These actors refused to kiss their costars
For all the fame and fortune that comes with the territory, being an actor is a tough job. You work awfully long hours, it’s very competitive, your work is criticized intensely, and while some would consider kissing an A-list actor or actress a dream come true, these stars considered it a nightmare. Let’s find out why.
Jewel and Rob Lowe
What adds insult to injury for this one is that Rob Lowe practically begged the studio to hire Jewel for The Lyon’s Den! Then, Jewel tried to get a kissing scene between her and Rob removed from the script, but to no avail. She even tried to bring her boyfriend with her on set when they filmed the scene, just to make things more awkward!
Eventually, she decided to just get it over with, yet remained tight-lipped through the mouth-to-mouth contact. Lowe confessed to Ellen DeGeneres that he found the experience humiliating. Jewel twisted the knife on the Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe, joking that she objected to the kiss “because I knew where that mouth had been.”
Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte
Julia Roberts admitted in recent interviews that she wasn’t the easiest person to work with early in her career. Perhaps that’s why she clashed so much with Nick Nolte on the set of I Love Trouble. Many scenes had to use doubles in place of the actors because they couldn’t stand each other.
Despite all her protestations, the kiss eventually took place as scripted, but it didn’t improve the thespians’ opinions of each other.
In an interview with The New York Times, Roberts called Nolte “completely disgusting.” Nolte responded by saying that Roberts was “not a nice person.” At least we got a captivating and memorable film out of the mess. Or maybe not.
Believe it or not: Julia Roberts appears twice on this list!
Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen
In Scary Movie 5, Lohan was supposed to kiss Sheen three times. But when it came time to film, the actress just couldn’t do it. Parts of the script were changed last minute, and a body double was brought in to replace Lindsay in certain moments.
Luckily they were able to salvage the important scenes, or else we might never have gotten the cinematic masterpiece that is the fifth installment in the Scary Movie franchise. Apparently there were no hard feelings — Sheen later helped the actress out through some financial trouble.
Not surprising: Charlie Sheen will appear again later.
Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson
Well, we now know which side of the Edward vs. Jacob debate Reese Witherspoon falls on. Just kidding, there’s actually a very practical reason why Witherspoon shied away from smooching the young heartthrob on the set of Water for Elephants.
Reportedly, Pattinson had a cold when it came time to film the scene — and not just any cold. “He was literally snorting and snotting through every second of it — and it was not appealing,” Witherspoon said. “I’m talking green, infectious, disgusting.” Health risks be damned, they got it done. Isn’t show business glamorous?
Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
Happy wife, happy life. Reportedly, Brad Pitt refused to kiss costar Cate Blanchett in the critically acclaimed 2008 drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to appease his then-girlfriend and future ex-wife, Angelina Jolie.
Fortunately for moviegoers — though perhaps unfortunately for his relationship — director David Fincher was able to persuade him into filming the scene as planned. The cast and crew must have breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur
Music legends Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur got a chance to flex their formidable acting chops in the poignant 1993 romantic drama Poetic Justice. Reportedly, Jackson wasn’t thrilled about the idea of sharing a kiss with the rapper, who had a reputation for “getting around.”
Tupac revealed in an interview to promote the film that Janet had demanded he take an AIDS test before they filmed the love scene, but hadn’t demanded the same of her ex-boyfriend Q-Tip, who also kisses Janet in the film.
But according to director John Singleton, that story was just a joke that they decided to turn into a publicity stunt. Evidently it worked — Poetic Justice opened at No. 1 at the box office.
Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel
Throughout How I Met Your Mother’s nine seasons, Marshall and Lily represented many fans’ “relationship goals,” but behind the scenes, it was a different story. Hannigan had trouble kissing Segel on the show. However, it wasn’t because the two didn’t get along.
Jason Segel had trouble putting the cigarettes down. “I cannot stand cigarette smoke,” Hannigan confessed. “It’s like kissing an ashtray and he’s trying to be polite by having gum or mints, but it doesn’t help.” She was able to get him to quit by charging him $10 for every cigarette he smoked. “After the first day, he owed me $200,” she said.
However, her respite only lasted a year. The rest of the time, the actress just had to suffer through the smooches.
Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley
Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley were convincing as high school sweethearts in the 2013 Sundance film The Spectacular Now. They also seem to be great friends, appearing in the wildly popular Divergent series together and spending a suspicious amount of time in each other’s company (they insist they’re just friends). So how did they end up on this list?
Well, every workplace worth working in has its share of pranks between employees, and a movie set is no different. Reportedly, Woodley and Teller pranked each other by eating and drinking things their costar was repulsed by on the set of The Spectacular Now. Woodley would chew up Chinese herbs and Teller would chug Gatorade before their kissing scenes.
Sean Young and Harrison Ford
Blade Runner is frequently mentioned when critics debate the greatest science fiction films of all time. Yet sometimes, it seems, you have to suffer to make great art. And Sean Young and Harrison Ford did exactly that in their love scene together.
According to the crew, the couple couldn’t stand each other, and Young complained incessantly about Ford’s facial hair, which she said scratched up her face. It got so bad that the crew took to calling the love scene between Young and Ford a “hate scene.”
If anything, you’ve got to respect both actors for powering through it.
Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence
You’d think most straight male actors would jump at the chance to share an onscreen smooch with J. Law. But according to Liam Hemsworth, his costar did her best to make the worst of the scenes during The Hunger Games series.
Lawrence would deliberately eat things that turned Hemsworth’s stomach minutes before the cameras rolled. “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,” Hemsworth told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. “Right before the scene, she’d be like, ‘Yeah, I ate tuna’ or ‘I had garlic, and I didn’t brush my teeth.’ And I’d be like, ‘Fantastic, I can’t wait to get in there and taste it!’” Yuck.
Guess what? J. Law appears on here again.
Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt
You really can’t blame the young actress for this one. At the age of 11, no one wants to kiss a grown man, even if that man is Brad Pitt. But in Interview with the Vampire, that’s exactly what the script called for.
Even though it was just a light peck, poor Kirsten found the experience traumatizing. “It was horrible, and I hated it,” she told The Huffington Post. “Brad and Tom were like my big brothers on the set, so it was like kissing your big brother — totally gross!” Apparently, the feeling was mutual. “(Brad Pitt) said, ‘How do you think I feel? I have to kiss a little girl.’ It was awful!”
Sadie Sink and Caleb McLaughlin
Apparently the surprise kiss that happens in season two of Stranger Things between stars Sadie Sink and Caleb McLaughlin wasn’t in the script. Showrunner Ross Duffer made a joke that Sadie would have to kiss Caleb at some point and Sadie freaked out, so he decided to add it in as a prank.
This admission caused considerable backlash from fans and critics, who pointed out that the stars are only children. Sadie later attempted to clear the air in an episode of Beyond Stranger Things. “I never objected to (it) or felt pushed into anything,” she explained. “I always felt comfortable and the Duffer Brothers, they do the best job. And always create a comfortable space. And if I felt uncomfortable with anything, I wouldn’t have done it.”
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
The Notebook is perhaps the epitome of the romantic drama genre, but behind the scenes, there was a lot more drama than romance, at least at first. In fact, Gosling tried to have McAdams fired from the role, complaining they had no chemistry together. Ha!
Director Nick Cassavetes flat-out refused Gosling’s request and forced the two to talk it out in order to keep them from screaming at each other on set. He said his plan worked, mostly.
Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling evidently squashed the beef, because they ended up dating for four years after filming. You know what, this does sound a little like the plot of The Notebook, after all.
Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts
Once again, Julia Roberts makes an appearance. Though this time, she’s on the other side of things. It seems like most male actors would leap at the chance to share a kiss with Julia Roberts. After all, she’s been named People magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” five times! But on the set of the 1993 thriller The Pelican Brief, Denzel Washington wasn’t having it.
According to Washington, he refused to kiss Roberts because he didn’t want to alienate his core audience of black women, which he says “are not often seen as objects of desire on film.”
Julia Roberts didn’t take it personally. In fact, she insisted that Washington be cast in the role, and decades later had nothing but high praise for her costar. “It was like working, as I would imagine, with The Beatles,” she said at Washington’s life achievement gala.
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt
The producers got their way on this one, but J. Law was very reluctant to plant a kiss on her costar. The reason? Lawrence wasn’t comfortable smooching a married man.
“It was going to be my first time kissing a married man, and guilt is the worst feeling in your stomach,” Lawrence told The Hollywood Reporter. However, the two were able to put the awkwardness aside over a bottle of wine on set and perform the steamy scenes convincingly. Perhaps too convincingly: The tabloids spread rumors about an affair that both stars — and even Pratt’s ex-wife, Anna Faris — insist never happened.
Thandie Newton and Gerard Butler
Why would anyone refuse to kiss Gerard Butler? Well, Thandie Newton had good reason, it turns out. Butler was really sick during the filming of Guy Ritchie’s gangster caper RocknRolla, and Newton didn’t want whatever he had.
“Gerry was very unwell indeed,” Newton said. “So I wouldn’t kiss him. Guy had to improvise. I don’t know how he coped with those problems but it ended up being one of the most brilliant scenes.”
Gerard Butler confirmed the story, and even said that director Guy Ritchie’s then-wife Madonna tried to help, giving him “a shot in the bum. It didn’t work at all — I got more sick! But I appreciated the effort.”
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a sadder love story than the first time Kate and Leo appeared in a film together, in 1997’s Titanic. Eleven years later, director Sam Mendes may have accomplished exactly that with Revolutionary Road, starring — you guessed it — Winslet and DiCaprio.
The film is a devastating emotional roller coaster, but it almost didn’t happen for two reasons. For one, Kate was married to the director at the time, and two, Leo and Kate didn’t want to repeat history. “We fundamentally knew that if we were going to do something together again, we didn’t want to tread on any type of similar territory,” DiCaprio explained. Eventually, they decided to throw caution to the wind and go forward with the steamy scenes.
Sienna Miller and James Franco
No one seems to want to kiss poor James. Actually, this was more a personal problem for Miller and less of an objection. The young actress complained of a particularly painful toothache during filming of the 2008 romantic black comedy Camille. Therefore, the scenes had to be cut short.
Teeth seem to be a sore (groan) subject for Miller. During a shoot for Vogue, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour complained about the young actress being too “toothy.” Personally, we don’t see it, but who are we to argue with Anna Wintour?
Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev
These Vampire Diaries stars ended up kissing, but they weren’t happy about it. Although this time, it doesn’t seem to be about the act itself. Romantic rainy-day kisses are a staple of show business, but apparently they look more fun on screen than they are on set.
After a memorable scene, fans of the show demanded more steamy rain-drenched romance. Don’t hold your breath. “It was below 30 degrees, and it got so cold the muscles in my jaw froze and I couldn’t speak,” Ian Somerhalder explained at PaleyFest. “I looked like I had Bell’s palsy.” Dobrev also confessed she got sick. “You write another rain kiss and I quit,” Somerhalder quipped to the writers.
Neal McDonough and Virginia Madsen
You can hardly blame someone for sticking to their convictions. Neal McDonough is a devout Catholic who has two rules when he takes on a role: He won’t kiss another woman on screen and he won’t use the Lord’s name in vain. Naturally, this has cost him some gigs — including a starring role alongside Virginia Madsen in Scoundrels — but he doesn’t mind.
“Killing people on screen — that’s fake,” McDonough told Christian Examiner. “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.”
Honestly, McDonough plays such great bad guys, we wouldn’t have noticed had he never said anything.
Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair
TMZ reported that Charlie Sheen got along so poorly with his on-screen therapist and “sex buddy” Selma Blair on the set of FX’s Anger Management that he refused to even show up to film until she was fired — forget sharing a kiss.
However, Charlie Sheen put a different spin on the story, saying that the real reason she was dropped was less juicy. “Too many people were still excited about the Two and a Half (Men) character and thought the Anger Management character was a little dull,” he explained to Jay Leno in a 2013 interview.
That being said, he didn’t pull any punches in a 2017 episode of Watch What Happens Live, explaining that he’d like to “kick (Selma Blair and Jenny McCarthy) to the curb.”
Will Smith was torn about having to kiss another man in the 1993 indie dramedy Six Degrees of Separation, to the bemusement of director Fred Schepisi. Smith was so distressed about the scene that he asked Denzel Washington for advice. Washington encouraged Smith not to do it if he felt that way.
The scene was shot from behind, enabling the Fresh Prince actor to sit the scene out. Will Smith now regrets being such a stick in the mud. “It was very immature on my part,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘How are my friends in Philly gonna think about this?’ I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to commit to that aspect of the film.”
Herizen F. Guardiola and Justice Smith
Herizen F. Guardiola wasn’t asked to “get down” with Justice Smith on the set of Netflix’s series The Get Down, but she was reluctant to even plant a kiss on her costar. “I didn’t realize how weird it was, until she made it weird,” Smith confessed.
In her defense, this was Guardiola’s first acting role, and it was the first time the two had met. She expressed discomfort about having to kiss someone she knew nothing about. Since then, she’s loosened up a little. “I’m still gonna have to know something about the person before I kiss them,” she told IndieWire. Fair enough.
When she was 14 years old, Kimberly McCullough was required to perform an on-screen kiss with an unnamed, older actor on the set of General Hospital. She was very apprehensive about the situation. When she got word the actor in question had been making vulgar jokes about the upcoming scene, she spoke to the director.
Her request was politely declined. Even so, McCullough stood her ground. What was intended to be an open-mouthed kiss turned into a light peck on the cheek. Props to the young actress for standing up for herself!
Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif
Think about what it would be like to work long hours with your ex every day. Now imagine your job requires you to kiss them. That’s gonna be a big nope.
Such was the case with Bollywood stars Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif on the set of Jagga Jasoos. According to Bollywood Life, Kapoor refused to kiss his former boo during one of the songs and the pair bickered constantly during filming. It all seems pretty understandable if you ask us!
Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea
Few things seem like they’d cripple an actor’s career as quickly as refusing to kiss anyone besides their wife. But Kirk Cameron and his wife, fellow Growing Pains costar Chelsea Noble, take their marriage vows seriously — and Cameron made a promise he intended to keep, even if it meant turning down lucrative roles.
Both devout Christians, Kirk and Chelsea have had to get creative in the past to adhere to their strict rule. In the 2008 film Fireproof, there was a scene that required a kiss between a firefighter (played by Cameron) and his wife. Chelsea Noble wore a wig and doubled in for Erin Bethea to make the romantic scene possible. Now that’s dedication!
This one has more to do with the comedian and actor’s admitted personal insecurities than another actor. Hart said he turned down the hilarious role of “Alpa Chino,” a closeted rapper-turned-actor, in 2008’s Tropic Thunder after reading the script and finding the character “too flagrant.”
Hart said that he’d have trouble playing any gay character. “It’s because I feel like I can’t do it, because I don’t think I’m going to really dive into that role 100 percent,” he said in an interview on The Breakfast Club. His bluntness was controversial, though he clarified that it’s an entirely personal shortcoming and he has no problem with the gay community, who he addressed directly in the interview. “I appreciate and respect any and everything that you all do,” he said. “As people, I love you.”
Ironically, Hart shared a kiss with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2016’s Central Intelligence.
Vanessa Hudgens and James Franco
When Vanessa Hudgens finally decided to shed her squeaky-clean Disney-approved image, she did so in a big way. Spring Breakers is a controversial, R-rated crime drama that definitely ruffled some feathers.
Hudgens was uncomfortable with some of the explicit scenes featuring her and James Franco. “I’d rather kiss Ashley (Benson) than kiss James to be honest — because she’s a girl and I was close to her and I felt comfortable,” Hudgens told The Independent. “So I was like ‘Yeah, I’ll kiss Ashley!’” To be fair, James Franco’s look in Spring Breakers is … well, different.
Candace Cameron Bure
D.J. from Fuller House was in a tough position on season one of the Netflix show — she seemingly had to choose between two love interests, Steve and Matt. But behind the scenes, Candace Cameron Bure was in an even more uncomfortable position — trying to reconcile the make-believe love scenes with her real-life husband.
Though Fuller House is far removed from what most would consider “steamy” television, the romantic scenes still rub Candace the wrong way. “I’m getting more uncomfortable with it the older I’m getting. I’m like, ‘I don’t want to keep doing this!’” she told Us Weekly. Evidently, the intimate scenes are too much for her husband as well, who rarely watches her movies and shows.
Samuel L. Jackson
Add Samuel L. Jackson’s name to the list of male actors that refuse to kiss another man. In an interview with Playboy magazine, Jackson said he’d never kiss a man or cross-dress for a role.
He has no problem playing a gay character, as evidenced by 2016’s sci-fi horror flick Cell, there are just some lines he won’t cross. The movie was universally panned, but the criticism had little to do with Jackson’s performance.