Some directors stop at nothing to finish their film and if some directors go too far to make the actors cry, others completely blow the budget allocated by the production or exceed certain limits that screw them up in the shit. We offer you a small selection of some school cases where things didn’t go very well.
1. John Landis: Twilight Zone The Movie
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By wanting to make the film from the famous TV series The Twilight Zone, director John Landis made a series of choices that turned out to be sorely dramatic. He began by literally breaking California child labor laws by hiring 7- and 6-year-old Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen without properly declaring them.
The kids were paid under the table for their participation in the filming and it was hidden from their parents that they were going to work near explosives and a helicopter, not to mention several safety rules not respected which caused the crash of the helicopter during a take, killing the two children and another actor instantly. The trial following the shooting showed that Landis and his team had neglected many aspects of safety that led to the accident and he was tried for manslaughter.
2. Noel Marshall: Roar
You don’t become “the most dangerous movie in history” for no reason, the production of this 1981 film is littered with mistakes and demands that cost a lot of people a lot. The main problem is the number of super dangerous wild animals present on the set (lions, cheetahs, elephants, tigers) which for the most part were tamed but not at all trained.
If you gather all his animals in the same place with a lot of safety level negligence you get 70 injured team members out of the 140 present. Lion bites, tiger attacks, elephants falling on people… The director caught gangrene, the main actress had a broken leg, another needed surgery after having her face scratched, the director of photo had his skull scalped by a lion and required 220 stitches… And the filming lasted six years instead of six months, a real nightmare which Noel Marshall should have put an end to instead of persisting for a film who flopped.
3. Bernardo Bertolucci: The last tango in Paris
Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolluci had agreed to shoot the famous disgusting scene without asking Maria Schneider’s opinion. In this one we see a simulated rape of the character of Brando on the young woman, but the actor and the director had decided to use butter without consulting the actress, and if the penetration did not take place l The actress still felt violated, and her tears during the take were nothing short of genuine. The violence of Marlon Brando, dead drunk on the set, traumatized poor Maria Schneider who had not been warned of what was to follow, absolutely disgusting methods that should never have taken place.
4. Werner Herzog: Fitzcarraldo
If the behavior of the actor Klaos Kinsky was problematic on the set (he shot at the huts of the extras and stabbed the helmet of one of them) it is mainly the preparation for the shoot of Herzog which was problematic. There were two helicopter crashes, a technician who was bitten by a snake and amputated his leg with a chainsaw, many injured during a scene shot in the rapids…
All this because of the completely twisted demands of the director and the non-respect of safety rules. But the most absurd thing Herzog asked for on set was to have a 320-ton boat brought up a hill by locals, a grueling, near-impossible, and downright stupid job. Herzog, convinced that no one had done such a feat in history, called himself a “conquistador of the useless”. Nice to take credit for when you don’t move your ass to pull the boat yourself.
5. Michael Cimino: Heaven’s Gate
Before directing this film, Cimino was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood, having just won the Oscars with Journey to the End of Hell. But barely two years after the release of his masterpiece his career was buried. The filming of La porte du Paradis was a real ordeal, Cimino showing too much perfectionism: he had a meadow repainted that he did not find green enough and increased the gap between buildings in an avenue because the space did not suit him.
Huge budget overruns, extended shooting and multiple tangles with the studio: Cimino ended up placing a guard with a weapon in front of his editing room to ward off the representatives of the studio which, moreover, sank because of the failure of the film . As a result, the film did not work at all, which happens when you want to present a 5:30 film that you reduce to 3:40 and the reviews are extremely negative.
6. John McTiernan: Rollerball
The film roller ball not only ended John McTiernan’s career but also landed him in prison for over a year. The director of Die Hard 1 and 3of Last Action Hero or even of Hunting for Red October has delivered with this film a bastard product torn between its vision and that of its producer, who obviously has a different opinion.
The rivalry between the two men led McTiernan to hire a private detective to wiretap the producer to see if he wanted to sabotage his film, and later to lie to an FBI agent for ordering the illegal wiretaps. , which earned him the famous passage in prison. And if the film was such a big failure it’s because these two visions doomed the work which could have been a huge criticism against the pro-war American government (all that is explained much better in this great episode of Chroma ).
7. Terrence Malik – The Harvests of Heaven
It’s hard not to qualify Terrence Malick as a special director, both in terms of his art and his methods. But on the set of harvest from the sky it has reached quite astonishing levels of demands. Already he asked us to build a huge barrack and to shoot inside when basically we just had to build the outside, he canceled a scene which required a helicopter to drop peanuts from the sky at the last moment to film another one (while the helicopter was already in the air) and above all he insisted on shooting all the exterior scenes during the “magic hour”, a time slot lasting a few minutes just before sunset. sun, which stretched the filming out over many more days. Oh, and he took three years to edit his film too.
8. David Fincher – Zodiac
“I liked working with Fincher on this film because I understand the principle of the gulags” declared Robert Downey Jr on his experience with David Fincher. The actor also left jars filled with piss all over the set to make the director understand that it would be good to have breaks. His sidekick Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t necessarily have only good memories of the shoot either, not hesitating to say that he didn’t understand why we needed to film a scene twenty times before simply deleting it. To defend himself the director replied “when we come to work do we expect to have fun or just do what we are paid for? “, vibe.
9. Tobbe Hooper: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This mythical scene where Sally finds herself at the table with the family of creepy cannibals was a nightmare to shoot. Already it was nearly 38° in the room and the shooting was spread over 26 long and painful hours. Because of the heat we had to change the plates of meat every two hours because they rotted quickly and stank while attracting insects.
The team would take “vomit breaks” and go outside to breathe while throwing up from the smell and the heat. The actress fainted several times and injured herself with a knife, which made it a particularly difficult scene to shoot and it is felt in the ambient unease that the finished product releases. Tobbe Hooper may have gone a little too far in shooting this scene and in the end a lot of people on the team hated him before the end of filming, but Tobbe Hooper put up with it to go to the end of his work. .
10. The Wachowskis: Matrix
A legend says that the Wachowskis used the entire budget given by Warner for the first Matrix (10 million dollars) only to film the first scene of the film, which is neither completely true nor completely false. Basically the shooting started after 4 months of training the actors in martial arts, training that must be counted in the budget, then the Wachowskis shot a few additional scenes in addition to the intro.
But once it was shot, the Wachowskis did send the scene with the special effects (in which the biggest part of the ten million had gone) to the producers to show them that it was on the right track and that the budget was going to have to grow. , which the producers accepted by increasing it to 80 million. A daring gamble on a huge budget overrun but not as exaggerated as in the legend and above all, I grant you, much less abused than some points of this top.