Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut
A year or so before their divorce, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman starred as a couple struggling through the sexual and moral implications of their marriage in Eyes Wide Shut. The build up to Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film was tense, and rumors swirled around what graphic things audiences might see the Hollywood duo engaged in. The rawness of emotion between Kidman’s Alice and Cruise’s Bill is everything on-screen that they described in interviews later on.
“I’m glad Nic and I didn’t make this movie in the first or second year of our marriage. The stuff we were talking about, confronting together with Stanley, was volatile and intense. The characters are very much at odds. When you’re talking about jealousy or raw emotions that bring men to their knees at times, it can be crippling,” Cruise told Roger Ebert in an interview. “This was an epoch in our lives,” Kidman said of the movie. “I will forever remember it for being this strange, wonderful experience.”
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Blue-eyed beauty Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times, but she only gave former husband Richard Burton two turns at the altar. They began an affair during the filming of Cleopatra in the early ’60s — both stars married to others at the time, making it the topic of tabloids everywhere. Before their romance petered out for good, they appeared in their strongest on-screen collaboration, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. The movie about an emotionally contemptuous marriage was often likened to their real rocky union.
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands
Tim Burton’s most personal film, Edward Scissorhands, was also memorable for Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. The couple became engaged the summer before the film was released in 1990 and their romantic chemistry on-screen is felt. The highly publicized couple’s characters have a Beauty and the Beast entanglement in the film, which is reminiscent of the chatter surrounding another love story: Twilight’s off/on-screen couple Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Adam’s Rib
The pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn over nine films is the stuff of movie legend. It was often a complicated relationship, plagued by Tracy’s alcoholism and earlier marriage to Louise Treadwell. Their most successful picture together was Adam’s Rib, in which they played married lawyers who have to duke it out in court — but the battle continues at home. The smartly funny movie showcases the couple’s creative chemistry and our knowledge of their real-life passion helps draw us in further.
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook
Even though co-stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams had a difficult relationship during the filming of Nick Cassavetes’ The Notebook, there was an undeniable fire between them in this 1940’s love story. “We inspired the worst in each other. It was a strange experience, making a love story and not getting along with your co-star in any way,” Gosling told the Guardian in 2007. “I don’t know what happened. Two years later I saw her in New York, and we started getting the idea that maybe we were wrong about each other … ”
Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain While Brokeback Mountain’s real relationship centers on Heath Ledger’s Ennis and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack — two ranch hands that have a secret affair — behind-the-scenes another romance blossomed. Ledger and Williams, who were married in the movie, started dating during the filming of the Ang Lee’s 2005 drama. Their closeness on set and tenderness on screen inspired and touched the cast and crew. “It was a big gift to have two people falling in love in our midst,” producer James Schamus told Time magazine. “You forget how lovely that is.”
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep
A 45-year-old Bogie and a 19-year-old Bacall met while filming To Have and Have Not in 1944. Bacall reunited with her future husband for noir classic The Big Sleep two years later, where the sexual tension was ratcheted up by their loaded dialogue and snappy banter. “I thought we suited one another perfectly,” Bacall said of their relationship in 2009. Their lives and careers are still defined by that legendary romance, even 65 years later.
Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci in Irréversible
If a marriage can survive a film like Gaspar Noé’s harrowing Irréversible, then it can survive anything. European cinema’s sexiest contemporary couple light up the screen together in every project they take on, but the controversial 2002 film is their most electrifying experience. There’s a naturalism and intimacy that becomes more apparent as the story unfolds, which truly jolts us during the film’s final conclusion.