Romance is a key element when it comes to making a great movie. And it doesn’t just apply to its own genre. Romance can be found in action, comedy, science fiction, fantasy, and even horror films, bringing the viewer on an emotional ride, making the stakes higher, and the payoff even greater. It is the connection between the two characters—the passion and the desire—that makes us root for their happy ending. That’s why it’s so important for the two actors who portray them to have great chemistry. Because no matter how good an actor is, there’s no way they could convince an entire audience that their love is real, when on the inside, they’re seething with rage, could they?
Well get ready to have your heart broken! Some of the most famous movie couples of all time are actually played by actors who felt complete disdain for one another while on set. Some of the most popular, highest grossing movies have tricked us all into believing that the actors were truly in love. Or at least enjoyed working together.
Should we consider these people con-men and women for spouting fraudulent dialogue and playing us all for suckers? Or are they actually heroes who only wanted to keep up the magic of illusion like a bunch of shopping mall Santas so that, for a moment in time, we could suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to be swept away by something too perfect to be real?
Read on and make the call for yourself!
15. Jason Lee & Shannen Doherty – Mallrats
Remember when going to malls was a thing? When friends would shop, hang out at the food court, and “accidentally” bump into their crushes in hopes of a lifetime of romantic bliss? If you don’t, you missed out. But there’s good news! You can vicariously experience this antiquated ritual by scrounging up your mom and dad’s old VCR and popping in 1995’s Mallrats!
Riding off the unlikely success of Clerks, Kevin Smith wrote and directed this cult classic which stared Jason Lee and Shannen Doherty among other Smith regulars. Though the storyline is saturated with shenanigans galore, things behind the scenes weren’t always very fun. That’s because romantic duo Lee and Doherty did not enjoy each other’s company. Lee is said to have found his costar spoiled and difficult to work with. This wasn’t exactly shocking news at the time since many of Doherty’s previous costars have made similar statements.
But regardless of whatever issues these two had, both Lee and Doherty plan to come back for the struggling sequel along with the rest of the original cast. And although priorities have probably changed for Doherty due to her recent health issues, we all hope she has a full recovery and will be ready to go if the film ever gets off the ground!
14. Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes – Romeo + Juliet
The following year, a movie exploded into popular culture that made adolescents feel sophisticated and well versed in historical literature. Romeo + Juliet, created for the burgeoning MTV Generation, had confused teens quoting the famous play fairly accurately, while at the same time leaving them erroneously believing that Mercucio was Romeo’s acid-dropping, cross-dressing drug dealer.
Playing the teenaged star-crossed lovers were 16 year old Claire Danes and 22-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio. They say that girls mature faster than boys, and in this case, it appears to be true. Danes described DiCaprio’s constant pranks around the set as “very immature”. He, on the other hand thought her to be too reserved and up tight.
But the couple still managed to deliver such a highly regarded performance that one year later, DiCaprio and Danes were approached to recreate their magic in a new film about the doomed cruise ship, Titanic. DiCaprio signed on, but Danes decided against it. She didn’t want to be typecast and forever associated with DiCaprio. Titanic went on to become the highest grossing movie ever at the time, and is still only outdone by Avatar. Tough luck, Claire!
13. Patrick Swayze & Jennifer Grey – Dirty Dancing
The film Dirty Dancing had it all. Iconic choreography, a timeless soundtrack, and catchy dialogue. But after the original cut tested poorly, it looked like the movie might go straight to video. This may be due in large to lead actors Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey‘s chemistry needing a little makeover from the editing room.
Swayze and Grey previously worked together in the film Red Dawn, and learned right off the bat that they didn’t get along. So when Grey saw Swayze roll in with a group of other potential candidates to test for Dirty Dancing, she was less than ecstatic.
Swayze wasn’t exactly elated to work with Grey again either. He felt that she was overly emotional, crying frequently when she was criticized. Other times she acted too silly, resulting in them having to shoot multiple takes of scenes. But fortunately for the fans, the two seemed to have patched things up before Swayze’s death in 2009, and he even commended her for her performance in the film.
12. Vince Vaughn & Reese Witherspoon – Four Christmases
Here’s what we need to get back in the spirit of love. A modern Christmas classic starring a rather impressive number if A-list celebrities. Four Christmases is a romantic comedy about a couple trying to visit each of their four parents for their respective holiday get-togethers. And topping the bill are the individually likable Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.
The trouble with this couple was the apparent discrepancy in how each actor prepared themselves for the movie. Witherspoon liked to practice a scene a few times before filming. Vaughn on the other hand preferred to just go for it. Seemingly not a huge deal, but for these veteran actors, tensions rose as they couldn’t find a middle ground.
Both of them dispelled the rumors that they didn’t get along, but neither of them went to any great lengths to promote the movie together before or after it was released. Maybe they didn’t hate each other, but they didn’t care to be around one another either.
11. Richard Gere & Debra Winger – An Officer And A Gentleman
Even if you haven’t seen An Officer and a Gentleman, you probably still know it from the iconic final scene which has been parodied over and again. The Simpsons did it. Friends did it. Trust me, you’ve seen it. A man in a white uniform walks up to his unsuspecting love, kisses her, picks her up, and carries her away, all to the tune of “Love Lift us Up”. No matter which incarnation you’ve seen, you can’t deny it was pretty romantic.
But guess what… (If you haven’t figured it out by now, you haven’t been paying attention.) Actors Richard Gere and Debra Winger weren’t entirely fond of one another during filming. They constantly argued on set, and Winger later said that making the film was one of the worst experiences in her life. But seriously, if filming an award winning romantic drama is the worst thing you’ve been through, you must have had a pretty damn good life!
10. David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson – The X-Files
Like everyone who spent the mid 90s watching The X-Files, I wanted to believe that one day, Mulder and Scully would finally get together. Throughout the series’ original 10 season run, the writers toyed with us by throwing in flirtatious dialogue, innuendo, and poignant scenes between the “strictly professional” agents. And even though their relationship was never clearly explained until the second feature film, we never gave up hope.
But as it turns out, the writers might not be fully to blame after all. Apparently actress Gillian Anderson, who portrayed Scully, preferred that the two characters remained apart. The issue? It seems that they simply spent too much time together. Having a relationship almost like siblings, there was always an underlying love, but as David Duchovny (Mulder) put it in a 2008 interview by Metro, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”
Fortunately, they seem to forget all that once they’re apart for a while. They are sometimes seen hanging out in public together and there is even a video circulating of them kissing on stage during his band’s performance in 2015.
9. Pierce Brosnan & Teri Hatcher – Tomorrow Never Dies
Teri Hatcher has developed a reputation as being difficult by some of her former co-workers. And things were apparently no different on the set of 1997’s James Bond flick, Tomorrow Never Dies. Pierce Brosnan, the Bond of the late ’90s, said that while filming, Hatcher constantly kept him waiting on the set for hours. She also slapped him a little too hard once during a scene. Brosnan’s reaction was pretty much what you’d expect from a proper English gentleman such as himself. In 2005, he told the Daily Mirror, “I must admit I let slip a few words which weren’t very nice.”
It sounds like he wasn’t too hard on Hatcher, and it’s probably for the best. Because shortly after, he discovered that she was actually pregnant, and the resulting nausea was the reason for her tardiness and irritability.
8. Marlon Brando & Sophia Loren – A Countess From Hong Kong
Superstar hotties of yore, Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren starred together in the 1967 film, A Countess from Hong Kong. Silent film star Charlie Chaplain directed this film which he originally wrote three decades earlier. Suffice it to say the movie wasn’t the biggest hit of all time and might have tanked altogether were it not for the power couple in the leading roles.
But Brando and Loren’s feud got underway in the beginning of filming when he did the one thing you should never ever do to a woman. He informed her in front of everyone that he could see one of her nose hairs! (Come on, Brando. That’s the first thing you learn in Dating 101!) Later, Loren threatened to slap him in the face when he “patted her on the back” in a way she didn’t like.
7. Harrison Ford & Sean Young – Blade Runner
From what I’ve researched, Sean Young seems to be the most difficult actress to work with on our list. When she filmed Blade Runner with Harrison Ford in 1982, she already had a reputation. And it didn’t stop there! Ford’s love scene with Young was referred to by the crew as the “hate scene” because it was no secret how they felt about one another. Their feelings aside, many of the production aspects may have helped turn the unpleasant experience into a downright horrible one. They had long hours of shooting in the rain, and often had to shoot multiple takes due to director Ridley Scott‘s extreme attention to detail.
But even today, Young seems to be the same woman she was 35 years ago. In a 2015 interview published by The Guardian, Young agreed to do a simple interview via email. After receiving the questions, and answering some to various degrees, she quickly changed her mind and concluded her communication with the interviewer with the response, “Please don’t write shit about me, OK?”
6. Nick Nolte & Julia Roberts – I Love Trouble
1994’s romantic comedy, I Love Trouble, paired up Nick Nolte with Julia Roberts. In the odd story, Nolte and Roberts play rival journalists, both looking to get the scoop on a genetically-altered milk conspiracy that was upturned due to a train wreck. Their characters are pretty much horrible to each other throughout the movie until the end when they team up to solve the case and fall in love.
The real life chemistry between these two wasn’t all that different from their characters, save for the falling in love part. Roberts admitted she and Nolte “gave each other a hard time” while filming. She even went as far as to call him “completely disgusting”. He responded by saying “She’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that.”
5. Tony Curtis & Marilyn Monroe – Some Like It Hot
Some like it hot. Some don’t. The latter was the case for Jamie Lee Curtis‘ father, Tony Curtis and his SLIH costar, Marilyn Monroe. How much did Curtis dislike the heat he had to feign with Hollywood’s most famous blonde? Apparently, he once said that kissing her was like “kissing Hitler”. Sure, the odd comment could have meant she had a tiny mustache that tickled his lip when they kissed, (Sorry, Marilyn, bleach can’t fix everything!) but more likely, it stemmed from their apparent affair at the time of filming that resulted in an unsuccessful pregnancy. Nothing like throwing your wife off the track by telling the world your mistress kisses like Hitler!
In addition to whatever romantic drama was or wasn’t happening behind the scenes, Monroe frustrated the other actors with her inability to remember her lines. By this time in her life, she was already largely addicted to pills, which made her unfocused on set. Sometimes, even a simple line such as “It’s me, Sugar.” took upwards of 40 takes to get right. It got so bad that eventually, Curtis and costar Jack Lemmon began betting on the number of takes she would need to complete a scene!
4. Johnny Depp & Angelina Jolie – The Tourist
The next movie on our list is The Tourist. But it’s not the movie itself that deems this example of fraudulent romance worthy of mentioning. It’s the people involved. Because the two stars of The Tourist are some of the hottest actors of the last two decades, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.
Depp apparently thought that Jolie was full of herself, while she in turn was disappointed that he didn’t get himself in better shape for the role. This is one case where the acting couldn’t save the project. To the surprise of the producer, who was sure that their chemistry was on point, the movie bombed.
But even after all that, the superstars stated that they did indeed like each other. Depp even reiterated the sentiment as recently as 2016 in an interview with People Magazine. I guess any hard feelings from this Venice-set flick is now just water under the gondola.
3. Dustin Hoffman & Meryl Streep – Kramer vs. Kramer
Some actors begin acting when the director calls for it. Others, referred to as method actors, are in character from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. This popular little device helps them stay in character so they can give the most authentic performance possible. When Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep appeared opposite each other in 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer, Hoffman invested himself fully into method acting, while Streep did not.
Hoffman played his character, who is in an ugly divorce with Streep’s character, even when the cameras weren’t rolling. He figured if he could get Streep to hate him in real life, she would play her role better. Among the things Hoffman did were slapping her in the face right before a take, taunting her about her recently deceased lover (actor John Cazale), and not telling her that he was going to throw a glass past her head during a shot so that she would have a genuine reaction.
We’ve now known for a long time that Streep doesn’t need any help when it comes to acting. And she proved it here when she rewrote her character to be stronger and less villainous, and with a monologue that won her an Oscar.
2. Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams – The Notebook
Alright men, you’re on the couch with your lady. You’ve got the Netflix. All you’re missing is the chill. You’re wondering how to make your move. How to get her in the mood. Then you see it. Two words that will make any girl want to chill your brains out. The Notebook.
Regarded as one of the best romantic films of all times, this tale of undying love could have easily been derailed by the complete disdain actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams felt for each other. According to director, Nicholas Cassavetes, the costars were constantly at each other’s throats, often screaming at each other while the cameras weren’t rolling. Gosling even requested that a stand-in actress read McAdams’ lines for her while they filmed his reactions. He didn’t get his wish, however, and had to tough it out.
But as we can see in the photo above, the hatred they felt translated into passion, resulting in one of the greatest film romances of all time. In fact, their acting was so good that they even convinced themselves! Gosling and McAdams began a three year relationship shortly after filming, which helped skyrocket them into superstardom.
1. Woody Allen & Mia Farrow – Husbands And Wives
Thought The Notebook would top the list, did you? Well get used to coming in runner-up, Gosling, because we have a story that will make you forget everything you’ve just read!
In the 1992 movie, Husbands and Wives, Woody Allen starred with his wife Mia Farrow. But what was happening behind the scenes would have made for a much better movie! Farrow had recently found nude photos that Allen had taken of their adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Previn, who was born in South Korea in 1970, was originally adopted by Farrow and her ex-husband, Andre Previn in 1978. When Farrow married Allen, he became Previn’s step-father, though he didn’t officially adopt her. Allen and Previn began a sexual relationship at some time between 1980 and 1992. Since the word “pedophilia” was used in Farrow’s allegations, one can assume it began earlier than later.
Somehow the film was actually completed, and Allen and Farrow divorced. To make the scandal even more juicy, Allen married his daughter five years later in 1997 and they are still together today. (We don’t have word on Previn’s current relationship with her many brother-sons and sister-daughters, but her 81-year-old husband-daddy seems to remain faithful.)