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Famous Hero/Villain Combos Talk About What It Was Like To Work Together

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Vote up the most interesting behind-the-scenes stories about hero-villain relationships.

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are mortal enemies onscreen in Star Wars. However, both Mark Hamill and David Prowse genuinely liked and respected each other once the cameras stopped rolling. Check out what these movie hero/villain combos had to say about working together.

Which Oscar-winning actor and actress were both too scared to talk to the other off-screen… for the entire duration of filming their acclaimed drama? Which Swedish bodybuilder felt horrible for hitting his movie foe so hard that it landed him in the hospital? Which British actor learned an entire German aria overnight to prepare for his turn as Sherlock Holmes’s adversary?

Vote up the most interesting behind-the-scenes stories about hero-villain relationships.

  • Robert Downey Jr. may have made his ultimate Hollywood comeback film with 2008's Iron Man. However, once that film earned almost $600 million worldwide, Downey was well on his way to once again being an A-List movie star.

    Tony Stark/Iron Man battled it out against Russian scientist and ex-convict Ivan Vanko/Whiplash in the 2010 sequel Iron Man 2. Rourke used his Academy Award-winning acting chops to make Whiplash a three-dimensional villain.  

    “Mickey had a lot of his own ideas and specs about how he wanted to appear, what the choreography was like obviously from having done The Wrestler,” said Downey. “We really trusted his instinct, also being a boxer, but more so just his psyche and the mindset of this guy is really quite intimidating.”

    Rourke trusted Downey's experience. “Robert knew exactly what he wanted,” said Rourke. “He had had enough knowledge about what he did in the first one and what he wanted to do different because I don't think he wanted to lock into the particular choices that he made in the first one. He wanted to take it to another level and open the character up and expand it and have fun with it.”

  • Verne Troyer Said Mike Myers Was ‘Unpredictable’ In A Fun, Challenging Way On The ‘Austin Powers’ Film Sets
    Photo: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery / New Line Cinema

    Verne Troyer played Dr. Evil's (Mike Myers) pint-sized clone Mini-Me in the Austin Powers trilogy. Despite his miniature size, Mini-Me is quite strong and puts up a good fight against the comedy spy. 

    Troyer liked getting the opportunity to improvise scenes with Myers. “Mike, he's very unpredictable, you never know what he's going to do, so if you're acting in a scene with him, he goes off and he does things that aren't in the script, so you need to be able to try to react off of what he's doing,” said Troyer. "He makes it challenging, but he also makes it fun and keeps it fun."

    Following Troyer's death in 2018, Myers appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! He called Troyer, "a fantastic human being."

    “Every day you see him, you go, ‘Wow that is a small human,'” added Myers. “But by the end of the day, you just saw Verne. It just sort of went away. He was part of the cast and fantastic. I miss him.”

    “As written, Mini-Me is almost a prop. But he brought it up off the page, better than written,” Myers said. “We just ended up giving him more and more stuff to do.”

  • Jonathan Demme's 1991 horror drama The Silence of the Lambs accomplished a movie feat only done twice up to that point; it swept the “top five” Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

    Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter, a refined sometimes gentleman serial killer with a taste for Chianti, fava beans, and human liver. Jodi Foster took on a neophyte FBI trainee, who needs Lecter's help to track down another serial killer named Buffalo Bill. 

    Hopkins said of Lecter, “This is the best part I've ever read.”

    Jodie Foster admitted during a 2016 interview on The Graham Norton Show that she didn't talk to Hopkins off-camera because he was too scary. 

    “We didn’t get to speak too much before the actual read-through,” added Foster. “We just sort of kind of waved from across the room and then sat down at the table. And as you launched into Hannibal Lecter, I felt a chill come over the room. In a way, it was like we were almost too scared to talk to each other after that.”

    Foster and Hopkins, in fact, never said a single word to each other for the entire shoot. Then on the last day, Hopkins approached the actress. Foster told him that she was scared of him. 

    Foster said that he responded, “I was scared of you too!"

  • Ian McKellen Said He Felt Inadequate Acting Opposite Christopher Lee In ‘Lord of the Rings’
    Photo: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema

    Renowned stage and screen thespian Sir Ian McKellen is no slouch when it comes to incredible acting. However, the two-time nominated Academy Award actor said that he felt “inadequate” when acting alongside Christopher Lee in Lord of the Rings. “With his long beard and white robes, he had the air of a stern yet benign Pope that belied his ambition to rule Middle-earth, with cruelty and spite,” said McKellen.

    McKellen's heroic Gandalf and Lee's villainous Saruman the White battle it out on the big screen. However, both men clearly respect each other. 

    Lee said of McKellen:

    Ian is such a nice man. He always said very nice things about me and I’m happy to return the compliment. Not only is he a very distinguished and eminent actor, with a wonderful record - mainly in the theater - but also to a certain extent in film. He is a major actor and if you find yourself, as I did, playing scenes with him and he’s already had some weeks to get into his part while I’m doing my first day, it can be difficult, to put it mildly.