It’s a hoary old romcom cliché – the mismatched guy and girl who hate each other at first but eventually learn to respect each others’ differences and wind up falling in love. Regarding the first part at least, the real relationships between screen couples aren’t always too far from the truth – sometimes working in such close proximity causes leading men and women to drive each other crazy.
Not to shatter your illusions of Hollywood’s storybook romances or anything, but these screen couples hated each other’s guts.
Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams – ‘The Notebook’ (2004)
Theirs is one of contemporary cinema’s most celebrated romances, complete with that iconic scene of them smooching in the rain. Upsettingly for fans of ‘The Notebook’, the relationship between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams was stormy off screen too. Gosling allegedly asked director Nick Cassavetes to replace McAdams with another actress after shooting had begun, and Cassavetes recalls walking into a room to find the pair screaming at each other at the top of their voices.
Of course, Ryan and Rachel went on to be one of the cutest couples in Hollywood, which just goes to show how accurate that terrible ‘opposites attract’ romcom cliché can be.
Billy Baldwin & Sharon Stone – ‘Sliver’ (1993)
This shameless attempt to rekindle the erotic thrills of smash hit ‘Basic Instinct’ fell limp, thanks mainly to non-existent chemistry between stars Stone and Baldwin. Perhaps aware she was starring in a dud, the actress liked to emasculate Baldwin between takes to amuse herself; in one kissing scene, she bit his tongue so hard that his brother Alec probably felt it. Billy allegedly wasn’t able to talk for a week afterwards, though unfortunately the film was able to be finished.
Nick Nolte & Julia Roberts – ‘I Love Trouble’ (1994)
It’s hard to imagine Nick Nolte in any kind of romantic leading man capacity these days, but his unique look was considered hot stuff back in the 90s when he was paired with Julia Roberts in romcom about rival reporters.
Roberts did not get on with Nolte one bit and neither party were afraid to admit it. Even years later, they are unable to hide their animosity. Roberts recently called Nolte “a disgusting human being” while Nolte fired back, saying of Roberts, “She is not a nice person.” Mee-ow!
Claire Danes & Leonardo DiCaprio – ‘Romeo + Juliet’ (1996)
Literature’s most tortured lovers shared an equally torturous relationship on set. Though both were youngsters at the time of shooting Baz Luhrmann’s hip Shakespeare adaptation, Danes considered 22-year-old DiCaprio “immature” and avoided him when possible. Rumour has it she turned down a role in Leo’s Hoover biopic ‘J Edgar’ because she’d still not forgiven him for goofing around.
Years later while speaking to ASOS, Danes managed to fit in a jibe about DiCaprio’s ballooning weight, calling him a “big, fat grown-up”.
Tony Curtis & Marilyn Monroe – ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959)
“It was like kissing Hitler,” said Tony Curtis of his co-star – and an entire generation of men suddenly wondered if screen goddess Marilyn was rocking some lip fuzz. Curtis and Monroe had actually been lovers before shooting ‘Some Like It Hot’, but by the time they were cast together in Billy Wilder’s screwball comedy, Curtis said his former paramour had changed: “She’d gone funny, her mind was all over the place.” Discussing the couple’s make-out scene on a yacht, Curtis said of Marilyn, “It was awful. She nearly choked me to death by deliberately sticking her tongue down my throat into my windpipe.” What a way to go.
Pierce Brosnan & Teri Hatcher – ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1998)
It’s not like Bond to forge lasting relationships with his female partners, so 007 actor Pierce Brosnan took that to heart when it came to working with ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ Bond girl Teri Hatcher.
The soon-to-be Desperate Housewife was apparently not the best timekeeper, although it later turned out that she was pregnant and was suffering from morning sickness. “I got very upset with her,” said Brosnan in 2005. “She was always keeping me waiting for hours. I must admit I let slip a few words which weren’t very nice.” It’s not like James Bond ever mistreated a woman, is it?
Patrick Swayze & Jennifer Grey – ‘Dirty Dancing’ (1987)
Legend has it that Patrick Swayze had to get down on his hands and knees to convince Jennifer Grey to star in ‘Dirty Dancing’, because when the pair shot ‘Red Dawn’ together she was not a fan of his. That backfired somewhat when Grey’s immaturity caused Swayze no small amount of irritation – neither of them had the time of their life. “She’d slip into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over,” said Swayze in his memoirs. “We did have a few moments of friction… she seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticised her.” Sure, Patrick. ‘Someone’.
Anthony Hopkins & Shirley MacLaine – ‘A Change Of Seasons’ (1980)
“She was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with.” That’s Anthony Hopkins there, resolutely refusing to mince his words about Shirley MacLaine, with whom he starred in 1980’s Golden Raspberry-nominated romantic drama. The precise reason for Hopkins’ dislike of the actress is unclear, although he’s not the only person to criticise MacLaine. Director Don Siegel once said, “It’s hard to feel much warmth for [Shirley]. She’s too unfeminine and has too much balls.”
Richard Gere & Debra Winger – ‘An Officer And A Gentleman’ (1982)
In his book ‘An Actor And A Gentleman’, Louis Gossett Jr lifted the lid on one of the most popular (and most parodied) movie relationships of the 1980s – apparently all the sailor suits in the world couldn’t make Richard Gere and Debra Winger abide one another. Winger despised making the film and likened co-star Gere to “a brick wall”. It’s been over 30 years since he carried her off into the sunset, so Gere and Winger’s difficult relationship has thawed in the interim. Says Winger now, “I run in to Richard Gere quite a lot and he half jokes, ‘Are you still saying terrible things about me?’”
Photos: Rex/BEI/Snap/Moviestore Collection/Artisan/Everett