For decades, cinemagoers have enjoyed watching romance bloom between two beautiful movie characters in scenes that are shot, lit and acted in a way to make everything look utterly perfect. But peek behind the curtain of many of Hollywood’s most popular films and it quickly becomes clear that things aren’t always as rosy behind the scenes.
In fact, there are many examples of A-list actors being utterly honest about how much they hated kissing their gorgeous co-stars, and below are some of the most interesting examples.
20. William Baldwin and Sharon Stone
Kissing scenes are important to get right no matter what genre of film they appear in. For example, in a rom-com, the believability of the couple rests on the chemistry of their first kiss, and in a drama, it is the kiss that ups the emotional stakes of the film. However, maybe the genre in which kissing scenes most have to go off without a hitch is the erotic thriller.
The 1993 erotic thriller Sliver was panned from the moment of its release, with many critics zeroing in on the utter lack of chemistry between the two leads. Sources on set said that William Baldwin and Sharon Stone hated each other from the moment they met, and that their feud culminated in a really ugly kissing scene. Essentially, Stone decided to put Baldwin in his place by deliberately biting his tongue when they made out. Ouch.
19. James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie
Just as most people would be able to conjure up a pretty high level of enthusiasm at the prospect of kissing Brad Pitt, we would also expect many people to fight to be first in line to give a peck to his ex-wife. Unfortunately, X-Men star James McAvoy was less than positive about his experience kissing the beautiful Angelina Jolie.
Speaking about his experience of kissing Jolie on the set of 2008 action flick Wanted, McAvoy said: “I can tell you what it was like to kiss her on a film set. It was awkward, sweaty and not very nice,” At least the two stars seemed to get on pretty well and had excellent on-screen chemistry outside of the awkward kissing dynamic.
18. Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale
Another example of a leading couple being forced to smooch in front of a spouse came on the set of the 2012 Total Recall remake, when Kate Beckinsale had to get romantic with Colin Farrell in front of her husband Len Wiseman, the film’s director. Despite everyone on set being a consummate professional, there was nothing anyone could do to make the experience less awkward.
“Kissing her was a little bit dodgy because the director, her husband, wasn’t kind enough to leave the room,” Farrell later confessed. “Being a director he had to watch the scene, which was a little bit creepy.” Everyone raced to get through it in as few takes as possible, and you can’t tell from the film just how awkward the experience was, but it wasn’t one any of the three of them were eager to repeat.
17. Harrison Ford and Sean Young
Romance definitely isn’t the primary genre of the iconic 1982 science-fiction action movie Blade Runner, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely devoid of kissing. In between Rick Deckard tracking down a wanted person and wrestling with the mystery of his own consciousness, he also meets replicant Rachael, with the two sharing a passionate kiss.
Unfortunately, Harrison Ford and Rachael actress Sean Young clashed at every possible moment on set, leading to a kiss that was devoid of both warmth or even mutual admiration. Young hated kissing Ford due to his scratchy facial hair, while Ford hated kissing Young due to the micromanaging approach of Ridley Scott. In the end, producers dubbed the scene “a hate scene”, as opposed to a love scene.
16. Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence
Kissing someone you don’t get along with is obviously an unpleasant experience, but at the other end of the spectrum, kissing someone with whom you are close friends can also be a painful ordeal. It was love rather than hate that made for an uncomfortable kissing experience between Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth on the set of The Hunger Games, as being good friends off-screen made for some awkward intimate moments.
“Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable,” Hemsworth later told talk show host Jimmy Fallon. “She’s one of my best friends, I love her, but if we had a kissing scene she would make a point of eating garlic or tuna fish or something that was disgusting.” Thankfully, as the movies went on Lawrence and Hemsworth had to kiss less and less, as Katniss Everdeen eventually settled for Gale’s romantic rival, Peeta.
15. Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe
Even now, decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still considered one of the most beautiful movie stars in Hollywood history. Her beauty was so legendary that leading men were desperate to star opposite her, with the exception of Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot. Curtis hated working with Monroe, and especially hated kissing her.
In a completely shocking interview, when asked what it was like to kiss the blonde bombshell, Curtis said that kissing her was “like kissing Hitler.” Curtis later retracted his comment, however, telling the Daily Mail that he had “said it as a joke.” He elaborated by saying: “I mean, it was such a darn stupid question, so I gave a stupid answer.”
14. Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Aniston
For a while, Jennifer Aniston dominated the genre of romantic comedies, with a new title of hers hitting cinemas seemingly every six months. Thanks to hits like He’s Just Not That Into You, The Switch, Marley and Me and The Break-Up, plenty of leading men got the chance to smooch with the Friends star throughout the 2010s.
However, Jennifer Aniston’s 30 Rock co-star disagreed with the idea that kissing her was a perk of the job. Speaking about his own experience of sharing a smooch with the TV and movie star, Alec Baldwin said: “It was painful. I mean, every man who’s had to make out with her in TV and movies, I don’t know how they do it.”
13. Orlando Bloom and Zoe Saldana
In 2004, Orlando Bloom and Zoe Saldana starred together in the crime drama Haven. Despite the movie not shying away from violence, it doles out romance in equal measure, with Bloom and Saldana sharing a kiss near the end of the film. The pair had good chemistry, but apparently had a dreadful time when it came to kissing on set, thanks to Saldana’s boyfriend.
Bloom said to People magazine that he “hated kissing Zoe” because her boyfriend would show up on set to watch their scenes together. He went on to say: “I was like, ‘Take your tongue out of my mouth, please. Your boyfriend is standing right there.’ Most people think kissing beautiful co-stars must be great. But it’s always awkward, man.”
12. Dane Cook and Kate Hudson
My Best Friend’s Girl was not received well by critics or audiences, thanks to its goofy premise which saw Dane Cook’s Tank take his best friend’s ex-girlfriend on an intentionally horrible date, in order to push her back into her ex’s arms. It starred Kate Hudson alongside Cook, and both were fairly prone to pranks on set.
One of Kate Hudson’s pranks involved making the kissing scenes as unpleasant for Dane Cook as possible. When a kissing scene was coming up, Hudson would eat lots of raw onions in order to gross Cook out. Even though it was all supposed to be in jest, Cook was allegedly disgusted, and he later called it his “worst on-screen kiss ever”.
11. Tom Cruise and Thandiwe Newton
Mission Impossible 2 was released in 2000 and sees Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt on a mission to stop a terrorist group from attacking Sydney. It’s a classic action spy flick and, like many other movies in the genre, it sees the hero share a kiss with an attractive rival spy, who would become his love interest later in the series.
The gorgeous spy with whom Ethan Hunt becomes infatuated is played by English actress Thandiwe Newton, but unfortunately, she didn’t have a good time kissing him on set. She called the experience “slightly icky and a little bit wet”, and said that so many takes were required that she would go home at the end of the day “moaning about how many times [they] had to do it.” Yikes.
10. Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst
Most people would jump at the chance to receive a kiss from Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt, especially during his 90s heyday, but ten-year-old Kirsten Dunst was less than impressed with the peck she received from her hunky co-star during the filming of 1994’s Interview With The Vampire. Thankfully, the kiss was supposed to be pretty devoid of heat, so it at least worked on screen.
“He had this long hair, he was just a hippie-ish cool dude.” Dunst later recalled in an interview “Everyone at the time was like, ‘you’re so lucky you kissed Brad Pitt,’ but I thought it was disgusting.” In fairness, being kissed by a grown man as a ten-year-old would be pretty gross, especially with everyone on set watching.
9. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have famously great chemistry, with the two giving such steamy and heartbreaking performances in Titanic that it later went down in film history as one of the greatest love stories of all time. However, lots of factors can take an on-screen kiss from easy and organic to stilted and awkward, and that’s exactly what Winslet had to deal with.
While filming 2008’s Revolutionary Road, Winslet’s intimate embrace with DiCaprio had to be done in front of her then-husband, the film’s director Sam Mendes, with the actress recalling that “it was more that neither Sam nor Leo seemed the slightest bit bothered. I was like, ‘Is it just me who feels a bit weird about this?’”
8. Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner
Most actresses only have to kiss one leading man per movie, but if you find yourself in a popular teen romance, then there’s a good chance a love triangle will be involved. That means in all likelihood you’ll have to kiss multiple men per instalment, as audiences rush to find out which couple is destined to become canon.
That’s exactly what happened to Kristen Stewart, who had to kiss both her (at the time) real-life boyfriend Robert Pattinson, and good friend Taylor Lautner, multiple times over the course of five Twilight movies. Unlike many of the actors on this list, Stewart’s reason for not liking kissing Lautner had more to do with character integrity, as she believed it “was so against everything that Bella’s always been.”
7. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
Dirty Dancing is one of the most famously romantic movies of all time, following Baby as she grows up and gains confidence under the instruction of sizzling dance teacher Johnny. The chemistry between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey is off the charts but, surprisingly, Grey later revealed that she didn’t think she and Swayze had at all the right kind of connection on set.
Grey later said that she was the first to be cast in the movie, and so was paired up with quite a few prospective leads. Speaking about Swayze, she said: “I was cast before he was. He came in [to test] along with a bunch of other guys. I didn’t think we had chemistry. But you either do or you don’t. It’s a weird thing, though. It doesn’t have to do with whether you like someone or not. It’s just you either have it or you don’t.”
6. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan
The chemistry between two love interests is integral in any genre, but some films suffer more than others when it is absent. 50 Shades of Grey is one of the most famous erotic romances made in the last 20 years, and so the success of the film basically hinged entirely on the connection between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
Unfortunately, neither Dakota Johnson nor Jamie Dornan were particularly enthused by the idea of the multiple sex scenes they had to do together, and they each developed ways to cope that really but a damper on the steaminess of things. Johnson took to drinking shots of whisky every time she had to kiss Dornan, while Dornan would make gross and goofy noises to try and make Johnson laugh.
5. Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson
Water For Elephants was released in 2011 and follows the love story between Robert Pattinson’s Jacob Jankowski and Reese Witherspoon’s Marlena Rosenbluth as they travel with a 1930s circus. When it was finally released, critics picked up on the lack of chemistry between the two stars, and they both put it down to something that was outside of their control.
Essentially, Robert Pattinson had a horrible cold all the way through the production, which made kissing or even being near him an unpleasant and potentially contagious experience. Wetherspoon later said: “Rob possibly had the most hideous horrible cold of any co-star I’ve ever had to do a love scene with ever in my entire life. He was literally snorting and snotting through every second of it – and it was not appealing. I’m talking green, infectious, disgusting.”
4. Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte
Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte starred opposite each other in the 1994 rom-com I Love Trouble, a movie that sees the two develop a relationship despite working for rival newspaper companies. Despite the movie being well received by critics and audiences, it was marred by one thing: the two stars didn’t get along at all.
The pair hated being affectionate with one another on-screen, and their animosity only grew after the movie was released. Roberts said of Nolte in an interview: “He can be completely charming and very nice … he’s also completely disgusting,” and Nolte responded by saying: It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting.’ But she’s not a nice person. Everyone knows that.”.
3. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper
2012’s Silver Linings Playbook was a smash hit with audiences and critics, thanks to the intense and believable connection between Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany and Bradley Cooper’s Pat. The chemistry between the pair is undeniable, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard work to achieve, especially when it came time for them to start kissing.
While Bradley Cooper had a fine time kissing Jennifer Lawrence, it, unfortunately, wasn’t the same the other way around. After a few takes of their dramatic makeout scene, Lawrence reportedly said to Cooper “you’re a wet kisser”. It was a comment Cooper said he had a hard time recovering from, and made him a touch insecure for his next few movies.
2. Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan
Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother are widely considered to have one of the healthiest and most ideal relationships in all of television. Despite being college sweethearts who have been together a long time, they are consistently affectionate with and supportive of one another, even when their friendship groups descends into crazy drama every other day.
Despite believably portraying two deeply in love people, Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan didn’t have a great time kissing. More specifically, Hannigan had a problem with kissing Segel. Segel was a smoker, which Hannigan couldn’t stand, and so on shooting days where they had to kiss, Segel would owe Hannigan $10 for every cigarette he smoked. By the end of the first day, he owed Hannigan $200.
1. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Both actors found it intensely weird and kept dissolving into giggles between takes, but Grint had a famously difficult time with the kiss. Speaking about the experience he said: “I’ve known Emma since she was literally 9 years old and we had this very brother-sister relationship, and it just felt very surreal. I have a memory of her face getting closer and closer. Like, ‘Oh my God.’ I can’t really remember anything apart from that.” Poor Emma.