Three of The Closest Hollywood Friendships You Might Not Know About
Anyone will tell you that life is better with friends, provided that they’re supportive and not the “stab-you-in-the-back” type. In a place like Hollywood, this is easier said than done.
In a world where people spend their days in front of cameras pretending to be someone else, it’s hard to find a genuine friend. Granted, there are the obvious friendships that have emerged in tabloids over the years, like George Clooney and Brad Pitt, or Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Others have fallen out, like the infamous John Cusack and Jeremy Piven friendship.
But these three friendships weren’t forged out of convenience or necessity. They were formed out of the challenges of Hollywood, and have lasted the test of time (so far, in some cases!)
It’s easy to agree that these two have excellent on-screen chemistry. Just catch an airing of Grumpy Old Men or its sequel this Christmas to see what I mean. But this friendship started long before the two were dueling ice fishing poles or stealing women from each other. The two met in 1966 while making The Fortune Cookie with director Billy Wilder. The pair became close friends and went on to star in ten movies together, including the classic film The Odd Couple. The comedic chemistry between the two drove their success through the years and made them box office gold.
The two also had nothing but the utmost respect for each other. Lemmon felt that Walter was “a hell of an actor… The best I’ve ever worked with”. In a rare doubles interview with Larry King, Matthau complimented Lemmon, saying “How could you not be friendly with him? This man is amenable, delightful… This man is without an ego.” It wasn’t until 2000 that their friendship was finally broken. Plagued by heart attacks for years, Matthau suffered a final heart attack on July 1st, 2000. Lemmon followed him just shy of a year later on June 27th, 2001.
What happens when two of the most incredible animators of all time meet? A legendary friendship is formed. The two met in October 1987 while Miyazaki was working on his film My Neighbour Totoro. A huge fan of Miyazaki’s work, the two began corresponding. Lasseter was fascinated with the storytelling, characters ,and overall magic that Miyazaki’s films held. Lasseter was so taken with Miyazaki’s films that he wanted to find a way to bring the films to a western audience. One of the problems that sometimes occurs is when the original beauty and language is lost in the translation, and the English version becomes trite. Working together, the pair successfully launched Miyazaki’s films Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle in the United States (Spirited Away even went on to win an Academy Award). At the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, Lasseter introduced Miyazaki, saying,
“I think he is one of the most important filmmakers working today… his work has influenced us at Pixar. Often times when we get stuck in developing our stories I’ll always put in one of his films… and I’ve had the luxury of becoming a very good friend of his.”
Possibly one of the most amazing aspects of their friendship is the fact that it has survived the language barrier: the two have to speak regularly through a translator. Language barrier or not, the two have drawn inspiration from one another and form one of the most artistic friendships ever seen. The two have even gone as far as to include each other’s inspirations in their work. In Spirited Away, Chihiro is led down a path by a bouncing lamp, which Miyazaki meant to symbolize the famous lamp in the Pixar logo. In return, Lasseter included a stuffed Totoro doll as one of the little girl’s toys in Toy Story 3.
Before Tobey was swinging from buildings and Leo was falling in love aboard a fateful ship, the two met as teenagers. Running into each other regularly at auditions, the two became friends and decided that the person who got the job would put in a good word for the other one. This kind of loyalty is a rarity in Hollywood, but for the two of them, it was the start of a lasting friendship. As we know, both men made it to celebrity status, and have made their own mark in the busy world of the silver screen.
The making of The Great Gatsby marks the first time since 1995 that Leo and Tobey have worked together. Tobey feels that Leo has been a positive influence in his life: “He is my best friend and a wonderful uncle to the kids. It is great to share that with him. Leo always accompanied me, once I married, once I became a father. Through that our friendship has become more intense“.
Despite their busy work schedules, film projects, and overall hectic lives, the two have remained best friends. In addition to this, the two are also close with fellow actors Lukas Haas and Kevin Connolly. The four are often seen courtside at basketball games and regularly attend each other’s events and premieres. If any pair could make a film adaptation of The Great Gatsby a success, it would be these two. The film’s question of true friendship played out with two best friends like them? It has the potential to be pure Hollywood magic.
Who are your favourite Hollywood pairings? How powerful are friendships to you? Leave me a comment below!