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‘He was so rude!’: 30 co-stars who famously clashed on set

From Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron to Lucy Liu and Bill Murray, there are many TV and movie collaborations that haven’t exactly been plain sailing, writes Ellie Harrison

Friday 26 April 2024 08:25 BST
Bill Murray and Lucy Liu, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, Tim Allen and Casey Wilson, and Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are just a few of the pairings who didn’t see eye to eye
Bill Murray and Lucy Liu, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, Tim Allen and Casey Wilson, and Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are just a few of the pairings who didn’t see eye to eye (Getty/Disney/Columbia)

Cruel!”, “Completely disgusting!”, “Candy ass!” – these are just some of the barbs that Hollywood stars have unleashed upon each other over the years. But which actors said them? And about whom?

Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte might have been romantically entangled in I Love Trouble, but they also had a few tangles – and not the good kind – with each other off-set. And even though Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams went on to date in real life after The Notebook, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight for those two, either.

And in recent weeks, claims that Rebel Wilson has made about working with Sacha Baron Cohen on the 2016 comedy Grimsby have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

With the exception of Wilson, for most feuding stars, these incidents are ancient history. And the actors and their fans probably want to move on.

But before we bury the hatchet, why not stir the figurative pot a little more, with this long list of actors who have clashed on set…

Casey Wilson and Tim Allen

In an episode of her B**** Sesh podcast, Wilson – who has starred in films including Gone Girl and Julie & Julia – accused the Home Improvement star Tim Allen of being “so f***ing rude” when she guest starred on The Santa Clauses, his Disney+ spin-off of the Santa Clause movies.

“Tim Allen was such a b****,” the actor said, while recalling shooting a scene in which Allen, playing Father Christmas, enters her character’s home and she confuses him for an intruder. “[He] goes over to the producer who is standing four feet from me and goes, and I hear him, he goes, ‘You gotta tell her to stop stepping on my lines’,” she said. “The producer turns to me with horror on his face and has to walk one foot to me and he goes, ‘Um, Tim would ask that you stop stepping on his lines.’”

Wilson said that “everybody was walking on eggshells” around the Toy Story actor. “People just looked frantic. When he was done, he was so f***ing rude. Never made eye contact, never said anything. It was so uncomfortable.” After they finished filming, she remembered Allen announcing that he was “leaving” before dropping his Santa coat to the floor and walking out.

Allen has yet to comment on Wilson’s claim.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel

“Candy ass” and “chicken s***” were the inventive insults that The Rock came up with in 2016 for his Fast & Furious co-star Vin Diesel.

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During an interview with Rolling Stone, Dwayne Johnson explained that the pair have “a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating”.

Diesel later claimed that his difficulties with Johnson stemmed from him doling out unwelcome acting advice. “My approach at the time was a lot of tough love to assist in getting [his] performance where it needed to be,” Diesel told Men’s Health.

Responding to the remark, Johnson said: “I laughed and I laughed hard. I think everyone had a laugh at that. And I’ll leave it at that. And that I’ve wished them well. I wish them well on Fast 9. And I wish them the best of luck on Fast 10 and Fast 11 and the rest of the Fast & Furious movies they do that will be without me.”

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in ‘The X-Files’
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in ‘The X-Files’ (Rex Features)

The X-Files stars are good friends now, but they didn’t always see eye to eye. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” Duchovny told Metro in 2008.

“It’s nothing to do with the other person. All that fades away and you’re just left with the appreciation and love for the people you’ve worked with for so long. We used to argue about nothing. We couldn’t stand the sight of each other.”

In 2015, Anderson admitted to The Guardian: “I mean, yes, there were definitely periods when we hated each other.

“Hate is too strong a word. We didn’t talk for long periods of time. It was intense, and we were both pains in the arse for the other at various times.”

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron

In 2020, the Mad Max: Fury Road stars opened up about their infamous feud on the set of the 2015 film. Theron had admitted at the time that the pair “f***in’ went at it” while filming the post-apocalyptic drama.

Mad Max: Fury Road - Trailer

Speaking to The New York Times, Hardy said: “I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways. The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times. What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced, partner in me. That’s something that can’t be faked. I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.”

Theron added: “In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes. That is frightening! I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, ‘This is scary for you, and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other.’ In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival.”

In February 2022, the plot thickened when Theron claimed she was “scared s***less” of Hardy on set. She made the revelations in the book Blood, Sweat, and Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, which details a heated encounter between the pair after Hardy showed up to set three hours late.

Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte

After starring opposite Nick Nolte in I Love Trouble, Julia Roberts didn’t hold back in an interview with The New York Times in 1993. “From the moment I met him we sort of gave each other a hard time, and naturally we get on each other’s nerves,” she said.

While he can be “completely charming and very nice”, she added, “he’s also completely disgusting. He’s going to hate me for saying this, but he seems go out of his way to repel people. He’s a kick.”

Roberts might have been being playful – it’s unclear – but Nolte took her comments seriously. “It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting’,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “But she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that.”

Will Smith and Janet Hubert

In 2020, Will Smith admitted to “making the set very difficult” for his Fresh Prince of Bel Air co-star Janet Hubert.

During a one-off reunion on HBO Max, Hubert – who played the original Aunt Viv and left the series in 1993 – reconciled with Smith after a 27-year-long feud, telling him she felt like he “banished” her.

Smith then acknowledged making things hard for Hubert, stating he felt like “everything was a threat to him” when he was on the show.

“I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was just for you to show up every day,” he said, to which Hubert responded: “But you took all of that away from me – with your words. Words can kill. I lost everything. Reputation. Everything. And I understand you were able to move forward, but you know those words, calling a Black woman ‘difficult’ in Hollywood, is the kiss of death.”

Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum in ‘Magic Mike’
Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum in ‘Magic Mike’ (Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock)

While they played friends in Magic Mike, Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer were not so close in real life.

“Channing Tatum does not like me. For many reasons. Many being my own fault,” Pettyfer said in a 2015 interview on Bret Easton Ellis’s podcast.

According to Pettyfer, tensions began because he was “very insecure as a human being” during filming and decided to keep to himself on set. “That gave me a bad rep because they said, ‘Oh Alex thinks he’s f***ing better than everybody else because he doesn’t speak to anyone.’”

The acrimony allegedly only worsened when Pettyfer rented an apartment from a friend of Tatum’s and moved out before paying the four months of back rent that he owed.

Tatum never publicly responded to Pettyfer’s comments.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

After filming The Notebook, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams dated for several years. But they didn’t always get along. Director Nick Cassavetes told VH1 in 2014: “Maybe I’m not supposed to tell this story, but they were really not getting along one day on set. Really not.

“Ryan 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 and he says, ‘Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me?’ I said, ‘What?’ He says, ‘I can’t. I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this.’”

Cassavetes said that after allowing the two actors to have it out, the shoot was able to continue.

“We went into a room with a producer; they started screaming and yelling at each other. I walked out,” Cassavetes said. “At that point I was smoking cigarettes. I smoked a cigarette and everybody came out like, ‘All right, let’s do this.’”

Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker

Sex and the City stars Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker have been engaged in a long-simmering feud.

On Piers Morgan’s Life Stories in 2017, Cattrall said that Parker “could have been nicer” about her refusal to take part in a third Sex and the City movie. She also added that the four stars of the show, which also included Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, were “never friends”.

Cattrall went further in February 2018, following the death of her brother Chris. After Parker wrote a comment of condolence on Cattrall’s Instagram, Cattrall posted a photo of a message that read: “I don’t need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker.”

Cattrall then accused Parker of “exploiting our tragedy to restore [her] ‘nice girl’ persona”, adding: “Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now.”

Parker has consistently denied that she has ever fallen out with Cattrall.

Nicolette Sheridan and Teri Hatcher

The co-stars in 2005
The co-stars in 2005 (Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock)

Desperate Housewives actor Nicolette Sheridan once went so far as to call her co-star Teri Hatcher “the meanest woman in the world”, according to the show’s writer Marc Cherry.

There is speculation that Sheridan wasn’t the only star who didn’t get on with Hatcher. In 2018, Huffman posted a tribute to the show online, complete with personalised messages to each of her former co-stars, with the exception of one person only: Hatcher.

That same year, Eva Longoria appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and claimed that the stars were all still “very good friends”, before correcting herself with, “99 per cent of us are”.

After the finale aired, and amid widespread rumours about the feud, Hatcher said to TV Guide: “I will never disclose the true and complicated journey of us all, but I wish everyone on the show well.”

Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando

In Sophie Loren’s 1963 memoir, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life, she recounted the experience of filming the romantic comedy A Countess from Hong Kong with Marlon Brando.

Recalling a time he allegedly groped her on set, she wrote: “All of a sudden, he put his hands on me. I turned in all tranquillity and blew in his face, like a cat stroked the wrong way and said, ‘Don’t you ever dare to do that again. Never again!’”

She continued: “As I pulverised him with my eyes, he seemed small, defenceless, almost a victim of his own notoriety. He never did it again, but it was very difficult working with him after that.”

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in ‘Kramer vs Kramer’
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ (Moviestore/Shutterstock)

Meryl Streep has said Dustin Hoffman “overstepped” the mark when he slapped her face on the set of the divorce drama Kramer vs Kramer.

Referring to the 1979 scene with Hoffman, Streep told The New York Times in 2018: “This is tricky because when you’re an actor, you’re in a scene, you have to feel free. I’m sure that I have inadvertently hurt people in physical scenes.

“But there’s a certain amount of forgiveness in that... But he just slapped me. And you see it in the movie. It was overstepping.”

Hoffman has previously said he was getting a divorce while shooting the film.

“I’m sure I was acting out on her [Streep] throughout the movie,” he told the Huffington Post. “Stuff that I was feeling toward the wife that I was divorcing in real life.”

William Shatner and George Takei

Despite being two of the four surviving cast members of the original Star Trek series, William Shatner and George Takei are still feuding.

George previously told The New York Times that William was “not a team player” on set. He said: “The rest of the cast all understand what makes a scene work. It’s everybody contributing to it. But Bill is a wonderful actor and he knows it, and he likes to have the camera on him all the time.”

In 2021, after Takei mocked Shatner’s trip to space, Shatner retaliated by telling Page Six: “There’s a psychosis there… There must be something else inside George that is festering, and it makes him unhappy that he takes it out on me… Why would he go out of his way to denigrate me? It’s sad, I feel nothing but pity for him.”

Bill Murray and Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu and Bill Murray were not exactly the best of friends while filming the 2000 action comedy Charlie’s Angels.

Speaking on the Los Angeles Times’s Asian Enough podcast, Liu said that she wouldn’t “get into the specifics” but there was a moment where she stood up to Murray while on set.

Liu said Murray “hurled insults” at her that “kept going on and on”. “It was unjust and it was uncalled for,” she said. “Some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable, and I was not going to just sit there and take it. So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it.

Murray has not publicly commented on the fall-out, but reports have previously claimed that he “loudly complained” about Liu’s “acting technique” on set and that he even stopped a scene in progress and pointed to Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Liu, saying in order, “I get why you’re here, and you’ve got talent… but what in the hell are you doing here? You can’t act!”

Rebel Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen

Wilson’s 2024 book, Rebel Rising, includes a chapter titled “Sacha Baron Cohen and Other A**holes”, in which the Pitch Perfect star makes claims about Baron Cohen’s alleged behaviour during the filming of their 2016 comedy Grimsby, which he has strongly denied.

Wilson played Dawn, the girlfriend of protagonist Nobby – a football hooligan who becomes an elite spy, played by Borat star Baron Cohen.

Her allegations may have been redacted from the UK version of her book, after pressure from Baron Cohen’s legal team, but Wilson still spoke to The Sunday Times about her experience working on the film.

“It’s one thing for someone who is fat to exploit their size for comedy, but it’s another for somebody else to humiliate you,” she said.

She added that while she has always made a “really conscious decision to look ugly”, she felt her costumes on set were purposely chosen to be unflattering so viewers could “see all the cellulite on my thighs and a top to show the fattest part of my arm”.

With a no-nudity clause in Wilson’s contract, a stripper was recruited to run across a football pitch naked instead. However, she felt the character was being “demeaned” with people laughing at her, not with her.

At the time, Wilson said she felt unable to challenge the requests for fear of being labelled a “troublemaker”.

Returning for the film’s reshoots, she reports feeling “ashamed” and “disrespected on set” and did not promote the movie when it was released, and has never watched it to this day.

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