It’s nice to think that television and movie sets are utopias where everyone gets along like the Brady Bunch. Sadly, that’s not always the case — sometimes, the scene resembles that of a family that constantly bickering over the gravy at Thanksgiving dinner. Such blowups are the stuff of Hollywood legend, though others come from places you might not necessarily expect. There have been many, many feuds over the years in Tinseltown, but these are some of the most epic cases of co-stars loathing each other that you may not have ever expected.
10. Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw
Jaws is one of the greatest films ever made. Okay, so it’s not quite on the level of Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or The Godfather, but it’s maybe the greatest summer blockbuster ever conceived. And right there, smack dab in the middle of that movie about three guys trying to hunt down and kill a massive, man-eating Great White Shark, was the contentious relationship between Hooper and Quint, played by Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw.
And according to Dreyfuss in many an interview and documentary, that icy relationship extended to real-life, as Shaw took a tremendous amount of pleasure in tormenting the younger actor. Dreyfuss had just had a movie come out, and had no problem peacocking around Martha’s Vineyard and bedding as many women as possible, and he also admits to have taken a drink straight out of the hard-drinking Shaw’s hand and tossing it overboard. Dreyfuss speaks exceptionally highly of Shaw these days, but the stories he and others tell paint a picture of pure hatred between the two on-set throughout the shoot.
9. William Shatner and George Takei
We hate to break it to any Star Trek fans out there, but it turns out there was some serious dissention on the deck of the USS Enterprise. That’s because, despite being two of the most beloved actors from the show, William Shatner and George Takei have apparently had many, many a difference over the years. And it’s not exactly a tension that the two have shied away from addressing over the years either, though few people seem to realize it exists.
Takei, it should be noted, has had an exceptionally hard life. He was placed in a Japanese internment camp as a child during World War II, and obviously has faced the arduous task of existing as a gay man in a time when that was, and continues to be, far from an accepted lifestyle. But it’s been heightened at least a bit by his feud with Shatner, in which Takei has said he believes The Shat got envious of Takei’s growing popularity, while much of the bitterness seems to also stem from the fact that Shatner was not invited to Takei’s gay wedding.
8. Bill Murray and Lucy Liu
It seems hard to imagine that Bill Murray would be anything but cuddly, considering he just gives off the vibe of being a down-to-earth, goofy, laid back dude. After all, this is a guy around whom legendary tales spring up about him showing up at house parties and doing the dishes, which make him seem more like a humble comedy god than anything else. But the truth is, when you dig a little deeper, apparently he can be a little prickly. Lucy Liu learned this the hard way.
On the set of Charlie’s Angels, in which Murray played the role of Bosley (and was later replaced by the late Bernie Mac for the sequel), it’s come out that, apparently, Murray didn’t think much of Liu. The story goes that Murray flat out said Liu couldn’t act, leading to her throwing punches in his general direction. Now, Murray disputes that this is what happened, though he admits there was tension between the two on-set. Of course maybe not as much as there was between Murray and director McG, about whom Murray was quoted saying, “he deserves to die”. Tell us how you really feel, Bill.
7. Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner
From early on in the transcendent Western movie The Magnificent Seven, the characters played by Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen are virtually inseparable, with McQueen playing the right hand man to Brynner’s lead character, and the man who assembles the titular Seven. However, behind the scenes it turns out that McQueen wanted badly to stop being the right hand man and to start simply being The Man, period. McQueen was infamous for being overly competitive, and according to co-star Robert Vaughn, that extended to pretty much everything on the set and led to a very uncomfortable vibe between McQueen and Brynner.
Among other things, McQueen was jealous of the gun that Brynner was given by the props department, as well as the fact that Brynner’s horse was bigger. So McQueen tried everything he could to upstage Brynner and the rest of the cast in order to put himself front and center in the film as much as possible. It probably didn’t help matters that, while six of the Magnificent Seven stayed together in a motel, Brynner had his own private house away from the rest of the cast. After all, what better way to create solidarity between your cast than to have the biggest star and Oscar winner live by himself and barely interact with anyone else?
6. Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall
The premise behind Sex and the City, if you’re one of the very few people left who is unaware, revolves around a tight knit group of four friends as they have sex, in the city. Surprising, we know. Anyway, apparently things off-screen didn’t really reflect the on-screen friendships, particularly between star Sarah Jessica Parker and supporting actress Kim Cattrall. Cattrall has gotten a reputation for being a bit of an ice queen over the years, and has been difficult to work with for some people, and this was no different for Parker and her other co-stars.
The general consensus among the entire group of four stars is that tensions were often high on the set, which is why it seems kind of amazing that they were able to make not one, but two movies despite their serious differences with one another. The other amazing part about them getting two movies made is what appears to have been a complete lack of a script or anything resembling common sense in the production process. Anyway, much of the rift between the stars has stemmed from Cattrall thinking she’s a massive star and demanding more money, which in turn delayed the first movie. We suddenly wish she had held out for more cash, to spare us all from that trainwreck.
5. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep
Life imitates art, as the old saying goes, and for Dustin Hoffman that was never more true than when he was on the set of the Academy Award winning film Kramer vs. Kramer, in which he co-starred with Meryl Streep as a married couple going through a bitter and difficult breakup. The thing is, Hoffman was going through the exact same thing off-screen, and according to the actor himself, he brought a lot of that baggage to the set. That turned out to be bad news for Streep.
Now, Hoffman is somewhat notorious for being a prickly actor, and has a reputation for often being difficult to work with. It’s that very idea that made his character in the film Tootsie kind of tongue-in-cheek, because to an extent he was playing himself. In any event, add in the fact that he was going through a divorce and admits that he was getting heavily into drugs at the time, and he developed real resentment toward his co-star. According to Streep, she remained largely unaware until after the fact that he was harboring what was bordering on genuine hate for her. Because seriously, how could anyone hate Meryl Streep?
4. Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels
The most beloved gay droid couple in a galaxy far, far away or, frankly, any galaxy, has had some serious issues, we’re so sorry to say. C-3PO can speak millions of languages, but not a single one of them is the language of love, it would appear. That’s in large part helped by the fact that Anthony Daniels, the man who rocked that golden suit, apparently had little to no time for his much smaller companion, Kenny Baker.
Baker, who has played R2-D2 in every Star Wars film and will do so again in Episode VII, has been steadfast in his refusal to appear socially with Daniels. When the Episode VII cast photo circulated not too long ago, you may have noticed that Baker was conspicuously absent. According to Baker, Daniels has been rude to not just him, but virtually everyone involved with the films. This all stems from an incident in which Baker had the audacity to say hello to Daniels in public, to which Daniels replied with an angry reply that basically told Baker to screw off and leave him alone.
3. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson
We know, we know. Mulder and Scully? Say it isn’t so! But unfortunately, it is. Now, X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson seem cordial enough to one another these days whenever they’re in public together, but as the series wore on, the two developed a genuine animosity for one another. According to Duchovny, it was a case of “familiarity [breeding] contempt” and that they would often argue just for the sake of arguing. In fact, he said that it got to the point where they simply hated even looking at one another.
In fact, it was the strained relationship between the two stars that ultimately got Duchovny on board for the X-Files movies. On the surface, that doesn’t make a lot of sense since — if you can’t stand someone, surely you wouldn’t want to be working with them for hours a day, weeks and even months at a time, right? Well for Duchovny the opposite was true, as he has said that he wound up doing the movie simply because he wanted to bury the hatchet. Figuratively, of course, since as far as we know, he’s never attacked Anderson with a hatchet or any other kind of weapon.
2. Bill Murray and Harold Ramis
Yes, it’s our old friend Bill Murray again, this time with his frequent collaborator both on screen and off, the late, great, Harold Ramis. You would probably never guess that the guys who were so tight on camera in both Stripes and Ghostbusters, and who made iconic films like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day together could have been anything other than best friends, but apparently during the filming of that latter film, they had a severe falling out, from which they only managed to recover just prior to Ramis’s death earlier this year.
According to Ramis, the friction stemmed largely from Murray’s personal life, as he was going through some extremely rocky times in his marriage. Ramis went so far as to describe Murray’s behavior as erratic, and the general sense is that he was behaving like a petulant, moody child on set. Others have said that part of the reason for the falling out is a differing opinion of what Groundhog Day should be, as Murray allegedly wanted it to be more philosophical in nature, while Ramis wanted to make it a straight comedy. Once filming was complete, Murray stopped speaking to Ramis, which we can probably chalk up as a huge part of the reason he was always so resistant to the idea of doing Ghostbusters 3. That, or he re-watched Ghostbusters 2 and realized how much it sucked.
1. Bea Arthur and Betty White
Believe it or not, things weren’t all unicorns and rainbows on the set of the Golden Girls, the show that taught us older women still like to have sex and that there’s nothing wrong with running half a dozen clip shows every season. And it turns out that’s because, if Bea Arthur were to give Betty White a gift, the card attached would actually say, “You’re something that rhymes with the word bunt.” We didn’t think it was possible, but apparently you can hate Betty White. And by “you”, we mean “Bea Arthur.”
According to Rue McClanahan and White herself, Arthur just could not stand Betty for somewhat inexplicable reasons. The speculation is that Arthur, a classically trained theater actress, resented the happy-go-lucky nature of White, who had pretty much grown up on TV and had an almost obnoxiously sunny disposition. The one-sided feud lasted until Arthur’s death, despite White going and seeing her one-woman show three times and attempting to reconcile at a Golden Girls reunion panel. It’s okay, Betty White, the rest of the world still loves you.