The relationship between coworkers on the set of a Hollywood production can be a volatile and temperamental one. One need look no further than the audio recording of Christian Bale exploding on the set of Terminator: Salvation to catch a glimpse of this. With reputations, money and art all on the line, the experience of creating a feature film can truly make or break relationships. Sometimes however, something seemingly magical happens, and the creative energies of two actor and director, or actor and actor, mesh so well that the end result is nothing short of cinematic genius. Occasionally, great working relationships endure, and we are lucky enough to witness the full fruits of an amazing Hollywood collaboration time and time again. Today we examine some of the greatest such partnerships ever to grace the silver screen.
Quentin Tarantino and Samuel Jackson
Epic writer/director Quentin Tarantino has a reputation for working with the same actors in several of his films, the most frequent collaboration being with Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson has acted in five of Tarantino’s films, including Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Inglorious Bastards (as the Raconteur), and True Romance. Few can deny the chemistry between Jacksonâ€™s acting style and Tarantinoâ€™s directing, each film delivering a memorable performance that feels custom-tailored for Jackson. Pulp Fiction is perhaps the best example, with Jackson giving one of the most unforgettable performances of his career. Playing a charismatic hit man for a big-time crime boss, Jacksonâ€™s dialogue is expertly written and powerfully delivered, setting a standard for future Tarantino films and forging a permanent working relationship between the two.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
While Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are both great actors on their own, their collaboration produced Good Will Hunting, a wildly popular drama released in 1997. Good Will Hunting won Damon and Affleck world recognition as expert writers and actors. The film received many awards, including two Oscars for best supporting actor and best writing. The movie was also nominated for seven other Oscars including best lead actor and best directing. Since Good Will Hunting, the actors teamed up one more time for the controversial comedy, Dogma, directed by the always hilarious Kevin Smith.
George Lucas and Harrison Ford
When George Lucas selected Harrison Ford to play Han Solo in the legendary Star Wars films, a prolific and enduring collaboration was born. Star Wars was a runaway success, worshiped and adored by millions of moviegoers around the world. In their day, the films were considered second to none for special effects, featuring eye-popping visuals the likes of which the world had never seen. Combined with a top-notch performance from the actors and writing that captured the furthest reaches of the imagination, the movies were eagerly awaited each time around, and the movies skyrocketed to the top of the box office. These films are still heralded as masterworks of science fiction. When Lucas teamed up with Stephen Spielberg to produce the Indiana Jones series, (discussed below), its little surprise that he took Ford with him to star in his new project.
George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg
Lucas and Spielberg are two titans of Hollywood, known worldwide for their independent works such as Star Wars (Lucas) and Jaws (Spielberg). When the two team up, we get the legendary character Indiana Jones, blazing across the screen in an epic of gripping story and awesome special effects. Raiders of the Lost Ark was their first film together, released in 1981. Harrison Ford reportedly loved his new role as Indiana Jones much more than he enjoyed playing Han Solo, and signed on to do the entire franchise. Since Raiders first thrilled audiences in 1981, Lucas and Spielberg went on to create The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade and, recently, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The franchise has been so successful that it has even inspired a theme park attraction at Disney Land, called “Indiana Jones Adventure.”
Martin Scorcese and Robert De Niro
Scorcese and De Niro are a legendary duo in the film business, collaborating on some truly amazing works of art. Their visions of the movies they make mesh with each other perfectly, resulting in such critically acclaimed classics as, Taxi Driver, a twisted film about a New York taxi driverâ€™s hellish and maddening world. The 1980 production Raging Bull is another Scorcese and De Niro slam-dunk, telling the story of boxer. The film is an Oscar award winner, and remains one of the greatest films of their careers. More recently, the mobster movie GoodFellas had critics raving and garnered several awards, including an Oscar for best supporting actor.
Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio
Martin Scorcese has been so lucky as to have two wildly successful partnerships in his career. As discussed above, his collaboration with Robert De Niro has produced several of his greatest works, yet there is another actor who works wonderfully with Scorcese. Leonardo DiCaprio has done three Scorcese films to date, and all of them have been Oscar nominees. Gangs of New York, a journey through the lawless and violent 19th century Manhattan, was their first project together. Next came The Aviator, a cinematic take on the life of billionaire Howard Hughs. The latest from the Scorcese/DiCaprio team was The Departed, an epic crime thriller that had critics and audiences raving.
John Ford and John Wayne
Many film critics regard the partnership of John Ford and John Wayne as changing not just the movie business, but also the way America saw itself. It was Ford, already a successful director in his own right, that discovered Wayne and encouraged him come onto his movie sets. Over the course of their fifty-year personal and professional friendship, the two redefined the westerns. Their first film together was Stagecoach, a film that was to make John Wayne an overnight movie star. During the filming of Stagecoach, Ford constantly verbally berated Wayne, a quality for which he was known. The film set into motion a grand freight train of speeding productivity. In the year and a half after Stagecoach, the two had already finished five more films, and there was no end in sight. Over their lives, the two would compose a collection of films that inspired us to examine ourselves as Americans.
John Hughes and The Brat Pack
In the 1980â€™s the actors/actresses known as the â€œBrat Packâ€ teamed up with the late John Hughes to create several movies that defined a generation. Heartfelt and funny, each movie is a time capsule of its age. The films he made with this particular group of actors/actresses were young adult themed â€œcoming of ageâ€ stores that are likely to be enjoyed for decades to come. The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink, were by far their most popular films. Teen moviegoers fell in love with the Brat Pack’s on-screen chemistry and could quite often identify with one of their characters. The Brat Pack consisted of Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, and Molly Ringwald.
Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck
A comedy team that has had audiences doubling over since Mall Rats, Smith and Affleck have consistently churned out side-splitters over their long history together. Affleck starred in Smithâ€™s romantic comedy Chasing Amy, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award. Next was Dogma,a hilarious comedy which received mixed reactions due to its jokes on religion. Finally, Affleck appears in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, a movie about a duo of pot-smoking friends who get their original comic stolen from them by a big-time Hollywood producer.
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay
The team of actor Will Ferrell and director Adam Mckay has brought us some of the funniest and most entertaining movies of 2000â€™s. The first project featuring the two working together was 2004′s Anchorman, a hilarious and oft-quoted movie whose runaway success set the wheels in motion for more films from McKay and Ferrell. Next came Talladega Nights, the story of a NASCAR driver who suffers a near fatal accident and must retrain himself to compete against his archenemy. Step Brothers, was another movie created by the two, a hysterical comedy about a couple of fully-grown men who never left their parentâ€™s house. McKay and Ferrellâ€™s collaboration consistently delivers movies that are both intelligent and funny, dishing up original jokes and story plots that continue to please audiences each time around.
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino
Both master directors and writers in their own right, Tarantino and Rodriguez have had a number of successful collaborations across several genres of film. Four Rooms was their first joint effort, a comedy with an all star cast released in 1995 to only 319 theaters. For only being shown in so few locations, the movie is considered a rousing success, bringing in over 4.2 million dollars. Due in part to the success of Four Rooms, the two continued to work together, and have since collaborated such popular projects as the dark and striking neo-noir film Sin City, and the action packed double feature Grindhouse.
The Coen Brothers
Known in the business as â€œThe two headed director,” for their unified vision of their work, Joel and Ethan Coen are the American film makers behind a number of superb movies. Their ideas for film are incredibly similar, and actors have been known to approach them both separately with a question, and be given the same answer each time. Their collaboration has yielded blockbusters across several genres, from comedy to drama, action to suspense. Their most well-known films include O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Man Who Wasnâ€™t There, The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men. The Coen Brothers write, direct and produce all of their films together, occasionally acting under the single alias Rodrick Jaynes.
The Wachowsky Brothers
The team of Andy and Larry Wachowski, otherwise known as the Wachowski Brothers, are the mastermind writers/directors behind The Matrix trilogy. The Matrix is an odyssey of science fiction and mind bending visuals that has changed the way the world thinks about special effects. When The Matrix was released in 1999, the world had never heard of â€œbullet timeâ€ effects. The Wachowski Brothers invented this 360-degree super slow motion action sequence, and ever since The Matrix Trilogy was released, directors and video game designers have been using bullet time effects. The brothers’ vision of the futuristic world forged a story unlike any we had seen, and accordingly their movies have attracted millions of die-hard fans, inspired video games and produced animated spin-offs.