Some movies are held together by actors with sparking chemistry, but you might be surprised to find that many of these on-screen flames are truly just an act.
At the end of the day, actors are just people—and not all people get along. Tensions can run especially high when having to spend hours and hours on set together, re-shooting take after take after take.
From production bickers to full-on rivalries, here are some of the most notorious instances of actors and actresses who starred together but actually didn't get along behind the scenes.
11. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch
They performed together in Sherlock (2010–2017).
Benedict Cumberbatch delivered one of the world's favorite depictions of the fictional British detective Sherlock Holmes. The fast-talking, "high-functioning sociopath" can solve any mystery, but he needs his doctor sidekick John Watson to keep him grounded.
In Steven Moffat's modern take on Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman stars as the detective's only friend and work partner.
Despite the BBC show's immense popularity—partly due to the actors' superb performances and chemistry—Cumberbatch and Freeman have a reportedly "frosty" relationship.
Over the entire seven years of making Sherlock, the two didn't make friends. While they remained professional and civil—they are British, after all—Cumberbatch eventually dubbed Freeman as "pathetic" for complaining about the high expectations of fans.
Sherlock and Watson's friendship is built on bickering like an old married couple, so perhaps the production's cold air worked in their favor!
10. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep
They performed together in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
The tension between Ted and Joanna in Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer wasn't all acting. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep really did hate each other while filming the 70s drama—and still do to this day.
It was one of Streep's first major movie roles, but it wasn't exactly a great experience for her. That bit where Ted slaps Joanna in the face? Yeah, that's real. It was supposed to be fake, but Hoffman really hit her without any warning.
He also reportedly yelled at Streep when disliking a scene, and taunted her about her late husband. Hoffman is a little notorious for being a bad co-star, so Streep hasn't been the only actress to call him out. They haven't worked together since.
9. Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts
They performed together in I Love Trouble (1994).
Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts played rivals in the 90s romcom I Love Trouble, so their shared contempt likely helped the movie. The two starred as Chicago news reporters who locked horns, but their quarrels continued even after director Charles Shyer called cut.
The co-stars instantly knew they were going to "get on each other's nerves," but probably didn't expect such a public disagreement.
After Roberts described Nolte as "disgusting" for purposefully antagonizing people on set, he responded in a Los Angeles Times interview: "It's not nice to call someone 'disgusting.' But she's not a nice person. Everyone knows that."
Three decades later, Nolte reflected that their altercation was "absurd" and took responsibility for approaching the newly-married actress "all wrong." Roberts made no comment.
8. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny
They performed together in The X-Files (1993–2002).
This one might come as a shock! Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, who played the iconic FBI agents investigating paranormal cases in The X-Files, weren't exactly on great terms.
Chris Carter's sci-fi TV series was a huge hit that remains a touchstone for pop culture references. In the show, Mulder and Scully's professional relationship takes a romantic turn towards the end, but the actors themselves were barely even platonic.
It was bad enough that Duchovny and Anderson avoided speaking between takes, and they didn't even bother hiding it from the media.
Both actors have spoken about their contempt for each other, admitting that they "couldn't stand the sight of each other" after so many years filming. Luckily, they're on better terms now.
7. Lea Michele and Naya Rivera
They performed together in Glee (2009-2015).
Back in 2020, Samantha Marie Ware held nothing back when she called out Glee co-star Lea Michele in an all-caps tweet about "TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD."
But even before that incident, Lea Michele had already been accused by another Glee actress: Naya Rivera had complained to the producers about Michele's "diva antics" before she eventually left the show.
Twitter loves celebrity drama, so users immedietly jumped on the trend about how "Naya Rivera told everyone about Miss Lea Michele years ago, but no one listened."
In her 2016 book Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, Rivera suggested that Michele disliked sharing the spotlight with Rivera's growing plotlines.
Rivera wasn't the only actor to strike friction with Michele, but theirs certainly made the biggest headlines. Tragically, Rivera drowned to death (in an unrelated accident) before the rumors could be cleared up.
6. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes
They performed together in Romeo + Juliet (1996).
The whimsical romance between the most famous couple in literature was completely fake in Baz Luhrmann's Shakespeare adaptation. "O Romeo, O Romeo... Please, leave me alone Romeo!"
Leonardo DiCaprio was a bit of a prankster back in the day, which Claire Danes—his star-crossed lover on screen—found to be very irritating. (Kate Winslet, on the other hand, found it very amusing on the set of Titanic and they've remained life-long friends.)
Apparently, Claire Danes thought DiCaprio was highly immature when filming Romeo + Juliet. In response, he found Danes too uptight. Hate is a strong word, but a certain dislike for each other meant the two barely spoke off screen during production.
5. Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall
They performed together in Sex and the City (1998).
Six years, six seasons. That's a long time to be working in such close proximity to someone, so it's understandable things could get a little tense at times.
Despite being besties in the iconic HBO show Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall kept things on a strictly professional basis in real life.
Sources claim that salary differences and on-set disagreements made the two stop speaking at one point. This made things particularly awkward for the rest of the cast and crew. Maybe not the dramatic feud gossip columns made it out to be, but it definitely got tetchy.
4. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
They performed together in The Notebook (2004).
Here we have another young budding romance that brought viewers to tears. Allie and Noah made for a perfect love story in The Notebook, but actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams supposedly despised each other before their famous fling in the mid-2000s.
Things got off on the wrong foot during filming. Director Nick Cassavetes said the actors were often screaming at each other between takes. Gosling even wanted McAdams kicked off the project!
Cassavetes made the two work things out so they could go on filming. Two years later, the actors met up in New York and started over with a clean slate. Gosling has since admitted he was wrong about McAdams and found her to be an inspirational girlfriend.
3. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
They performed together in Dirty Dancing (1987).
Perhaps the steam coming off the dance routines in Dirty Dancing was due to rage rather than passion. Patrick Swayze found Jennifer Grey's "silly moods" tedious when faced with multiple retakes, and became easily frustrated at her struggles with the choreography.
Though they showed a promise of chemistry during the screen test, the two argued constantly on set. Director Emile Ardolino would even show them their screen test before filming to try and trigger their initial spark—to no avail.
Grey did admit, however, that their fiery disagreements helped with the intensity of their characters relationship in Dirty Dancing.
The 80s classic wasn't the first time for friction between the actors. In Red Dawn, Swayze refused to break character as the guerrilla leader. He began ordering people around on set, which Grey didn't appreciate.
2. Burt Reynolds and Marlon Brando
They almost performed together in The Godfather (1972).
Okay, so Burt Reynolds and Marlon Brando weren't technically co-stars—but they almost were! And given how famous they both are, we couldn't skip this juicy story.
Burt Reynolds was asked to play Michael Corleone in The Godfather, the most famous gangster movie ever made. However, Marlon Brando threatened to walk if Reynolds was cast:
The sixty-year conflict began in 1963, when an episode of The Twilight Zone showed Reynolds doing a mocking (yet impressive) impersonation of Brando. Brando didn't find it amusing.
"He is the epitome of something that makes me want to throw up. He is the epitome of everything that is disgusting about the thespian. He worships at the temple of his own narcissism."Marlon Brando on Burt Reynolds
That's a pretty strong statement by Brando against Reynolds—and pretty hypocritical, considering Brando's legacy!
After entering the Hollywood Hall of Fame, Brando went on to become infamously difficult to work with, often showing up to sets unprepared, overweight, and making ridiculous demands.
Known for his extreme personality, it came as no surprise when a recording of Brando on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979) was discovered, in which he raged at the mention of Reynolds's name: "Don't say that name around me."
Brando then went on to describe a scene from The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973) that he hated, in which Reynolds "hustles" a child to make himself look good.
The following year, Reynolds did another mocking impersonation of Brando on Saturday Night Live, this time poking at his weight gain.
The two never reconciled before Brando died in 2004. However, a matured Reynolds did praise Brando as "the best actor there is."
1. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
They performed together in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962).
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were both acting legends with big personalities. Their infamous rivalry took place in both professional and personal spheres, where the two were known for their bitter feud.
Davis' first starring role in 1933 was overshadowed by Crawford's public divorce—who then married the man Davis loved. Davis swore to never forgive Crawford in a 1987 interview...and she still hasn't.
It's said they continued to bicker like children for the rest of their time together, including at the 1936 Academy Awards ceremony. Crawford made fun of Davis' dress and was called out for being rude to her during the speeches.
Crawford sent Davis flowers and gifts to try and make amends, but they were all sent back. Crawford received Academy Award nominations for the roles Davis turned down, and rumors began to circulate that Crawford was actually infatuated with Davis.
Of course, this was never confirmed. Producers tried to get the rivals on screen together again, but they refused.
Eventually, they came to co-star in Robert Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, but on one condition: that Crawford wasn't favored. Crawford requested a body double for one scene out of fear that Davis would hurt her for real—which she did when she hit Crawford hard on the head.
It's no surprise Crawford dropped out of their next scheduled movie together, following more Academy Award ceremony clashes. When Crawford passed away in 1977, Davis allegedly said: "Joan Crawford is dead. Good." (There is no evidence this was ever said.)