It takes a brave person to admit they’re a bad kisser, but sometimes the circumstances just aren’t right — that, or they don’t really care in the first place (ahem, Jennifer Lawrence). Everyone knows that a memorable on-screen kiss makes a movie (and sometimes even an MTV Movie Award), but it seems like a point of contention for the actors behind the spit-swapping.
In the past, we’ve seen actors adamantly refuse to lock lips with their co-stars or struggle to navigate the awkward waters of kissing their much-older on-screen love interests. Though many are quick to brag about their favorite kisses (like how Brooklyn Decker somehow thinks that Adam Sandler is the king of kissing), there are plenty of stars airing their grievances to the press like it’s Festivus.
These actors all went on record to admit they’ve given terrible on-screen kisses, whether they botched the timing or felt deeply uncomfortable with the circumstances. Sorry to their co-stars (and anyone having to endure an unexpected side of garlic flavoring). After all, locking lips in front of an entire crew under hot lights isn’t exactly romantic, especially if your kissing partner just had a potent lunch.
Pick your poison with Jennifer Lawrence: tuna breath or alcohol?
Jennifer Lawrence is the kind of relatable queen who doesn’t really care what people think. The actress — and Gail, a.k.a. her drunk alter-ego – have no problems ordering McDonald’s from the Oscars red carpet or photobombing Taylor Swift from the Golden Globes. She does what she wants, even if that makes her kissing scenes a little awkward for her co-stars.
In a 2016 interview on The Graham Norton Show (via the Daily Mail), J-Law openly admitted that she didn’t really care about kissing her Hunger Games love interests Josh Hutcherson or Liam Hemsworth, so she’d regularly chow down on “mustard and tuna” before filming. Prior to that, Hemsworth had complained to Jimmy Fallon that smooching the actress was “pretty uncomfortable” as a result, and sometimes, she didn’t even brush her teeth after eating pungent foods. Hey, sharing (even just the taste of your garlicky lunch) is caring.
Things got even more awkward for Lawrence when she filmed her first actual love scene with Chris Pratt in Passengers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she prepped for the scene by getting “really, really drunk” to calm her nerves, which she claims “led to more anxiety when I got home because I was like, ‘What have I done? I don’t know.'” Mainly, the actress didn’t know to handle a love scene with a married man, but being trashed probably wasn’t it. Perhaps Gail is a better kisser? You never know.
If Josh Hutcherson didn't have daddy issues before, he probably has them now
First kisses should be a sacred milestone. It’s a precious, tender moment held privately behind closed doors (or, for anyone living that 13 Going On 30 lifestyle, a basement closet during an awkward game of seven minutes in heaven) — unless you’re Josh Hutcherson. As it turns out, getting a mouthful of tuna while smooching Jennifer Lawrence on the set of The Hunger Games was just par for the course. Hutcherson’s first kiss, which happened while filming Little Manhattan, set a very awkward precedent.
Truth be told, it wasn’t Hutcherson’s fault that his kiss was uncomfortable; it was actually partly because of his father. In a 2013 cover story for Seventeen, Hutcherson revealed that he was just 11 years old when his mother “surprised [him] by flying [his] dad” to set for moral support while he filmed the “kiss scene” in the 2005 flick. Surely, that’s exactly who you’d want watching one of the most awkward moments of your young life — and that’s before you factor in the crew.
“It was a horrible first kiss because I had like a crew of like 50 people standing around and watching me,” Hutcherson told Seventeen. “It was the most non-real, non-intimate moment that I could possibly have my first kiss, I think.”
Selena Gomez botched her first kiss with Dylan Sprouse
Like Josh Hutcherson, Selena Gomez had her first kiss on camera, and she admittedly botched it. Her fatal flaw? The former Disney Channel star was anxious about smooching her childhood crush’s twin brother. To be honest, we’d take either of the Sprouses, but the heart wants what it wants.
During a 2020 appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the “Rare” singer revealed that she was “obsessed” with The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and truly believed that she’d end up with Cole Sprouse “one day.” Instead, when she eventually made a guest appearance on the show, she was tasked with locking lips with his brother, Dylan Sprouse, who eventually shunned fame and went on to work in an East Village coffee shop. “It was one of the worst days of my life,” Gomez joked.
In an interview with Twist Magazine (via Seventeen), Gomez described exactly what went wrong in the moment. “I actually leaned in to kiss him, and I had my eyes closed a little too early, and I ended up missing like half of his lip,” she said. “It ended up being the most awkward kiss in the world.” To be fair, Gomez was only 12 years old at the time. We’re guessing she’s since worked on her aim.
This kiss is the 'most horrible thing' Emma Watson's ever done
Some of us are still angry that Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley got together at the end of the Harry Potter series. Even J.K. Rowling admitted that the brainy Gryffindor should’ve ended up with Harry (which is just about the least controversial thing she’s said in recent years). As it turns out, Hermione — or Emma Watson, as we know her in the real world — holds a similar stance. After all, she’s the one who had to lock lips with someone who basically felt like her brother. Spoiler: It was awful.
During an appearance on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (via Parade), Watson admitted that kissing Rupert Grint “was the most horrible thing I’ve ever had to do … it just felt like incest.” Around the same time, she told MTV News that she had no idea what to do, because it was her first on-screen kiss, and she “ended up pouncing” on Grint in an effort to just get it over with. “I was so desperate to get it over,” Watson said. “After the first take he was like, ‘Whoa, there! Where did that come from?’ I was like, ‘Sorry!'”
The kiss wasn’t so great for Grint, either. “We were both just like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe we have to do this. This is so awkward. Really awkward,'” Watson added. If only there was a vanishing spell for embarrassment.
Bradley Cooper is a 'wet kisser'
Bradley Cooper’s romance with Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born was steamy enough to convince the general public that he was doing something shady behind now-ex Irina Shayk’s back. Their 2019 Oscars performance alone could have unilaterally tricked us into thinking they were a real couple, but the same thing can’t be said for Jennifer Lawrence. J-Law and Cooper locked lips in Silver Linings Playbook, which landed Lawrence an Academy Award for best actress — but acting totally in love may have been harder than it looked.
During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, where Cooper was promoting The Hangover: Part III, the star dished about filming romantic scenes with the Hunger Games actress. Apparently, she wasn’t a fan of his kissing style. “After the second take, [Lawrence] said, ‘You’re a wet kisser,'” Cooper admitted (via Metro). “You don’t want to hear that. It was not a compliment.”
Nonetheless, that allegedly wet smooch garnered the pair an MTV Movie Award for best kiss, but maybe Lawrence was carrying the team with that one.
Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man kiss took his breath away – and not in a good way
The rainy, upside-down kiss in Spider-Man single-handedly transformed Tobey Maguire into a genuine hunk. It went on to become one of the most iconic superhero kisses in Hollywood history. Unfortunately for the actor, this was nothing like that underwater kiss in Waterworld. The snog actually took Maguire’s breath away, but only because he was basically drowning.
In a 2007 issue of Parade (via TMZ), Maguire admitted that rainwater was “running up [his] nose” while he was trying to kiss Kirsten Dunst. She “rolled back the wet mask” to plant a very sensual smooch, but ended up accidentally cutting off his air supply. Director Sam Raimi concurred, claiming that Maguire was “kind of drowning” during the whole ordeal, especially because rainwater in movies has to be much heavier than natural rain in order to show up on camera. “It was a kissing scene,” Raimi told Rotten Tomatoes. “So, he had to pretend like it was a pleasant, sweet moment for him, when in fact, he was semi-drowning.”
Next up: Tobey Maguire as Aquaman.
Alyson Hannigan couldn't stand kissing her How I Met Your Mother co-star
Forget Jim and Pam, whose love story wasn’t even powerful enough to endure Netflix’s 2021 cull. Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother are real couple goals. On-screen, the iconic characters are an inseparable pair built on a rare unconditional love, but in reality, Alyson Hannigan couldn’t stand kissing her sitcom husband. Why? Jason Segel was a major smoker, which is pretty ironic considering Hannigan’s character was the one who struggled the most with kicking the bad habit.
“I cannot stand cigarette smoke,” Hannigan admitted to Digital Spy. “It’s like kissing an ashtray and he’s trying to be polite by having gum or mints, but it doesn’t help.” Unfortunately, Hannigan was subjected to her co-star’s smoky kisses for the majority of the show’s nine seasons. Segel’s cigarette habit was so bad that he asked Hannigan to help him quit while filming the pilot, but her efforts failed. “We did this bet where he would owe me $10 every time he had a cigarette,” Hannigan told the outlet. “After the first day, he owed me $200.”
Much like the episode “Last Cigarette Ever,” Segel quit “cold turkey,” but Hannigan claimed it only lasted “for about a year” before he “got stressed out,” and she was right back to snogging a chewing gum-flavored ashtray.
Kissing or waiting for the dentist to call your name?
At one point in time, most women would’ve jumped at the chance to kiss Jack from Titanic. Leonardo DiCaprio has long been regarded as one of Hollywood’s sexiest men, and he’s had a lot of practice locking lips. Remember his whole Wolf Pack (née P***y Posse) thing? He didn’t create that name for his inner circle because they spent their time hanging out inside watching Netflix and drinking tea. Nonetheless, Joanna Lumley thinks DiCaprio is a rubbish kisser, but only because every actor is a rubbish kisser — and that includes herself.
Lumley appeared alongside DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, and the pair kissed about 15 times while filming their single smooch scene. In an interview with The Telegraph, the actress revealed that it wasn’t very good because “it’s actually no fun kissing actors.” She added, “There are so many takes and you both have to chew so much chewing gum. It’s like kissing someone in a dentist’s waiting room.”
She could always forgo the chewing gum and go the Jennifer Lawrence route. Nothing’s stopping her.
Eva Mendes and the 'stank breath special'
Eva Mendes landed Tumblr darling Ryan Gosling, but she’s the first to admit her on-screen kisses are lacking. Back when she was filming 2005’s Hitch, the actress’ nerves led her to what must’ve been one of the grossest Hollywood lip-locks in history. Like Jennifer Lawrence, the star indulged in tuna fish right before filming her kissing scene with Will Smith, but this was no ordinary sandwich.
In a joint interview with Oprah Winfrey and her Hitch castmates, Mendes revealed that she ate what she described as a “stank breath special” — her preferred comfort food — right before the smooch, because it helped soothe her nerves. What does this entail? A smattering of tuna, extra onions, and smashed Doritos. As soon as Smith caught a glimpse of her sacrilegious sammy, she was so embarrassed that she “swallowed a box of Altoids.”
While the incident may have been mortifying from Mendes’ perspective, Smith wasn’t all that bothered. He told Mendes that the experience “was absolutely wonderful, Dr. Smooth.” Regardless, the botched kiss wasn’t enough to stop Mendes from pushing for a Hitch sequel in 2020, even though she hasn’t appeared on-screen since 2014.
The smooches on the set of The Spectacular Now were hardly spectacular
It’s hard to tell if Shailene Woodley or Miles Teller was the bad kisser on the set of The Spectacular Now. It seems like both actors messed with each other in order to make their smooches as undesirable as possible. As most of us know, Woodley has positioned herself as the princess of GOOP-adjacent health advice, reigning over the very woods in which she forages for her own wild food. According to Teller, who spoke to Vulture about locking lips with the star, part of the schtick involves taking Chinese herbal supplements, which “tasted like c**p.”
“She would always eat them right before we had a kissing scene,” he said. “We put stuff in our mouths so we could just offend each other.” Teller’s poison of choice was Gatorade, which has enough high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes to deeply offend the type of woman who regularly consumes clay. The actor claimed that Woodley would scold him after hydrating, complaining, “Are you serious? You’re gonna kiss me after that?”
Woodley’s perspective was more or less the same. “We’d have to kiss in a scene, and he’d be like, ‘Shay, you just ate dirt.’ And I’d be like, ‘Miles, you just ate licorice.’ It was just this ongoing back-and-forth,” she told Vulture. Now, did he dump a whole cooler of Gatorade over her head once they nailed their romance scenes? That’s something we’d like to see.
For Johnny Depp, kissing on-screen is 'always unbelievably awkward'
It’s true that Johnny Depp isn’t exactly one of the most desired men in Hollywood at this current moment. Though he initially earned his heartthrob status through quirky roles in early ’90s films like Edward Scissorhands and Cry-Baby, his bitter divorce from Amber Heard — where both have been accused of domestic abuse — has soured his public opinion.
Before Depp fell from grace and was dropped from Pirates of the Caribbean, he struggled to kiss a then 21-year-old Keira Knightley on set. In all honesty, the kiss between Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann was supposed to be uncomfortable, but we didn’t realize Depp felt that way behind the scenes. Despite his penchant for younger women, it seems like the actress’ age was the issue.
“Any kind of scene like that whenever you’re doing that sort of thing, it’s always unbelievably awkward especially having met Keira when she was 17 years old,” Depp revealed to TMZ, claiming the pair still “did what [they] had to do” in order to make the film work. Weirdly enough, Knightly didn’t seem as irked. “I couldn’t ask for a better kissing scene with Johnny Depp actually, I think my 14 year-old self was yelping with pleasure,” she said.
Ben Affleck 'blew' his kiss with Jason Lee in Chasing Amy
Ben Affleck has always been vocal about his regrets, like his appearance in one of Jennifer Lopez’s music videos during Bennifer 1.0, or his divorce from Jennifer Garner during Bennifer 2.0, or the giant back tattoo he got amidst said divorce (okay, so he didn’t explicitly say he regrets the tattoo, but he did tell The New York Times that he “could have” owned up to it sooner). One of these past regrets includes his botched guy-on-guy kiss in 1997’s Chasing Amy.
In a 2012 interview with The New York Times, Affleck revealed that he “just blew it” when it came to kissing Jason Lee. Part of the problem was that he didn’t trust his instincts. “I tried to go open-mouthed,” he said. “But something in me was, ‘Take your tongue back.’ And I was like, ‘No, you can do it! Push!’ It was not my proudest moment.”
The kiss did make the cut, but Affleck thought the final product looked “like Tom & Jerry” and “wasn’t anything good.” While Chasing Amy was certainly no Good Will Hunting, it still boasts an 87 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it couldn’t have been that bad.
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