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Top 10 Actors and Directors Who Hated Each Other

VO: Rebecca Brayton

In spite of how the movies turn out, film sets can get pretty intense, but in these cases, Actors and Directors let it get the better of them, and found themselves feuding throughout the entirety of these troubled productions. WatchMojo presents the Top 10 times directors and actors couldn't stand to work with each other. But which battle was the worst of all? Michael Bay and Megan Fox, Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott? Watch to find out

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Transcript
You think you have it bad at the office? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actors and Directors Who Hated Each Other.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most infamous instances of combative actor/director relationships on movie sets - situations that made working together difficult for both parties. For the record, we’re not casting judgment towards either party in these spats, nor are we implying that these artists continued to hold a grudge after their feud, but these were certainly times where arriving on the same creative page proved to be a long and challenging journey.

#10: Gene Hackman & Wes Anderson
“The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001)


Legendary actor Gene Hackman and indie icon Wes Anderson went head to head on the set of this 2001 film, with Hackman only years away from an unofficial retirement while Anderson’s creative star was rising considerably among young filmmakers in Hollywood. At the 2011 New York Film Festival, co-stars of “The Royal Tenenbaums” recalled that Hackman apparently told the director to, “pull up his pants and act like a man,” at one point, while being visibly grumpy and verbally combative towards others. Anderson and crew went on to applaud Hackman for his performance in the film, however, giving the actor credit as one of the picture’s main focal points.

#9: Tippi Hedren & Alfred Hitchcock
“The Birds” (1963)


The combination of Alfred Hitchcock’s formative directing style and the screen presence of a then-unknown Tippi Hedren served as a recipe for success in the classic 1963 film “The Birds.” Behind the scenes, however, Hedren had reportedly been the subject of unwanted romantic advances from Hitchcock, while also being subjected to the grueling physical strain of shooting an attack sequence with real birds. In a 2012 interview with the New York Times, Hedren recalled that Hitchcock wouldn’t let the actress out of her contract with him, thus impeding her career, although she went on to say that she felt fortunate to have worked with the man in hindsight.

#8: Katherine Heigl & Judd Apatow
“Knocked Up” (2007)


The controversy behind this 2007 comedy by director Judd Apatow stemmed from a 2008 Vanity Fair interview where actress Katherine Heigl referred to “Knocked Up” as “a little sexist,” while simultaneously lamenting how her character was portrayed compared to her male co-stars. Apatow and actor Seth Rogen shot back during a 2009 appearance on the Howard Stern show with Apatow stating that he still hadn’t, at that time, received an apology from Heigl, while Rogen also let loose with his own negative appraisal of the actress. During a 2016 appearance on the Howard Stern show, the radio host discussed the incident with Heigl, pushing the actress to act on her desire to write an apology.

#7: Bruce Willis & Kevin Smith
“Cop Out” (2010)


Bruce Willis was no stranger to acting when it came time to perform under Kevin Smith’s direction for the 2010 buddy cop comedy “Cop Out,” a fact that, according to Smith, was readily apparent when collaborating with Willis behind the scenes. Smith, who had come up in the '90s with his indie hit film “Clerks,” remarked on stage and in interviews about how Willis was resistant to being directed by the younger and comparatively less experienced filmmaker. Willis’ spokesperson went on to deny any friction between the two, while Smith himself admitted that he felt star-struck by the actor, resulting in his lack of authority on set.

#6: Bill Murray & Harold Ramis
“Groundhog Day” (1993)


The creative relationship between actor Bill Murray and actor/director Harold Ramis stretches all the way back to their comedy days in the 1970s, while also including such classic 80s films as “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Stripes.” It was the 1993 comedy classic “Groundhog Day” which would serve as a point of separation for the duo, however, as creative differences regarding the script as well as Murray’s erratic behavior and tardiness led to a 21 year period during which the two former friends stopped speaking to one another. It wasn’t until Murray visited Ramis prior to his death in 2014 that the two finally made their peace.

#5: George Clooney & David O. Russell
“Three Kings” (1999)


Actor George Clooney apparently didn’t take too kindly to the reported abuse David O. Russell was doling out to his crew on the set of “Three Kings,” and took the director to task on his behavior. The result was a physical skirmish between the two men, with Clooney stating at the time that he wouldn’t work with Russell again, although time did ease the tension between them. This wouldn’t be the last incident between Russell and an actor, however, as footage surfaced of the director and actress Lily Tomlin engaged in a vicious war of words on the set of the 2004 film, “I Heart Huckabees.”

#4: Klaus Kinski & Werner Herzog
“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972)


Klaus Kinski has long been known as difficult to work with on set, yet no director’s experience with the complicated thespian quite rivals that of Werner Herzog. The director’s creative relationship with Kinski may have been fruitful, but it was also violent and traumatic, with 1972’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” almost resulting in the deaths of both men. Herzog relates that he even pulled a gun on Kinski at one point, threatening to kill them both, should the actor make good on his threat to leave the picture. The director would even release a full length documentary about his battles with Kinski in 1999, titled “My Best Fiend,” which expanded on the pair’s complex, explosive relationship.

#3: Edward Norton & Tony Kaye
“American History X” (1998)


Tony Kaye had earned a name for himself shooting television commercials in his native Britain before his 1998 feature film debut, “American History X.” Behind the scenes stories of that film, however, reveal a production that was mired by creative differences in editing, scripting, and even the casting of Edward Norton as the lead. Kaye himself was banned from the editing room after not delivering cuts to the satisfaction of New Line Cinema, and the director even attempted to use to pseudonym of “Alan Smithee” to avoid receiving credit for the final picture. This attempt was blocked, however, on the grounds that Kaye continued to malign his experience with Norton and “American History X” in the press.

#2: Megan Fox & Michael Bay
“Transformers” (2007)


The 2007 collaboration between actress Megan Fox and director Michael Bay on the first “Transformers” film was a worldwide financial success, but their relationship soured in 2009, after Fox was interviewed by Britain’s Wonderland Magazine. Fox compared Bay’s directing style to infamous dictators Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, while Bay himself commented in GQ Magazine that the actress appeared disinterested and unwilling to work on the set of the film’s 2009 sequel, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” It wasn’t until 2014 on the set of Bay’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” where the two finally ended their feud.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions!

- Bjork & Lars von Trier

“Dancer in the Dark” (2000)

- Keira Knightley & John Carney

“Begin Again” (2014)

- Harrison Ford & Ridley Scott

“Blade Runner” (1982)

- Marlon Brando & Frank Oz

“The Score” (2001)

- Faye Dunaway & Roman Polanski

“Chinatown” (1974)

- Burt Reynolds & Paul Thomas Anderson

“Boogie Nights” (1997)

#1: Shelley Duvall & Stanley Kubrick
“The Shining” (1980)


Stanley Kubrick has earned a reputation among fans for his well documented attention to detail and perfectionism, but another aspect of the director’s career that’s earned its own infamous reputation is his on-set relationship with actress Shelley Duvall on the 1980 horror classic, “The Shining.” Duvall recounts her experience on “The Shining” in the 2000 book “The Complete Kubrick” as being “the most difficult role” she’s ever had to play, thanks in part to Kubrick’s seemingly endless requests for more takes, as well as his orders to the crew not to sympathize with her. Duvall further contextualized her experience on “The Shining” to Roger Ebert as “almost unbearable... but from other points of view, really very nice, I suppose.”

Do you agree with our list? Which combustible actor/director blow ups do you find most fascinating? For more feud-resolving top tens, published every day, subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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