6 Good Movies That Were (Almost) Ruined By Actor-Director Clashes

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Certain films become known for their screenplay, good acting, cinematography. Others become known for their on-set clashes, histrionics, walk-outs, and grudges. Sometimes these clashes can be between co-actors, and sometimes it can be an actor-director clash. These clashes are never good for the movies, and only a few can make it through. Actor-director clashes can happen for a variety of reasons. But they can ruin movies. Here is a list of good movies that were almost ruined by actor-director clashes.



Faye Dunawaye in Chinatown
Faye Dunaway vs. Roman Polanski in Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the greatest films ever made. However, acting for the controversial director Roman Polanski wasn’t easy for Faye Dunaway. In a book by Peter Biskind “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls”, the writer shared an incident where the director wouldn’t let Faye Dunaway get off the set and use the washroom. The clashes with the director made it hard for the actor on the set, but she managed to put a great performance.

The Shining

Shelley Duvall in The Shining
Shelley Duvall vs. Stanley Kubrick in The Shining

One of the scariest movies ever made in Hollywood has to be The Shining. But the director Stanley Kubrick’s treatment of the actress Shelley Duvall was an equally scary story. The actress’s daughter had evidenced in a documentary filmed by her, that Kubrick was super rude to Shelly Duvall on the set. He would humiliate the actress for her performance in front of the crew. According to Kubrick, he used these tactics to get the real fear out of the actress. The clashes between the two luckily did not affect the movie.


The Birds

Tippi Hedren in The Birds
Tippi Hedren vs. Alfred Hitchcock in The Birds

After the huge success of Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock decided to adapt the short story The Birds, into a film. He cast a newcomer – Tippi Hedren to play the lead role in the movie. The actress allegedly had to deal with several sexual advances from the director. She also claimed that the director used real birds in shooting the attack scene. She ended up with cuts and scratches when Hitchcock demanded birds crashing into her at the phone booth. The clashes did not hinder the making of the film as the actress was a newcomer.

Terminator Salvation

Chirstian Bale in Terminator Salvation
Christian Bale vs. Shane Hubert in Terminator Salvation

One of the most published on set rift was between actor Christian Bale and cinematographer Shane Hubert. The actor was left embarrassed by the event. It seemed as if Bale was calling shots on set and not the director, McG. The clashes began when Hulbert walked into the background when the actor was doing a scene. The actor ranted about it, which was recorded, and released by WB insurers. It went viral and the actor apologized for the way he acted on-set.

I Heart Huckabees

Lily Tomlin in I Heart Huckabees
Lily Tomlin vs. David O Russell in I Heart Huckabees

The David O Russell meltdown was quite famous on set actor-director clashes ever. In a scene, the director kept telling actor Lily Tomlin that she wasn’t delivering her lines well.  As a result, the actress revolted saying that not everyone is as good as the director. This resulted in a full-blown meltdown by the director and hurled the harshest comments on the actress. Moreover, he destroyed the set, threw papers off the desks, and kicked trash cans. The video went viral.



Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac
Jake Gyllenhaal vs. David Fincher in Zodiac

David Fincher follows the rule “70 Takes and Up” where he seeks perfection in every scene. During the shoot of Zodiac, he became really tough on the actor Jake Gyllenhaal. He forced the actor to shoot the scenes over and over again over 100 times and then delete them all, just to make him cry. Jake Gyllenhaal swore to never work with the director. In a number of interviews, the actor shared the troubles he had gone through while shooting with Fincher.

Related: These 10 Behind The Scenes Stories Will Change The Way You See Action Movies


Written by Gargi

Articles Published: 464

Gargi Mishra is the Senior Editor at FandomWire. Serves as the Editor for writers and pens hard-hitting, industry-shaking, ace-tier editorials herself. A film student, she's the repository of everything infotainment at FandomWire. Above all, she loves K-Pop, K-Dramas, and Anime.