Turns out, all that talk of on-set friction between Possession co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart was much ado about... something. Although director Neil LaBute says tabloid reports "widely exaggerated" the duo's feuding, he doesn't deny that they had their differences.
"If there was any tension, it came from what you would call [their contrasting] working styles," he explains. "Gwyneth is very quick to get where she wants to go in the first couple of takes, and Aaron [requires] multiple takes to get to a place. So, to find that place where both of them are at their emotional pitch is trying."
For LaBute, a longtime Eckhart pal and collaborator (In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors), that meant not playing favorites. "Everybody has a different method, so you have to be open to that and say, 'Whatever it takes,'" he shrugs. "You have to be willing to go there with them, whether they flick it on like a switch or it takes an hour to get there. So, I'm not much of an arguer or a ranter and raver. I like to get in there and discuss, and the best idea usually wins."
And before you go assuming that Paltrow was constantly pulling rank — she is, after all, an Oscar winner — LaBute insists the master Shakespeare in Love thesp was a total pro. "I didn't know her at all... [so] I had to erase the public persona," he says. "I was really happy to find that she was, at heart, just an actor. She came in with a lot of homework done and was ready to dig in."