting putting her off.
  • It's a miracle that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams had great chemistry in The Notebook, as they did not get along well on set. However, unlike some other cases, they were able to patch over their differences enough to become a real-life couple for some time.
  • By all accounts, Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones were so hostile on the set of Ocean's Twelve that they eventually had to be kept completely separate, never even being on the set at the same time. It's perhaps one of the reasons the film is a Sophomore Slump, and why neither actress returned for Ocean's Thirteen.
  • Actress Loretta Young was notoriously high-maintenance and had several examples of this with her costars, especially due to her insistence on using a Swear Jar on set due to being devoutly Catholic. After shooting his final scene with her in Rachel and the Stranger, Robert Mitchum dropped a $20 bill into the jar, saying "This should just about cover everything I've been wanting to say to Loretta."
  • Director David O. Russell got in conflict with several of crew members and extras and how he treated them during the set of Three Kings. George Clooney tried to alleviate situation but when Russell violently threw an extra on the ground, Clooney had enough and scolded him for his treatment. Then, things went ugly when they ended up beating each other. Though the movie is a success, Clooney vowed that he would never work with Russell ever again. Fortunately in 2012, they made up.
  • David O. Russell also had a fallout with Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees which was caught on camera and leaked out to the internet.
  • Reportedly, there was so much friction between Peter Sellers and Orson Welles on the set of Casino Royale (1967) that the two of them were rarely on the set together. This is especially noticeable during the baccarat duel—their characters are supposed to be interacting, but the two of them never appear in the same shot.
  • During the filming of the Charlie's Angels movie, there was apparently so much hostility between Bill Murray and Lucy Liu (he repeatedly called her acting skills into question) that she attacked him at one point, forcing the crew to separate them.
  • The feud between director Kevin Smith and star Bruce Willis on the set of Cop Out has been remarked on numerous times by Smith. They had previously worked together on Live Free or Die Hard when Willis offered to do another movie. However, Smith was dismayed when he realized that Willis was only there for the money and was prone to Wag the Director. Smith himself was publicly criticized by Willis for "smoking too much pot" on set.
  • Bette Davis and Errol Flynn disliked each other while making The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. For one scene where Elizabeth slaps Essex, Davis really slapped Flynn and his reaction was genuine. She was against his casting from the beginning, claiming that he couldn't read blank verse very well. According to Olivia de Havilland, she and Davis screened the film again a short while before Davis suffered four strokes in 1983. At film's end, Davis turned to de Havilland and declared that she had been wrong about Flynn, and that he had given a fine performance as Essex.
  • W.C. Fields and Mae West starred in the Screwball Comedy My Little Chickadee, even though they greatly disliked each other (Fields once called her, "A plumber's idea of Cleopatra"). Co-star Dick Foran, who was being paid by the week, would go to West and tell her that Fields was rewriting his lines to give himself more screen time and to try to steal the film from her. Then he would go to Fields and tell him the same thing about West. In this manner he was able to extend his employment from a few weeks to several months, as both stars would hold up production while they would rewrite their scenes.
  • John Wayne and John Huston collaborated just once in 1958's The Barbarian and the Geisha. They didn't see eye-to-eye on the production, and Wayne at one point yelled for all to hear, "Huston can't direct a damn story without his father or Bogart in it!" But the director was not around to hear that. Legend has it that they got into a brawl.
  • John Wayne and William Holden didn't get on while making The Horse Soldiers due to their differing political beliefs. Following the wrap each actor vowed to never again work with the other and they didn't.
  • Rex Harrison didn't get on with Charlton Heston while making The Agony and the Ecstasy. Fittingly, they played antagonists in the film. Years later, they were both in Richard Lester's The Prince and the Pauper and Harrison deliberately avoided Heston.
  • John Huston and Errol Flynn were constantly at odds while filming The Roots of Heaven, partly due to the latter's alcoholism. At one point, Flynn provoked Huston into a fight; while Flynn was a former amateur boxer, the years of fast living had taken a heavy toll on him, and Huston, himself a former professional boxer, flattened Flynn with a single punch.
  • Anthony Hopkins and Shirley MacLaine didn't get on while making A Change of Seasons. He described her as, "The most obnoxious actress I've ever worked with".
  • Charlie Chaplin's last film A Countess from Hong Kong was, by all accounts an unhappy film to make.
    • Marlon Brando had always greatly admired Chaplin's work and looked upon him as "probably the most talented man the [movie] medium has ever produced," in his autobiography, Brando described Chaplin as "probably the most sadistic man I'd ever met, a fearsomely cruel man...He was an egotistical tyrant and a penny pincher." According to Brando, Chaplin frequently berated his son Sydney Chaplin and when Brando arrived onset fifteen minutes late, Chaplin gave him a dressing down in front of the cast and crew. An embarrassed Brando demanded, and received, an apology. Chaplin, for his part, described directing Brando as "impossible".
    • Brando and Sophia Loren didn't get on, especially after the day they were doing a love scene and he commented, "Did you know you have black hairs up your nostrils?"
  • Christopher Reeve described Switching Channels as an unhappy film to make, as he had to mediate between the feuding Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner.
    • Reeve also had to deal with Sarah Douglas (Ursa) and Jack O'Halloran (Non) in Superman II, to the point where O'Halloran once pushed him against a wall and prepared to beat him.
  • In a video on her YouTube channel, Ashley Tisdale featured Lucas Grabeel and they discussed how they "hated" each other during filming of the first High School Musical. In a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming they then went on to discuss how they love each other now and to cover the first song they sang together in the film.
  • While making the B-movie Venom, Oliver Reed and Klaus Kinski absolutely hated each other. The jovial, fun-loving Reed would often provoke the intense, humourless Kinski into losing his temper (which wasn't a difficult task). The pair came to blows at least once.
  • Richard Harris and Julie Andrews co-starred in 1966's Hawaii. She disapproved of his rambunctious behaviour and he greatly disliked her in return.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Batman: Adam West described Neil Hamilton as somewhat difficult to work with, due to him taking his work very seriously, even on a silly show like this.
  • Darla was reportedly written out of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer more quickly than intended because of conflict between Julie Benz and the regular cast members, especially Alyson Hannigan. She however mellowed out enough for Joss Whedon to bring her back for a couple of guest spots, and a recurring role on Angel.
  • Castle: There have been a lot of behind-the-scenes rumors that Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion were not getting along with each other and have not been for at least several seasons, possibly going as far back as Season 4. This was apparently so bad that it was the cause of Katic's departure from the show.
  • On Charmed, tensions between Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano ultimately resulted in Doherty's departure from the series after the third season. Earlier in the first season, it was rumoured that the reason TW King was written out was because he and Shannen didn't get along either.
  • Shelley Long didn't get along with any of her castmates on Cheers except for Nicholas Colasanto (Coach). However, he died partway through the show's third season, leaving her without an ally. That same year, Kelsey Grammer joined the cast as Dr. Frasier Crane, her character's new love interest, and the two feuded constantly. There was also a lot of bad blood between Long and Rhea Perlman, which at least had the benefit of giving the antipathy between their characters some extra juice.
  • Criminal Minds: Thomas Gibson got fired after he fought one of the episode writers while filming Season 12. As a result, Aaron Hotchner left the BAU and is Put on a Bus.
  • Doctor Who is one of the most candidly-documented shows ever, but most actors still insist that they all got along famously. There are only a handful of cases of people admitting the opposite:
    • Michael Craze, who played Ben, one of William Hartnell's last two companions, has said that Hartnell was extremely nasty to both him and Anneke Wills, the third regular cast member at the time. This was probably partly due to Hartnell's dementia and partly to him being unhappy about his impending departure from the show.
    • Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, who played Leela, have admitted that they got on very badly, because Jameson couldn't put up with Baker's ego, while Baker didn't think that the Doctor should be tolerating Leela's Psycho Sidekick tendencies.
    • There were also periods of violent feuding between Baker and Lalla Ward, who played the second incarnation of Romana, but that was down to the up-and-down progress of their Romance on the Set. Both Baker and Ward reportedly did not get on with Matthew Waterhouse, because they thought he was incompetent and didn't like the concept of his character. Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton both found Baker intimidating.
    • John Barrowman revealed that he didn't get on with Christopher Eccleston:
    Chris was always grumpy. You don't always have to be intense. There comes a point when intensity makes you miserable - I think that was the case with Chris. I much prefer working with David - he likes to have a bit more fun, he's more charismatic as a person. Chris might have been a great Doc but he was darker and had a chip on his shoulder, he was not as much fun on set as David. I will give him the credit that he was the first Doctor to bring back the series and made a damn good job of it. But I just wouldn't go to the pub with him. On the other hand, David's been to my house, we went to the Madonna concert with our partners - we socialise together. He's a lot more fun.
    • Eccleston for his part claimed that he didn't enjoy the onset environment due to conflicts with certain people behind the scenes.
  • Speaking of Christopher Eccleston, Mark Strong revealed that while filming Our Friends in the North, Eccleston took an immediate dislike to him for some reason and when they weren't filming, the pair didn't speak to each other for the whole year of production.
  • Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher did not get along well with her co-stars, and it got to the point that her name was absent on the stars' farewell gift to the crew.
  • Before ever being part of Game of Thrones, Jerome Flynn (Bronn) and Lena Headey (Queen Cersei) were in a relationship that did not end well. At all. The result is that the two have it written into their contracts that they won't ever have to share a scene and are never on the set at the same time in order to prevent any hostility from occurring.
  • Another notorious example was the dislike between Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi during later seasons of The Good Wife, which led to them refusing to be on set together to the point that a pivotal scene in the show's finale had to be created using green-screen.
  • The Golden Girls: Bea Arthur reportedly did not get along with her co-stars very well. Betty White admitted that they did not have a good relationship, and that she found White's optimism annoying. Rue McLanahan has said she didn't have a relationship with Bea either calling her very eccentric. With the exception of Betty and Rue, the cast weren't really friends.
  • Vivian Vance and William Frawley, who played Ethel and Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy.
    • The contempt grew to such extremes that Vance would often memorize her scripts just to see how much screen time she had with Frawley.
    • Despite the hostilities, both were said to be true professionals on the set and were noted for their amazing chemistry with each other on screen, to the point that when it first came out, fans of the show could not believe it. However, part of why they worked on screen together was in part because the pair played an embodiment of Like an Old Married Couple.
    • Frawley was reportedly furious with Vance for turning down an opportunity to make a Fred and Ethel spinoff after the conclusion of the series. Legend has it that Vance, upon hearing that Frawley was dead, ordered Champagne for the entire restaurant she was in.
  • The aforementioned Loretta Young and her Swear Jar also had this happen on her self-titled show, with one particular incident involving the notoriously foul mouthed Ethel Merman. According to Stephen Sondheim Young kept chastising Merman for letting profanity slip, at the end of the day Merman dug into her purse and handed over a bill, saying "Loretta, here's ten bucks. Now go fuck yourself!"
  • Deliberately invoked, at least initially, by the creator of The Professionals - the two leads were cast because they did not get on while working together on a previous project and he thought that would give the onscreen relationship between them the edge he wanted. While they worked out their differences in fairly short order and became friends offscreen they were good enough actors to keep the onscreen dynamic he wanted.
  • Angel Street credited its short run in part to the hostility between leads Robin Givens and Pamela Gidley.
  • Naya Rivera confirmed in her biography that she didn't get along with her Glee co-star Lea Michele but she also added that the rumors of their feud were blown out of proportion.
  • UK variety series The Word hosts Terry Christian and Mark Lamarr humorously traded insults on-camera. In reality, they didn't get on at all. One producer confirmed that they almost came to blows in the green room.
  • Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman always tell anyone who will listen that they are not friends. Adam finds Jamie too serious and nitpicky, and Jamie finds Adam too goofy and (especially earlier in the series) sloppy. This being said, they have a fantastic working relationship, and have a high level of respect for each other, to the point that when producers attempted to inject "drama" into the show by showing more of their disagreements, they both refused, saying that they wanted to be professional, and it was more important to show them working well together in spite of their personal feelings, rather than playing up the rare moments their frustrations boiled over (which of course can happen even with good friends).

  • During Fleetwood Mac's notoriously volatile period when everyone was breaking up with and/or cheating on everyone else in the band, the music videos for "Hold Me" and "Gypsy" were both filmed when various band members couldn't stand to be around each other. The former uses a lot of close up shots to disguise that they weren't actually near each other and shot their scenes separately, while the latter had Stevie Nicks be made to dance with Lindsey Buckingham, who she didn't want to be in the same room with, and she looks visibly uncomfortable doing so.

In-Universe Examples

     Anime and Manga 
  • In the manga Skip Beat!, actors Ren Tsuruga (disguised as the actor Cain Heel) and Taira Murasame have been at each other's throats since the script reading for their film Tragic Marker. Ren's "Cain Heel" persona is aloof and disinterested (the director has asked him to keep his distance from the cast and crew, in order to make his performance as an undead serial killer terrifying and unexpected), while Taira is a hot blooded ex-gang leader who thinks Cain isn't taking his work seriously.
    • They get into numerous verbal sparring matches that culminate in an incident where Ren nearly kills Taira: what starts out as stage combat practice turns into an all-out brawl, during which Ren puts Taira in a choke-hold while suspended over an unsecured ledge on the film set. Taira is convinced he's about to die and pulls Ren off the ledge with him, but a last-second intervention from Kyoko convinces Ren to throw Taira into a safety net and use the momentum from the throw to land safely.

     Live-Action TV 

     Video Games 
  • In Hitman (2016), during elusive target #7, Gary Busey and Gary Cole had a tense relationship while both starred in a film project. This was mainly caused by Busey's antics, so the film's producer hired 47 to kill him.