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The Drama Behind the Dazzle: The Making of 'Burlesque'

Burlesque
De Line Pictures/Album/Newscom

The inside story of the on-set fighting that marked the Screen Gems production.

The spectacular fights and serious clashes behind-the-scenes of the production of Burlesque were not between the famous divas starring in the film.

The real sparks were between the two men behind the movie, director Steven Antin (the brother of Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin) and Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper. The two are a longtime couple who collaborated professionally for the first time on Burlesque.

This week's issue of The Hollywood Reporter explores how the high drama around the movie, due out November 24, centered around Culpepper and the first-time director Antin rather than the movie's famous divas, Cher and Christina Aguilera.

A source on the project says that the close relationship between the two led to some "jaw-dropping" clashes on the highly-charged set.

* In the midst of one argument, Culpepper poured an iced tea over Antin's head, forcing the director to recoil backwards into a rack of clothes.

* The exchanges were often so intense that a source tells THR that Cher told Culpepper at one point, "Clint, I would like a calmer set."

* At one point a distraught Aguilera turned to her manager Irving Azoff who called Culpepper. "Dude," Azoff said. "She came from an abused childhood, you cannot yell like this."

Despite it all, the movie, which is the most expensive in Screen Gems history, scored record highs for Sony with a test audience in Arizona last month. It's fair to say that despite all the battling, the movie could please the audience that the studio is aiming for.

Pick up this week's issue of The Hollywood Reporter for more of this story on newsstands today. Subscribers can read the entire story here.