21 Actors Who Had Absolutely Zero Chemistry With Their Costars

"Renée [Zellweger] carried that romance subplot on her back. I didn't believe [Tom] Cruise was into her at all and the 'you complete me' scene is so cringey and unbelievable to me."

Recently, Reddit user trpclshrk asked, “Who is a well known actor ... that you never see having chemistry with their co-stars?” and people had a lot of strong feelings. Here are 22 actor pairings where one or both of the actors involved just had absolutely zero chemistry with the other.

The Rock in "Jungle Cruise" with Emily Blunt...and also, actually, The Rock in basically everything
Frank Masi / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
"The Rock [is an] extremely charismatic guy but has zero romantic/sexual chemistry with any leading women. He does have good platonic chemistry with other co-stars though."

"It had never occurred to me before, but for a big, burly, masculine guy, he gives off zero romantic or sexual energy."

"That jungle cruise movie would have been so much better if they hadn’t tried to pretend that a romance between Emily Blunt and The Rock was believable."
Lauren London with Jonah Hill in "You People"
Parrish Lewis / Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection
Suggested by u/ihearthogsbreath

"Such a terrible movie. Honestly, it felt like the other actor was turned off by Jonah Hill the whole movie. I’ve never [seen] worse chemistry between two actors playing a couple. The chemistry was so bad that they CGI’d the kiss at the end of the film."—u/Tomorrowsup

"Her disdain for Jonah was so profound it felt like she took the role in order to sabotage this movie."
Mark Ruffalo with Scarlett Johansson in "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
I feel like Johansson could have sexual tension with a brick wall, but Ruffalo is giving absolutely nothing here. Their relationship comes out of nowhere and makes no sense, especially for Natasha. It just falls so flat for me, and it's no wonder they dropped the relationship after this film.
Keanu Reeves with Carrie-Anne Moss in "The Matrix"
Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection
"Keanu Reeves has zero chemistry with romantic co-stars. I said it."

"The Matrix is a fucking perfect action movie as far as I'm concerned and while Keanu Reeves is pretty much perfectly cast, and a great example of an actor you love despite not actually being a good actor, ... Carrie Ann Moss admitting her undying love for him when he's dead, while a perfectly fine performance and a good scene, always made me think '...uhhh, him? Are you sure?'"—u/T800_123

"The Matrix 'love story' was always a bit out of left field. We never really see Neo and Trinity bond over anything or have any type of connection. I was also like 'love him? You’ve barely even talked and most of your interactions thus far have been aggressive and cold.' I guess a lot happened off screen that the audience isn’t aware of, but it would be nice to have been shown as well."
Ansel Elgort with Rachel Zegler in "West Side Story"
Niko Tavernise / 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection
"[Ansel's] turn in West Side Story was simply awful, IMO. I found his scenes with Rachel Zegler so flat and boring that they almost spoiled the whole film for me. Then, the film cuts to Ariana DeBose and she is electrifying in every scene in the film, reminding you what charisma actually looks like. The contrast between the two could not have been more stark."

"It's because Ansel Elgort is a bland piece of driftwood."

"I think he is a big part of why that movie didn’t do better. It’s such a big role and he’s such a lump of nothing. Both Tony and Maria are notoriously bland characters but Rachel Zegler actually brought some heart to the role and made me care about her. Unfortunately, because Tony was such a blob, that manifested in me hoping she’d stay away from him, even though I know better!"
Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson with each other in "Marry Me"
Universal Pictures
Suggested by u/Visible_Writing7386

This rom-com plot was pretty standard and formulaic, but sometimes that's what makes rom-coms great. Sometimes you just want to turn on a silly, cute movie and turn off your mind for a bit. But that only works if the two leads are charismatic and have good chemistry. In this movie...that just wasn't the case. J.Lo is believable as a superstar and Wilson is believable as an everyman, but they are NOT believable at all as a couple. I know that's kind of the point, but I can't get past it. They're supposed to have chemistry and a connection against all odds, but they just don't.
Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan with each other in "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets"
STX Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection
"Cara Delevingne...Charisma black hole, no matter who she's acting with, she's just...there, existing."—u/beti88

"Are we even allowed to mention Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets?"

"With the bonus of a second charisma black hole opposite her there."

"It was two hours of watching two imploding black holes become one."

"The CGI alien girl in the first 10 minutes was more compelling [than Delevingne]. By far. And as bad as Dane DeHaan was, he was much better than her. Most of my problems with him would disappear if he stopped trying to convince us that his voice was an octave lower than it really is."
Daniel Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright with each other in "Harry Potter"
Warner Bros.
Suggested by No-Victory-94

This always frustrated me because they have SO MUCH CHEMISTRY in the books. Harry's temper is a lot worse in the books, and Ginny is the only one who matches how fiery he is. She's such a great character in the books, and then she's completely bland in the films. The relationship isn't built up at all, and it just feels like Harry's kissing his sister.
Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor"
Zade Rosenthal/Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
"I like [Portman]. She’s a good actor. But if you don’t have chemistry with Thor (among others in her filmography), then I dunno. She just seems like she doesn’t really want to be around any of her male co-stars?"—u/preferstheaisleseat

I also want to point out that the only scene between Portman and Hemsworth that has any kind of spark is the kiss scene where they had to replace Portman with Hemsworth's wife, Elsa Pataky.
And Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen with each other in "Star Wars"
Suggested by u/WiFiForeheadWrinkles

I mean, the dialogue isn't doing them any favors here, but they're also not selling it (though I'm willing to blame the direction as well). Their relationship isn't believable at all, and every scene with them slogs on and makes you bored. Considering Anakin's entire arc is centered around worrying for Padmé's safety, their flat chemistry is just glaringly atrocious.
Cate Blanchett with Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

"Cate Blanchett sometimes. It makes sense when she’s cast for a more powerful, aloof or icy role (she’s wonderful in all). But something like her role in Benjamin Button, her and Brad Pitt had no chemistry."


Katherine Heigl with Alexis Bledel in "Jenny's Wedding"
Tiffany Laufer/IFC Films / courtesy Everett Collection

"If you want to see the unsexiest movie possible, try Jenny’s Wedding, with [Katherine] Heigl and Alexis Bledel. They are supposed to be lovers. They seem like acquaintances in the film. I think I have never seen such a nonsexual 'lovers' couple on film."


...and Katherine Heigl with James Marsden in "27 Dresses"
20th Century Fox

"[Heigl] is my choice. I'm even prepared to ask people to reeeaaaalllly think about the bar scene in 27 Dresses. It's cute. It's sweet. But chemistry? Ehhhh."


Anne Hathaway with Christian Bale and basically everyone else in "The Dark Knight"
Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection
"[Hathaway] is a very good actor with incredible charisma, but to me, she never seems to have a spark with her romantic on-screen partners. Her casting as Catwoman was the weirdest one, as Selina is a character who is supposed to have chemistry with anything bar noble gas."

"IMO Anne was trying too hard to be Selina. Every time she was on screen, i was like 'oh this is a movie. Im watching a film' which never happens when Im watching Nolan's Batman movies. She was too comic-y, and threw her scenes off balance, and compared to Bale she just lacks even more. The real Selina is effortlessly light on her feet, silently three steps ahead of everyone, an anti-hero, has this ease and beauty, and Anne was just trying too hard. It was like watching a 'nice girl' trying to be sexy and mysterious, not an actual girl like that. A lot of the acting was patchy and overdone."
Tom Cruise with Demi Moore in "A Few Good Men"
Columbia / courtesy Everett Collection

"Tom Cruise was the first person I thought off. I like his performance, but I am very aware that he is an actor, he just doesn't seem genuine. And his intensity comes into play. I am very conscious that he is pretending to be what he thinks a good dad would be like in War of the Worlds. In Cocktail, Edge of Tomorrow etc, I don't buy his relationships. I think this may be a reason, why there was no relationship between him and Demi Moore in A Few Good Men. I just don't think he can pull it off."


And Tom Cruise with Renée Zellweger in "Jerry Maguire"
Sony Pictures Releasing

"I watched Jerry Maguire recently and well one, that movie is a lot weirder than I expected, and two, Renée carried that romance subplot on her back. I didn't believe Cruise was into her at all and the 'you complete me' scene is so cringey and unbelievable to me."


One final Cruise example: Tom Cruise with Nicole Kidman in "Eyes Wide Shut"
Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection
"Cruise really doesn't do romantic chemistry well. He didn't even have any on screen with his own wife at the time in Eyes Wide Shut."

"I think Cruise has good chemistry with his costars, but can’t muster the romantic or sexual chemistry that makes for a good romantic lead."

"I don't ever see any romantic chemistry with Tom Cruise and his female leads. I see more romantic chemistry with his male costars — Top Gun, for example."
Jodie Foster and Tom Skerritt with each other in "Contact"
Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

"A very specific example, but Jodie Foster and Tom Skerritt in Contact. Individually they both do a great job but anytime they're in a scene together it's cringeworthy. No idea why, but it's always bothered me."


Jennifer Lawrence with Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games"
Suggested by No-Victory-94

This one is strange to me because Hutcherson and Lawrence seem to have such great friend chemistry, and I figured that would count for at least something onscreen. I know the whole point is Katniss is doing it for show in the first film, but she's supposed to really fall for him eventually, and I never felt that. It was just never believable that Katniss had any sort of romantic or sexual feelings for Peeta (though I do buy she cared about him).
Chris Evans and Ana de Armas with each other in "Ghosted"
Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection
"No chemistry at all."

"That one movie with Chris Evans seems like a two-hour charisma vacuum."
Arnold Schwarzenegger with Sharon Stone in "Total Recall"
TriStar Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

"I love [Arnold],, but I've never believed him in any of his romantic scenes. His 'chemistry' with Sharon Stone in Total Recall is particularly memorable for it's hollowness."


And finally, apparently Joaquin Phoenix with literally every costar.
Columbia Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

"This might be a weird take, but for me personally it's Joaquin Phoenix. I think he's a phenomenal actor, and he basically elevates anything he's in, but there's something about him where I see 'actor-man' in all his roles. I'm not even sure how to articulate what I'm trying to say. It's like he takes his role so seriously that he doesn't consider the person he's acting across. He's so focused on his performance that he doesn't play very well against someone. That's just my opinion though."


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