Some castmates become lifelong friends (like Friends stars and real-life BFFs Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, for example), while others end up… the opposite. Over the years, plenty of co-stars have made it clear that they don’t plan to be best of friends when the cameras stop rolling, and others who actually do get along in real life still set firm boundaries on set. When co-stars refuse to get close when they’re working together, it can mean a lot of different things and can happen for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes, there’s a personality clash, or a serious rift that makes working together almost impossible. And yes, sometimes co-stars are actually seem to really hate each other. Other times, there are more nuanced or personal reasons for the distance. And sometimes it’s truly nothing personal (although that can still lead to awkwardness, all the same).
Here are some prime examples of actors who worked closely with each other on projects but refused to really take the next step and get close — physically, emotionally, or sometimes both.
Lindsay Lohan made a body double kiss Charlie Sheen instead
When Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen appeared together in 2013’s Scary Movie 5, the script called for a lot of contact between the actors. Lohan was supposed to kiss Sheen three times, but according to TMZ, she couldn’t muster up the wherewithal to smooch with the self-proclaimed « total freakin’ rockstar from Mars. » Apparently, Lohan requested a body double be brought in to film her more intimate moments with Sheen, which TMZ says was accommodated with « moderate success. » Although some of the kissing scenes were filmed using body doubles, others simply had to be written out of the script, apparently.
Lohan was reportedly hesitant to film the scenes because of Sheen’s party boy rep and was apparently afraid she might catch something from him if they locked lips. There doesn’t seem to be bad blood between the actors though. That same year, Sheen gave an interview on The Kyle and Jackie O Show on KIIS 1065 in which he revealed that he and Lohan, who also starred together in an episode of Anger Management, eventually became drinking buddies IRL. « I invited her over one night and said lets watch our episode because it’s pretty f***ing cool. I out-drank her, or she out-drank me, » he said, according to the Associated Press. « And she literally tucked me in. I got tucked in by Lindsay Lohan. She kissed me on the cheek and said, ‘Sleep well young prince.' »
Lea Michele didn’t speak to Naya Rivera for an entire season of Glee
Glee star Lea Michele doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to her behavior on the set of the FOX musical. Her co-star Samantha Marie Ware made headlines in 2020 when she revealed how Michele treated her during her time on the show. « I knew from day one when I attempted to introduce myself. There was nothing gradual about it. As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident, » Ware told Variety, adding, « It was after I did my first performance, that’s when it started — the silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments under her breath, the weird passive-aggressiveness. It all built up. »
Ware wasn’t the only cast member who had issues with Michele though. In her 2016 memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes and Growing Up, the late Naya Rivera detailed the breakdown of her friendship with Michele on the Glee set. « As Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time. I think Rachel — erm, I mean Lea — didn’t like sharing the spotlight, » Rivera wrote. The two stars’ once-tight bond broke down as Michele became « more sensitive » and started « [blaming Rivera] for anything and everything that went wrong. » Rivera also claimed that Michele « didn’t say a word to [her] for all of season 6, » but added, « I do wish that Leah and I had gotten along better, but I’m not losing sleep over it. »
Ryan Gosling tried to get Rachel McAdams removed from the set of The Notebook
It’s hard to believe considering their sizzling onscreen chemistry and subsequent real-life relationship, but Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams did not get along while filming The Notebook. In fact, things were so bad that Gosling actually tried to get McAdams removed from a set at one point. « They were really not getting along one day on set. Really not, » the movie’s director, Nick Cassavetes told VH1. « And Ryan came to me, and there’s 150 people standing in this big scene, and he says, ‘Nick come here.’ And he’s doing a scene with Rachel and he says, ‘Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me?’ I said, ‘What?’ He says, ‘I can’t. I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this.' »
McAdams seemed to confirm their on-set issues in an interview with Yahoo Movies UK. « We certainly had intense creative conversations [on The Notebook], » she said. But, when asked if that intensity would make her hesitant to work with Gosling again, she couldn’t have been more emphatic that it would not. « No! Not at all, I’d love to work with [Ryan] again. »
Lena Headey and Jerome Flynn refused to share scenes
In spite of the overlapping elements of their characters’ storylines (both of which focused heavily on their respective relationships with Jaime Lannister), Game of Thrones actors Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn of the Blackwater) managed to avoid sharing the screen for pretty much their entire run on the HBO hit. In the show’s seventh season, they almost shared a scene, but Flynn’s character awkwardly opted to go have a drink rather than take part in (or even be present for) the biggest power meeting in Westeros’ history. The actors were apparently just as stubborn in real life as their iconic characters and reportedly refused to ever share the screen with each other.
It wasn’t a Game of Thrones-related rift that caused the drama between these two. No, the reason for their animosity is reportedly romantic. Headey and Flynn dated in the early 2000s, and sources close to the couple have said that it ended so poorly that they can’t have contact with each other to this day. « Jerome and Lena aren’t on speaking terms any more and they are never in the same room at the same time, » a member of the Game of Thrones crew told The Telegraph, adding, « It’s a pity because they appeared to have patched things up for a while, but now the word is they should be kept apart at all costs. »
Tisha Campbell refused to be on set with Martin Lawrence
Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell played a married couple on Fox’s hit sitcom Martin, but fans of the series might be surprised to learn that there was no love when the cameras weren’t rolling. Campbell actually quit the show before the final season, accusing Lawrence of sexual harassment. She eventually agreed to return to finish out the show’s run, but sources told People that it was on the strict condition that Lawrence would « not be allowed on the set » when she was filming.
In a January 2020 interview with GQ, Lawrence slammed the situation with Campbell in the show’s final season. « It was all a lot of bulls**t and, just whoever’s side it was, it was bulls**t, » he said, adding that the lawsuit led to his decision to end the series. « I just decided to end it. People said that I got canceled, but that wasn’t the case. I decided to just leave the show. » Campbell addressed Lawrence’s comments during an appearance on The Talk. « I can’t go into much detail about the past because there was a confidentiality agreement, so the gag order says no, » she said. « But what I can say is…I was actually kind of shocked. » She did add, however, that she and Lawrence were able to « reconnect » after that. They sat down and addressed « everything, » and eventually landed « in a good place. »
Alyson Hannigan wouldn’t kiss Jason Segel
Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel’s How I Met Your Mother characters, Lily Aldrin and Marshall Eriksen, were the definition of couple’s goals. Even though the co-stars got along great in real life, Hannigan had a strict no kissing policy with her onscreen husband. Why? Because in real life, Segel is a smoker and Hannigan simply could not with that. « I cannot stand cigarette smoke. It’s like kissing an ashtray, and he’s trying to be polite by having gum or mints, but it doesn’t help, » she explained to Digital Spy in 2008.
Thankfully, the potentially-awkward rule didn’t impact Hannigan and Segel’s actual friendship. During a cast appearance on The Talk ahead of the long-running show’s series finale, Segel gushed about the role Hannigan played in his life. « Aly taught me a lot about how to be a man, I gotta say. I was 25 when I took [on] the show, and I think we’ve all been through a lot personally. …She’s always been there to listen to me and to give me advice. [She] saw me through hard times and good times, » he said. « I learned a lot from being around Alyson about the kind of person that I wanted to be. »
Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi filmed their final Good Wife scene separately
Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi’s characters on The Good Wife started the series as friends, but fans have long assumed that something went down behind-the-scenes that caused a real-life rift between the stars. Although the actors have consistently denied their long-rumored feud, they didn’t share a single scene together during the show’s final three seasons — until the finale, that is. When the characters finally reunited on screen, fans were disappointed to see that the actresses had clearly filmed their parts separately, with the footage edited later to make it appear as though they were in the same space.
Margulies denied the drama during an appearance at the New Yorker Festival in 2015, saying (per Vulture), « I feel people just like to have gossip or make something into something that isn’t there. There’s no animosity on my part. It’s a shame, because I wonder if it was two men, when one finds out that he f**ked his best friend’s wife, if it would get that same attention, you know what I mean? » Of the controversial final scene, she added, « You also have to remember, there’s difficulty … [Panjabi] was also doing another show, called The Fall. I went along with whatever [series co-creator] Robert [King] asked me to do and I did it happily. » FWIW, Panjabi responded to Margulies’ comments in a tweet, seemingly denying that her schedule had anything to do with the decision.
Denzel Washington asked to have a love scene with Julia Roberts cut
In another case of actors who got along just fine on set but still didn’t agree to love scenes, we have Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts. The A-list actors co-starred in 1993’s The Pelican Brief, and their characters were supposed to share a steamy love scene, but Washington apparently lobbied to have it cut out of respect to his Black, female fanbase. « Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film, » Washington explained, according to Newsweek. « They have always been my core audience. »
While Roberts confirmed that the planned love scene was cut at Washington’s request, she, naturally, still feels some FOMO over the experience. « Don’t I have a pulse? » she said of the situation. « Of course I wanted to kiss Denzel. It was his idea to take the damn scenes out. » In the Newsweek story, Roberts also gushed about Washington’s overall talent — which, at the time, had not been recognized by the Academy (he finally won Best Actor for 2001’s Training Day). « [He is] the best actor of this generation, hands down, » Roberts said, adding, « He should be on his third Oscar by now, and that might not be enough. I mean, did you see Malcolm f**king X and Hurricane and Philadelphia?! I could go on. I cannot absorb living in a world where I have an Oscar for best actress and Denzel doesn’t have one for best actor. »
Julia Roberts couldn’t stand Nick Nolte at all
While Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington seem to have nothing but respect and feelings of friendship for each other, that’s not the case between Roberts and all of her former co-stars — namely, Nick Nolte. Roberts and Nolte starred together in the 1994 movie I Love Trouble and they have a notoriously fraught relationship, to say the least.
In an interview after the filming wrapped, Roberts told The New York Times that while Nolte can be « completely charming and very nice, » she personally found him « completely disgusting. » She added, « He’s going to hate me for saying this, but he seems to go out of his way to repel people. » And according to the Los Angeles Times, the source of the tension, on Roberts’ part, at least, stemmed from Nolte’s behavior on set. She reportedly « wasn’t thrilled with Nolte’s machismo, so she would deride and insult her co-star. » Their feuding apparently escalated to the point where « the two played more to stand-ins than to each other. »
Nolte later responded to Roberts’ comments about working with him on the film, reportedly saying, « It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting.’ But she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that. »
Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel were furious with each other after Fast Five
When Dwayne Johnson (you know, the insanely ripped and equally talented actor formerly known as The Rock) joined the Fast and the Furious franchise in Fast Five (above) fans were pumped. Apparently, though, things weren’t so awesome behind-the-scenes—at least not between Johnson and his co-star Vin Diesel. By the time the two returned to the set to film The Fate of the Furious, things were so tense they didn’t film a single scene together and Johnson was subsequently written out of the main series with his own spinoff movie/potential franchise, Hobbs & Shaw.
« Vin and I had a few discussions, including an important face-to-face in my trailer, » Johnson later told Rolling Stone of the strained working relationship. « And what I came to realize is that we have a fundamental difference in philosophies on how we approach moviemaking and collaborating. It took me some time, but I’m grateful for that clarity. Whether we work together again or not. » Diesel was dodgier about the feud during an interview with USA Today in 2017, saying, « I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way. I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne. »
Neal McDonough was fired from Scoundrels for refusing to film a sex scene Virginia Madsen
Neal McDonough was originally set to star opposite Virginia Madsen in ABC’s Scoundrels, but was replaced by David James Elliot after just days of filming because he refused to film sex scenes with his co-star. It wasn’t anything personal against Madsen, however; McDonough is a devout Catholic and never films love scenes of any kind — including kissing.
McDonough spelled out the blending of his personal and professional philosophies in a 2016 chat with Christian Examiner. « There’s two rules I have for the screen: I won’t use the Lord’s name in vain and I won’t kiss another woman on screen, » he said, adding, « Life is about honoring God and being the best human being you can be and giving praise to God in everything you do. Killing people on screen — that’s fake. That’s not real. When you’re in bed with another woman on screen — guess what? That’s real. I don’t like that kind of stuff. Especially now with kids, I don’t want to have my kids say, ‘Hey, Dad, what are you doing with that lady on screen?' »
Kenny Baker thought his Star Wars co-star Anthony Daniels was super rude
Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels played beloved bots R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Star Wars movies, but even though their characters were longtime companions in the series, the actors were anything but close in real life. Apparently, the icy relationship is the result of a serious snub on set.
« Anthony doesn’t mix at all — he keeps himself to himself. He never wants to have a drink with any of us. Once when I said hello to him he just turned his back on me and said, ‘Can’t you see I’m having a conversation?’ I was blazing with rage, » Baker explained to Hollywood.com. « It was the rudest thing anyone had ever done to me. I was furious. It was unbelievable. » He also claimed that he and Daniels never socialized off-set.
When Baker passed away in 2016, however, Daniels put the feud to rest and honored his longtime co-star on Twitter, writing, « Sad to hear of Kenny’s passing. 1 of the truly original cast, so famed for his iconic role as R2. He’ll always be remembered by so many fans. »
Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion weren’t on speaking terms by the end of Castle
Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion played love interests (and eventual spouses) on ABC’s hit Castle, but tensions between the co-stars escalated so much over the years that they eventually stopped speaking to each other and struggled to film scenes together. « Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion completely despise each other, » a source told Us Weekly in 2016, adding, « They will not speak when they are off set, and this has been going on for seasons now. »
A few days after it was announced that Katic would not be returning to the series (before the show was subsequently cancelled), another source close to the production gave Us Weekly even more intel. « Stana would go in her dressing room and cry. A lot of people who work on the show don’t like Nathan. It’s not just her, » the insider explained, adding, « The friction was very evident. Nathan has been nasty to Stana for a long time. Stana was a pro, just wanted to get in there and do her job. »