Acting is hard. Actors and actresses have to fake their emotions. They have to repeat the same lines over and over again until their director deems it “just right.” They have to work with people they despise and still must pretend they are best friends for the cameras — both during filming and after for press tours. It might seem like a cushy job, but honestly, it sounds exhausting. Some people make it look effortless, but others can’t seem to fake it.
Those folks who can’t seem to make us believe that they love their on-screen partner get categorized into the group of worst on-screen couples. Sometimes, these pairings just cannot conjure the magic, because the actors have zero chemistry. There are many reasons why this can happen, either the actors actually hate each other, don’t find each other sexually attractive, see one another as *like family*, just aren’t good actors, or a variety of other reasons. Whatever they may, lack of chemistry can completely ruin a movie or TV show for the audiences.
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan – Fifty Shades of Grey
Seeing as Fifty Shades of Grey was inspired by Twilight, is it that surprising to find this one on the list? It’s sad that studio executives didn’t work harder to find two actors who had chemistry seeing as this franchise is entirely about the physical attraction between two people. Out of all the couples on this list, this one might be the most disappointing because Christian and Anastasia are supposed to have some really hot and steamy moments but everytime Dakota and Jamie share a scene, it falls flat.
Rumor has it that these two actors really, really don’t like each other — but to be fair, those speculations easily could have arisen because they genuinely just don’t look like they enjoy each other’s company in the movie or during interviews.
Daniel Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright- Harry Potter
While Bonnie Wright and Daniel Radcliffe have zero chemistry together, we can’t entirely blame them here. The writing just wasn’t there to lead us up to Harry and Ginny falling in love. Not only that, the movies made Ginny such a secondary character that she was just there. Book Ginny was a strong woman who had her own opinions and thoughts and could kick ass — which helped us see how the two would form a connection.
Movie Ginny doesn’t hold a candle to her book version, therefore it felt a little out of left field for Harry and Ginny to get together. That kiss in the Room of Requirement was so awkward. Clearly these two did not want to film it but had to.
Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman – Star Wars
The Star Wars prequels have gotten a lot of hate over the years. Avid fans felt that the prequels were an insult to the original trilogy for many reasons with the character Jar Jar Binks getting a huge amount of hate. One of the other reasons people disliked the prequels is because Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman had approximately zero chemistry. The prequels are essentially the story of how Anakin Skywalker (Christian) became Darth Vader and it includes him falling in love with Padme Amidala (Natalie), the mother of their children.
That scene where they are having a picnic is actually painful to watch. It is even more odd to see because these two actors on their own are incredible. Maybe it was because they were too young at the time? Who knows. Maybe they secretly hated each other. Either way, we preferred when Hayden and Rachel Bilson shared screentime in Jumper and when Nat and Zach Braff paired up for Garden State.
Katie Holmes and Christian Bale – Batman Begins
Sorry Katie Holmes, this isn’t the only time you’re going to appear on this list. Katie and Christian Bale did not have any chemistry. So much so, Katie didn’t even reprise her role in the next film. There is no evidence this had anything to do with Christian (though there are rumors), but the fact she didn’t return to the film’s sequel couldn’t even be considered a bad thing. She was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who had slightly better chemistry with Christian than Katie did.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck – Gigli
Sometimes, people just aren’t meant to work with their significant other. But how were Ben and Jen to know? They met on the set of Gigli and the movie should have been proof enough that they weren’t meant to be. Not only is Gigli regarded as the worst movie either actor did (and one of the worst movies of all time), their characters had no chemistry. It’s almost confusing how the lack of chemistry on-screen led to a fiery relationship off-screen but I guess movie-magic goes both ways. The two were only together for 18 months, so things didn’t take that long to fizzle after a brief engagement and postponed wedding. Sometimes, it just isn’t meant to be!
Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan – The Great Gatsby
Is it fair for us to judge the chemistry here when it will inevitably fall short of what we saw in Titanic? Every on-screen romance Leonardo DiCaprio is involved in is inherently compared to his most iconic role partially because Leo had such great chemistry with his co-star Kate Winslet. But while few could have the Leo/Kate dynamic we so love, we know that there is an ability for the actor to have chemistry with other actresses — as seen in his other work — making this partnership even more dismal.
The film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was very over-the-top and theatrical and although they were able to portray the extravagant life that the elusive Jay Gatsby lived, it was all for naught. Critics had a lot to say about the acting in the film. Carey Mulligan has even said it’s not her favorite work. That might have to do with the fact is was like her and Leo weren’t even acting in the same room together let alone in love.
Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff – Sons of Anarchy
Well, we know that Sons of Anarchy wasn’t exactly the show for character growth and development. It was all about the bikers and the meaty drama there. The relationships were treated as side stories but Jax and Tara were supposed to be the couple we rooted for. Unfortunately, these two just did nothing for us.
Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff had a hard time keeping the passion between their characters alive. At first, it was there, but it fizzled so fast, it felt as if it barely had been there in the first place.
Katie Lowes and Guillermo Diaz – Scandal
This is easily the weirdest on-screen couple on this list. Scandal’s strongest relationship was obviously between Olivia Pope and President Fitz, which is what the show was heavily based on. But this side-relationship between Huck and Finn is just so weird that we don’t get how it got off a storyboard and onto our screens. As if their weird torture-relationship wasn’t tough enough to watch, Katie Lowes and Guillermo Diaz had no chemistry. Their makeout sessions were so awkward, it might actually make a person stop watching the absolutely amazing show that is Scandal.
Josh Radnor and Cobie Smulders – How I Met Your Mother
We’re going to have to blame Cobie for this one — or at least that’s what it seems like. Her real-life husband frequently made appearances on the show and maybe that’s why she didn’t connect with any of her male co-stars. She didn’t have chemistry with Neil Patrick Harris, either (his husband appeared on the show too!), whereas Josh usually got on pretty well with his many other love interests.
But the fact that Ted and Robin wound up being the endgame in this show, which is a totally another argument to have, makes the fact that these two had no chemistry an even bigger deal. I mean — come on — these two?! They don’t even seem like they like each other that much!
Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp – The Tourist
How can two actors that are so incredibly talented and beautiful have so little chemistry? The Tourist was very negatively reviewed after it came out. Actually, the film started a string of poorly-accepted Johnny Depp films that is still continuing to this day. This is the proof that Hollywood executives can’t just put two huge actors together that are popular and pretty and expect a good movie. Johnny and Angelina certainly could not fake it for this one and apparently, they hated working together IRL.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mark Blucas – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Now, this one might be biased, given that most people did not like the character Riley on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was easily one of the most despised characters on the show and he stuck around for way too long. It’s hard to even gain interest in the relationship between Buffy and Riley, given how strong the emotions were between Buffy and Angel. Sarah Michelle Gellar had such great chemistry with David Boreanaz (and later James Marsters) that every interaction she had with Mark Blucas felt lukewarm compared to it. No one wanted this relationship to continue so when your boy flew off on that helicopter, fans were breathing a sigh of relief.
T.R. Knight and Katherine Heigl – Grey’s Anatomy
When will people realize that sometimes, things are better off if you just stay friends? These two didn’t have chemistry as a couple, granted that relationship was insanely complicated and dramatic. They were much better off playing BFFs. Maybe they two actors felt icky about playing characters that were having a relationship when one of them was married.
But if anything, their relationship needed to seem more passionate to make an affair between two good people BELIEVABLE. Even though the show hinted at them being in love with each other long before they got together, everyone felt they were much better off as best friends. The characters even realized they had no chemistry on the show if that isn’t proof enough.
Jensen Ackles and Cindy Sampson – Supernatural
Sorry Lisa, but Dean Winchester is a man married to the job. Over the course of Supernatural’s 13 seasons, Dean has slept with many women but only actually dated a handful. When he met Lisa and her son Ben, there was something there between the characters, but there sure wasn’t anything there when it came to these actors. Jensen Ackles and Cindy Sampson just did not have the chemistry to make it believable that Dean would give it all up to settle down. The man is meant to be solo (and live with his brother) forever essentially. It isn’t really either of their faults, sometimes a fictional character’s personality is just so *real* that the viewers know when the writers are making a mistake.
James Franco and Freida Pinto – Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Let’s be honest, did we even need a romance in this film at all? The core story is about Caesar coming to be the leader of the apes. James Franco’s character, Dr. Will Rodman, is loved because of his relationship with Caesar. The fact that James and Freida Pinto had no chemistry isn’t glaringly obvious if you focus on all of the apes in the film. But if you take five minutes to pay attention to the story of Will and Dr. Caroline Aranha falling in love, you will wonder why on Earth these two can’t seem to make us believe they like each other, let alone love each other.
Maybe James Franco is just too far into his funny-guy-who-is-always-high phase for anyone to take him seriously as a romantic lead. Either way, James and Freida were not a perfect pair.
Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson – The Longest Ride
It was really to sad to this couple’s lack of chemistry. The Longest Ride is one of Nicholas Sparks best books and the film should have been as well-loved as The Notebook, but it fizzled at the box office. That is because Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson just were not convincing as a couple that is “so in love, they can overcome any odds.” AKA they were no Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (who, granted, hated each other at first and then wound up falling in love, so the passion was there).
It could be the movie’s plot that strained Scott and Britt’s acting, which did differ a bit from the book. Either way, the other, older couple in the film had much better chemistry and they were much more interesting to watch.
Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie – The O.C.
It was sad to see that the couple we were supposed to be rooting for from the beginning of The O.C. just didn’t perform the way they wanted it to. It didn’t help that Summer and Seth were such a great couple and we were fully comparing the two. Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson just clicked in a way that Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie never did. Marissa Cooper was a little too much for Ryan Atwood, and while sometimes opposites do attract, it must have been hard for the two actors to actually relate to each other because of their differences.
Katie Holmes and James Van Der Beek – Dawson’s Creek
Look, we get it, Dawson was “in love with Joey the whole time” …except for when he wasn’t. He totally blew her off when Jen moved to town, but that’s all beside the point. Joey and Dawson were not meant to be and thank god for that because James and Katie had the worst chemistry ever. James would have worked better with an E.T. doll standing in for his “love interest.” We will say that we’re all probably biased because the chemistry between Katie and Joshua Jackson was SO palpable from pretty much day one. Pacey and Joey were endgame and anything else was just trash.
Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez – Fast & The Furious
So, you know how they say opposites attract? Well, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez are virtually the same person. Which means it is probably hard for them to actually pretend to be attracted to each other. It’s also worth a mention that these two never seem to have chemistry with anyone they work with, not just each other. They’re better off just playing total badasses that kick a lot of butts.
Henry Cavill and Amy Adams – Man of Steel
Superhero films don’t always have relationships, but one of the most well-known relationships is that of Lois Lane and Superman/Clark Kent. Maybe it’s because there is so much we already know about Lois and Clark and we’ve seen the couple many times in popular media, but boy, do Henry Cavill and Amy Adams just not do this relationship any justice. They are an odd pair. And I’ll say it, Amy Adams just isn’t Lois Lane. She’s just not.
Both actors are great in their own right but the chemistry doesn’t get any better in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and is actually worse in Justice League, so we’ve got to call it what it is: a fail.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – Twilight Saga
This one is totally confusing considering Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart actually started dating while filming Twilight! They were pretty awkward about their whole relationship since both of them basically hate being celebrities and felt really uncomfortable about having all eyes on them. Sadly, this translated on-screen. They were too stilted in their scenes together and their off-screen romance somehow didn’t come through to their movie franchise at all.
Considering their very public breakup/infidelity scandal — it’s possible the fire was never really there in the first place.