Top 21 Most Famous Hollywood Actor Vs Director Feuds

The making of a film is harder than you think. It is a rather stressful experience, and conflicts are always bound to arise. And you know what? Fights between directors and actors are much more common that what you’d think! From name-calling all the way to fist-fighting, we’ve narrowed it down to the 21 most famous feuds between actors and directors to ever take place in Hollywood.

Photo: Courtesy of El Periódico

#21. Kevin Smith Vs. Bruce Willis In Cop Out

The action-comedy film Cop Out was a box office success, but the critics were far from good. Many claimed that the film was poorly executed, but who’s to blame? Actors Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis? Director Kevin Smith? Obviously, there are many sides to the story.

Photo: Courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

The director blamed it all on Willis, saying he had had a negative attitude throughout the shooting of the film.

“It was difficult. I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where one component is not in the box at all. I mean, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to blame the movie on him.’ No, but I had no f***** help from this dude whatsoever”, Smith said.

#20. Norman Mailer Vs. Rip Torn In Maidstone

Maidstone is a 1970 experimental drama film directed, written, and starred by Norman Mailer. But Mailer and his co-star Rip Torn did not get along well, to the point in which the release of the film was put at stake.

Photo: Courtesy of Cineaste Magazine

The film was shot in less than a week, and during one of those days, Mailer and Rip Torn got into a huge fight, which resulted in Torn trying to hit Mailer with a hammer. Believe it or not, cameras were actually rolling when the fight took place, but do you know what’s even crazier? Mailer decided to leave the fight into the final cut!

#19. Michael Bay Vs. Megan Fox In Transformers

Director Michael Bay and actress Megan Fox had a troubled relationship during the first two parts of the Transformers series, but the matter got out of hands right before the filming of the third installment, Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Photo: Courtesy of GQ

A few weeks before the shooting of the film began, Fox publicly compared the director to Hitler, and Bay wrote Fox right out of the film and recast Rosie Huntington for the role. She saw it coming, I guess!

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“, Fox spoke out.

#18. David O. Russell Vs. George Clooney In Three Kings

The relationship between director David O. Russell and Hollywood legend George Clooney during the shooting of the epic film Three Kings was far from well. In fact, the two argued so often that one time they even got into a physical fight.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

According to one of the producers, it all began when Clooney witnessed the director yelling at one of the crew members. This was the final straw, and the two got involved in a “tussle“, in his words. In an interview, Clooney claimed that Russell had a very aggressive nature and that he even pushed an extra and made the script supervisor cry.

#17. Roman Polanski Vs. Faye Dunaway In Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the best crime movies ever made, but guess what? Apparently, director Roman Polanski and lead actress Faye Dunaway didn’t stand each other! “The friction between Roman and me began from the start“, the actress admitted.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

One day, Polanski got irritated because a stray piece of Dunaway’s hair kept ruining his shot, so he went and jerked it out of her head, triggering a fight. Legend has it that one time Dunaway threw a cup of her urine at him because he would always complain each time she wanted to go to the bathroom.

#16. Henri-Georges Clouzot Vs. Brigitte Bardot In La Verité

French director Henri-Georges Clouzot is one of the pioneers in the horror genre and rose to stardom during the 50s. He received multiple awards for his prominent directorial work, but in the 1960 film La Verité, he took things way too far.

Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Actress Brigitte Bardot was supposed to fall asleep and drool in one of the scenes, and the director tricked her into taking sleeping pills by saying they were painkillers, in order to achieve a more realistic performance. The actress took so many pills that she had to get her stomach pumped. Bardot has described the director as “a negative being” in an interview and with just cause!

#15. Stanley Kubrick Vs. Shelley Duvall In The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is one of the most famous horror classics of all time, but what’s nearly just as famous is the director’s feud with lead actress Shelley Duvall. The shooting of the film, which lasted 13 months, was tortuous for Duvall.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

It appears to be that Kubrick was quite a perfectionist, and he made the actress re-shoot the same scenes over and over again. In fact, rumor has it that he made her re-shoot one of the most demanding scenes 127 times!

Going through day after day of excruciating work. Almost unbearable … in my character I had to cry 12 hours a day, all day long“, the actress said after the release of the movie.

#14. Alfred Hitchcock Vs. Tippi Hedren In The Birds

Actress Tippi Hedren reached worldwide fame after her roles in the thriller films The Birds and Marnie, two of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest classics. Many years later, Hedren confessed that the director made a pass at her and even threatened to ruin her career if she didn’t abide.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

According to the actress, even though she rejected him the first time, the director made sexual advances on her a few more times.

“When he told me that he would ruin me, I just told him do what he had to do. I went out of the door and slammed it so hard that I looked back to see if it was still on its hinges“, she told Variety.

#13. Judd Apatow Vs. Katherine Heigl In Knocked Up

One of Katherine Heigl’s most famous performances was in the 2007 rom-com Knocked Up, directed by Judd Apatow. But even though she nailed it, she regrets having participated in the movie since she regards it as “a little sexist“.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight. It paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys“, said the actress after the release of the film. Apatow was furious once her interview went viral, and criticized her for never having apologized.

#12. Harold Ramis Vs. Bill Murray In Groundhog Day

Harold Ramis and Bill Murray co-starred in the iconic comedy film Ghostbusters, but their relationship hit rock bottom after working together in Groundhog Day, the first as director and the latter as lead actor.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

According to many crew members, Murray would always be late to set and would always lose his senses and throw a tantrum. But one time, things got ugly, as Ramis grabbed Murray by the shirt and threw him against a wall.

#11. David O. Russell Vs. Lily Tomlin In I Heart Huckabees

Remember the comedy film I Heart Huckabees? Well, just a few years ago, a video leaked on the Internet showing director David O. Russell screaming and cursing at lead actress Lily Tomin.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

It all began when Tomlin complained about the fact that they would keep changing and re-writing many of her lines. The two got into a heated argument until Russell began shoving things to the ground while the rest of the cast members began to leave the set.

#10. Werner Herzog Vs. Klaus Kinski In Aguirre: The Wrath Of God

It’s a widely known fact that Klaus Kinski is difficult to work with, and director Werner Herzog can say it for himself. During the filming of Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Kinski began to question the way in which he was supposed to play his character, and this sparked problems between them.

Photo: Courtesy of Cineteca

It appears to be that Kinski threatened to leave the production a few times, and rumor has it that Herzog held him at gunpoint to make him stay. Neither of them has confirmed this rumor, but many cast members have confirmed that they would keep fighting.

#9. Lars Von Trier Vs. Björk In Dancer In The Dark

Director Lars Von Trier and Björk won numerous awards for their work in the 2000 drama film Dancer in the Dark, but the truth is that they had a stormy relationship onset. In fact, once the #MeToo movement came to the spotlight, the Icelandic actress accused von Trier of sexual harassment.

Photo: Courtesy of El Periódico

Björk said that the director “unwanted whispered sexual offers from him with graphic descriptions” and that he climbed to her balcony in the middle of the night “with a clear sexual intention“. The director denied all these accusations and he also confessed that they never got along too well off-camera.

#8. John Carney Vs. Keira Knightley In Begin Again

Director John Carney and actress Keira Knightley didn’t have the time of their lives working together. On the very contrary, Carney claimed she failed to capture the true essence of her character.

Photo: Courtesy of Variety

being a film actor requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet, and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film“, Carney told The Independent.

Carney also stated that he never wants to work with “supermodels” ever again. Even though he publicly apologized for such blatant remarks, we’re not sure whether the actress accepted his apologies.

#7. Paul Thomas Anderson Vs. Burt Reynolds In Boogie Nights

Director Paul Thomas Anderson had his big break in 1997 with the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights, but the shooting of the film was a real hassle. He and lead actor Burt Reynolds had contrasting personalities and they would constantly fight onset.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

Apparently, Reynolds felt Anderson was a total narcissist and that just bugged him out.

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]”, the actor told CQ.

#6. Adrian Lyne Vs. Kim Basinger In 9 1/2 Weeks

Actress Kim Basinger had a horrible experience shooting the erotic drama film 9 1/2 Weeks. She told The New York Times that director Adrian Lyne would keep bullying onset, and it was later revealed that Lyne told actor Mickey Rourke to ignore her off-camera in order to add to the tension between the two on-screen.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

According to Basinger, it wasn’t until the film was released that she became aware of the mind games that the director had played to manipulate her.

Mickey was egging me on — I hated him sometimes. I got confused. I didn’t know who I was after a while. My husband and I had a bad time during this movie“, she said.

#5. Stephen Norrington Vs. Jean Connery In The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

In 2003, Scotting actor Jean Connery starred in the live-action version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, directed by Stephen Norrington. Connery felt that Norrington lacked experience, and both would always argue over different creative aspects.

Photo: Courtesy of Screen Rant

Connery’s experience left him with such a bad taste in his mouth that he decided to retire from acting. However, Connery wasn’t the only dissatisfied person on the set, since many crew members said that Norrington was quite hard to work with, some saying he “doesn’t know what he wants“.

#4. Tim Story Vs. Jessica Alba In Fantastic Four

During the filming of Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer, director Tim Story got fed up with Jessica Alba over the most ridiculous thing you can imagine. Apparently, Alba would cry too realistically, and he kept telling her she needed to “cry prettier“.

Photo: Courtesy of Screen Rant

At one point, after shooting the same scenes over and over again, Story gave up and told Alba he’d add tears to her face through CGI. Alba was furious and criticized him on several interviews.

#3. Sidney Pollack Vs. Dustin Hoffman In Tootsie

Tootsie is one of the funniest movies ever made, but the making of the film was quite problematic. According to crew members, director Sidney Pollack and lead actor Dustin Hoffman quarreled throughout the entire shooting.

Photo: Courtesy of Screen Rant

Both of them have very strong personalities, but according to many critics, this feud helped give shape to the film. Sure, they had their fair share of disagreements, but they would always fight to make a quality film. Although it would’ve been better without all the turmoil!

#2. William Friedkin Vs. Ellen Burstyn In The Exorcist

The Exorcist is one of the most spine-chilling horror films out there, and it happens to be that the behind-the-scenes was quite tense too. Ellen Burstyn played the mother of an exorcized child, Linda Blair, and in one of the scenes, Linda shoves her to the ground. Burstyn hurt her back badly while shooting that scene, but when he informed this to director William Friedkin, all he cared to say was “Well, it has to look real“.

Photo: Courtesy of Screen Rant

Burstyn put her foot down and demanded she not be pulled and thrown so hard. However, according to Burstyn, Friedkin must have canceled her request behind her back, since she only started being shoved harder and harder, causing life-long damages to her spine.

#1. Bernardo Bertolucci Vs. Maria Schneider In Last Tango In Paris

The 1972 drama film Last Tango in Paris was perhaps one of the most controversial films ever made. Remember the scene in which Marlon Brando’s character rapes Maria Schneider’s character? Well, you’d be appalled to know that right before filming the scene, director Bernardo Bertolucci told Brando to use butter as a lubricant for the scene, yet neither of them warned Schneider about this.

Photo: Courtesy of Insider

When asked why he hid this from Schneider, Bertolucci answered that he wanted “her reaction as a girl, not as an actress“. Schneider herself confessed that her tears during that scene were 100% real as she was suffering in pain, and Bertolucci admitted that they did this without the actress’ consent. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most preposterous cases of abuse of power in the history of cinema and let’s hope that such injustices no longer repeat themselves.

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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