Whether Dream House is fabulous or a total turkey – and the fact that the studio didn’t screen it for critics would point toward the latter – for newlyweds Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, it will always be the movie that brought these two British stars together.
They play a married couple in the psychological thriller, which opens today (Sept. 30). Reportedly, sparks flew between them when they were filming the movie early last year in Canada. Last June, after each had ditched their respective previous longtime inamoratas, life imitated celluloid, and they wed.
They are only the latest in a long line of movie stars who pair up after meeting on the job. For British stars, notable reel-to-real romances date back to Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh who, though they’d met earlier and been friendly, began an affair – each at the time was wed to someone else – only after playing on-screen lovers in 1937’s Fire Over England.
Major success in Hollywood followed for the couple in 1939, with Olivier crossing the moors as brooding Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights and Leigh fiddle-de-deeing as southern belle Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. The following year, they exchanged vows. The marriage was turbulent from the start, complicated by Leigh’s mental instability (she was eventually diagnosed as being bipolar) and infidelities on both sides, and they divorced in 1960.
Other notable British stars who hooked up with a future spouse on a movie set include:
• Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The sizzling romance between these two mega-stars – both of whom were married to others at the time – in the early ‘60s became front page tabloid news when they fell for each other while filming Cleopatra (1963). The epic was a hellacious stinker, but the Welsh-born Burton and the London-born Taylor (her parents were Americans living in England at the time of her birth) shed their respective spouses and wed each other in 1964. During the course of their decade-long marriage, they appeared together in a handful of films, the best being Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966). They divorced in 1974, but rekindled their romance, marrying for a second time in 1975 only to divorce again a year later.
• Uma Thurman and Gary Oldman. These two weren’t costars, but it was still a movie that brought them together. The American-born Thurman, then barely 20, met London-born Oldman – he was 32 – when he was acting in State of Grace (1990). She was hanging around the set in New York because the drama about Irish-American gang members was being directed by Phil Joanou, her then-boyfriend. Hello Gary, goodbye Phil. Thurman and Oldman’s whirlwind romance led to an exchange of vows in 1990, but their short-lived marriage ended in 1992.
• Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans. It was 102 Dalmations (2000), a live action sequel to 101 Dalmations, that brought the Welsh-born Gruffudd and English actress Alice Evans together. In the film, they played a couple who met cute over spotted dogs and ended up wed. Life imitated art and today, the Fantastic Four star and Evans have been married for four years and are parents of a daughter.
• James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff. Scotsman McAvoy and London-born Duff became a couple after meeting in 2004 while acting in the first season Shameless, a British TV series (an American version now runs on Showtime). He went on to become an international star with lead performances in Atonement (2007) and Wanted (2008) while Duff scored with critics when she played John Lennon’s troubled mother in Nowhere Boy (2009). The couple wed in 2006 and had a son in 2010.
• Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. The romance between London-born Bettany and American Jennifer Connelly got its start when they appeared in A Beautiful Mind (2001), though on screen she was wooed by Russell Crowe. In addition to winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Mind, Connelly won Bettany’s heart in real life. The two wed in 2003 and have two children, a son and a daughter, together. They also costarred in Creation, a 2009 biopic about evolution theorist Charles Darwin and his wife Emma.
Other couples who, though unwed, might qualify for the list include Twilight’s woosome twosome, Brit Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. The young couple have only recently acknowledged publicly that their on-screen relationship (minus the fangs) is mirrored off-screen.
Then there’s actor Aaron Johnson, 21, and director Sam Taylor Wood, 44, who are engaged. Wood met the much younger Johnson when she cast him as John Lennon in Nowhere Boy (2009), her first movie. They became romantically involved and have since had a son and are currently expecting their second child.
And, finally, there’s Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, who have been keeping steady company since costarring in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008). The London-born actor and Bombay-born beauty haven’t appeared a deux in a movie since, but they’ve obviously found time to be together, most recently earlier this month at the Toronto Film Festival, where her film, Trishna – that’s the updated and relocated version of Tess of the D’Urbervilles in which she has nude scenes – had its premiere.
Did we forget a couple? Tell us.