Robert Duvall is one of the most cherished actors in the Hollywood industry. In the 1970s, he earned Oscar nominations for two notable Francis Ford Coppola films—The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. These nominations foreshadowed his eventual “Best Actor” win for his role in 1983’s Tender Mercies.
While Duvall always cherished Francis Ford Coppola, he had problems with one director. The name of that director is Stanley Kubrick. The actor described his films as the “worst performances” he’s ever seen.
Robert Duvall Once Said That Stanley Kubrick is Actors’ Enemy
Robert Duvall is someone who openly criticized Stanley Kubrick. During the 2010 THR’s Awards Watch Roundtable, alongside actor Ryan Gosling, Duvall expressed his belief that Kubrick always brought the worst performances from his actors. He went on to say (via IndieWire):
“To me, the great Stanley Kubrick was an actor’s enemy. He was an actor’s enemy. I can point to movies he’s done, the worst performances I’ve ever seen in movies: The Shining, A Clockwork Orange.”
Despite Gosling’s confused laugh, Duvall continued ranting about the late director. He reiterated:
“Maybe great movies, but they’re terrible performances. How does he know the difference between the first take and the seventieth take? I mean, what is that about?”
Here, the Hollywood actor talked about the director’s habit of doing many retakes. Many actors over the years have expressed similar feelings of frustration.
A similar instance happened during the shoot of the 1980 horror drama The Shining, when a crew member got tired and bored as Kubrick took 148 takes to perfect a single scene. Over the complaints from the actors, the director once spoke in his defense in an interview, too.
Stanley Kubrick Defended Himself By Criticizing Actors for Retakes
The filmmaker admitted that he obviously took a lot of takes, but he defended his approach. Kubrick believed that the actors themselves were responsible for the number of retakes, which is why the takes were required to achieve the desired result. As per the video posted by Outstanding Screenplays on YouTube, he said:
“Actors are sometimes undisciplined enough not to go home and go to sleep at night and learn their lines, and they go out. They cannot act without knowing dialogue. If you have to think about anything when you’re acting, you cannot work on the emotion. It’s happened in every film. There’s really not much you can do about it.”
The Academy Award director asserted that firing the actor wouldn’t help. Even threatening them wouldn’t work either—if they didn’t take their performance seriously.