Habana Eva, the fourth film of Venezuelan director Fina Torres (of Woman on Top fame), was actually having a quite peachy production... until the rough film was revealed and it turned out that a good chunk of it was filmed out of focus. Another director would have abandoned the project right there, but Torres decide to refilm the whole thing. This was a Cuban-Venezuelan coproduction heavily funded by public institutions, and it was already almost over budget before the need to refilm arose. The final product still had to use the out-of-focus material and has several parts with terrible audio synchronization (although that's on par with Venezuelan films, which have a long history of awful sound mixing). Worse, all this extra effort wasn't for an artsy film, but for a romantic comedy (and a quite mediocre one, according to reviews), but everyone involved allowed it due to Fina Torres having a reputation of doing well in the film festival circuits, and indeed the movie managed to earn "best film" awards at two festivals despite its many shortcomings.
It was first written in the mid-90s, but shelved when the near-identically plotted The Rock was released first. The script was put into production just after the turn of the decade, but on a much lower budget than writer-director Don Michael Paul had hoped for, and he was only able to get it off the ground thanks to the involvement of Franchise Pictures (of Battlefield Earth infamy). What's more, while the film's official budget was given as $25 million, reportedly the film only actually saw $15 million of that, making it likely that Franchise were employing the same embezzlement tricks they carried out on Battlefield Earth.
During filming, Seagal would frequently walk off-set at the slightest provocation — including for no reason other than his spiritual advisor told him that his karma was low — forcing Paul to resort to the usage of Fake Shemps in order to get scenes in the can. The finished film credits no less than four stunt and body doubles for Seagal, one of whom was also injured mid-production and had to be replaced.
In addition to his frequent refusal to be on-set, Seagal also behaved like a major jerkass to his co-stars throughout filming, with Claudia Christian in particular recounting that he made her life a living hell, and Seagal also supposedly lecturing Linda Thorson on her acting at points, despite her having worked as an actor for two decades longer than him.
The film's meagre budget ultimately prevented Paul from being able to film all the scenes that he wanted to, and he ended up having to borrow stock footage from, of all things, The Rock in order to complete the film.
Once filming had finished, Franchise announced that due to the 9/11 attacks and their belief that audiences no longer wanted to see violent films, all their future theatrically-released films would be restricted to a PG-13 rating. This resulted in the film, which was written with the expectation of being released with an R-rating, being butchered in editing in order to obtain the PG-13.
When it was released, the film was slaughtered by critics, and did poorly at the box-office (albeit well enough that it would have been mildly profitable had Franchise been honest about the budget). It proved to be the Star-Derailing Role for Seagal, whose subsequent output has been almost entirely in direct-to-DVD films.
Work on the Jerry Lewis film Hardly Working was suspended for about six months in 1980 after the production ran out of money, with Lewis himself declaring personal bankruptcy. Because of this, there are many notable continuity issues throughout the film. To top it off, it wasn't released in the states for two years.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ran into a problem with rain. While filming on location in Scotland, the rain was so bad that they had to have helicopters fly in gravel to stop the sets from washing away. Fortunately, Alfonso Cuarón and the cinematographer liked the overcast look they ended up with as a result.
Another movie affected by the Screen Actors Guild strike of 1980 was Heartbeeps, due to the strike causing production to go on hiatus for over two months mid-shoot. But even when it was shooting, the sci-fi Romantic Comedy that was intended both as a big-screen vehicle for Andy Kaufman and Universal's big Christmas release for 1981 was troubled: The weather at the Colorado shooting location caused Stan Winston's elaborate robot makeups — which took several hours to apply — to gradually wilt in the heat, limiting how much footage could be shot in a day. Director Allan Arkush, who had never helmed a big-budget project, staged scenes at a glacial pace that frustrated everyone but him. Kaufman, increasingly bored with the proceedings and having no friends to goof off with between takes (his friend/co-conspirator Bob Zmuda was specifically prohibited from the shoot), began acting out. Universal executives were horrified by the cut the director presented them with, and their final cut was a mere 79 minutes with credits. The movie grossed only a fifth of its budget, proving to be both Kaufman's Star-Derailing Role and an Old Shame.
Heaven's Gate is practically synonymous with "ambitious films gone horribly wrong", to the point that it inspired an entire book, Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gatenote later re-subtitled Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven's Gate by Steven Bach, the only studio executive to be involved with the film from start to finish. According to Bach:
Director Michael Cimino had wanted to make a film about the Johnson County War, an 1892 battle between rich Wyoming landowners and European immigrant settlers, since 1971; the good press surrounding his 1978 film The Deer Hunter and its dual Oscar wins for Best Director and Best Picture finally gave Cimino the industry clout to get United Artists to agree to finance the film, with initial budget estimates starting at $7.5 million but rising to $11.6 million by the time production began.
The first signs of trouble appeared during casting of the female lead. The male leads - Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, and John Hurt - were more character actors than box office stars when casting began in 1979, and UA hoped that they could bolster the cast's marquee power with a high profile lead actress, but after Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton rejected the role, Cimino insisted on little-known French actress Isabelle Huppert, whose English was hesitant and heavily accented. United Artists insisted that another actress be found; Cimino threatened (not for the last time) to take the film to Warner Bros., and UA capitulated (even afterwards, Bach at one point told Cimino to his face that his leading lady was so unappealing that the audience was going to wonder why Kristofferson and Walken "[weren't] fucking each other instead of her").
Filming began at Glacier National Park in Montana in April 1979 and was expected to finish in June, with a projected release date of December 1979. However, Cimino's almost fanatical dedication to his artistic vision for the film meant the shoot was five days behind schedule after just six days, and the delays and inflated costs grew from there. Getting to the filming site from the cast and crew's hotel in Kalispell took two hours each way. Many cast and crew members were on site (and on the payroll) for months just to complete a few hours of shooting. Cimino insisted on taking full advantage of the location's natural beauty by shooting many scenes at twilight, scenes which could thus only be shot during a time window of a few minutes each day. Cimino also insisted on countless retakes; a single-second shot of Kristofferson cracking a whip took an entire day and 52 takes to film.
The glacial pace of filming was not the only factor in the skyrocketing costs. Upon deciding that the spacing of buildings either side of a street on an outdoor set "didn't look right", Cimino ordered both sides torn down and re-built.note A crew member even pointed out, to no avail, that it would be easier and cheaper to just tear one side down and build it twice as far back. A 19th-century locomotive was shipped on flatbed rail trucks from Colorado; as it was too big to fit into the modern tunnels, it had to take a longer and more expensive route to Montana. Cimino put an irrigation system in the rocky field in which the climactic battle sequence was shot so that it would be green with grass at the beginning of the battle, and red with blood at the end of it. And of the masses of footage shot by Cimino, an unusually high fraction was printed for possible inclusion in the finished film (far exceeding the part of the budget devoted to printing); ultimately, of over 1.5 million feet of exposed film, 1.3 million feet were printed, amounting to 220 hours of raw footage.
To make matters worse, Cimino's contract stated that he would not be penalised for any cost overruns incurred in completing and delivering the film for its December 1979 release date, so while costs spiralled, he was protected from breach of contract lawsuits. He clashed repeatedly with UA executives, who at several points considered simply scrapping the film, unloading it on another studio (unsurprisingly, they couldn't find any takers), or firing Cimino and replacing him.note Bach mentions approaching "A Famous Director", widely believed to be David Lean, who refused to replace Cimino out of concern at incurring the wrath of the DGA (even his conversation with Bach was against DGA regulations, hence Bach does not name him in Final Cut); Norman Jewison was also approached but declined.
Location shooting in Montana finally wrapped in October 1979,note By this point, local cars sported bumper stickers reading "To Hell with Heaven's Gate", and Cimino had a very public falling out with production manager and longtime friend Charlie Okun at the wrap party. with only a Harvard-set prologue and Rhode Island-set epilogue to film. However, Harvard refused permission to film on campus, so the prologue was instead shot at Mansfield College, Oxford.note John Hurt had returned to England in a hurry after filming wrapped in Montana to honour his commitment to The Elephant Man - a role he took to stave off the boredom of waiting long hours to do nothing on the Heaven's Gate set - and took a few days off to film his scenes in the Harvard segment. Though this was the only part of the shoot to finish on time and on budget, Cimino was refused permission to film near Christ Church on Sunday, and had to prepare and shoot the scene in secret just after dawn before the Sunday morning services. The final production budget came to nearly $40 million, over three times the original figure.
Despite Cimino's attempts at press secrecy, the film was already beginning to draw negative publicity during shooting. Les Gapay, a freelance journalist, landed a job as an extra, then sold the story about the catastrophic time and budget overruns.note Although the story did include some exaggerations; though the shoot ran behind schedule and over budget, the cast and crew were on generally friendly terms with each other throughout, but the journalist portrayed them as constantly fighting. With similar problems on UA's Apocalypse Now fresh in the press' memories, they began dubbing Heaven's Gate "Apocalypse Next". The shoot also attracted controversy for (mostly, but not wholly, exaggerated) claims of animal cruelty, with live cockfights being filmed,note Willem Dafoe made his (uncredited) feature film debut in these scenes; he later claimed that his role was supposed to be larger, but Cimino fired him in a fit of anger for laughing at a joke told by an extra during a prolonged lighting setup. livestock entrails being used for some of the gorier scenes, and a horse being killed during the filming of a special effects scene for the climactic battle sequence. The film is still on the American Humane Association's "unacceptable" list.
The sheer volume of raw footage meant that the Christmas 1979 release date had long since become unfeasible, and the date was pushed back to Christmas 1980. Cimino changed the locks on the editing suite to ensure that he could cut the film his way. His work print of the film, screened for UA executives in June 1980, was a staggering 325 minutes long;note The battle scene alone was as long as most feature films, clocking in at about an hour and a half. under threat of dismissal as director, Cimino agreed to cut the film down to 219 minutes for a trio of premieres in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles in November 1980.
The New York premiere was a disaster, with the audience reacting with indifference to the story and struggling to hear the dialogue, and critics, led by Vincent Canby of The New York Times (who, in a much-quoted review, called the film "an unqualified disaster"), tearing it to shreds. A humiliated Cimino withdrew the film before its Los Angeles premiere, announcing that he wanted to edit it further.note Contrary to rumour, Cimino made this decision himself, not at UA's command. He finally trimmed it down to 149 minutes for general release in April 1981; this time, the critics were not so much merciless as disappointed,note Roger Ebert said that while he saw films that were objectively worse in 1981, no other film had left him feeling so let down, and he named Heaven's Gate his personal worst film of the year. and the film, the final production and promotion budget of which came to $44 million, made just $1.3 million in its opening weekend and was quickly forgotten by audiences. Although it received a more positive response in France (particularly at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival) and the UK, its worldwide gross was just under $3.5 million.
The film left a veritable bloodbath of dead or dying careers in its wake. Michael Cimino is the most noted victim; he only made four further films, all largely ignored by critics and audiences. Kris Kristofferson's leading man potential withered, and he turned his attention back to his music career. Although the film's effect on United Artists is sometimes overstated,note The studio had already been on unsteady financial footing for much of the late 1970s, prompting many employees to jump ship to form Orion Pictures; Heaven's Gate was not even UA's most expensive film, an "honour" that goes to Moonraker. it was an influential factor in its parent company, Transamerica, deciding to sell UA to MGM in 1981, ending its 62-year existence as an independent studio.note The cost overruns are also sometimes blamed for UA being unable to fund an Oscar campaign for Raging Bull, which lost Best Director and Best Picture to Robert Redford's Ordinary People. Heaven's Gate itself managed just one Oscar nomination in 1981, for Art Direction (which it lost to Raiders of the Lost Ark).Interest in Westerns also declined for most of the 1980s, and the film is generally credited with hastening the demise of New Hollywood and the auteur director movement.
The reputation of Heaven's Gate has, however, improved in the years since its initial release. Cimino assembled a 216-minute "director's cut" of the film which won acclaim at film festivals in 2012, and Kris Kristofferson and supporting cast member Jeff Bridges still speak fondly of their experiences making and seeing the film.
Partway into production, Sam McCurdy, Marshall's go-to cinematographer, was fired and replaced for undisclosed reasons, with an alleged claim that Gordon and Levin "were trying to send a message to Marshall that despite being the films director, Marshall was not in charge" (though Levin's attorney denies this).
Male and female leads Walter Matthau and Barbra Streisand despised each other, with Matthau telling Streisand she had less talent "than a butterfly's fart", and eventually, after a bitter argument the day after Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, he refused to be around her unless the script required it, requiring creative use of camera angles for Horace and Dolly's Big Damn Kiss.note The fact that he can be seen in the invitation-only audience during Streisand's 1986 One Voice concert suggests they eventually buried the hatchet - or that Matthau liked Streisand as long as he didn't have to be too close to her.
When Matthau and Michael Crawford, who played Cornelius, went to a racetrack on a day off, a horse named Hello, Dolly! was scheduled to run in one of the races; Matthau reacted with disgust at the reminder of Streisand, while Crawford took it as a sign, bet on the horse, and won, leading Matthau to refuse to speak to him unless the script required it.
Director Gene Kelly didn't get along with Streisand either, and he also fought with choreographer Michael Kidd until they were no longer on speaking terms. The poor reception of Dolly ended Kelly's career as a director of musicals.
The film was tepidly received by critics (many of whom felt that the 27-year-old Streisand was miscast as the middle-aged Dolly Levi, and that the film didn't do enough with the widescreen format) and, like Dolittle and Star! before it, received a double armload of Oscar nominations anyway (seven in all, including Best Picture) thanks to lavish dinners hosted by Fox for Academy voters.note It won three: Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Best Original Score, and Best Sound. The studio did not recoup their losses on Dolittle, Star!, and Dolly until a 1973 re-release of The Sound of Music.
Hell's Angels, a 1930 film by Howard Hughes, was notorious at the time for its nasty production, and was dramatized 75 years later in The Aviator. Due to Hughes's overbearing production techniques, the original director walked off the picture. When sound was introduced with The Jazz Singer, Hughes decided to re-shoot the entire film as a talkie. Helen's original actress Greta Nissen, whose thick Norwegian accent was previously concealed by the lack of sound, thus had to be replaced with the then unknown Jean Harlow. The climactic air battle was shot by staging an actual one, where Hughes even took the wing and flew one of the planes himself. He was seriously injured as a result, with three other pilots dying. Overall about 137 pilots were used in the sequence, which contributed to the already-bloated budget. Due to production delays, James Whale, who was directing the talking scenes, was able to shoot an entire other film before Hell's Angels was even released.
Almost immediately at the beginning of the production, many lawsuits were filed by Argentinian staff for default of labor laws.
Lambert refused to use a fake sword for the fight scenes. In his first scene with it, he cut his finger to the bone and Michael Ironside dislocated his jaw in the dome fight. After these accidents, Lambert agreed to use a plastic sword.
During nine days of filming, Lambert was a client of the Buenos Aires' discotheques and night clubs, which made him unable to film any scene during the day, due to hangovers when he arrived to the set. He was also cheated by false Argentinian business men to invest the money he got from the movie in some financial managements. Lambert lost all of the money. Connery was almost cheated when he was offered to buy a mansion at an exhorbitant price.
When filming was starting, a sea storm isolated all of the sets created in the Buenos Aires' seaport.
Highpoint, a 1982 Canadian thriller starring Richard Harris and Christopher Plummer, had a lengthy and tumultuous post-production process. Originally shot in 1979 as essentially a comedic version of North By Northwest, the film was shelved for two years during which extensive re-shoots took place, as director Peter Carter was unsatisfied with the first cut. Once the re-shoots were completed, the film was given a limited release in Europe. Due to poor critical and audience reception regarding the film's pacing problems and convoluted plot, Highpoint was once again sent to the editing room by order of distributor New World Pictures, where much of the comedy was removed and the whimsical original score by John Addison was replaced with a bigger, splashier one by Christopher Young. The final version was released in 1984 to generally poor reviews, and the film was soon consigned to the bargain bin in video stores.
Originally, the novel was to be adapted into two films, both directed by Guillermo del Toro and with Peter Jackson as co-writer and producer. The first problem emerged in 2008 when New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. refused to pay the Tolkien Estate the money that they owed them (including for The Lord of the Rings). What followed was two and a half years of everything spiraling out of control, not only sending the film into Development Hell but causing Guillermo del Toro to leave production after having been attached to it. To make matters worse, these legal issues got so bad that it would have taken the production out of New Zealand entirely. Only when Peter Jackson decided to come back to the director's chair in late 2009 was everything sorted out.
And then the studio only gave Jackson and Weta six months of pre-production and told him to start filming immediately afterwards or else. And before production could even begin, Jackson was hospitalized in January 2011 for a perforated stomach ulcer, which eerily was one of the contributing causes of J. R. R. Tolkien's death. Luckily, it was caught in time and surgery went smoothly. This, however, forced production and principal photography to be halted for a month.
Filming itself went smoothly for the most part until the decision was made to split it into three movies instead of two. The sound designers, mixers, and editors had to create and edit new sound effects halfway through doing the second film. Then there was the decision to CGI Azog, Bolg, and the orcs in the first and second films, with the decision regarding Bolg being made so suddenly that whole sequences had to be re-shot, which is why in the trailers Azog is the one chasing the dwarves but in the film it's Bolg.
Another piece of evidence of the suddenness of switching from two movies to three: the scene where the group tries to bury Smaug in gold in the forges was added only because the filmmakers needed a cliffhanger (they confirmed this when asked) and the actors and some of the crew literally had no idea what they were filming until the finished film.
This is also evidenced in the healing scene in Laketown. In the original script, she healed one of Bard's daughters (most likely Tilda) but when re-shoots happened it was changed to Kili, which coupled with the aforementioned Bolg switch suddenly explains Kili being hit with an arrow.
When it finally came time to do the third film, the studio practically took the film away from Jackson and forced him to edit it in a way he didn't approve of and imposed tons of baggage onto film, demanding more emphasis on the love story and possibly more Alfrid scenes.
Jackson has also, by his own admission, said that while he enjoyed filming the movies, he nearly had an on-set nervous breakdown when it came time to shoot the Erebor scenes during the two-movie period and to plan out the Battle of Five Armies (which had been getting postponed up until the end of shooting because they couldn't find any locations in New Zealand that would've worked, and the battle turned out to be more complex than first thought during development); the three movie split was done at the request of producer/production manager Zane Weiner (who was sort of the Hero of Another Story for keeping the production on track and helping to veto any outside meddling) to salvage the production and give Jackson the time he needed. You read that right: the three movie split was designed to saveThe Hobbit.
All of this ended up blowing up in Warner Bros.' faces and while the trilogy did do well, it became divisive for audiences and critics and the Tolkien Estate temporarily relinquished the film rights to the books. All the aforementioned meddling was confirmed not just by Jackson but also by Lilly and Graham McTavish, with McTavish confirming that the theatrical cut for the third film isn't what was intended and that the extended cuts of all three films are closer to Jackson's original intention. Yikes.
What's worse is, according to a fan, someone asked Jackson at the premiere of the third film if he was going to see it. He said "I will but not yet. I'm not sure what the studio has done with it."
John Callen, the actor who plays Oin, revealed in an interview withLindsay Ellis that the studio told Jackson and the crew that they didnt care about the other characters and demanded he sideline them to focus on Gandalf, Thorin and Bilbo and more action, which meant entire arcs and plotlines were cut down or outright removed when Jackson intended to give each of the dwarves an arc and the main storyline and Gandalf's 50/50 screentime.
The original Home Alone wasn't as troubled as some of these, but it had its issues:
Warner Bros. had originally greenlighted the film on the assurance it could be made for no more than $10 million. Very early on the producers realized they had underestimated how much it was going to cost, and worrying that Warner would balk at making the film for that much moneynote since it had some other very expensive holiday releases in the pipeline, John Hughes secretly took a meeting with Fox asking if they'd be willing to take it over if it came to that and, uh, "accidentally" left a copy of the script behind (Fox legally wouldn't have been allowed to see it at that time).
The tight budget had other early effects. Upon being informed that the shooting schedule was being extended from six weeks to eight, Daniel Stern asked if he could thus expect to be paid more. He was told no, the budget was too tight, and quit. But after three days of rehearsals with his replacement, Daniel Roebuck, didn't yield the same chemistry he'd had with Pesci, Stern was brought back, presumably for more money.
That was just one of the many cost increases that was driving up the budget and straining relations with Warner. The studio had conceded them an additional $3 million, but that still wouldn't be enough ... the producers had prepared a long memo explaining how there was no way they could make this film the way they wanted to, the way they told the studio they could, for anything less than $17.5 million. After a final offer of $14 million was rejected, Warner shut down production. Within 20 minutes, however, filmmaking resumed as Hughes made his call to Fox, which stepped right in to the breach.
The daily filming schedule created issues at both ends.
Morning unit call was 7 a.m. This greatly bothered Joe Pesci, who already had some complaints about his character's dialogue being ridiculous. Finally he took one of the assistant directors asidenote rather roughly, apparently and explained that he'd be in a much better frame of mind shooting his scenes if he could get in nine holes of golf in the morning. Accordingly, the unit calls were pushed back to 9 a.m.
Due to Macaulay Culkin's age, he could not work any later than 10 p.m., making it very difficult to schedule and shoot the many nighttime scenes in the film.
One last scheduling issue made things tight. John Candy could only work for one day, so all his scenes were done in a 23-hour marathon session. He did them all for absolute rock bottom scale and got paid a little over for $400 ... less even than Dan Charles Zukoski, who played the pizza delivery guy.
Shooting on Hook went 40 days over schedule, the budget went over by by 50%, and Julia Roberts was going through depression at the time, making it difficult to work with her. Steven Spielberg explained, "It was all my fault. I began to work at a slower pace than I usually do."
Star John Wayne was preoccupied with the preproduction for his own The Alamo (1960), which he would direct and star in the next year, and wasn't able to give his best performance. He did, however, have enough time to quarrel with costarWilliam Holden, which may have helped as their characters are likewise at odds during the film. However, much of their off-camera repartée was about politics, with Holden as liberal as Wayne was conservative, and the experience left the former so bitter he never worked with Wayne again.
Before production the film had made the news since Holden and Wayne both agreed to a $750,000 salary, a record for a star at the time. Unfortunately for the producers there were a lot of other cost overruns; the involvement of multiple production companies did not help this in the slightest.
After the release of the first The Howling, author Gary Brandner purchased the franchise and sequel rights from New World Pictures. Dissatisfied with that film's treatment of his source material, Brandner resolved to write and produce a follow-up himself, and began writing a screenplay more in-line with his novels.
Brandner produced several drafts which procured the interest of Hemdale Film Corporation, a "mini-major" production company known at the time for lower-budget, well-received genre fare like The Terminator and The Return of the Living Dead. Hemdale and Brandner entered into a financing deal with a Spanish production company on the grounds that the film be shot on-location in Spain, necessitating an extensive rewrite by Brandner.
The financing deal subsequently and suddenly fell out, necessitating yet more rewrites. Soon after, Brandner abruptly left the project altogether when his publisher pushed up the deadline to the third Howling novel.
Hemdale, who had yet to produce a single usable draft, hired writer Robert Sarno to dig through Brandner's disparate drafts to try and recover something usable, hoping to rush the principal photography to early Spring of 1984, with a projected Fall 1984 release date. Sarno all but disposed off Brandner's drafts, re-tooling a pre-existing spec script about vampires to include werewolves.
Director Philippe Mora was hired off the success of the "were-cicada" body horror movie The Beast Within, enticed through the promise of relative creative control. Mora's set out to produce a campy horror comedy, playing up the satirical elements present in the first film to outright pastiche.
On-going political unrest in Ceaușescu-ruled Romania ruled it out as a filming location, leading to the production seeking permits in nearby Czechoslovakia. Due to on-going Cold War tensions, equipment and costumes were held up at the border for over two weeks. When they finally arrived, Mora learned that the werewolf costumes were re-purposed ape costumes from the short-lived Planet of the Apes television series.
Filming in Czechoslovakia was continually undermined by local authorities, who were suspicious of the production and sent KGB operatives to tap hotel phones and follow cast and crew members around 24/7. During filming of a concert scene, Mora learned that local regulations prevented the audience members from standing up or cheering during a musical performance, and spent several hours negotiating with members of the Czech army who had arrived after mistaking the impromptu mass gathering for a riot.
Filming was further slowed by the inexperience of local Czech crews and unavailability of experienced special effects artists or equipment, necessitating numerous on-the-spot improvisations and rewrites. An actor was almost shot after a propmaster misunderstood a direction and accidentally loaded a prop rifle with live ammunition.
Most of the Czech extras improvised blocking due to the absence of an on-set interpreter. Most infamously, several extras during the orgy sequence began engaging in actual sex acts, which continued after Mora had called cut.
After filming wrapped, Mora was locked out of post-production while the film was edited from his intended horror comedy to a serious horror film, much to his chagrin. The whole experience ended up motivating Mora into buying the film rights himself once Hemdale's option to produce a third film expired, and he ended up writing and directing Howling III: The Marsupials — a largely trouble-free experience other than the very low budget occasionally causing problems — in order to make the Howling film he had wanted to make all along.
The infamous flop Hudson Hawk gathered bad reaction before its release due to a disastrous production - egos running rampant, constant rewrites, clashes between director and star, you name it. Richard E. Grant even dedicated a chapter about the nightmare that was making the movie in his book With Nails.
A long standing Hollywood rumor was that Sean Connery's hairpiece on The Hunt for Red October cost $50,000 dollars. Many years later, a producer admitted that that number came from the cost of reshooting several scenes with the original hairpiece, which sported a small ponytail that Connery decided looked ridiculous after a few days of shooting.
Baby Jane had been a surprise hit, and so the studio wanted nothing more than to get the two aging divas together again. Henry Farrell, whose novel had been the basis for that film, had an unpublished story perfectly titled "Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?", with a similar plot where one woman manipulates an unsuspecting female relative for personal gain. It was agreed that this time around Joan Crawford would play the villainous Miriam, attempting to manipulate her titular cousin (Bette Davis) out of the estate she had just inherited. Robert Aldrich agreed to direct the sequel, and the script was duly written.
However, between the films came the 1963 Academy Awards. Davis was nominated for Best Actress for her Baby Jane turn, while Crawford was not. Resentful about this, Crawford went to all the other actresses nominated and offered to accept the award on their behalf in the event they could not attend the ceremony in person, something Davis did not hold against her as it was simply courteous (and also because Davis was pretty sure she would win her third Oscar for the part). On the night of the ceremony, as luck would have it, Anne Bancroft was on Broadway and couldn't accept her award for The Miracle Worker, leaving Crawford to go to the stage and later pose holding the statuette with all the other acting winners as if she had won, while Davis seethed in the audience.note Indeed, Davis expressed bitterness about Crawford's stunt decades later in a Johnny Carson interview.
Davis believed that Crawford had somehow manipulated the Oscar vote so that she could upstage her costar and longtime rival one more time. She insisted that if she were to do Cousin Charlotte, she would have to be a producing partner. In an Ironic Echo of the question Crawford had asked Aldrich before taking the Baby Jane part (regarding whether he was sleeping with Davis), Davis asked Aldrich if he was sleeping with Crawford.
Crawford, who years later admitted her drinking had "crossed a line" during Baby Jane, proved to be very difficult on set - turning up with about twenty suitcases for one week's worth of location shooting in Baton Rouge, and forcing the wardrobe mistress to have to iron many chiffon dresses in the 100-degree weather. Crawford also refused to work longer hours, and eventually stopped speaking to Aldrich at all - forcing him to communicate through her make-up artist. Not helping matters was Davis throwing a few barbs at her during filming, and Davis basically forcing all the crew, some of whom had worked on pictures with both her and Crawford in the past, to declare which side they were on. Given Crawford's behavior, many who had originally sided with her began supporting Davis.
On the last day of location filming, Crawford fell asleep in her trailer, in case she was needed for some extra takes, and woke up hours later to find that the crew had all packed up and left her behind. She was convinced that Davis had arranged this.
Back in Los Angeles, after learning from her lawyer that there was no way out of her contract for the film, she took sick and would not show up on set. At first she was faking, hoping this way to force changes to the script, but then really did become sick, although doctors could not diagnose it. Production was suspended through summer 1964; a month after coming back from Baton Rouge she was able to return to work for one day before telling Aldrich it had been too much (Davis taking a red pencil to the script and chopping large parts of a scene between Crawford and her on-screen co-conspirator Joseph Cotten didn't help her mood). When she hemmed and hawed out of letting the studio doctor examine her, Aldrich hired a private detective to follow her around and see if she was really sick (it didn't work ... Crawford managed to lose him fairly quickly).
Finally Aldrich was down to Olivia de Havilland, whom Davis herself had suggested, the last actress the studio would accept in the part. She had retired to Switzerland, and getting to her home to talk to her was no easy feat; he had to take three planes, a train and taxi up a goat trail to get there. It took him four days to convince her to sign on.note This was the second time Olivia replaced Joan in a film released in 1964 after the latter bowed out of the thriller Lady in a Cage. As there was no time to have Miriam's costumes redone, Olivia supplied most of them from her own wardrobe.
Crawford complained later that Aldrich didn't even have the integrity to call her up and tell her she was fired; instead she heard about it on the radio in late August. She never again took a role in a serious film, finishing her career over the next six years with some B-grade horror films she did strictly for the check.
On the first day De Havillandnote who didn't need the work, and didn't like her part although she admired the way Aldrich directed the film was on the set, she and Davis toasted with Cokes (a dig at Crawford, who was on the board of Pepsi due to her late husband having been an executive there). The film, retitled to reflect that it was no longer a retake on Baby Jane, did moderately well, even gaining some Oscar nominations, although it was not the phenomenon Baby Jane had been.
1971 zombie B-Movie I Eat Your Skin was originally filmed in 1964 in Key Biscyane and suffered a sordid production, with cast suffering numerous health problems while filming in the Florida jungle and stars William Joyce and Heather Hewitt almost getting attacked by sharks. The film went through multiple title changes; the working title was Caribbean Adventure, as director Del Tenney didn't want locals to know he was shooting a horror film, while Voodoo Bloodbath, Invasion of the Zombies, and the incredibly creativeZombies were considered for the finished product. After shooting wrapped, the film was shelved for six years, only getting released after Cinemation's Jerry Gross bought the distribution rights and needed the second half of a double bill for his 1970 in-house production I Drink Your Blood, leading to the film getting the similar title I Eat Your Skin despite being completely unrelated to I Drink Your Blood.
No film qualifying for this trope could have had a more apt name than the 1994 Meyers-Shyer rom-com I Love Trouble. Or a more telling plot MacGuffin ... a train wreck.
Writing and casting actually started off well, especially when they landed Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts as leads. They must have thought they could practically print the money ... until they began actually shooting, and very quickly their two stars began to dislike each other (Roberts reportedly could have completely done without Nolte's macho act, and was not shy or polite about letting him know; he, in turn, began deliberately engaging in it to piss her off). The reviews would later say they had no chemistry onscreen.
Which was actually a testament to their acting skills, because the two of them did have chemistry, if by 'chemistry' you mean the "volatile, explosive throw-things-at-each-other-and-scream" kind—in other words, not what you want to show on screen in a romantic comedy. The antipathy deepened over the course of filming to the point that they refused to shoot their later scenes together, necessitating some quick rewriting and clever editing and camera tricks. By some accounts they did more scenes with stand-ins than with each other.
Some accounts from the set, though, suggest that they did occasionally get alongwhen they were both fed up with Meyers and Shyer insisting on things like endless improvisations on a single line.
The bad taste has stayed in their mouths. Nolte says his attitude on the set was a result of only doing it for the money, that he was selling his soul by doing it and that it's his worst film. Roberts has in turn said he was the worst actor she's ever worked with. In some interviews she's described the petulance and childishness of "a former costar" of hers; it's widely assumed that when she does so she's talking about Nolte.
It didn't end when they wrapped. Due to all the strife between the two leads and the ways the production had had to accommodate it, Disney's marketing department scrambled to recast the film, which it had been teasing as the romantic comedy originally intended, into something more like a conventional suspense thriller. "It's gone from a Hepburn-Tracy Woman of the Year to The Pelican Brief in a very short time span," one competing studio marketing person noted before it was released.
Elmer Bernstein had written the score, but with barely two weeks to go before the film hit theaters Meyers and Shyer decided they didn't like it and hired David Newman to write and record a new one. He had to hire other composers to help out, something he didn't normally do, and work almost nonstop to finish it in time. When the film hit theaters, some of the onesheets still listed Bernstein as the composer, and even the soundtrack album failed to credit all the composers involved (the movie credits eleven orchestrators, while the album only lists two).
I Love You, Daddy, a film about a 17-year-old girl falling for a 68-year-old filmmaker, was intended to be released in November 2017, but weeks before its premiere, Louis C.K.—the film's director, co-writer, co-producer, and star—had a series of confirmed sexual allegations thrown at him, causing the film's distributor, The Orchard, to shelve the film and cancel its release date. It's unknown whether the film will be released at all.
Location filming for I Was a Male War Bride was beset with problems. The German winter was unbearably cold and most of the cast and crew fell ill. Ann Sheridan caught pleurisy (which developed into pneumonia), Cary Grant contracted hepatitis with jaundice, and Howard Hawks broke out in hives. Production was shut down for three months, until Grant recovered and regained around 30 pounds. As a result, production went on for eight months at a cost of $8 million.
Inchon, the Sun Myung Moon-produced Korean War epic, was as problematic as you'd expect a Moonie movie to be.
The producers had trouble securing a director - supposedly psychic Jeane Dixon advised Moon to pick Terence Young after the original director, Andrew V. McLaglen, dropped out. Laurence Olivier agreed to play Douglas MacArthur for a $1.25 million salary plus overtime pay (it's no surprise the movie was his inspiration for the famous Money, Dear Boy quote). Being in his 70s, he suffered from heat stroke and exhaustion and had to rest between shots to make it through the filming. Due to poor health, he later refused to return to Korea for re-shoots; as such, a reshooting of the final scene had to be done in Rome instead.
The film's script went through several drafts, each more divergent from history than the last. The first version that was submitted to the Pentagon when the filmmakers were seeking their financial support was historically accurate enough and gave a favorable enough portrayal of the U.S. military to receive their support. Later, the name and identity of the main character was changed because the man he was based on, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Eugene F. Clark, was depicted as having an extramarital affair and thus wouldn't sign a release allowing him to be portrayed in the film. The filmmakers eventually had to agree to including a disclaimer in the film stating that certain events had been fictionalized. The revelation that the film was backed by the Unification Church also caused the U.S. Department of Defense to withdraw their offer to supply 1,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea as extras and ask that all mention of the department be removed from the film's credits.
Eventually, Moon himself got personally involved in making the film, even taking part in the editing and reshots made because of changes to the script. In the finished movie, Moon is listed in the opening credits as "Specially Advised By". Because of the film's several reshots, the filmmakers had to return to South Korea three times and to Rome and Los Angeles twice to work on the film. One of the reshots in question was of a scene near the end where MacArthur steps out of a limo, which was redone because the crowd in the original shot was said to be too small; however, the new crowd shots didn't match the original footage of the limo, forcing the producers to rent a studio in Dublin and film the limo against a back projection of the crowds. Other scenes featuring David Janssen were also reshot when he died because it was thought that his presence in the movie would make it feel dated (though his scenes were included in the last known version of the movie). And at least one Korean extra was killed filming the battle scenes when a jeep crashed on top of him.
Months of shooting time were wasted trying to import equipment to Korea, where the film industry was (at the time) not nearly advanced enough to handle such a large-scale production. The worst blow came when production was delayed by two typhoons followed by an earthquake. Ultimately the budget ballooned from US$18,000,000 to $48,000,000.
Even the score by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the most highly regarded aspects of the film, ran into trouble during the recording process at Forum Studios in Rome. The studio the filmmakers had rented was too small for the orchestra Goldsmith required, and the acoustics were so bad that the microphones kept picking up background noise from the musicians and their equipment. Goldsmith was still proud of the end result, calling it a chance to "create interesting music out of a bad situation".
As the premiere approached, rumors about the involvement of Rev. Moon and the Unification Church started circulating, resulting in protests by the public. The cast and crew claimed to have been kept in the dark about Moon's involvement in the project and not to have been told until eight weeks after filming had started; some crew members stated that they wouldn't have signed up for working on the film if they had known about it. The press releases given by the filmmakers didn't endear the movie to many; one of them included a story of how a B-29 pilot supposedly had photographed the face of Jesus appearing in the middle of a group of bomber planes during the war and claimed that MacArthur himself supported the movie - even though he had passed away in 1964.note This was apparently the result of one of the film's producers being told this by a psychic. Along with critical thrashings (including many Razzie Awards), the movie made only $2,000,000 in theaters and has never been released on video, rivalling Cutthroat Island and John Carter as an all-time box office bomb.
Leaked memos from Sony reveal that the studio was extremely antsy about the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie The Interview, claiming the movie was "Desperately unfunny". The execs also felt that the plot was inflammatory and inappropriate, and that the frequent use of Gorn would be off-putting for most audiences. There was also the fact that very few foreign markets wanted to touch the movie, with reasons ranging from the touchy subject matter to the fact that Seth Rogen apparently has very little appeal outside the United States. You can read more here. And of course, the memos were leaked because amidst North Korea's threats about being used in a comedy, hackers invaded the studio's servers and released plenty of papers and even a few movies online (Korea has been accused of sponsoring this, but they denied), giving such bad publicity Sony cancelled the US wide release. Then acquiesced due to the Streisand Effect.
They decided to shoot the desert scenes in Morocco instead of the Southwest United States because the studio had money in banks there it couldn't repatriate. Filming began in the midst of unrest across the Middle East, adding security costs to the movie (some locations had to be checked for land mines). And no one in Morocco had experience supporting a big-budget studio production, so logistics got really screwy.
The lore from this one is great. There was the production assistant who went looking for a blue-eyed camel in the market. Not realizing how rare they were, and that he should have just bought it right then and there, he went looking for another one so he'd have a price to bargain with the first guy. By the time he figured that out, the first guy had eaten the camel. Then, of course, there was the time that director Elaine May supposedly suddenly changed her mind about wanting dunes in a scene. So the production had to spend $75,000 and ten days having a square mile of desert bulldozed flat.
May was sick with toothaches most of the time, and spent a lot of time arguing with Warren Beatty, her producer and star. She got pissed at him for constantly taking the side of Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro in disputes, and didn't get along much with Isabelle Adjani, the female lead, who also happened to be Beatty's girlfriend at the time. Dustin Hoffman says there were periods when Beatty and May wouldn't talk to each other. Some of the crew said that any other director would have been fired for pulling the attitude she pulled on him. Eventually they compromised by shooting every scene twice, one her way and one his. "This was the kind of film where nobody would say 'Sorry, we can't afford that,'" said the guy in charge of the budget.
May liked to shoot lots of film. She supposedly demanded 50 retakes of a scene where some vultures landed next to Beatty and Hoffman. Ultimately she shot 108 hours of raw footage.
When they returned from Morocco to shoot scenes in New York, under union rules, an American cinematographer and crew had to sit around on paid standby for Storaro and his crew. During postproduction, May and Beatty fought frequently in the editing room, and May often left it to Beatty to direct the actors during looping sessions. The joke was (and some people say it was not a joke) that Bert Fields, their mutual agent, was the one with the real final cut on the film. And editing took so long (release was planned for Christmas 1986, but the film only hit theaters 6 months later), that May only turned in a print of the film when the studio threatened legal action.
Beatty would admit in interviews years later that the only thing that kept him from firing May in mid-production was the fear that taking a film away from one of Hollywood's only female directors would hurt his image as a women's rights activist.
To start with, Richard Stanley feared that he might be kicked off the production and replaced with Roman Polański before a single frame was even shot, as New Line Cinema had little faith in his ability to helm a big-budget blockbuster, so he enlisted a British warlock to carry out a blood magic ritual to ensure his job security and get star Marlon Brando (who played Dr. Moreau and enthusiastically endorsed Stanley's vision for the film) to vouch for him at meetings. One could say that it worked, as he kept his job, but things started going wrong almost from the moment production started up near Cairns, Queensland. The boat bringing the exotic animals to the set got caught in a hurricane, and Stanley stayed on the ship to ensure the animals' safety — which meant that he got peed on by a restless puma.
Bruce Willis was originally cast as Edward Douglas, but had to drop out due to the proceedings for his divorce from Demi Moore preventing him from leaving the country. Willis was replaced by Val Kilmer — who immediately started behaving like a prima donna, demanding a 40% cut in the days he was required on set and the construction of a treehouse to "get into character", having Marco Hofschneiders role heavily cut down to avoid being outshined, and frequently butting heads with Stanley to the point that all of his footage from the first few days of filming was deemed unusable. As such, he was recast in the smaller part of Dr. Montgomery so as to limit the amount of damage he could do; the part of Douglas was recast with Rob Morrow, but he only lasted two days before the sheer hostility on set led him to drop out, causing him to be replaced in turn with David Thewlis. (Kilmer attributes his obnoxious behavior to learning, upon the start of filming, that his own wife was suing him for divorce.)
Brando, meanwhile, didn't show up to the set at all initially. His daughter Cheyenne had just killed herself, sending him into a deep depression that prevented him from even leaving his private island, let alone flying out to Australia. Not only did this force Stanley to shoot Kilmer's scenes first, but not having Brando to vouch for him left him more vulnerable to pressure from New Line. When he finally did get to the set, Brando proved to be almost as bad as Kilmer. He stopped trying to memorize lines and would hear from a radio receiver instead; according to Thewlis, the receiver also picked up other transmissions like police scanners, meaning Brando would randomly announce things like "there's been a robbery at Woolworth's" in the middle of a scene. Brando also had the script revised to give more screen time to Nelson de la Rosa, the "world's smallest man" who he'd befriended during filming, he and Kilmer got along spectacularly poorly, and in one famous instance, he wore a bucket on his head and refused to take it off; this wound up in the finished film.
Stanley was eventually fired on the third day of shooting, and he did not take it well, destroying his notes, storyboards, and production art and then disappearing to a remote farm in the jungle, where he lived for two months. Co-star Fairuza Balk, upon learning of Stanley's firing, walked off the set in outrage and tried to escape the shoot with the help of one of the crew, only to be stopped literally at the airport and relented upon being informed that, if she dropped out, her career would likely be ruined. Stanley would later be discovered by a number of crew members still loyal to him, and he was smuggled back to the set in disguise as an extra wearing a rubber dog mask (security had been tightened in case he tried to sabotage the film). Nobody was the wiser.
John Frankenheimer took over after Stanley's firing, using New Line's desperation as leverage to secure a massive paycheck and a three-picture deal. He faced Kilmer and Brando on the same coin: apparently, he once replied to Kilmer with "I don't give a fuck. Get off my set!" (He had nothing but bad things to say about his experience directing Kilmer, and vowed to never work with him again.) Stanley's script was also discarded, and the new one was being rewritten on a daily basis. Frankenheimer's arrival was by all accounts a case of Tyrant Takes the Helm — he was a very "old-fashioned" director whose dictatorial control of the production led to constant clashes with the cast, the crew, and the studio. What's especially ironic is that New Line chose him specificallybecause he had a reputation for being a stubborn jackass who could dish out as much abuse to his prima-donna actors as they gave him. What they didn't count on was him being double-teamed by both Brando and Kilmer, and when he wasn't dealing with fending off their antics, he continued to act shitty to the rest of the cast and crew who didn't deserve it.
The constant delays meant that the extras playing Moreau's "children" were frequently bored and had nothing to do... so they descended into sex, drugs, and all-around debauchery. Desperate for extras to replace them, Frankenheimer eventually hired some random hippies.
The film finally entered theaters after a harrowing six-month shoot, whereupon it was met with a scathing reception and bombed at the box office.
The 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's It did not have any troubles during filming but pre-production was anything but smooth. The film had been languishing since 2009 when Warner Bros wanted to bring a more faithful adaptation to screen than the television adaptation was. A script was written in 2010 by Dave Kajganich that tried to cram the entire book into one script but didn't pan out. In 2012, True Detective and Beasts of No Nation director Cary Joji Fukunaga was hired to do his own take (which instead of one film would be split into two parts) and co-wrote with Chase Palmer two different scripts of the film that veered very differently from the original source in 2014 and 2015, especially the '15 version. But in 2015, Fukunaga had to bail due to the fact the studio was not gelling with his ideas (Fukunaga himself claims that it was Creative Differences, that he wanted to make an unconventional horror film). However, the script - specifically the 2015 version - was still preserved and was used as the basis for the final shooting script when Mama director Andrés Muschietti and Annabelle writer Gary Dauberman came in and provided some changes to make the script more faithful to the original book. Things ended up shockingly well after all that, with the film being highly acclaimed as one of the greatest ever adaptations of Stephen King's work, and getting the biggest opening weekend ever for a horror film. We even also got Stranger Things out of the deal when the Duffer Brothers were among the people turned down by the studio and decided to make their own Spiritual Licensee.
The film was set to go in early 2013, with Natalie Portman starring in and producing the film, Lynne Ramsay (maker of the film adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin) directing, Michael Fassbender playing the ex-lover of Portman's character, and Joel Edgerton as the villain. Before production began, Fassbender dropped out, causing Edgerton to take his role and Jude Law to take the role that Edgerton had vacated.
The real problems started on what was to be the first day of filming, when Ramsay dropped out for reasons unknown. Accounts as to why she did so vary wildly; while she has cited Creative Differences and contract issues, the studio claims that she was drunk, disruptive, and abusive to the cast and crew, and had slacked off on some of the duties in her contract. The studio subsequently sued Ramsay for breach of contract, with Ramsay in turn counter-suing for defamation of character; both cases were eventually settled out of court.
Jude Law dropped out the day after Ramsay left, as he had signed on to the film mainly to work with her. Law and Ramsay were subsequently replaced with Bradley Cooper and Gavin O'Connor (director of Warrior), respectively. Not long after, Cooper himself was forced to drop out, as his film American Hustle had been delayed by the Boston Marathon bombings, jamming up his schedule; Cooper was subsequently replaced by Ewan McGregor. The film's planned August 2014 release was now little more than wishful thinking, and the film was kicked back to February and then September of 2015 (not a great sign).
As if the indignity of Ramsay's high-profile departure wasn't enough, the film's distributor, Relativity Media, was in the throes of bankruptcy at the time and was forced to drop the film from its release schedule and turn it over to The Weinstein Company, pushing its release back again.
The film finally landed in theaters in January 2016 (after a year and a half of delays overall) with mixed reviews from critics, who felt that its production troubles readily showed on screen, and a resounding thud at the box office, making well under a million dollars in the worst-grossing wide release (about 1,200 theaters) of Portman's career.
It was conceived in 1976 in response to A Star is Born, but it took a year to disentangle exactly which studio could grant rights for a remake (Warner Bros. and United Artists both claimed ownership of the 1927 version).
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer greenlighted the film to start production in the fall of 1978, but canceled it at almost the last minute. A new deal was worked out and filming was supposed to start in the spring of 1979, but Diamond asked for a delay so he could have back surgery and finish writing the songs. The producers were ticked off and briefly considered replacing Diamond with Barry Manilow.
Once filming finally commenced at the start of 1980, initial director Sidney J. Furie rewrote the screenplay beyond recognition and made several bizarre decisions such as hiring Laurence Olivier who had no known Jewish ancestry, and was well into his Money, Dear Boy phase to play the all-important part of Cantor Rabinovitch, and having Diamond perform a scene in blackface in total seriousness (his character fills in as the lead singer of an R&B band on short notice). After seeing how much money Furie had already wasted on useless footage, the producers fired him after just a few weeks and replaced him with Richard Fleischer.
After checking the dailies that Furie shot, Fleischer realised he had an enormous task at hand. Diamond was wooden and unconvincing, while Olivier had decided to be as much of a Large Ham as possible. Then original lead actress Deborah Raffin quit in protest of Furie's dismissal. She was replaced by Lucie Arnaz, who was cast so hastily that they didn't even have time to screen test her. Fleischer decided to reshoot virtually everything shot so far (except, bizarrely, the blackface sequence).
Things ran a lot smoother under Fleischer, though the reshoots meant that they badly overran the original shooting schedule, causing the budget to balloon; Olivier for instance had time to leave the country, film scenes for Brideshead Revisited and direct a play, while being paid for this film all the while. Then, just to add insult to injury, after the film wrapped Olivier went out to dinner with some friends and talked about how disastrous the shoot had been, only for a reporter at a nearby table to overhear this and publish the story the following day, while conveniently leaving out the fact that Olivier had been talking about when Furie was directing the film, not Fleischer's subsequent work.
There was a slight silver lining, as the film itself did surprisingly well at the box office, making back double its budget, with Diamond's soundtrack becoming the best-selling album of his career, spawning three huge hits ("America", "Love on the Rocks", "Hello Again"). But the film was poorly reviewed and, with the cost overruns, was much less profitable than the studio had hoped for.
Jet Pilot, starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh, began production in 1949 and didn't finish filming until 1953. And it didn't get released until 1957 due to the endless tinkering of RKO's owner, Howard Hughes. By the time it was released, Hughes didn't even own RKO anymore and the studio was pretty much dead in the water; the film was distributed by Universal to poor reviews and considerable backlash from Wayne, who thought it was one of the worst pictures he'd ever made. (But hey, at least they got Chuck Yeager to do some of the flying!)
Jinxed. The problems occurred when the film's lead Bette Midler clashed relentlessly with the director Don Siegel and co-star Ken Wahl. Things got worse when in the middle of filming, Siegel suffered a heart attack and Sam Peckinpah stepped in to finish some of the film without being credited. The screenwriter Frank D. Gilroy even disassociated himself from the final product by being credited as "Burt Blessing". When it was released in the fall of 1982, it was slammed by critics and bombed at the box office, making less than $3 million against its $13 million budget. This would be the last film Siegel ever directed.
John Carter's leap on the big screen was such a misfire, it inspired a book entitled John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. According to author Michael D. Sellers:
The idea to make an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars floated all the way back to 1931. Future Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett approached Burroughs into doing an animated serial of the novel. Burroughs was enthralled in that idea, seeing as animation would offer greater opportunities for John Carter than live action, and gave Clampett the go ahead with the aid of his son John Coleman Burroughs. Clampett and Coleman worked on concept art for months, usually on nights and weekends, and Burroughs mooned MGM as an ideal choice for distribution. At the time, the studio was raking in huge profits from the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films, so it seemed fit that they would be interested in tackling Burroughs' other famous hero. MGM was won over when they saw test footage Clampett and Coleman cooked up, composed of innovating techniques such as oil painting side shadowing, so they shopped it around to theater exhibitors. Unfortunately, they reacted negatively to the footage, as some agents in the Midwest and South thought that a man on Mars was too outrageous for audiences. MGM balked on the John Carter serial and Clampett turned down requests to do a Tarzan one instead. Had the project got the greenlight, it would have beaten Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the first American animated feature.
As the project languished in Development Hell, stop motion legend Ray Harryhausen tried to adapt the novel in the late 1950s. He couldn't get studio attention due to its then daunting technical challenge with effects work. Later across the pond, Raymond Leicester took a shot at adapting John Carter in the 1970s. In spite of extensive conceptual work, the film went nowhere. While this was going on, interest in Burroughs' novel spiked, inspiring other sci-fi works like Star Wars.
Looking to ride the coattails of Star Wars, Disney bought the rights to the novel in 1986 from producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna. They hired Charles Pogue (The Fly (1986)) to pen the script, then it was passed to Terry Black for rewrites. Still feeling like it needed work, Disney commissioned Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio to further rework the script. Things looked to be falling in to place as the studio tapped John McTiernan to direct and after one more rewrite by Bob Gale of Back to the Future fame, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts were attached to star by 1991. Unfortunately, Cruise was dissatisfied with the script so McTiernan chose Sam Resnick for yet another rewrite.
Once everyone was okay with the revisions, Disney had the script budgeted and it came out to a staggering $120 million. A big issue was how to achieve the visual look of the film. Disney wanted to use animals as the aliens, but McTiernan was more convinced that the booming CGI technology would do the trick. Further complicating matters was that Carolco Pictures, Kassar and Vajna's production house, had fallen onto tough financial times. Eventually, McTiernan withdrew from the project in 1993 and Disney hired George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass for even more rewrites. The project eventually crumbled, and Disney sat on the property for so long that the rights reverted back to the Burroughs estate.
Not long afterwards, producer James Jacks, after hearing praises about the novel from Harry Knowles, convinced Paramount to pick up the rights to John Carter and won a bidding war against Sony. Jacks brought Knowles on board to moonlight the project and Mark Protosovich to write a screenplay from scratch. Knowles made his own contribution by bringing in Robert Rodriguez to direct. Pre-production went smoothly this time and by 2005, Rodriguez was using the same digital sets he used for Sin City, going as far as to hire famed Burroughs illustrator Frank Frazetta as designer. Suddenly, production came to halt when Rodriguez found himself in hot water with the Director's Guild of America over giving Sin City creator Frank Miller a co-directing credit. He consequently resigned from the guild and Paramount, unable to use a non-DGA director, had to find a replacement.
Jon Favreau replaced Conran and had Mark Fergus do more work on the script. As the previous incarnation took place in a modern setting, Favreau reverted it back to its Civil War roots. He also wanted to use practical effects over CGI, though he was in favor of having a combination of both for the Tharks. Once again, the proposed budget came in too high. In the end, Paramount gave up trying to adapt the novel and by 2006 the rights went back to the Burroughs estate.note Favreau did appear in the eventual finished film though, playing a Thark Bookie.
Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton got wind of the news and saw this as an opportunity to bring John Carter out of his misery. He approached then Disney studio chief Dick Cook about the possibility of letting him helm John Carter as his next feature provided Disney was willing to regain the rights. Cook gave in to his request and the project was back with the mouse house. Because of the involvement of Stanton, writer Mark Andrews and producer Jim Morris, reports speculated that it would be another Disney/Pixar project, but Stanton later claimed that John Carter of Mars would be a standalone live-action Disney film and that he was being "loaned out" from Pixar.
There were reservations at Disney about letting Stanton direct the film, despite his strong sentimental attachment to the material, because he'd never directed a live-action feature before. But, since he'd made WALLE and Finding Nemo into hits, they let him do it even though he warned them, "I'm not gonna get it right the first time, I'll tell you that right now." They didn't even know how much the film would cost as the new screenplay by Stanton, Andrews and later Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon was taking a long time to be completed. In addition, Stanton made some unorthodox decisions in casting by choosing little known actors for the leads, with Taylor Kitsch playing John Carter and Lynn Collins playing Dejah Thoris. While such choices would be highly evaluated by the executives due to bankability concerns, Cook was inclined to give in to Stanton's demands. Even when the script was ready, Stanton couldn't figure out a budget, which was not a big concern for him. Cook pegged it at around $150 million at the least, but once Jim Morris punched the numbers based on all the VFX shots needed for the film, it was clear that the budget was going to be much higher than that. On top of this, reduction was out of the question so Cook approved a budget that would later be revealed to be $250 million, making it one of the most expensive films ever made. This would be one of Cook's last decisions before being fired by Disney CEO Bob Iger in September 2009.
Cook's replacement came in the form of Rich Ross, who was the former head of the Disney Channel and had little experience with feature films. Ross replaced most of the staff of Disney's film department with new studio executives who were likewise just as inexperienced with movies, since most had come from television. Iger was never keen on John Carter's outrageously high price tag and informed Ross that it was a serious issue. Stanton was certain that the greenlight he got from Cook would be revoked, but since the film was already deep in pre-production to the point that shooting arrangements were being made and that the project was seen as a "Pixar baby", Iger and Ross allowed John Carter of Mars to go behind the camera. They gave full production support on the project though marketing would be limited to a normal release instead of an event film. This would bite Iger and Ross on the ass later on.
Filming finally began on January 4, 2010. Stanton's process of "remaking" a movie in animation was difficult to execute in the unfamiliar live-action realm and the film required extensive double reshoots. Throughout production, he ignored the advice of the crewmembers who were live-action veterans in favor of his Pixar friends, back in their offices. Despite this, principal photography went rather smoothly with Stanton delivering on time and on budget.
Then, it came time to market the film, which was already handicapped in that department by having no big stars in the cast. Major entertainment outlets were wary of Disney's new marketing head MT Carney, who directly led the John Carter campaign instead of consulting a client producer. After the box office disaster that was Mars Needs Moms, Carney felt the original title, John Carter of Mars, sounded too geeky and having "Mars" in the title would just create another bomb. She decided to drop "of Mars" from the title leaving only "John Carter", which she felt would attract a wider audience though it didn't exactly resound with the modern public the way James Bond would.note The film already underwent a name change from A Princess of Mars early on as Stanton thought that would drive away the male demographic. By the time word got out of the film's budget, with rival studios claiming that it shot up to $300 million, and when Stanton made an interview about his Pixar process in filming, which indicated costly reshoots, the buzz on John Carter turned sour.
Making matters worse, a trailer shown at D23 did not go over well, and Stanton refused to take any advice from the studio's marketing department. He insisted on using Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" in the trailer even after it was pointed out to him that a 30-year-old classic rock song was not likely to resonate with the younger male audience the film was intended for. The press for John Carter got so bad it was referred to as "Disney's Folly".
The Keep was the second film directed by Michael Mann, based on a horror novel by F. Paul Wilson and with a cast that included Jürgen Prochnow, Gabriel Bryne, Scott Glenn and Ian McKellen. What could have gone wrong? Everything.
Production started in September 1982 and lasted for twenty-two weeks due to additional re-shoots (original schedule was only 13 weeks).
One of the main problems was the physical appearance of the main villain of the movie, Molasar, who was changed several times during filming because Michael Mann just couldn't decide what he would look like. Originally, a mechanical figure was built to be used, but that design was changed to a man in a suit during filming.
Two weeks into post-production, visual effects supervisor Wally Veevers died, which caused chaos because nobody knew how he planned to finish the effects in the movie.
Because of the death of Wally Veevers, Mann had to finish 260 shots of special effects himself. Also, a new ending had to be filmed. The original climax was more faithful to the novel in some aspects and would involve Molasar and Glaeken in a battle at the top of the tower. Glaeken would open an energy portal and fall into it along with Molasar. After that, Glaeken would materialize in the cave below the keep, like a mortal man. At this point, Paramount had clearly lost faith in the film and refused to pay for the filming of the additional footage needed for this finale, so Mann put together a more simplified ending for the released film.
The original cut of the movie was 210 minutes long, but the studio made it clear that the film could only be two hours long. Test screenings of the two-hour cut were negative and that was the last straw for Paramount. The studio cut the movie down to 96 minutes and did not allow Mann to have any creative control over the final cut. This explains why the final cut is a mess, with plot holes and continuity mistakes (like the fact that Glaeken and Eva became a couple almost immediately after they met). All these problems in post-production inevitably forced the studio to postpone the original release of the film from June 1983 to December 1983.
In the end, The Keep turned out to be a box office and critical failure, becoming an Old Shame for Mann, who refuses to release a new edit of this film. The film, now considered a Cult Classic, was only officially released on DVD in January 2020!
Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy suffered from this. Reportedly, the Kids could barely stand each other during filming and often got into arguments on-set. Dave Foley left the group after their television series' final season for NewsRadio and said he didn't want to do the movie but was contractually obligated to. Nobody could agree on what the film was to be about, the troupe had to fight tooth-and-nail with Paramount Pictures for their movie to be made right, and a mountain of personal problems piled on top of all this led to everyone except Mark McKinney considering quitting the troupe altogether.
Kin-Dza-Dza!, a late 80s Soviet surrealist Sci-Fi comedy by the renowned comedy director Georgi Danelia was this from the start. Between filming in the desert with no infrastructure to speak of (and this being the 80s Soviet Union, that really is saying something), the railway losing all prepared sets (they were eventually found after the filming on the other end of the country) in shipping, which forced the team to cobble them together from scrap in-place,note Wef's cap is the codpiece from the discarded fighter pilot's suit, and Pepelats was just thrown together from scrap iron from the nearest dump welded together by a local plumber. the relentless Executive Meddling from the authorities, script changes due to Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign, and half of the film being ad-libbed, it's a major miracle that it was just completed, much less becoming the instant cult classic that it is.
Kiss Me, Stupid was snakebit from the beginning. First, Peter Sellers proved difficult when he began having Creative Differences with Billy Wilder. Then, Sellers had a near-fatal heart attack halfway through production forcing Wilder to scramble to find a replacement. He unsuccessfully tried to recruit a number of actors for the role before casting Ray Walston. Next, the film got into trouble with the Catholic Legion of Decency who tagged it with a "Condemned" rating. This inadvertently generated free publicity for the movie but also made a number of theater owners gun-shy about showing it. Finally, when the movie was released, it was met with a lukewarm critical reaction and disappointing box office returns thereby ending what had been a long streak of critical and financial successes for Wilder.
The project first started when two college graduates, Zak Penn and Adam Leff, wanted to make a movie parodying 1980s action movies after being inspired by The Simpsons (who ironically went on to mock Last Action Hero). After binge watching loads of action movies, they wrote a complete script and sent it to up and coming agent Chris Moore, who loved the idea so much that he sent the script (Extremely Violent) to various studios, which resulted in a bidding war — it was won by Columbia with $350,000. Because the premise was so popular, it also managed to attract Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom no one expected to sign off on a parody flick like this.
At the time, it seemed like a dream come true for Penn and Leff. That is, until Schwarzenegger felt that the script wasn't all that professional, and that the violence needed to be toned down. Because of the changes, Penn and Leff were kicked off of their own project. Schwarzenegger got Shane Black, hot off of the success of The Last Boy Scout, to do rewrites. Black and his co-writer, David Arnott, thought that the job was going to be a breeze, having already come up with some clever jokes that pleased the suits at Columbia. However, Black's optimism screeched to a halt when action movie director John McTiernan was hired as the film's director. Since McTiernan was already experienced in the action genre that the movie was attempting to parody, many saw it as a mistake, wanting someone outside of the genre like Robert Zemeckis or John Landis, both well known for picking apart genres. McTiernan, after looking at Black's script, proceeded to rewrite it several times.
Black and Arnott were later fired from the movie, with rewrites being given to an uncredited William Goldman, Carrie Fisher, and Larry Ferguson. Because of how stressful it was rewriting the movie, McTiernan called Black one night in order to get advice on how to write some of the action scenes, an act that Black considered not only ironic, but also insulting.
After multiple rewrites, the script was finally complete, and production began in August 1992, with a $60 million budget (an incredibly large amount of money back then) and a release date of June 1993. The short timeframe it took to make the movie caused McTiernan to become a paranoid jerk. He claimed that Black and Arnott were conspiring against him after they visited Schwarzenegger's trailer to say "hi", and later called Penn to allow him to return to the movie as a cameo, purposefully blocking him from the scene and making his cameo unnoticeable.
Meanwhile, the crew couldnt decide on whether to make it a kids' movie or an action movie. Because of how rushed the filmmaking process was, McTiernan and the rest of the crew had to work 18-hour days. Actor Austin O'Brien (Danny) didnt get a chance to see how rushed the production was until he passed out after his harness suffocated him during a scene taking place on a skyline. McTiernan literally came up to him afterwards and told him, "We cannot afford to stop shooting."
After the chaotic filming came to an end, the only thing left was to edit it... which presented even more problems. With three weeks left until the movie's release, McTiernan didn't bother to edit all that much, leaving entire sequences in because of the lack of time. Because Black was feeling generous, he decided to take a look at McTiernan's cut of the movie... which he described as a complete mess filled with random scenes, poor casting, and none of his original dialogue. McTiernan described this part of making the movie as "the worst time I've ever had in this business." By this point, the movie wasn't what Penn and Leff had in mind. Rather than being an Affectionate Parody of action movies, the movie instead became a barrage of Hollywood in-jokes and cameos that ended up going against the movie.
Then it came time to market the movie. After a disastrous test screening, Columbia forced McTiernan to reshoot the ending, a task he wasn't into. Columbia then spent loads of money on weird marketing strategies for the movie, such as a NASA rocket that had the movie's logo on it, which ended up getting delayed until months after the movie was in theaters. Meanwhile, a giant inflatable figure of Schwarzenegger did make it to Times Square in New York City on schedule, but the first World Trade Center attack that spring meant that the dynamite it held in one hand had to be changed to a gun. Even McTiernan was against the marketing for the movie, claiming that Columbia was overhyping it.
Finally, Columbia severely underestimated the public's interest in anotherSummer Blockbuster wannabe with a much more conventional but equally big advertising campaign — Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park — figuring Schwarzenegger's A-list status was more than enough to compete with a film that had no "marquee" actors. Even when Universal decided to release it the weekend before Last Action Hero, Columbia decided not to move their film's release date. When Jurassic Park had a then-record opening weekend of $47 million (in 1993 dollars), Schwarzenegger was asked by the press about it but only responded "No comment."
A Caucasian Katara forced the casting of a Caucasian Sokka, and Jackson Rathbone was at least a fan of the series who shared the character's humour; however, the producers cut the intentional jokes from the script in the interest of time, leaving the dull characterisation of Sokka that landed in the finished product.note The film's gag reel attests to Rathbone's comic timing, which could have made for a portrayal much more faithful to the show.
Noah Ringer as Aang had talent but lacked experience, and felt (and looked) lost when talking to air for scenes that would be greenscreened later.
The budget was also very sloppily allocated. The opening scenes at the South Pole were shot on location in Greenland at great expense, but after the producers decided that they couldn't believably render the scenes of elemental manipulation with camera practical effects and so gave a large fraction of the budget to Industrial Light and Magic for post-production of those scenes, most of the rest of the location shooting was done on a far more modest scale in Shyamalan's home turf of Pennsylvania. The Fire Nation palace was a Philadelphia high school, the Earth Kingdom was the area in and around Reading, and the North Pole scenes were shot in an old aircraft hangar and greenscreened.
Post-production was similarly rushed and left in the hands of staff members hopelessly out of their depths, leading to such scenes as the widely derided "pebble dance". By this point, Shyamalan had given up arguing with the overheads, and DiMartino and Konietzko were only listed as executive producers because they created the original series, not because they were allowed any input into the film itself. Finally, 30 minutes were cut when Paramount decided on a last-minute 3-D conversion and found there wasn't enough money to convert the entire film. The result was eviscerated by critics and fans of the series, and DiMartino and Konietzko have publicly said they prefer to pretend it never happened.
While mild compared to some examples, The Last Boy Scout had a very troubled production. Everybody involved in the production of the film had a miserable time working with it.
Michael Kamen and Bruce Willis took over the production and made significant changes to Shane Black's script and made Tony Scott film many scenes that he didn't like under threat of being fired from production. Not even that made Kamen like the film.
Filming took place in Chincero in the Peruvian Andes, one the world's leading producers of cocaine. On the flight down, the plane was barely in the air before the film crew started passing drugs around, much to the horror of a staid South American businessman, who muttered, "Damn gringos".
In Peru, Hopper managed to offend the government by spouting the joys of marijuana and expressing tolerance of homosexuality. The ruling junta started investigating Hopper's background, not liking what they saw. Kris Kristofferson told The Guardian in 2008:
I see the guy he's mellowed into now and I love Dennis. But back then, he was the most self-destructive guy I had ever seen! He got a priest defrocked because he got him involved in some weird mass for James Dean. He antagonised the military and all the politicians. It was crazy.
Inevitably, substance abuse was rampant. Brad Darrach, a reporter from Life magazine claimed that a crew hand had managed to score cocaine, seven dollars for a packet that cost ten times that in America. By the first evening, some thirty crewmembers were snorting coke, dropping acid or smoking weed. Darrach was awaken at 2 A.M. by screams he believed to be from a young actress experiencing a bad trip. At one of the many wild parties, one actor reportedly tied a young girl to a post because she looked like Joan of Arc and wanted to re-enact her immolation. There was also a rumour that a young actor died after taking too many peyote buds. Another reporter, Kit Carson, answered his door one evening and a man with a bottle offered him some ether.
I mean, everything you can imagine was being done in this hotel. That whole shoot, that was one of the most out-of-control situations I've ever seen.
During one scene, a horse bolted after hearing a prop gunfire and fell off a high wall, breaking its back. After a crew member euthanasied it, a group of locals arrived carrying knives and butchered the animal for its meat. Two cast members fainted and the rest retreated to the nearest bar. Hopper later broke down crying at this.
As filming went on, the crew turned to booze rather than drugs as the temperature dropped markedly. At the wrap photo shoot, Hopper hollered, "This picture was not made on grass. This picture was made on scotch and soda". During filming, Hopper's personal supply of grass was stolen and for the rest of the shoot he had to bum from other people's private stashes.
Amazingly, filming was completed on schedule and within budget. A physically drained Hopper now had to edit the film, which he did in Taos rather than Hollywood. It took a year to cut forty hours worth of footage into a two-hour film and was constantly changing the message he wanted to convey. When the studio called him up to check on his progress, Hopper cursed them down the phone. When they came to see a rough version, Hopper retreated to a local bar instead.
At a test-screening at the University of Iowa, Hopper was booed, jeered and pelted with objects as he got onstage. Dragged into the lobby, a young woman asked Hopper if he'd made the film. When he said yes, she punched him in the face and called him a "sexist fucking pig".
Hopper refused to edit the film into a more commercial form and Universal played it for just a couple of weeks in L.A. before shelving it, despite the fact that it won the Critics' Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Within the space of eighteen months, Hopper had gone from industry saviour to unemployable rebel.
As detailed in this article, 1981's The Legend of The Lone Ranger. For starters, the producers hired Klinton Spilsbury, a male model with minimal acting experience, for the lead, hoping that casting an unknown would pay off like it had with Christopher Reeve. But even before filming began the production became a PR disaster when the producers sued Clayton Moore, the star of the 1950s TV adaptation, for making in-character personal appearances. Once filming started, Spilsbury exhibited Small Name, Big Ego tendencies, stunt man Terry Leonard suffered a near-fatal injury, respected cinematographer William Fraker proved to be too inexperienced as a director, post-production issues pushed the film's release date back six months, and concern over Spilsbury's lackluster performance led the studio to hire James Keach to loop all of his dialogue in post-production. The film died at the box office in a summer dominated by Raiders of the Lost Ark, gaining a reputation as Franchise Killer. Spilsbury left Hollywood and has never appeared in another movie.
Lifeforce took more time to film than expected and eventually went over-budget, leaving several scenes omitted because there was no money left. This contributed to the movie's rather disjointed narrative and from there middling reviews and remarkably poor box office performance. The movie's failure dealt a fatal blow to Tobe Hooper's career; he would only direct one more big-budget movie as part of his contract with The Cannon Group, and Invaders from Mars fared no better at the box office. Lifeforce was also the first of several big-budget flops that eventually brought down Cannon Pictures as a whole.
The Lighthouse was described in an interview with stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as an unpleasant experience. Beyond the fact that the conditions were so harsh that they hardly talked outside of filming, the latter admitted he came close to punching director Robert Eggers in the face during the filming of one grueling scene involving them being sprayed in the face with a fire hose.
The crew didn't fare much better. The film equipment was constantly breaking due to the absolutely miserable weather conditions, and sometimes the lens would fog up, thus ruining the shot. One scene of Pattinson walking into the ocean had to be shot a whopping 25 times before the lens didn't fog up. Seagulls also plagued the area, and began bothering the cast and film crew, once the gulls quickly realized they were a source for food.
The 2013 The Lone Ranger didn't fare much better than its 1981 predecessor.
Originally pitched in 2007, it changed hands several times and had the script rewritten at least twice. Then in 2011 Disney delayed the start of production due to concerns about the budget and greatly frustrated director Gore Verbinski, though in the end Disney's concerns turned out to be quite founded.
The project was revived when Verbinski agreed to scrap the original concept of a supernatural Western (similar to Pirates of the Caribbean) in hopes of reining in the projected budget.
Once filming actually began in 2012, it was delayed repeatedly by inclement weather, wildfires, a chickenpox outbreak and the death of a crew member who was working in a water tank, and at one point Johnny Depp was nearly trampled to death by a horse. And to top it off, it lost between 95 and 120 million dollars putting it in ninth place in the list of the biggest box office flops ever.
The Lonely Lady had an even tougher time of things in Hollywood than its title character:
Universal initially intended to produce an adaptation to be released around the same time as the novel's release in 1976, hiring Susan Blakely to star and Dean Riesner as writer-director. However, Blakely was never satisfied with any of the screenplay drafts, and years later it was reported that she never really had any intention of actually making the film, and just attached herself to the project to run down her pay-or-play contract with Universal.
The project then went dormant until 1982, when it was revived as a vehicle for Pia Zadora, courtesy of her multi-millionaire husband, who co-financed the film's production. However, Universal still had creative control over the project, and forced Zadora's favored director, Matt Cimber, off the film, replacing him with Hammer Horror veteran Peter Sasdy, who proved a poor choice to direct a romantic thriller. Zadora feuded with Sasdy and the studio-appointed script doctors throughout filming, and by the end it was clear that the finished product was a disaster. She and her husband offered to buy out Universal's stake in the film, intending to bury it, but they refused.
After Sasdy's director's cut was booed off the screen by test audiences, Universal undertook a major re-editing of the film, when one more bizarre twist of fate struck; the person assigned to head the film's publicity campaign was John Wilson, founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards, and he persuaded the studio to re-instate Sasdy's cut with only a couple of minor alterations, knowing full well that the film would gain far more of a cult reputation if it were So Bad, It's Good instead of just mediocre and forgettable, as the studio's re-edit would have been. The released film promptly ended up being a critical and commercial disaster, Wilson rewarded the studio by giving the film a then record-breaking number of Razzies, and Zadora, having failed to prevent the film's theatrical release, at least managed to keep it from getting a home video release until 2017, when it finally got released on Blu-ray.
Filming started in Hong Kong where, Peter O'Toole's seasickness aside, everything went smoothly. When the production moved to Cambodia, it was a different story. The cast and crew had to contend with dysentery, heat rash and insectsnote To give one example, O'Toole's then-wife Sian Phillips visited and found a spider in her hotel bathroom. Then the snakes arrived. While walking down the middle of a jungle road, O'Toole came face-to-face with a black cobra. He recalled, "They say no snake can travel faster than a scared human, but I ain't so sure. The snake went like hell, but luckily away from me". One dinner he found a live snake in his soup and on another occasion a cobra slithered onto the set and into the makeshift ladies' toilet. According to O'Toole, of particular dread was a snake called the Two Step—"It bites you, you take two steps and then you die".
According to director Richard Brooks' biographer Douglass Daniel, though the Cambodian government never demanded any script approval, one condition of its agreement to allow on-location shooting in the troubled nation was for the production company to build a 45-room addition to an existing hotel near the famed Angkor Wat ruins, at a cost of $600,000 from the $9 million budget.
The Cambodian officials constantly sought bribes. Brooks was forced to hire Cambodian soldiers instead of local extras and with half a dozen dialects being spoken, the translators required translators.note One of the translators was photojournalist Dith Pran, whose experiences during the genocidal "Year Zero" era in Cambodia from 1975-79 were dramatised in The Killing Fields.
During filming there was a spate of political violence in Cambodia. One day a mysterious Frenchman appeared on the location and darkly advised Brooks to get his company out of the country by March 12. With Peter O'Toole's concurrence, the work schedule was doubled and the daily shooting went on from noon until nearly dawn. The 12-week schedule was cut to nine and the company left the country on March 3. A week later, the American and British embassies were attacked by mobs. O'Toole was convinced that some of the attackers had worked on the film as extras.
Prince Sihanouk, who was very pro-China and was currently in a war with words with America over Vietnam, visited the set. According to O'Toole, he spouted anti-British sentiments, to which O'Toole responded, "I couldn't agree with you more. I'm Irish myself". When the Prince later denounced the movie company as "Western imperialist invaders" on national radio, O'Toole took revenge by telling a reporter from Life Magazine that "If I live to be a thousand, I want nothing like Cambodia again. It was a bloody nightmare". He was promptly banned from entering the country again.
The chaotic production resulted in a mess that was panned by critics and avoided by audiences. In a particularly personal example of rejection by the latter, Lord Jim was screened at the Royal Command Film Performance in 1965 before an audience including HM Queen Elizabeth II. James Mason, who played antagonist "Gentleman" Brown, was among the cast members at the screening, and secured free tickets for his octogenarian parents. However, the elder Mr and Mrs Mason hated the film so much they left halfway through - before their son's first scene.
Frank Capra's Lost Horizon is a notable early example. At just over a million dollars, it was the most expensive film Columbia had produced up to that point. Exercising his power as one of the first recipients of the Auteur License, Capra put the film overbudget and overschedule, with lots of location filming (a rarity at the time) and multiple cameras running. His initial cut was six hours (with early talk of splitting it into two parts), then a three-and-a-half-hour cut was previewed but bombed horribly with the audience. Capra shot new scenes and did further cutting, but the studio took it away and did the final cut themselves. The film needed several years to recoup its budget, and this isn't even getting into the later cuts and restorations.
Woody Allen's Love and Death was shot in France and Hungary, and production was beset by bad weather, food poisoning, spoiled negatives, and physical injuries. Furthermore, the crews and extras were from different countries, and didn't all speak the same language, making it difficult for them to communicate with each other and Allen. With all of these problems, Allen swore he'd never film outside of the US ever again.
The Love Witch was a nightmare to shoot according to people who worked on it. The crew found director Anna Biller unbearable to work with and a prima donna to the extent that at least half the crew quit the production. In fact, it wasn't uncommon to see job postings pop up on Craigslist again and again for key crew positions. Biller didnt help things when in a series of tweets she lashed out against the crew, calling them sexist and claiming they were afraid of women. When asked about what the production was like in an email, the films cinematographer M. David Mullen flat out said Im not allowed to talk about it.
Macbeth 1971 suffered lots of setbacks due to bad weather delaying filming, special effects malfunctioning and the director insisting on doing several long excessive takes. Production ran six months over schedule and $600,000 over budget.
Mad Max: Fury Road may well be the most acclaimed action movie of 2015, but getting it made was far from a Sunday drive. This article by Kyle Buchanan for The New York Times lays it all out in gritty detail.
Director George Miller decided to make a fourth Mad Max movie in 1998 when an idea popped into his head: what if he did it as one long Chase Scene? A month later, he called producer Doug Mitchell, and the wheels started turning. Even at this early stage, Charlize Theron was being talked about as a potential female lead, along with Uma Thurman. Miller originally wanted to film in his homeland of Australia in 2001, but due to the 9/11 terror attacks, it fell into Development Hell, and he wound up making Happy Feet instead.
Fury Road was once again set to film around late 2010 in the traditional setting of Broken Hill, Australia, but due to once-in-a-century heavy rainfall transforming the desert landscape into a lush meadow of flowers, the start of production was pushed back a year and a half and had to be moved to Namibia. This forced a huge extra cost: the vehicles had to be transported by ship all the way to Africa.
Production finally commenced in July 2012, and the harsh Namibian desert conditions took a major toll on the cast and crew. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley described the weather as either "boiling hot, freezing cold, or dust storms", and Riley Keough got hypothermia one day due to the combination of her skimpy outfit and the cold weather. Halfway through production, they took a week off just to give everyone a much-needed break. Theron, who grew up in neighboring South Africa, was the only one who had no problem with the conditions.
That's not to say that Theron's overall experience was perfect. She and Hardy did not get along during filming, with Hardy's Method Acting very much bothering Theron. She and Zoë Kravitz would also later claim that Hardy and Miller fought frequently. Theron would add that she had trouble receiving direction from Miller, who had envisioned the film in his head and had trouble communicating his vision with the cast — something that terrified her, as she'd watched other productions she'd been on fall apart for similar reasons. Other cast members said that Miller visibly deteriorated and lost a lot of weight over the course of the six-month production, and that by the end, he was "shattered"; he said that the prospect of finally finishing his film was the only thing that kept him going. Hardy would later apologize to Miller at the film's Cannes premiere, while Theron would describe her memories of production as a mix of joy at what they accomplished and trauma at what it took to get there.
Amid claims of the film going overbudget and behind schedule, Warner Bros. sent studio head Jeff Robinov to check up on production. He was so horrified by what he saw that he sent producer Denise Di Novi to supervise production, telling them that they had until December 8 to get the film finished. When that date rolled around, they were forced to go into post-production without any of the scenes set in the Citadel, and the editors spent a year trying to figure out how to cut together the film without its intended opening or closing scenes.
Fortunately, it all worked out in the end. A shake-up at Warner Bros. saw Robinov driven out as studio head and replaced with Kevin Tsujihara, who reassembled the cast and crew in Australia for a month to shoot the Citadel scenes and finally finish the film the way it was written. Tsujihara also pushed back when the studio demanded the film be cut down to less than 100 minutes.
First of all, there's the issue of the screenwriting credit. The original screenplay was written by Walter Bernstein, but it was later reworked almost beyond recognition by Walter Newman, and Newman's version is what was used for shooting. However, during shooting, rewrites were frequently required on set and Newman was unavailable, so William Roberts was brought in to take his place. When it was suggested that Roberts get a co-credit, Newman was so furious that he demanded that his name be removed from the project completely, so Roberts ended up getting full onscreen credit for a screenplay he only edited.
Secondly, casting the movie was an enormous pain in the ass due to an impending Actor's Guild strike. The only chance of getting the movie made was to assemble the main cast before the strike began, so there was a furious rush to get seven actors together, which is hilarious considering the premise of the movie. They just barely managed to get the cast signed on in time, but it wasn't an ideal combination of talent...
...because Steve McQueen, then an up-and-coming actor, really wanted to steal the show from the established star Yul Brynner, and Brynner was not pleased by McQueen's constant shenanigans whenever the two of them were on camera together. The oneupmanship spread to the other actors, and they all started pulling stunts of their own in order to get the audience's attention. While a lot of the attention-hogging did make it into the finished film, director John Sturges was terrified by how quickly he lost control of his cast. It's notable that in Sturges' later film, The Great Escape, most of McQueen's biggest scenes occur without costars to play against.
Then, there's the rewrites. Filming took place in Mexico at a time when the country did not take kindly to Hollywood productions due to the controversy surrounding the Gary Cooper film Vera Cruz. It was agreed that they could shoot there as long as Mexican censors were allowed on set to dictate what could and couldn't be shown, so as to avoid another disaster. A major change was made to the screenplay because it was feared that the Mexican farmers were too cowardly, and none of the farmers were allowed to ever be seen with any dirt on their clothes (in spite of being farmers) which caused a huge delay since it meant that dozens of intentionally dirty costumes had to be thoroughly cleaned before filming could commence.
One last amusing little tidbit which doesn't really affect the movie but drove the director nuts to no end: Eli Wallach, who plays the main villain, absolutely could not successfully holster his gun without looking and refused to even try it on camera, which is why they had to settle for takes of him holstering it while looking.
Maniac Cop 2 had one thanks to Claudia Christian. She couldn't get along with lead actor Robert Davi, refused to take direction from William Lustig, and threw a tantrum when she had someone take measurements of her trailer and found it was ten feet smaller than Davi's. She also failed to inform the crew that she was three months pregnant, even though she was taking a physically demanding role in an action slasher flick. This led to her suffering a miscarriage in the middle of the shoot, grinding production to a halt and ruining the movie's insurance. Unable to recast her, the producers reluctantly allowed her back with an agreement that they wouldn't sue her, even though her antics cost them $200,000. When she returned to the set, Davi reportedly told her, "Maybe now you won't be such a hormonally-imbalanced bitch."
The original plan was to re-unite librettist Dale Wasserman, composer Mitch Leigh, director Albert Marre, and stars Richard Kiley and Joan Diener from the stage version. However, Marre had never directed a film before, and when United Artists saw how much he had spent on screen tests, they fired him, and Wasserman, Leigh, Kiley, and Diener (who was married to Marre from 1956 to her death in 2006) left the film in protest (although Wasserman was eventually re-hired).
So British director Peter Glenville was brought on board, and he cast Peter O'Toole as Cervantes/Don Quixote. However, when United Artists learned that he planned to eliminate most of the musical numbers from the score, Glenville was also given the sack - which upset O'Toole, a self-confessed terrible singer who had only agreed to play the role on the understanding that he wouldn't have to sing, and who found the idea of a straight dramatic adaptation of the source material appealing. He took his anger out on Glenville's replacement, Arthur Hiller, whom he routinely addressed as "Little Arthur" throughout production.
When it became clear that the film was going to be a musical after all, arrangements had to be made to dub over O'Toole's (lack of) singing voice, but the singer initially recruited to provide his singing voice sounded nothing like him, so O'Toole personally assisted the production team in finding a suitable replacement, eventually settling on Simon Gilbert. Although it is sometimes claimed that most of the other non-singing actors, such as Sophia Loren, Harry Andrews, and Rosalie Crutchley, did their own singing, BRIAN BLESSED has said in interviews that he was asked to dub Andrews' singing voice in post-production.
Manos: The Hands of Fate was made when fertilizer salesman Hal Warren befriended and later made a bet with famous screenwriter Stirling Silliphant that he could make a horror film with a low budget. And it shows. The problems included:
The camera they used was a 16mm Bell and Howell that not only didn't record sound, but only could record 32 seconds of film. The sound was later dubbed in in post-production by four members of the crew, Hal included. This explains a number of things, including the bad editing, the long pauses and why a few characters, such as Torgo and the little girl, sound horrible.
The crew found themselves bemused by how amateur Hal was that they mocked the title of the movie (which was once called "Lodge of Sins") as Mangos: The Cans of Fruit.
Instead of the technique of shooting "day for night", Hal opted to film night scenes at night. Thanks to poor lighting, it gave the accidental illusion of the cops getting out of their car to investigate a gunshot, but decide otherwise.
The modeling agency that loaned Hal the women to be the Master's wives proved to be a bit of a prima donna, refusing to let the women to be "too skimpy" (that red sash they wear? They were supposed to be tails) and when one of the women broke her leg, Hal was forced to recast her as the other half of the makeout couple that has no real effect to the plot!
Decades later, Ben Solovey's HD restoration of the film hit a major snag when Hal's son, Joe, attempted to sue Solovey in an attempt to assert copyright. The case was dismissed when it was found that Hal Warren never secured the copyright for the film in the first place. Because Hal ran out of the money to add a copyright notice to the final cut, which was required by copyright law in the 1960s.
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973) is an unremarkable Western featuring Burt Reynolds and Sarah Miles. It's best remembered for the onset death of David Whiting, Miles's press agent and ex-lover. While later ruled a suicide (Whiting suffered from depression and drug abuse), the circumstances surrounding Whiting's death (he had violently argued with Reynolds the night before, and was found with a star-shaped gash on his forehead) led to an intensive police investigation and extensive media coverage. The film flopped and Miles' career was destroyed by the attendant controversy.
Leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, Robert RZA Diggs Jr., wanted to make an homage to the Shaw Brothers movies that he used to watch growing up. He got the idea in 2003 from doing the soundtrack to Kill Bill, studying Quentin Tarantinos directing style. He then met up with Eli Roth in Iceland, where the two started coming up with ideas for the movie. By 2007, they ended up coming up with a vast, expansive world filled with multiple clans, and characters. After presenting the idea to multiple studios, Strike Entertainment agreed to produce the movie, assigning multiple writers to rewrite RZAs old script, which began to depart from RZAs original vision. Roth wasnt a fan of the rewritten script, rewriting it himself along with RZA. Two years later, the final script was completed.
After showcasing RZAs skills as a director via a kung fu short he created, Universal agreed to finance and distribute the movie. However, because of the films niche genre (a tongue-in-cheek martial arts homage by a first time director), RZA was granted a somewhat small budget of $15 million and a 10-week filming schedule.
Filming commenced in 2010. Because of the films low budget and short film schedule, multiple scenes had to be filmed in a single take, resulting in some awkward acting. Six weeks into filming, RZA pushed the crew faster in order to make the deadline, which caused stunt people to become injured and sent to the hospital due to rushed fight scenes. This made RZA have to replace some of the fights with CG ones. Russell Crowes Jack Knife character was meant to be in more scenes (including a fight scene between him and Cung Le), but because of Crowes 10-day filming schedule, he couldnt do them, resulting in multiple rewrites. Because of how difficult it was to direct a movie on this kind of scale, Roth had to come in to direct some of the scenes uncredited.
With filming completed now was time to edit the movie which presented even more problems. RZA had presented the first cut of the movie that was four hours long, with RZA suggesting to split the movie into two like Kill Bill. Roth wasnt a fan of the idea, and edited the movie down to 96 minutes, excising some of the graphic content in order for the film to get an R rating. RZA wasnt happy with this, and stormed out of the editing room, not returning for two weeks.
The movie was finally released in 2012, received mixed reviews, and bombed at the box office. Because of the hectic development, RZA wrote the movies sequel and gave the films directing chair to someone else. RZA himself abandoned his directing career for years, only coming back for an episode of, ironically, Iron Fist (2017).
John Ford's behaviour on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance led to an unpleasant shoot, with much of his abuse aimed at John Wayne. As a result, Wayne took his frustration out on Woody Strode, who was playing his sidekick. While filming an exterior shot on a horse-drawn cart, Wayne almost lost control of the horses, and knocked Strode away when he attempted to help. When the horses did stop, Wayne tried to pick a fight with the younger and fitter Strode; Ford called out, "Don't hit him, Woody, we need him." Wayne later told Strode, "We gotta work together. We both gotta be professionals." Strode blamed Ford for nearly all the friction on the set. "What a miserable film to make," he added.
Maradonia and the Shadow Empire, like the book series it's based on, is a vanity project by Dr. Gerry Tesch and his family (his daughter Gloria wrote the books). Its production suffered from several problems:
Dr. Tesch never provided his director Troy Bowman and cinematographer Paulian Morris with a deal or a deal memo. Bowman ended up leaving the project after hours of unpaid prep. Producer Patricia Sofia left after Tesch tried to cut a side deal behind her back to avoid having to pay her. These incidents led to Morris leaving in disgust.
The Tesches launched an Indiegogo campaign in an attempt to raise funds to continue their work on the movie. It failed miserably, only making 7% of its $20,000 goal... and most of the pledges were from Gloria Tesch herself.
According to some people who were involved with the production, its "director" Dr. Tesch squandered most of his family's money financing the film, which led to his wife leaving and the Tesches being evicted from their house.
The planned DVD release never materialized — presumably Dr. Tesch couldn't find any company willing to distribute the movie and couldn't afford to self-publish it.
Lonergan's original script had worked out to about a three-hour film, and that's what he expected his finished film to be. But Fox Searchlight and Gary Gilbert, the co-producers, insisted that it be no longer than two and a half, since three-hour movies that aren't big-budget tentpole Summer Blockbusters just don't happen these days.
He didn't find it easy to cut it down. Gilbert, initially tolerant because he was convinced that the film was a masterpiece in the making, paid out of his own pocket for additional time in the editing suite. But he also began to show up in person and look over everyone's shoulders, in which capacity he began to be described as "toxic." For his part, Gilbert says Lonergan never lived up to his obligation to finish the film.
Two years after shooting wrapped, with no final cut in sight, Gilbert hired Dylan Tichenor, who'd edited Brokeback Mountain, to make a two-hour cut. He was satisfied, but Lonergan wasn't. He finished his own two-and-a-half-hour cut in 2008, a year after the Tichenor version and three years after principal photography had ended.
That should have ended things. But then Gilbert refused to pay his half of the budget, so Searchlight sued him. He sued them right back. And then sued Lonergan.
Someone came up with the perfect idea to get out of the mess: hire Martin Scorsese, who was still friends with Lonergan and everyone else involved, to edit the film. Gilbert took a year and a half to agree to the idea, however. Scorsese, despite being busy with Hugo and some other projects, agreed to do it for free.
His edit was a little longer than Lonergan's. Everyone expected they'd at least be able to slap "Presented by Martin Scorsese" on the posters and submit it to the 2011 Toronto film festival. But then Gilbert refused to sign off on it.
The film was released, instead, at the end of September of that year ... almost six years after it was shot. About the promotion, "[It] could not have debuted with less fanfare had the film prints been thrown from the back of a speeding van," Sam Adams wrote in Slate a year later. Only two theaters showed the movie, it received no Oscar notice. Critics were mixed, with some seeing it as indeed a work of genius, while others saw it as an interesting failure due to its tangled history.
A year later, the movie was released on disc. In addition to the theatrical release, it included Lonergan's original three-hours-and-change cut. However, even he now admits he can't say which of the four versions is the best.
In 1991, Kim Basinger (who was fresh off of the heels of the monster success of Tim Burton's Batman) starred alongside Alec Baldwin (who himself, was a rising star following The Hunt for Red October) in The Marrying Man. Odds are you have probably never even heard of this slight Neil Simon comedy. But when it was released, the film was infamous for the behind-the-scenes fights. More to the point, according to Premiere magazine, Basinger and Baldwin, who moved in together during the filming, made life miserable for the crew with their demands and their attitude.
First and foremost, there were Baldwin's violent temper tantrums in which he threw a chair, smashed camera lenses, punched a wall and ripped a cellular phone from a Disney executive's hand. Things had already gotten off on the wrong foot when Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, when first meeting Baldwin, reportedly joked, We could get a gate guard to do the same job as you. Baldwin, naturally, didnt take kindly to the joke.
Basinger was accused of habitual lateness (she kept production waiting on the set due to her elaborate morning routine, which included washing her hair with only Evian water and shampoo), flashing the crewnote Some of those on the set said that she didnt wear any underwear under her costume and would sit in her directors chair with her legs apart., talking filthynote Basinger told her lover what shed like to do to certain parts of his anatomy. on open walkie-talkies, refusing to shoot in sunlight, and demanding that no one look at her. Stories also included Basinger's feud with Simon over her dialogue (Basinger at one point told Simon, "This isn't funny. Whoever wrote this doesn't understand comedy.") and a prima-donna attitude that ultimately resulted in the firing of the original director of photography because she didnt like how she looked in the test shots that he had taken. One person from the set claimed that at one point, Basinger pushed director Jerry Rees aside and tried to direct a musical number herself. Basinger also wouldnt settle for having her makeup touched up between close-up shots. No, she had to have her makeup completely removed and re-applied between takes, so that retakes would take hours instead of minutes. She also wanted to shut down production so she could fly to Brazil to consult a psychic.
It was also on the set of The Marrying Man that Basinger and Baldwin began a hot, steamy on-set romance. Allegedly, the crew miked the trailers to record them having sex and they then played them back so that Basinger and Baldwin could hear.
The end result was that The Marrying Man only grossed $12,454,758 against a $26 million budget, and currently has a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its failure led Baldwin to go on an epic tirade against Katzenberg, calling him "The Eighth Dwarf, Greedy" for giving the film a small budget (the writer of the movie, Neil Simon, also got heat from Baldwin, who obviously considers The Marrying Man an Old Shame, though the rant against Katzenberg didn't prevent them from working together again at DreamWorks Animation. Katzenberg, for his part, DIDN'T go on a counter-rant against Baldwin). As for director Jerry Rees, he did not direct another full-length theatrical film until 2013.
Masters of the Universe went into production at the wrong time, as He-Man was slowly dwindling in popularity, Cannon Films was going bankrupt AND Mattel was having financial issues. It went from getting a slashed budget right before filming began to spending the entire back half of filming trying to convince the crew that paychecks will be in that day. Filming was officially shut down just before they could film the climactic sword fight and have a completed movie, the director had to wiggle in another two days of extremely calculated filming to do the bulk of the fight later that evening and then squeeze in another day a month later (on the director's dime) to get the final shots before the set was torn down. They designed the set with the intention of the final fight using all of it and were disappointed in the end result themselves.
Production on Maze Runner: The Death Cure was substantially delayed after Dylan O'Brien, the star of the film, suffered a serious on-set injury on March 17, 2016. He was projected to return to work on May 9, but his injury turned out to be more serious than they initially thought, forcing them to put production on indefinite hold. Fortunately, he did recover and filming resumed, but the film's release had to be pushed back almost an entire year, to January 2018.
When Tom Rothman became head of Sony Pictures' movie division, one of his first priorities to turn the flagging studio around was resurrecting the Men in Black series, which had been in hibernation since the third film. Executives at first conceptualized a crossover with the 21 Jump Street films, with both franchises' staff collaborating on the project. The problem? 21 Jump Street producer Neal Mortiz didn't agree to it, as he felt it wouldn't count in his contract (he would leave Sony not long after). So the studio opted to create a full-out reboot, one that would not bring either Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back as it would prove too costly.
That's when the clashes began. Director F. Gary Gray and longtime series producer Walter Parkes feuded over the script. Gray preferred a Darker and Edgier story that would've tackled contempary issues in society, while Parkes, who had the final say on the film, rewrote the script to make it more lighthearted and less political — something Gray vocally disapproved of. The clashes escalated when an executive vice president, who was seen as a mediator of the conflicts, left the studio during filming. The back and forth of the scripts led to a sense of confusion among the cast, as each day brought a new version of the script. Parkes was also alleged to have usurped Gray as director during some shooting days.
The issues got so bad that Gray almost resigned several times, but was convinced to stay in each of those times by Sony. The studio themselves did little to mitigate the conflict between Gray and Parkes, and were described as the production's "absentee landlord" by one insider. Upon completion, the studio tested both Gray's cut and Parkes' cut, with the studio electing to take Parkes' cut as the final product.
The end result was a critically-panned, commercially-disappointing trainwreck of a film, joining the ranks of manyothersummerblockbuster films that failed to meet studio expectations in 2019.
Metropolis suffered this in spades. Filming lasted over a year (considered a long production these days, but almost unthinkable back in the 1920s). Most of the actors had no prior film experience, not even lead actress Brigitte Helm. The film ran drastically over-budget, almost bankrupting UFA in the process. The demanding special effects required frustrated crew members to work around the clock. Reportedly over 30,000 extras were used, most of whom were difficult to keep track of. The worst part was director Fritz Lang's insane antics: he forced actor Gustav Fröhlich to spend three full days doing retakes of a single scene that was nothing more than him falling to his knees. He also used real fire in the scene in which False Maria is burned. As chaotic as all this was, post-production was worse! The film had a large amount of footage cut without Lang's approval. After its failed Berlin premiere, the film was cut even more for its international release. A near-complete version of the film would not be discovered until 2008 (in Argentina, of all places). Regardless, the film is widely regarded as a masterpiece.
Between when he was cast and the start of production, Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his performance in Ray, greatly increasing his ego and his demands. Arriving with a full entourage, among his demands were top billing, a private jet, and a refusal to do scenes on boats or planes out of concern for his safety. He also complained that his co-star, Colin Farrell, was being paid more than he was despite his Oscar win. Foxx got his demands fufilled and a raise while Farrell was forced to take a pay cut, causing a great deal of tension between the two (who were playing police partners). Tensions also ran high with Foxx and director Michael Mann, and they got into heated arguments throughout filming.
Mann, well known for his insistance on authenticity, insisted on shooting in unsafe weather and in dangerous, crime-ridden areas. At one location it was so bad the police wouldn't go there, so the production hired local gang members as security. As part of getting the leads immersed into their roles, Mann had Farrell and Foxx observe real FBI drug busts from a distance, and Farrell was invited to join one such bust - which ended with FBI agents drawing their weapons on Farrell beliving he was a suspect at the scene. They later admitted to Farrell that the bust had been staged to see if he would react as an actual undercover officer would.
Mann's bullish, unapologetic attitude led to an uneasy atmosphere throughout shooting, with one crew member stating that "Everyone was pushed to the edge of whatever their emotional makeup is." Mann would often make major rewrites of the script without advance notice and frequently change his mind day-to-day on what he wanted out of the film, giving instructions that were sometimes contradictory and berating those who questioned his decisions. Cast and crew had to scramble to keep up and adapt. Shooting was also disrupted by both Hurricane DennisandHurricane Wilma, the latter of which damaged the production offices and nearly caused production to be shut down if not for Mann scrambling to adapt.
All these things came to a head late in filming when, while filming in the Dominican Republic, actual gunfire was exchanged on set, leading to a local man (reportedly a police officer) being shot and wounded by a set guard loaned from the Dominican military. Foxx immediately went to his plane and flew back to the U.S. He told the studio he was not going to any more overseas locations for the production, forcing Mann to rewrite the ending and set it in Miami. While some involved in the production commented that the new ending was less dramatic, Mann believed the new ending was an improvement as "It brought all the conflicting characters together in one arena.". All of the troubles experienced in production led to the film's budget balooning to $135 million.
Ultimately, the film was not the success it was hoped to be. While it more or less broke even by the end of its theatrical run (making $164 million worldwide), critics were largely lukewarm on the film and it sports a Rotten Tomatoes score of 46%. While the film would become something of a Cult Classic and make a tidy sum on home video, it also marked a downturn for Mann's career, and his output slowed considerably in the years following the film.
The Gregg Allman biopic, Midnight Rider, was put on indefinite hiatus after camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and several other crew members injured when an oncoming freight train traveling at 58 MPH collided with an iron bed being used as a prop during a shoot on an active railroad bridge. The incident was widely publicized and raised awareness for safety on movie sets, with a successful petition to give Jones a tribute at the Academy Awards. The production team behind the film, including writer/director Randall Miller, were left in intense hot water and facing many lawsuits, especially after the revelation that the crew was working "guerilla style" and did not bother to obtain legally mandated permits, and had been denied permission from CSX Transportation to film on the tracksnote They had permission to film on the property surrounding the tracks, but not the actual tracks. Cooperation with a railroad is crucial in that situation because they can have a representative on set to control rail traffic as necessary. First assistant director Hillary Schwartz was charged with involuntary manslaughter, star William Hurt dropped out and Gregg Allman himself urged Miller not to continue out of respect for Jones and her family, making further production highly unlikely. Miller himself pleaded guilty to manslaughter and trespassing charges, served a year in jail, and as part of his probation is legally forbidden from directing until 2025, making the completion of the film all but impossible.
Mister Roberts seemed like a dream project for Warner Bros.: veteran director John Ford directing his long-time collaborator Henry Fonda in an adaptation of Fonda's popular Broadway show. The movie was indeed successful, but proved a headache for the studio and a thoroughly miserable project for everyone concerned.
During pre-production Ford, himself a Navy veteran, toned down the play's more subversive content in hopes of getting Navy approval. Thus the movie elides the stage version's profanity and makes the villainous captain more comedic than evil. To compensate, Ford added broad slapstick comedy and expanded the role of Ensign Pulver, played by Jack Lemmon in his Star-Making Role. Lemmon won an Oscar as Pulver, but the movie's exaggerated humor became its most-criticized aspect.
This didn't sit well with Fonda, who'd played Roberts onstage for six years and was fiercely protective of his role. He and Ford were at loggerheads before filming even started, sparring over script changes and Ford's encouraging costars Lemmon and James Cagney to ad-lib dialogue. After the first day's shooting on Midway Island, Ford and Fonda had a violent row which culminated in Ford punching Fonda in the face. Ford apologized profusely, but the damage was done: the two barely spoke for the rest of the shoot, and never again collaborated.
This incident pushed Ford over the edge: usually abstemious while filming, Ford began drinking heavily, and was hospitalized in Hawaii for alcohol poisoning. Ford recovered enough to start shooting interiors back in Hollywood, but soon required gallbladder surgery. Ford's health and erratic behavior convinced Warner Bros. to act: with shooting about half-completed, Mervyn Leroy was assigned to replace Ford.
Leroy finished shooting without further incident, but Warner Bros. executives (and Henry Fonda) weren't satisfied, feeling the style and tone of Leroy's scenes contrasted jarringly with Ford's work. At Fonda's suggestion Joshua Logan, who'd directed the stage version of Roberts, reshot several key scenes. Warners frantically tried to match the three directors' work together in post-production. Roberts earned mostly good reviews and proved a box office hit, though Ford and Logan virtually disowned it and Fonda later claimed "I despised that movie."
Mohammad, Messenger of God (aka The Message) is another infamous example, combining a difficult production with disastrous press coverage.
Producer-director Moustapha Akkad, himself a Muslim, bent over backwards to present a religiously acceptable portrayal of Islam's founding. Akkad consulted imams in Egypt and Saudi Arabia to ensure accuracy and allowed their input on the script. Notably, Mohammad was not depicted onscreen in accordance with Islamic tradition. The production proved arduous and expensive, with extensive location shooting in Morocco and Libya. Akkad complicated matters by shooting Arabic and English-language versions simultaneously, with completely different casts.
The film's adverse media coverage hurt it more than the actual production. One media outlet claimed that Charlton Heston had been cast as Mohammad. Akkad and Heston quickly issued a denial but the announcement caused an uproar in the Muslim world regardless. The resulting furor led to widespread protests and riots, notably in Pakistan, where several people were actually killed. Meanwhile, Western interest in the film soured when reporters learned that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddaffi helped bankroll the production. Akkad noted in his own defense that lack of Hollywood interest in the movie required him to seek funds elsewhere.
The movie gained considerable infamy as well for its connection to the July 1977 Hanafi Siege, when Islamic militants held 149 people hostage (and killing two) in three Washington, D.C. buildings. One of their demands? Destruction of Mohammad: Messenger of God for being "sacrilegious."
Despite these controversies, Mohammad actually turned a modest profit. In contrast, Akkad's follow-up movie, Lion of the Desert (1981) proved a monumental bomb, making just $1,000,000 USD on an alleged $35,000,000 budget.
Faye Dunaway took the part only after Anne Bancroft had passed on it. After winning her Oscar for Network, she had slowed the pace of her career, doing only three movies and a TV miniseries while she and her boyfriend, Terry O'Neill, tried to have a baby. They finally adopted an infant in 1980, just before production began, meaning Dunaway experienced all the problems new parents experience on top of the demands of the production.
She hoped the part would be her return to the kind of films she had been making in the early '70s that led to her Oscar. She had taken it after producer Frank Yablans and director Frank Perry convinced her they would try to humanize the domineering, abusive mother Christina Crawford had depicted in her controversial bestselling memoir. However, Crawford was afraid the producers were trying to tone it down ... so she got her husband, David Koontz, hired as executive producer to look out for her interests. Dunaway responded by getting O'Neill the same title. And both of them made the most of what would be their only movie credit ever by regularly being present on set and loudly arguing their cause with the producer and director, requiring them to walk an extraordinarily thin line creatively.
Meanwhile, the role and the method acting Dunaway brought to it were taking a physical and psychological toll on her. She had to keep her face muscles contorted in a particular position to get her Joan Crawford look right, often holding that position between takes despite the pain it was causing her late in the day. At home at night, she found she was unable to leave it at the office, feeling as if she were haunted by Crawford's ghost.
It all came to a head during the day when they shot the most famous scene in the movie, the "no wire hangers, EVER!" scene. Many of the crew on set thought she had actually become possessed by the late actress's ghost. After several takes, she collapsed, as O'Neill yelled "No more wire hangers!" at Perry, meaning they were done with that scene. It turned out that in addition to the nervous exhaustion, she had also destroyed her vocal chords. It took a doctor recommended by Frank Sinatra to get them back to the point where she could speak again, and Dunaway admitted later she lost her passion for the role that day.
As a result she began to play diva for the rest of the shoot, off camera in addition to the one she was playing on. She refused to work with the historic expert wig maker hired for all the other actresses and instead made the production hire the stylist who had done Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin. Legendary costume designer Irene Sharaff, who had worked with some of the Golden Age's legends (and legendary divas) such as Judy Garland in her 40 years in the industry, said she'd never worked with anyone as demanding and difficult as Dunaway; eventually she quit the film.
Dunaway's histrionics getting prepared for the part caused numerous delays. As a result there was often time to do only one close-up for any scene involving other members of the cast, making it unlikely to be used. She couldn't stand anyone looking at her while she was acting, so not only were the sets closed, all the other actors had to either stand behind the camera with their backs to her. If they absolutely had to be on the set during the take, Dunaway insisted on the scenes being reblocked so they wouldn't be facing the camera. Rutanya Alda, who played Carol Ann, recalled in her own diary of the production that for one scene that takes place later in the movie's timeline, she wore old-age makeup but Dunaway refused to do so herself, so it looks like she's been time-traveling.
In her own diary, Dunaway says the movie stressed everyone out so much there was no wrap party. However, Alda recalls that there was and Dunaway just didn't show up. It has been speculated that maybe the rest of the cast was so sick of her by that point they just told her there wasn't one.
The completed film thus became a CampClassic and not the serious biopic it was originally hoped it might be. For Dunaway it was a Star-Derailing Role, in the sense that she was never able to get her career back on track to what it had been before.
Despite the phenomenal success of The Muppet Show, it was not easy to get financing for a movie that was to feature puppet characters as the leads, especially in a decade when most A-list films were aimed strictly at adult audiences, leaving Disney and independent outfits to pick up the slack of films appropriate for children/families with modest-to-low budgets, mostly critically ignored productions. In the end U.K. company ITC Entertainment, which backed The Muppet Show in the first place, bankrolled the film, which was released through Associated Film Distribution, which was formed to release ITC and EMI's movies stateside (see Creator Killer for what happened to them).
Some of the bigger setpieces, such as Gonzo's Balloonacy flight, were not easy to pull off.
Director James Frawley had no prior Muppet experience; Jim Henson and co. hired him because he did have feature film experience and they were new to that particular medium, but it did mean that he was an outsider to the tight-knit group and this led to on-set disagreements and tension. Austin Pendleton, who as Max was one of only two actors around for a significant chunk of the shoot (the other being Charles Durning as Doc Hopper), didn't find it a happy experience as a result (save for working with Durning).
The Mutilator was a typical 80s slasher and Buddy Cooper's directorial debut, and was plagued with production problems due to inexperience and the film's low budget.
Linda was originally going to be killed via spear gun through the back, but while making a life cast of actress Frances Raines, a miscalculation by makeup artist Mark Shostrom caused the mix to take hours to set instead of mere minutes. Because of time constraints, Linda's death was changed to a simple drowning.
When Mike's chest gets slashed to pieces with a boat motor, the already-gory result was supposed to be even bloodier, but Shostrom used latex for the fake torso that proved too durable to cut through.
In the film's climax, Ed Jr. gets stabbed in the leg offscreen before cutting to a closeup of the end result. Originally the stabbing was supposed to be onscreen, but actor Jack Chatham accidentally punctured the blood bag while rehearsing the scene. With no time to redo the effect, the shot was quickly filmed with actor Matt Mitler ostensibly clutching the wound while squeezing more blood out of the fake leg.
The film's finale was supposed to be a much more elaborate affair with the killer being cut in half by a drawbridge. However, without the budget to make it work the death was reduced to the killer being crushed against a wall.
The movie premiered unrated in 1984, limiting its theatrical release to certain cities. By the time a more toned-down R-rated cut was released, it was too late for Buddy Cooper to make any money back, and he never directed again.
In spite of all its problems, filming was an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Even Mark Shostrom, who went on to work on projects such as the Elm Street series and Evil Dead 2, says it was his favourite production he was involved in.
Before the movie even started, the script was in a constant state of flux. MGM had originally conceived of doing a sequel to its 1937 original film in the late 1940s, focusing on the mutineers' life on Pitcairn Island, but over time that evolved into a film that would be about half leading to the mutiny and half after. But then in 1960 Paramount announced a competing film, The Mutineers (which was never actually made) and with Clark Gable much older and sicker MGM decided just to remake their original.
Eric Ambler was hired to write the script, incorporating material from the Nordhoff and Hall novels. A replica Bounty was to be built in Nova Scotia and sailed to Tahiti, where MGM had decided to film to take advantage of the color and widescreen processes now available. Accordingly, the cast and crew basically took over a local hotel. The remote island location also meant that many things cost more than usual.
However, filming had to start without the ship. Its makers had underestimated how long it would take to build, and it arrived in Tahiti after nine months instead of six. At around the same time Ambler grew unhappy with the script, and Charles Lederer (who would eventually get sole credit) was brought in to rewrite most of it.
Not long into production, Carol Reed left the set with what the studio said was an "undiclosed ailment." He was, indeed, sickof the constant input from the star, the studio and the producers. According to Lewis Milestone, who replaced him to such an extent that only five minutes of the finished picture are Reed's, he was used to working on his own without anyone looking over his shoulder.
Marlon Brando's off-screen antics are often cited in many accounts of this film's tortuous production. He constantly undermined Milestone (who later admitted that more often than not, Brando was right since he was playing Christian much more cerebrally than Gable had; he was just being a dick about it, as he often was), and got the crew to obey his every whim. His behavior irritated his co-stars, including Trevor Howard and Richard Harris, and eventually damaged his career. One problem not related to Brando was co-star Hugh Griffith, who had to be fired when his alcoholism became unmanageable.
One of the main problems Milestone had was that Brando was improvising all his dialogue. However, you could hardly blame him, as the script was in a constant state of flux since many other uncredited writers were working on it. Milestone often did not know until right before unit calls exactly what scene he would be shooting, much less whether it was a new one, or who would be in it. He faulted the studio for not threatening to shut the production down until everyone got their act together.
Ultimately it wrapped a year later than scheduled, and at a $20 million budgettwice what it had originally been expected to cost. The studio had to go through several stages of reshoots and rewrites, always after telling the media the film was finished.
Myra Breckinridge had a notoriously fraught production, due to director Michael Sarne obtaining Protection from Editors in his contract and then by all accounts deliberately trying to make the worst film he possibly could. Examples of his behavior include:
Bizarre casting decisions such as casting film critic Rex Reed as Myra's pre-op counterpart Myron, and bringing Mae West, who was 77 years old and hadn't acted in a film for the better part of three decades, out of retirement.
Repeatedly insulting and belittling the cast, in particular calling star Raquel Welch "old raccoon" and constantly telling her to her face that she was so ugly he could barely stand to look at her. John Huston didn't fare much better, as Sarne called him a "decrepit old hack" among other things, and slammed his entire career in a magazine interview conducted during filming. Apparently he incouraged bickering among his castmembers - a young Farrah Fawcett said she had the horrible time, as Welch was mean to her and West forced Fawcett to have her hair darkened as she refused to work with other blondes.
Ending the day's filming eight hours early so that he could spend the rest of the day "thinking."
Spending the better part of a week shooting hours of footage featuring plates of food and nothing else. Needless to say, this footage didn't get into the finished product.
Constantly rewriting the script, adding bizarre and completely irrelevant scenes and deviating further and further from Gore Vidal's original novel.
The movie version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was rife with problems. The original plan was for them to reveal how Joel got tossed onto the Satellite of Love and built his robot friends — Crow, Tom, Gypsy and Cambot. The executive liked it, but he didn't want the series' main catch — the riffing — to be prominent. This, along with a few other problems, led Joel Hodgson to leave the series halfway through Season 5.
When the movie idea was picked back up, more problems came about - Universal would only let them use movies that they chose and they were stuck with This Island Earth. They were forced not only to cut out movie scenes — which meant the entirety of the movie was shorter than your normal MST3K episode — but to lop one host segment and modify the last one, killing a Brick Joke set up at the very beginning. And the killing blow? The company producing this had the option of fully backing either this or Barb Wire. Guess what they chose? (And considering how high the theater averages were, who knows how much it would have grossed without Invisible Advertising?)
Pre-production on the western Navajo Joe had some challenges, as Sergio Corbucci's plan of casting Marlon Brando in the role of Joe fell through and he tricked Burt Reynolds into getting involved as the main lead. Reynolds joined the film thinking he would be working for a different Sergio (Leone), and was left stranded on the first day on set after Corbucci drove him out into the middle of the Almerian desert to meet a local family, then packed up the crew and moved elsewhere while he was gone. Reynolds also skipped out midway through production to film a commercial before returning, clearly realizing at that point that he had bigger priorities (and rising star power) than Corbucci believed. For their part, both Reynolds and Nicoletta Machiavelli (who played Estella) both disowned the film afterwards, claiming it was amateurish and didn't give them enough to do.
Taglines for Neighbors (1981) described it as "A Comic Nightmare", nightmare being an appropriate word to describe the shoot. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi argued with John G. Avildsen, who argued with the producers and everybody tried to rewrite the screenplay. Though the script is credited to Larry Gelbart, much of it was re-written, and Gelbart publicly aired his disapproval. At one point, Belushi accused Gelbart of drinking too much. In a tragic turn of events, Belushi, who had briefly refrained from drug abuse for the Continental Divide shoot, now found himself on a set where most of the crew was using cocaine, relapsed hard, and died of a speedball-induced overdose less than four months after the film was released.
Shortly after completing his final film, The Next Best Thing, director John Schlesinger suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. During his recovery, he fired off a series of memos to Paramount studio exec Sherry Lansing, blaming his condition on his leading lady, Madonna, and her attempts to influence everything from the musical score to the final cut. She demanded scenes to be cut or rewritten and requested that computer imagery be used to beautify her in numerous scenes, which would've driven up the budget. He was even more incensed that co-star Rupert Everett and producer Tom Rosenberg were siding with her and giving in to her demands. The end result was a critical and commerical misfire and following its release, Schlesinger died in 2003.
The Neverending Story: As the most expensive movie made in Germany up to that time (and, indeed, the most expensive movie made outside the US or USSR at that time), it's hardly surprising that this trope was partly responsible for that, even if director Wolfgang Petersen had just done the equally ambitious Das Boot:
Poor Noah Hathaway. Right before production was to begin he suffered crushed vertebra in a horse-riding accident, putting him flat on his back in a hospital bed for two months while he recovered. Then the green-skinned look Atreyu has in the book had to be scrapped when it made him "look like fungi" in screen tests. Lastly he was caught underwater during the Swamp of Sadness scenes and lost consciousness before he could be rescued. After being nearly blinded during the fight with Gmork, Petersen decided not to shoot another take due to the risk of further injury to his already battered actor.
Tami Stronach, the Childlike Empress, also got into the injury act, losing her two front teeth shortly before filming started. It took her some time to get used to the hastily-made bridges; in some scenes, they left her with an audible lisp.
The scenes in the Swamp of Sadness cost $130,000 per day of filming for the two months it took to film those scenes. This led to two other special-effects scenes being canceled due to financial reasons. One of which, the first appearance of Falcor, left some plot holes as a result.
Michael Ende, author of the book, hated the movie and sued unsuccessfully to have either his name taken off it or the title changed shortly before release. The legal battle delayed the planned sequel (as the movie only covers half of Ende's book) a lot, leading producer Dieter Geissler to try averting similar problems with a year-long pre-production on The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter once he managed to start it - although the actual movie quality was inverse to how smooth things went.
Director Cynthia Mort, a fan, had wanted to make the movie ever since she met Simone herself during the 1990s. She began writing a script in earnest after Simone's death in 2003. Paramount gave her the go-ahead a few years later, with Jimmy Iovine attached as producer.
Her script was largely based on the account of Clifton Henderson, whose proximity to Simone during her later years was a source of friction between him and Simone's family. Around 2010, the movie seemed set to go with Mary J. Blige in the lead, but she couldn't find time to shoot the film. Paramount lost interest as well, but the turnaround was short as Britain's Ealing Studios Entertainment picked up the property.
In 2012 Zoe Saldana was cast as Simoneand that's when the fireworks started. Simone's fans, many of whom are similarly dark-skinned black women, were outraged by the casting of a light-skinned, part-Latina actress as a woman who had made her skin tone a core part of her identity, believing it had been done strictly for commercial reasons. An online petition was started urging the studio to stop production. Simone's family joined in, disowning the film and distancing themselves from it on the estate's website. Things got so bad that when Saldana shared a quote by Simone on social media, Simone's family publicly asked her to never mention Simone again.
Things only got worse when some of the first production stills of Saldana in Blackface and prostheses circulated online. She didn't look at all comfortable in them, and the backlash against a film that hadn't even been completed yet grew stronger.
The actual shoot went smoothly and wrapped in under a month, But once the film was finished, Mort and the producers got into protracted arguments about how to cut the film, delaying it further. The film screened at Cannes in 2014, and Relativity Media picked it up for distribution ... but then declared bankruptcy the next year.
Finally RLJ, owned by Ebony magazine publishing heir Robert L. Johnson, picked up the film but asked its original investors to pay for one more edit. Mort has been quick to tell reporters that the poorly-reviewed version that was released in 2016 is not her cut of the film.
The Notebook, the film that made romance author Nicholas Sparks a household name, is nowadays acclaimed as one of the great romantic films of the '00s, having made stars out of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. It's almost a miracle that the two of them managed to have such great chemistry together, given that, according to director Nick Cassavetes, they absolutely did not get along on-set. They were frequently yelling at each other, such that at one point Gosling turned to Cassavetes and asked if he could do a line-reading with somebody other than McAdams. Fortunately, Cassavetes staged an intervention by bringing Gosling and McAdams into a room where they could air all the grievances they had with each other and work something out. They soon patched over their differences, enough to become a real-life couple for some time.
As detailed here, Nothing but Trouble could ironically be classified as a troubled production, although it was a rare case where almost everyone actually enjoyed the mayhem:
The film was originally conceived after Dan Aykroyd, his brother Peter, and producer Robert K. Weiss attended a screening of Hellraiser while Weiss was recovering from a fractured rib. After the three found themselves joining the theater audience in laughing at the straight horror movie, Weiss suggested doing a horror-comedy, and Aykroyd — drawing inspiration from a past incident where he was pulled over in upstate New York and fined $50 by the local justice of the peace in a "Kangaroo Court" — set about writing the script.
Aykroyd offered the script (originally titled Git, then Road to Ruin, then Trickhouse, then Valkenvania) to directors John Hughes and John Landis, but both turned him down. When Warner Bros. picked up the project and asked who was planned to direct, Aykroyd — not wanting his deal with the studio to fall through — volunteered to do the job himself.
Aykroyd cast himself as the film's antagonist, Judge J.P. Valkenheiser, and stepped in to play the obese adult baby Bobo after being unable to fill the role. This meant that not only was Aykroyd writing, directing, and producing the film, but he was also playing two major roles that required heavy makeup. Despite feeling nervous, Aykroyd was heartened by the encouragement of the production crew — which included director of photography DeanCundey, production designer WilliamSandell, and makeup designer DavidMiller — once shooting started.
Aykroyd proved to be very popular with the crew for listening to and enacting all of the crazy ideas they threw at him, including the Bonestripper, the roller coaster going through Valkenheiser Mansion, and the dinner table with the built-in model train set serving food. But while the crew had a blast making the movie as grotesquely absurd as possible, it also caused the film to go over-budget. Warner Bros. execs had weekly meetings with Aykroyd pleading for him to rein things in, but didn't act themselves because they were already distracted with another troubled production, The Bonfire of the Vanities (detailed elsewhere). The eventual $40 million budget was even used by Spike Lee to gripe when Warner underfinanced Malcolm X, given the already acclaimed director wasn't given as much money as first-timer Aykroyd.
The crew also enjoyed working with John Candy and Demi Moore, but Chevy Chase (as he is infamous for) proved to be a nightmare. Chase was verbally abusive to everyone on set, tried to speak on Moore's behalf about her "skimpy" costume, and stated that he had more worth than Aykroyd because Chase had the bigger paycheck. The crew was furious at Chase's treatment of Aykroyd, with one crewmember even threatening to drop a brick on Chase's head if he ever spoke to the director like that again. Chase, at times, would call up various co-stars at night and apologize for what he perceived to be stressed behavior stemming from his personal life.
Aykroyd had trouble settling on the ending, which was written and re-written during the shoot. Eventually, they settled on Chase's character learning through the television that Valkenheiser survived the destruction of Valkenvania and leaving a Chase-shaped hole in the wall. The crew was dissatisfied with the ending, but it was the best they could come up with.
It was after Aykroyd screened his director's cut for Warner Bros. that the Executive Meddling kicked in. Warner Bros. considered the film a mess and pressured Aykroyd to tone down the cartoonish violence to avoid an R-rating, which in turn caused the release date to be pushed back from Christmas 1990 to February 1991. The studio also changed the title from Valkenvania to Nothing but Trouble, and nixed a poster painted by Boris Vallejo (who had done the iconic posters for Chase's Vacation films).
Upon release, the film proved to be a critical and Box Office Bomb, recouping around $8 million of its $45 million budget and having one of the lowest per-screen viewing averages in movie history. It also proved to be Aykroyd's only directing credit and strained his friendship with Robert K. Weiss. However, the crew absolutely loved the process of making it, with many crewmembers later calling it the best experience of their careers. The crew attended a special screening before release (which wasn't attended by Aykroyd or the principal cast) and howled with laughter at their bizarre creations which made it into the final product. In the years since, despite retaining a 5% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has gained the status of a Cult Classic.