NEW YORK – One of film's most beloved characters, James Bond, was always able to mix business and pleasure as easily as one of his trademark martinis. But in real life, working with your significant other is often a messier affair — especially in Hollywood.
Recently, director Alexander Payne (search) and actress Sandra Oh (search) announced their amicable split after two years of marriage. While their work together on "Sideways" certainly helped produce a very fine movie, not a month after Payne landed the best screenplay Oscar, he and Oh went the way that so many Hollywood couples have after working together.
To be fair, Payne and Oh's separation probably has nothing to do with "Sideways." Still, Hollywood history is strewn with breakups following director-actress collaborations — but often leaving behind great work on celluloid.
Woody Allen (search) cast then-girlfriend Diane Keaton (search) in "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," and Mia Farrow (search) in "Hannah and Her Sisters," "The Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Broadway Danny Rose."
Jean-Luc Godard, the great French filmmaker, often cast his wife, Anna Karina, in leading roles. Before divorcing in 1967, their six years of marriage helped produce "A Woman is a Woman," "Pierrot le Fou" and "Band of Outsiders."
It could be argued that Payne, Allen and Godard all had a uniquely sensitive eye to these actresses, enabling them to capture intimacies other directors would miss.
Marilyn Monroe starred in 1961's "The Misfits," penned by then-husband Arthur Miller. But that is a different kind of working relationship — one that (probably) doesn't involve commands.
Other directors have perhaps gone out of their way to avoid casting their wives. Steven Soderbergh is yet to do a movie with his wife of two years, TV personality Jules Asner; Louis Malle never once placed Candice Bergen in a starring role in 15 years.
Acting couples may have an even worse track record — from Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (search) ("Eyes Wide Shut") to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (search) ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"). More difficult in these movies is that a soured relationship is forever immortalized on film.
Perhaps Jennifer Lopez (search) said it best in a recent interview while discussing her husband, salsa singer Marc Anthony: "I have to keep my work and my personal life separate. Otherwise it gets blurry and it gets messy."
Surely J-Lo would know after working with Ben Affleck during their "Bennifer" days on the ultra-bomb "Gigli." Hopefully, the duet she and Anthony sang at the Grammys isn't a harbinger of things to come.