Though some of these actors and directors’ collaborations resulted in their finest works, they infamously had hostile relationships on set that sometimes led to severed ties between them.
Good result often comes from good teamwork. With that in mind, when people watch astounding pictures, they would most likely imagine great dynamic between the cast and crew behind the scenes of the films.
While it’s not never unheard before, surprisingly not all directors and their actors have good relationships during or after their time working together on the big-screen projects. Some of those involved even didn’t hesitate to open up about these ugly episodes in their careers, though it would potentially lead to severed ties between them.
In light of the recently resurfaced allegations leveled against Michael Bay by Megan Fox, here is a quick recap of some of the most notorious actor-director feuds.
1. Bruce Willis vs. Kevin Smith
Bruce Willis and Kevin Smith first worked together for “Live Free or Die Hard”, in which the latter had a small role. The “Mallrats” director got a good impression of the German-born actor at the time so that he wanted to work together again with him. But he changed his mind after they reunited for “Cop Out”, which Smith directed.
Not one who is good at keeping things private, the filmmaker/comic book writer aired out his frustration of Willis’ work ethic in his memoir “Tough S**t”, describing the actor as a deeply unhappy lazy-a** who “fostered an unpleasant and unproductive working environment whenever he was on set.” In 2019, however, the two ended their feud after they talked on the phone.
2. Mo’Nique vs. Lee Daniels
Mo’Nique might be forever indebted to Lee Daniels for casting her in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” that earned her an Oscar, but that didn’t mean she won’t speak ill about the director. In 2015, the actress accused the filmmaker of blackballing her career for not playing the Hollywood game. She additionally said that she auditioned for his projects “Empire” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler“, but didn’t land the role allegedly because Daniels went silent on her.
The “Empire” creator then hit back at her, saying that Mo’Nique was “really wrong” for making such claim about him and that he was hurt by her accusation. “I fought hard for her to get that job,” Daniels said about casting Mo’Nique in “Precious”. “I wanted her to get that job. And she was paid her money. She was paid the money for the budget that we had. And for her to badmouth myself and [executive producers] Tyler Perry and Oprah [Winfrey] is disrespectful and it’s wrong. She’s out of pocket. She’s really wrong.”
3. Bjork vs. Lars Von Trier
Bjork and Lars von Trier’s collaboration on “Dancer in the Dark” resulted in one of his finest works in his career, but it was also a career turnover for Bjork. The Icelandic singer/actress and the helmer couldn’t agree on many things, which created a very hostile situation on set. She accused him of being sexist and claimed that he punished her for rejecting his sexual advances.
von Trier, in his part, admitted that they had their own ways of doing things and instead of finding out the best way for the film production, they both made decisions as “a dictator.” He also revealed that she wouldn’t show up on set for days, costing them a lot of money. Acknowledging that they were “very mean to each other,” he said his only regret was that “[he] wasn’t meaner” to her.
4. Katherine Heigl vs. Judd Apatow
Katherine Heigl has a reputation of being hard to work with, but it was also her who started to create a tension between her and Judd Apatow after she starred in his film “Knocked Up“. It began as she trash talked the movie, saying that she hated how her character was portrayed as a “b***h.” She told Vanity Fair, “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.”
Apatow and Heigl’s co-star Seth Rogen disputed her claims, calling her “bat-s*** crazy,” after which she retracted her earlier comments about the movie. “I liked the movie a lot. I just didn’t like me,” she told Howard Stern, but admitted that she never apologized to the director. Keeping his cool, Apatow later said in 2017 that the “ER” alum “doesn’t need to apologize for anything.” He added, “She didn’t like it but she was so awesome in it, so it was confusing. So it was just an odd thing.”
5. Rami Malek vs. Bryan Singer
Throughout his career, Bryan Singer has worked with tons of actors who may still maintain a good relationship with him, but Rami Malek isn’t one of them. Starring in the Freddy Mercury biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody“, that earned him an Oscar nomination, the actor said that his experience working with the director “was not pleasant.” He refused to further detail the situation on the set, but it was reported that Singer was fired after he didn’t show up to work for days.
Not long after, Singer was hit with abuse allegations. Though the “Mr. Robot” alum said he wasn’t aware of claims against Singer before taking on the film, he emotionally reacted to the news as saying at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January 2019, “I’ve sat here and talked about how everyone deserves a voice and anyone who wants to talk about what happened with Bryan deserves to have their voice heard.”
6. Faye Dunaway vs. Roman Polanski
With a sexual abuse case against him, Roman Polanski has had enough to bring himself a bad name and Faye Dunaway‘s testimony only made it worse. The two clashed on set of “Chinatown”, with the actress describing him as being “autocratic and dictatorial,” though she still acknowledged him as “a good filmmaker.” He also cursed at her and told her that her salary was her motivation.
At one of the pivotal moments during their on-set drama, Polanski did not allow her off the set to urinate when she expressed an urgent need to use the toilets. She exacted her revenge immediately, tossing a cup of urine in his face as the movie’s director of photography recalled, “He said, ‘You c**t, that’s piss!’ And she said, ‘Yes, you little putz.’ ”
7. Lily Tomlin and George Clooney vs. David O. Russell
David O. Russell is notable for his work on a number of critically-acclaimed movies namely “The Fighter“, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle“, but he’s not the best person to work with. Lily Tomlin and George Clooney can attest to that after their separate experiences working with the director. Clooney, who was directed by Russell in “Three Kings”, said at the premiere of the movie, “Quite honestly, if he comes near me, I’ll sock him right in the f**king mouth.” His anger toward Russell was allegedly due to the director’s harsh treatment on the extras on set, while Clooney was known to stick up for them.
The things with Tomlin, meanwhile, were caught on camera, with footage showing the actress and Russell screaming at each other. He also threw stuff at her and called her “c**t” and “whore.” Despite this evidence, Tomlin who starred in Russell’s film “I Heart Huckabees” played down the intense situation on set, noting, “It was just temper. We just both had a bad temper fit.” She went on praising the filmmaker as “a very mercurial person, and that’s part of why he’s so brilliant.”
8. Klaus Kinski vs. Werner Herzog
Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog’s feud was apparently so vicious that it’s worth a whole documentary dedicated to it. In “My Best Fiend” which he made a decade after Kinski’s death, the German director detailed their prickly relationship, which spanned over the years they worked on five films together. In Les Blank’s “Burden of Dreams”, both men were said to be driven mad by the difficulties of shooting “Fitzcarraldo” in the rain forests of South America.
At one point, Kinski threatened to quit the film to which the director responded by threatening to shoot him dead if he did. Kinski claimed Herzog wielded a pistol when he made the threat, but the latter vehemently denied it. Herzog reportedly also planned to burn Kinski’s house down. In his autobiography, Kinski called Herzog a “nasty, sadistic, treacherous, cowardly creep,” though the director claimed that the actor wrote that to sell books, and that he helped his old frenemy write the line.
9. Megan Fox vs. Michael Bay
Before their relationship turned ugly, Megan Fox and Michael Bay worked together on the successful “Transformers” film franchise, which brought her to another level of fame. However, her honest comments on the director cost her her role in the third film after she compared him to Hitler. “He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad man reputation,” she told British magazine Wonderland. “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for,” she added, though noting that he’s different person when he’s not in director mode.
Bay didn’t seem to take offense, insisting that “her crazy quips are part of her crazy charm” and saying that he still loved working with her. Nevertheless, Fox didn’t return for “Transformers 3”, which the director claimed was executive producer Steven Spielberg’s decision. “She was in a different world, on her BlackBerry. You gotta stay focused. And you know, the Hitler thing. Steven said, ‘Fire her right now,’ ” so he claimed. Years later, they called a truce with Bay casting Fox in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film.
10. Tippi Hedren vs. Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock was known for his not-so-nice treatment on all female stars he worked with, as he once stated that “all actors should be treated like cattle.” Though most of them still managed to work smoothly with the director, Tippi Hedren‘s terrible experience was the most well-documented one as she wrote in her memoir that acted jealous around other men who spoke to her while they were filming “The Birds”.
The 90-year-old actress also claimed that he sexually assaulted her multiple times while filming the movie “Marnie”. When she denied his advances, he threatened to ruin her career. He additionally threw real birds at her, cut her face and stalked her, according to her. After those two films, she refused to work with him again, which led her to being jobless for two years because he refused to let her go until their contract was up.