Interesting Facts About Movie Directors
When Quentin Tarantino invited John Travolta to come by his apartment to discuss playing Vincent in Pulp Fiction, Travolta had interesting news: it was the exact same apartment that he rented while getting his start in Hollywood.
Director Stanley Kubrick, known for his endless takes and long production schedules, obsessed for months over the proper response to a fan letter from the great director Akira Kurosawa. Following many unsent drafts over several months, Kurosawa died before Kubrick could reply.
Director John Ford was sent to the island of Midway to film a documentary on life at a small, isolated military base. He ended up getting caught in the Battle for Midway, but he filmed the entire thing and was also injured during the fight.
George Lucas told a collaborator that his plan for the ending of Return of the Jedi was to have Luke become the new Darth Vader and destroy the Rebel Fleet. The collaborator liked the idea. Lucas told him he’d only been joking.
Jonathan Lynn, the director of My Cousin Vinny (1992) has a law degree from Cambridge and that film is highly regarded in the legal community for its realistic depiction of courtroom procedure and trial strategy.
Director of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn wrote a script with the actual dialogue for Vin Diesel so that he would know what inflections to give when he said his lines as “I am Groot.”
Chris Columbus was originally set to direct National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation but dropped out after difficult meetings with star Chevy Chase. Instead, Columbus made Home Alone; the highest-grossing Christmas film of all time.
Shawshank Redemption’s director and writer Frank Darabont was offered $2.5 million from Rob Reiner to let him write and direct it and cast Tom Cruise as Andy and Harrison Ford as Red. Darabont refused, saying that this was his “chance to do something really great.”
Tim Burton was reportedly uncomfortable with casting Christopher Walken as Max Shreck in Batman Returns. When the casting director asked him why he said, “Because that man scares the hell out of me.”
Director Robert Zemeckis, who has approval over all films in the Back to the Future franchise, says that he will block all attempts to remake or reboot the original film.
Director Peter Weir wanted to have cameras installed in behind every theater showing ‘The Truman Show’ and have the projectionist cut the power at some point during the film, cut to the viewers so they’d be watching themselves, and then cut back to the movie.
According to Taika Waititi, 80% of the dialogue in Thor: Ragnarok was improvised, in order to create a “very loose and collaborate mood” among the cast in an attempt to replicate the tone and sensibility from his previous films.
George Miller, who was an M.D. at that time, was inspired to make Mad Max (1979) when he witnessed fights break out during a gas shortage in Australia. He assumed in the future nations would not implement the infrastructure for renewable energy until it was too late and this could lead to a dystopia.
James Gunn wanted Chris Pratt for Guardians of the Galaxy so much he was willing to CGI a six-pack on the actor.
James Cameron was homeless when writing The Terminator, and sold the rights for $1, on the condition he could direct it.
Ron Howard stated that after the first test preview of the film Apollo 13, one of the comment cards indicated “total disdain”; the audience member had written that it was a “typical Hollywood” ending and that the crew would never have survived.
Alfred Hitchcock once bet a prop man a week’s salary to spend the night chained up in a movie studio, giving him a beaker of brandy to get him through the night. It was laced with strong laxatives. The following morning, the film crew found the poor man crying in a puddle of his own feces.
Director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, James Gunn, and the director of Baby Driver, Edgar Wright, consulted with each other to make sure that these two films would not have the same songs on their soundtracks.
Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts has his own collection of pet spiders, including rare South American ones.
Harmony Korine, the director of ‘Spring Breakers’ was banned from ‘The Late Show’ when David Letterman found him rifling through Meryl Streep’s purse backstage.
Director Roman Polanski pleaded guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977 but fled the USA to avoid charges. This is why his 2011 film Carnage starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly although set in New York was actually filmed in Paris.
Kurt Russel directed Tombstone but didn’t want to be listed as the director. Of the two listed directors, one was fired very early in the production and the second was a “ghost director.”
David Ayer, the director of the film ‘Fury’, pushed the cast to physically spar each other, causing many black eyes and bloody noses. Also, the actors were forced to live in the tank together for a long time where they ate, slept and defecated.
The Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson, orchestrated 20,000 cricket fans during a game’s inning breaks in order to produce the sound of the Uruk-hai army in The Two Towers.
Tod Browning, director of the 1931 film “Dracula” had nightmares and difficulty sleeping during the filming of his next project, the 1932 cult film, “Freaks” due to the vaudeville performers despite his own previous sideshow and vaudeville performances.
When making ‘The Incredibles’, director Brad Bird intentionally used artists who were likely to either quit or be fired from Pixar; because he believed only they could create everything that he needed.
American History X director Tony Kaye was so dissatisfied with the final cut of the film he spent $100,000 of his own money to take out 35 full-page ads in the Hollywood trade press denouncing Norton and the producer, using quotations from a variety of people from John Lennon to Abraham Lincoln.
Director of “The Princess Bride,” Rob Reiner, had the screenplay writer change the last scene from the fairytale characters riding off happily ever after to the grandfather and grandson coming together through the experience of reading the story.
Steven Spielberg purposely did not allow Matt Damon to attend the pre-production Boot Camp for actors in Saving Private Ryan so that the remaining cast would build up genuine resentment for his character.
Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, among other films does not use a cell phone or an e-mail because he’s just “not interested”, it gives him “time to think”, and he also prohibits them on the set of a movie.
When J.J. Abrams chose to have John Williams score ‘The Force Awakens’, he gave his frequent composer/collaborator Michael Giacchino a role as stormtrooper FN-3181 in the raid on Jakku as an apology.
In 1987, director John Landis was acquitted on 3 counts of involuntary manslaughter after actor Vic Morrow and two children aged 6 and 7 were decapitated on the set of The Twilight Zone movie in 1982.
Quentin Tarantino didn't go to film school, and has said: “When people ask me if I went to film school, I tell them, ‘No, I went to films’.”
Christopher Nolan believes that audiences can sense when things are actually there instead of just being all computer-generated, which is why he constructed large-scale practical sets for spacecraft in “Interstellar”, including both the interior and parts of the exterior.
When Martin Scorsese read the book Wiseguy, which he would eventually adapt into the classic mob film Goodfellas, he called author Nicholas Pileggi and said, “I’ve been waiting for this book my entire life” to which Pileggi replied, “I’ve been waiting for this phone call my entire life.”