Actors and Directors Who Definitely Butted Heads On Set
"We had two weeks where he did not speak to me, but it was bliss."
Life on a movie set can be strenuous. With filming on location stretching for weeks and sometimes even months, things can get tense. And that’s especially true for actors and directors, who have been known to butt heads in the middle of arduous filming schedules.
Even though actors and directors have the same goal of creating a stellar film, their visions can slightly vary. While some people are able to work through their differences, others let things escalate into arguments and even physical altercations. Thankfully, everything comes together by the time filming wrapped and many of these collaborators even made amends in the end.
Read on to find out what went down on set…
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1. Eiza Gonzalez & Michael Bay
“Ambulance” star Eiza Gonzalez recently admitted that she didn’t quite get along with the film’s director Michael Bay while they were working together. She explained that the duo often “went at each other, at our throats” particularly because she was passionate about the right portrayal of her paramedic character Cam Thompson.
“I felt a lot of pressure to bring to life a paramedic that felt real in the time that we’re living. First responders have been dedicating their lives fully, forever obviously, but more than ever…And so I just didn’t want to make a joke or cartoon version of who they were. I really wanted to level up and bring something that [I] would feel proud of. So I was very vocal about certain things that I didn’t feel would be right. And then he’d be like, ‘Just let me do it. Trust me.’ So we would butt heads a lot, but that’s part of the creative process,” Eiza told Screenrant.
2. Bruce Willis & Kevin Smith
Director Kevin Smith didn’t seem to get along with Bruce Willis while working on “Cop Out” back in 2010. While speaking about the film, Kevin alluded to one of the stars being difficult to work with — and made sure to note it wasn’t the movie’s other star Tracy Morgan.
“Everyone knows who it is. Put it this way, remember the really funny guy in the movie? It ain’t him. He’s a f—-ing dream. Tracy Morgan, I would lay down in traffic for. Were it not for Tracy, I might’ve killed myself or someone else in the making of that movie. It was difficult. I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where, one component is not in the box at all. It was f—in’ soul crushing,” Kevin said on “WTF with Marc Maron.”
Kevin later apologized for his comments and clarified that he had made amends with Bruce.
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3. Val Kilmer & Joel Schumacher
Before Joel Schumacher’s passing, he reflected on his time on the set of “Batman Forever,” where he had a less than ideal relationship with Val Kilmer. He says the two even “had a physical pushing match” on set at one point. He held his grudge against the actor for many years and even over two decades after it was released, he called Val “psychotic.”
“He was badly behaved, he was rude and inappropriate. I was forced to tell him that this would not be tolerated for one more second. Then we had two weeks where he did not speak to me, but it was bliss,” Joel told Entertainment Weekly.
4. George Clooney & David O. Russell
After long-standing rumors of tension between George Clooney and David O. Russell on the set of “Three Kings,” producer Charles Roven finally confirmed that there had been some drama. He explained that between George working on both “E.R.” and the movie, and David feeling pressure from the movie studio, things escalated until there was a physical fight.
“George sees David talking to the extras’ [assistant director], and it looks like he’s yelling at him. But he’s yelling to be heard. And George comes running over and goes, ‘I told you, motherf—er, if you’re going to pick on somebody, pick on me.’ And David goes, ‘Why don’t you just f—ing remember your lines for once?’ And boom! They grab each other, and they’re tussling. And so I pulled George away. That was it. But David is always only about the movie. And you have to respect that,” Charles told THR.
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5. Megan Fox & Michael Bay
Eiza Gonzalez wasn’t the only star to butt heads with Michael Bay. Megan Fox also had a hard time working with the director on the set of “Transformers” calling him a “tyrant.” In a rant that reportedly got her fired from the franchise, she compared Michael to Hitler and said he was a nightmare to work with.
“He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set, and he’s not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all. And it’s endearing to watch him,” Megan told Wonderland magazine.
6. Shelley Duvall & Stanley Kubrick
While Shelley Duvall doesn’t hold any ill will against “The Shining” director Stanley Kubrick, she certainly wasn’t treated well on the film’s set. Over the course of 13 months of filming, her often distraught character required her to spend 12 hours a day crying and she was sometimes forced to do over 100 takes of a scene. The filming process got so intense and demanding that Shelley says it was “almost unbearable.” Eventually, the stress of achieving the perfection that Stanley desired had physical ramifications for Shelley and she began to lose her hair.
“From May until October I was really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great. Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had to play,” Shelley said in the book “The Complete Kubrick.”
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7. Edward Norton & Tony Kaye
Edward Norton and director Tony Kaye’s relationship was doomed from the get-go, beginning when Tony unwillingly cast Edward in “American History X.” The duo made it through filming but things took a turn when it came to editing the project. When the film wasn’t favorably received by New Line Cinema, Edward decided to offer some notes to Tony, which weren’t taken kindly. And when the studio actually allowed Edward to start making edits himself, Tony was furious.
“I was so staggered by what he was doing to my film, and by the fact that New Line approved, that I punched the wall and broke my hand. Whenever I argued with Norton, I didn’t have a leg to stand on. He could wipe the floor with me because he’s a great articulator,” Tony wrote in an article for The Guardian.
8. Katherine Heigl & Judd Apatow
Katherine Heigl wasn’t totally pleased with her role in “Knocked Up,” which ended up causing some tension between her and director Judd Apatow. In fact, after calling the film a “little sexist” in an interview, she never spoke to Judd again.
“It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie,” Katherine told Vanity Fair.
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9. Keira Knightley & John Carney
Keira Knightley admits she didn’t quite get along with “Begin Again” director John Carney while the film was being made. In fact, John actually slammed the actress after filming, claiming that he thought “being a film actor requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis” that she wasn’t “ready for yet.” While John received backlash for his comments and later apologized to Keira privately, she says she understands that it was just a difficult project for everyone.
“It was a very difficult shoot. We didn’t get on. It’s just a thing that happens sometimes and I say that with no blame. It takes two to tango. I think we can both be very proud of ourselves for the film that we made because it’s difficult when a lead actor and director don’t get on. And I don’t think you could tell that from watching the film,” Keira told the Irish Times.
10. Bill Murray & Harold Ramis
Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were longtime collaborators but on the set of “Groundhog Day” in 1993, things turned sour. According to Harold’s daughter Violet, Bill’s behavior became increasingly erratic while shooting and he was often late to set and throwing tantrums. At one point, things reportedly even turned physical and when filming wrapped, the duo didn’t speak for many years.
“Bill was going through a difficult time in his personal life, and he and my dad were not seeing eye to eye on the tone of the film,” she described. “They had a few arguments on set, including one in which my dad uncharacteristically lost his temper, grabbed Bill by the collar, and shoved him up against a wall. Eventually, Bill just completely shut my dad out…for the next twenty‑plus years,” Violet wrote in her book “Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis.”
Thankfully, the friends settled their differences before Harold’s passing in 2014.
11. Burt Reynolds & Paul Thomas Anderson
Burt Reynolds may have won a Golden Globe for his performance in “Boogie Nights” but he didn’t get along with director Paul Thomas Anderson. He says that the duo didn’t fit “personality-wise” and he even refused to be in his next film “Magnolia.”
“I think mostly because he was young and full of himself. Every shot we did, it was like the first time [that shot had ever been done]. I remember the first shot we did in ‘Boogie Nights,’ where I drive the car to Grauman’s Theater. After he said, ‘Isn’t that amazing?’ And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn’t original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best,” Burt told GQ.
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