The actor/director relationship is a very special and unique one. When it goes well, you get an unstoppable team like Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. When it goes bad, you get bickering, tension, and full-on battles. Actors and directors have been at war, having one on-set feud after another, as long as movies have been in production.
Sometimes the fraught dynamic of an actor/director relationship makes the movie that much better. Often, the disfunction on set can upend a production entirely and result in a poorly-made film. Either way, fights and feuds make for amazing behind the scenes true stories in the canon of Hollywood history which continue to get passed down from generation to generation.
What are the biggest actor and direct fights, feuds, and on-set rivalries in the history of Hollywood and the film industry? And who do you think is at fault in these situations? The actor? The director? Take a look at some of the biggest actor vs. director fights and see if you can decide.
David O. Russell directed the movie Three Kings, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube. Reportedly, Clooney disliked Russell for how he treated extras on the set. Witnesses recalled Clooney telling Russell, "If you're going to pick on somebody, pick on me." Russell responded, "Why don't you just f**king remember your lines for once?" which led to the two men nearly coming to blows.
Clooney said Russell not only insulted him, but he head butted him, which forced Clooney to put Russell into a headlock in one instance. Russell says Clooney over-exaggerated the incident, calling him a "lying... b*tch." Clooney's dislike of Russell also prompted the actor to say he'd punch Russell if ever coming face-to-face with him again.
When David O. Russell was filming I Heart Huckabees, he and star Lily Tomlin didn't exactly get along. The was a camera rolling during some of their nefarious fights, resulting in videos that have proven to be somewhat voyeuristic behind the scenes footage.
Russell is known for his on-set tantrums and, Tomlin got caught in the wake. For her part, Tomlin acknowledged the two on-set fights, noting, "it was just temper. We just both had a bad temper fit." She went on to say, "It happens sometimes -- but David is a very mercurial person, and that's part of why he's so brilliant."
In an experience that purportedly led to Sean Connery retiring from acting for good, the actor repeatedly butted heads with director Stephen Norrington on the set of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Connery blamed Norrington's inexperience as the source of the drama, resentful of having to wait on set.
Constant tension resulted in several near-fights between the actor and the director, but Connery wasn't the only one frustrated during the shoot. Crew members later stated Norrington, "doesn’t know what he wants," and ”He shoots an enormous amount of film. He’ll do 10 setups when you usually only do two. Most of this movie is going to end up on the cutting-room floor — if it ever gets finished.”
Connery eventually threw up his hands and just quit the business altogether, disillusioned with process. Norrington also gave up directing in the aftermath of the unsuccessful film.
After making Transformers, star Megan Fox went on a public tirade against director Michael Bay, comparing him to both Hitler and Napoleon. She called him a "he's a nightmare to work," but when on to say, "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. ... He's vulnerable and fragile in real life and then on set he's a tyrant."
The fact that Fox resorted to public name-calling didn't sit well with Bay or producer Steven Spielberg, who quickly fired the actress from the franchise.
In the aftermath of Fox's comments, Bay dismissed her, "I wasn't hurt, because I know that's just Megan. Megan loves to get a response. And she does it in kind of the wrong way. I'm sorry, Megan. I'm sorry I made you work twelve hours. I'm sorry that I'm making you show up on time. Movies are not always warm and fuzzy."
Bay and Fox have since ended their feud and Bay cast her in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. Fox explained her role in their spat, never withdrawing the comments but acknowledging, "I thought I was right to speak the way that I spoke. As I got a little older, I understood regardless of whatever my issues were, they should always have remained private. You should never blast someone like that in public."