Movies where behind-the-scenes drama was better than the actual film

Into on-set gossip? Don’t worry, darling. Here’s a rundown of movies where actor feuds, fallouts and scandals have overshadowed the actual plot.

Have you been keeping up with the drama surrounding Don’t Worry Darling? If not, which rock have you been living under? Although the gossip might have been momentarily eclipsed by a certain world event that just took place (RIP Her Maj), the rumours surrounding its crop of actors is all that the internet is meme-ing and dissecting right now.

If you’re not familiar, here’s a brief explainer: stories emerged of a fallout between the film’s lead Florence Pugh and her director Olivia Wilde, who’s in a relationship with the other lead, Harry Styles. Pugh then turned up for Venice Film Festival iconically wielding an Aperol Spritz, apparently to show she could’ve been at a press conference about the film, but didn’t want to attend. And Harry Styles definitely didn’t spit on Chris Pine at the film’s premiere. There’s a lot more to this story, including leaked texts and custom-made T‑shirts, but you can go down the rabbit hole and do your own research.

Don’t Worry Darling isn’t the only film to be swallowed up by its surrounding noise, though. Read on for some of the biggest flicks that had people’s tongues wagging, from sexy spy flicks to troubled zombie films.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

On paper, Mr. & Mrs. Smith has it all: two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, explosions, and a shed load of sexual chemistry. But there was even more tension simmering on the IRL set of the action-comedy where Brangelina” was birthed. At the time of filming, Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston, while Angelina Jolie was coming out of a divorce from Billy Bob Thornton. The tabloids began reporting that the pair’s chemistry was bubbling even away from the cameras and, when paparazzi shots revealed Brangie looking chummy together, the film’s press team insisted they were simply in character”. Jolie and Pitt even went to the trouble of hiding their romance from their bodyguard. Aniston filed for divorce in 2005, the year the movie came out, and the new celeb couple were soon spotted holidaying in Kenya. Explosions don’t seem quite so exciting any more, huh?

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

George Miller’s 2015 feature was a commercial triumph in every sense, grossing almost $375 million worldwide, and earning 10 Oscar noms and six wins. But a recent book by reporter Kyle Buchanan, Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, suggests that things weren’t exactly rosy on set. The oral history of the film, which compiles interviews with 130 members of the cast and crew, paints a picture of tensions running high, with Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy repeatedly clashing in front of everyone present. P. J. Voeten, the film’s first assistant director, told Buchanan that it seemed to implode in pre-production. We weren’t even shooting and there seemed to be this animosity.” Theron herself said it was like two parents in the front of the car … it was horrible! We should not have done that; we should have been better.” She also alleged other unprofessional behaviours from Hardy, including persistent lateness and acting quite aggressive” when called out on it, which led to her asking for additional protection”. The pair have since, apparently, made up.

World War Z (2013)

This is Brad Pitt’s second mention here, but this drama wasn’t a case of him falling in love with a co-star. Instead, World War Z (which was produced by and starred Pitt) had a troubled production timeline, from a last-minute script rewrite to extensive reshoots, and a $170 million-plus overall spend. The big budget zombie war film also went through a host of screenwriters, various key crew changes and a postponed release date. A nightmare from top to bottom,” one source with ties to the production described. According to Screen Rant, Pitt dubbed the first cut of the film atrocious”. These films are much more difficult than I realised,” he was, humbly, quoted as saying. That being said, it received mainly positive reviews upon release, and set the record for highest-grossing zombie movie. However, World War Z has still not got the sequel it promised – maybe there’s a reason for that.

Death On The Nile (2022)

Armie Hammer: need we say more? Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot flick had been done and dusted for over a year before the incredibly troubling allegations about Hammer came to light, from stories of cannibalism to sexual assault. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney considered reshooting the murder mystery with a different actor, before eventually deciding that it would be impossible due to pandemic restrictions. They also considered trying to CGI Hammer out of the shots, but that proved tricky, too. Instead, they went ahead with the release as planned, as shelving it would’ve been a disservice to all the other cast and crew members who’d worked on it. Hammer wasn’t the sole issue with the cast, though – Gal Gadot received wide backlash for stating that Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation” and caught additional flack for organising the monstrosity that was pandemic-era celebrities singing Imagine from their mansions. Agatha Christie could’ve never written something so cursed.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

If you enjoyed 2012’s Snow White & The Huntsman, you might have been confused to see that Kristen Stewart, who played Snow White, wasn’t asked back for the sequel. She claimed that she wasn’t invited to reprise her role due to her affair with the film’s director, Rupert Sanders, who she was photographed kissing while in a relationship with Robert Pattinson. Even though she issued a public apology, the damage, you could say, was already done. We lived in a different time then, you know what I mean? I feel like the slut-shaming that went down was so absurd,” she said in an interview, adding: And they should’ve put me in that movie! It would’ve been better. Not to be a dick, but…” Fair play!


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