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  • Roman Polanski's Macbeth 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:
    • Director George Miller originally wanted to film in his homeland of Australia in 2001, but due to the 9/11 terror attacks, production was postponed.
    • Fury Road was once again set to film around 2011 in the traditional setting of Broken Hill, Australia, but due to heavy rainfall transforming the desert landscape into a lush meadow of flowers, the production was moved to Namibia. Forcing a huge extra cost: the vehicles had to be transported by ship all the way to Africa.
    • Production on the film finally commenced on July 2012, where the hot conditions took a major toll on the cast and crew.
    • Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy reportedly did not get along during filming, with Hardy's Method Acting reportedly bothering Theron. Theron would later claim that in addition to this, that Hardy and Miller also "went at it." Hardy would later apologize to Miller at the film's Cannes premiere.
    • Amid claims of the film going over-budget and behind schedule, Warner Bros. then sent a producer to oversee production in Namibia.
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960) hit some snags during its development.
    • 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 thing 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.
  • 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.
  • The Man with the Iron Fists, while minor compared to most movies, was not easy to make.
    • 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 Tarantino’s 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 RZA’s old script, which began to depart from RZA’s original vision. Roth wasn’t a fan of the rewritten script, rewriting it himself along with RZA. Two years later, the final script was completed.
    • After showcasing RZA’s skills as a director via a kung fu short he created, Universal agreed to finance and distribute the movie. However, because of the film’s 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 film’s 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 Crowe’s Jack Knife character was meant to be in more scenes (including a fight scene between him and Cung Le), but because of Crowe’s 10-day filming schedule, he couldn’t 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 wasn’t 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 wasn’t 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 movie’s sequel and gave the film’s 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.
  • Maniac Cop 2 had one thanks to actress 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."
  • "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.
    • Tom Neyman created a special rigging to give Torgo the illusion that he was a satyr. However, the actor, John Reynolds, set it up wrong and it damaged his knees so badly that he was reportedly taking medication that would lead to an addiction and later suicide.
    • 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!
    • Years later, the HD restoration of the film hit a major snag when Hal's son Joe, feeling incredibly slighted for not being a part of this, attempted to sue Ben Solovey, the man spearheading the restoration, in an attempt to assert copyright, only to find out that his old man never secured the copyright for the film.
  • 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.
  • Playwright Kenneth Lonergan's second film, Margaret suffered no unusual preproduction or production problems. However, the litigation train wreck that occurred in postproduction puts the film firmly under this trope.
    • 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, didn’t 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 , talking filthynote  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 didn’t 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 wouldn’t 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.
  • According to 3D Realms founder Scott Miller, Max Payne went through multiple studios, a number of script rewrites, and several attempts by Rockstar Games to shut down production (perhaps dreading the usual fate of such adaptations).
  • 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.
  • The jungle shoot of the 1992 Sean Connery film Medicine Man was by all accounts, a nightmare. Lorraine Bracco, who was just coming off Goodfellas, complained non-stop about everything from the food to the weather to the script. Bracco also came with a massive entourage (nannies, hairstylists, makeup artists, acting coach, etc). In a nutshell, she soon drove Sean Connery and the director John McTiernan insane and was loathed among the crew. At some point it was arranged that McTiernan would convey any direction he had for her to her acting coach, who would in turn pass it on to Bracco, because McTiernan refused to deal with her anymore. Connery stopped speaking to her as well. And after all that trouble, her performance was a disaster, as she would be nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. It pretty much killed her brief career as an A-lister. The Sopranos rescued her from the dump, years later.
  • Men in Black: International suffered extensive Executive Meddling and a clash of creative visions, as explained here.
    • 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 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 many other summer blockbuster 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.
  • The 2006 film version of Miami Vice:
    • Between when he was cast and the start of production, Jamie Foxx won an Oscar, greatly increasing his ego and his demands. He got way more money, so much that Colin Farrell had to take a slight pay cut and causing a great deal of tension between the two (who, remember, are supposed to be playing partners). He then began refusing to fly commercial, making the studio pay for a private jet for him (sometimes flying him as far as Uruguay). Then he wouldn't do scenes on boats or planes.
    • Not all the trouble was caused by human frailties. Shooting in and around the Caribbean during the now-legendary 2005 hurricane season led to a week of delays by the end of production. This is blamed for driving the film's final budget over $100 million; exactly how much is disputed.
    • A week, all told, may not have been as bad as a delay as what could have happened, since many crew members complained that Mann insisted on shooting in unsafe weather. And shooting 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.
    • On top of all this Michael Mann would often make major rewrites of the script without advance notice. Cast and crew had to scramble to keep up and adapt.
    • All these things came to a head late in filming when, at one rough location in the Dominican Republic, shots, real shots, were exchanged on set. 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. Mann had to rewrite the ending as a result, reportedly making it less dramatic than he had wanted.
  • 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 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 are now 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 the railroad to film on the tracksnote . The first assistant director was charged with involuntary manslaughter, star William Hurt dropped out and Gregg Allman himself urged the director not to continue out of respect for Jones and her family, making further production highly unlikely. The director, Randall Miller, 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.
  • It's probably not surprising that the film adaptation of Mommie Dearest had problems:
    • 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 Camp Classic 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.
  • An unfortunate incident early on during the production of Monster Trucks, originally slated for a 2015 release, played a factor in its eventual delay to 2017. Creech's original design had a far more grotesque appearance, described by one crew member as having the appearance of "a cross between Judge Doom, a mentally-handicapped E.T., and a squid", than the more Ugly Cute design he and other members of his species had in the final product. Disaster struck when the movie was test screened for an audience of families with Creech in this design. The moment the monster came on the screen, all heck broke loose: the kids in the audience were scared out of their minds and the movie was subsequently drowned out by screaming and crying children as the crew attending the screening sat there panicking and being shouted at by outraged parents, with over half the audience having fled the theater by the end of the screening. After this disastrous first screening, the film was immediately delayed with the main objective being to find a much friendlier design for Creech, with the crew adopting a mantra of "Too Scawy" as they determined what would work for this film aimed at families and what wouldn't. The extra effort unfortunately didn't end up amounting to much as the movie continued to be pushed back, with the final product ultimately leaving audiences and critics unimpressed and becoming a financial failure for Paramount.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail. No Budget, the directors clashing with each other, Graham Chapman either getting drunk or suffering from withdrawal on set (his experience filming Grail was what made him decide to quit drinking), getting a location veto shortly before filming began, actors rushing back to the hotel after wrapping for the day in order to bathe...
  • The Muppet Movie had most of its problems stemming from its then-rare Starring Special Effects nature.
    • 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 1962 remake of Mutiny on the Bounty went over time and budget:
    • 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, director Carol Reed left the set with what the studio said was an "undiclosed ailment." He was, indeed, sick—of 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 budget—twice 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.
    • 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.
    • Also, similar to Peter Sellers and Orson Welles on Casino Royale (1967), Welch and Mae West hated each other so much that they refused to be onset together, resulting in them not being in the same shot.
  • 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?)

    N 
  • Amy Heckerling hated Chevy Chase when she directed him in National Lampoon's European Vacation. To top it off, the script was constantly being re-written on the set and it was hard for them to get any work out of the foreign crews.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Filming took place during what turned out to be Germany's hottest summer in years. This led one of the statues on the Ivory Tower to actually melt one day. On others process shots had to be canceled when the blue matte backgrounds weren't working.
    • 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.
  • BuzzFeed reporter Kate Aurthur said of Nina, the 2016 Nina Simone biopic, that "everything bad that could happen to a movie happened to this movie". As she reports:
    • 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 Simone—and 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 Dean Cundey, production designer William Sandell, and makeup designer David Miller — 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 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 ended 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.
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    O 
  • Ong-Bak 2 turned out to be an overambitious undertaking for Tony Jaa as the script became more and more bloated and what was supposed to be an action film turned into an elaborate period piece with lots of big sets and Costume Porn. The movie quickly fell behind schedule and went over budget. Jaa became overwhelmed by all the pressure (one obvious sign was that he started sacrificing a live chicken at the start of each shooting day for luck) and he eventually had to stop for a while for the sake of his mental health. The completed footage was released as Ong Bak 2 and the rest of the script was shot when Jaa felt well enough to return and eventually released as Ong Bak 3.
  • Marlon Brando made his first and only film as director, the western One-Eyed Jacks. His inexperience behind the camera was obvious on set. He shot six times the amount of footage normally used for a film at the time. He was indecisive and ran extremely overlong in getting the film finished. He insisted on getting drunk to film a scene in which he was supposed to act drunk, but he got too drunk to act or direct and so he insisted on repeating the process another day. Again he got too drunk to direct or act. Another time, Brando made everyone sit around while he waited for the "right" wave off the Monterey coast. All this while utilizing the Vista-Vision process, which cost fifty cents a foot! In the end, the film, originally budgeted at $1.8 million, wound up with a price tag of $6 million. Paramount eventually took the film away from him and recut it. He found the experience so grim that never stepped behind the camera again.
  • Dario Argento's Opera suffered the following problems:
    • One of the main male leads was in a car accident, forcing them to have to film everything but his scenes as they did not know if they had to recast him or not.
    • Argento making the decision to hire an actual opera singer (to give credibility for the opera sequences) over an actress for the lead role of Betty, leading to him and the singer feuding during the entire production due to her inexperience as an actor.
    • Argento's father died during production, plunging him into a state of severe depression.
    • Having just broken up with Argento, his erstwhile collaborator Daria Nicolodi reluctantly agreed to appear in the film as a favor to her ex, only to freak out and accuse him of trying to kill her when she read the script and realized that her character would die in a sequence where the actress herself could potentially die.
    • Massive infighting with Orion Pictures, the film's U.S. distributor, over their demand that Argento cut the film's final sequence (which was a bloody Sound of Music homage set on the actual hillside where Julie Andrews famously filmed the scene where she sang the musical's iconic theme song). Argento refused to cut the scene, resulting in Orion backing out of their agreement to release the film (retitled Terror At the Opera) in theaters.

    P 
  • Paint Your Wagon was another disastrous late '60s musical. Thanks to its chaotic production and questionable quality, it was a punchline long before The Simpsons mercilessly spoofed it.
    • Director Joshua Logan, along with Alan Jay Lerner and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, drastically rewrote Lerner and Loewe's original musical. The stage version concerns a frontier girl falling for a Mexican man despite her father's disapproval; the movie depicts two prospectors "sharing" a Mormon wife. Apparently, Lerner thought an unconventional love triangle would appeal to younger audiences in The '60s. Then Lerner decided to add new songs, co-written not by his regular collaborator Fritz Loewe but Andre Previn.
    • Initially, Logan wanted Mickey Rooney, James Cagney and Lesley Ann Warren for the leads. Hardly box office draws in 1969, they at least had musical experience. Which couldn't be said for Paramount's preferred stars, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin (who turned down The Wild Bunch to appear in the movie because it offered a bigger paycheck) and Jean Seberg, trying to restart her career after spending the '60s in France.note  This would have been an incredible casting coup, if any of them could sing. While Seberg's songs were dubbed by another actress, Eastwood and Marvin were forced to sing themselves, with less-than-impressive results.
    • Following The Sound of Music's lead, Logan decided to shoot on location. He commissioned a huge mining town in the middle of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, which was painstakingly constructed over seven months. This caused the film to run wildly overbudget before filming even began. The location caused logistical nightmares: cast and crew slept in tents on location, constantly running low on filming supplies, food and other amenities. Including trees: Logan wasn't impressed with Oregon's natural flora, importing pine trees from Hollywood to augment the local forest.
    • The shoot attracted local vagrants and hippies, who stole food and supplies from the set. Logan cast them as extras, though they refused his instructions to cut their hair or wear period clothing. Eventually the extras organized a makeshift union, demanding $25 a day payments and commissary bags full of food for fellow hippies. Logan, aggravated by an overlong shoot and lacking replacements, gave in to their demands.
    • As filming dragged on, tensions between cast and crew erupted. Lerner micromanaged the production, overseeing filming and constantly countermanding Logan's decisions. This drove Logan, who suffered from bipolar disorder, to despair; he confided in film critic Rex Reed, "I don't know what the hell I'm doing here." Marvin drank heavily, constantly botching takes and arguing with Logan. Eastwood and Seberg engaged in an affair which drew the attention of tabloids - and Seberg's husband, French director and novelist Romain Gary. Gary arrived on set planning to kill Eastwood, who fled into the woods. Filming climaxed with Logan dynamiting the set, a fitting end to a long, painful shoot.
    • Thanks to a major marketing splash, Wagon proved a surprise hit, becoming the sixth highest-grossing movie of 1969. However, due to its colossal budget and advertising costs, it failed to turn a profit. It also received terrible reviews; Eastwood and Marvin's off-key singing earned particular ridicule, though Marvin's rendition of "I Was Born Under a Wanderin' Star" became a novelty hit. Wagon ended Joshua Logan's film career and derailed Jean Seberg's hope for a Hollywood comeback. It also served as abject lesson to Clint Eastwood; observing the bloated production, he resolved that his own directorial efforts would come in on time and under budget.
  • Pink Floyd - The Wall was victim to Creative Differences between writer/ Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, director Alan Parker, and animation director Gerald Scarfe, who frequently clashed with each other throughout the film's production, to the point where Scarfe wouldn't go to the studio without a bottle of Jack Daniel's; Parker went on to view the film's production as one of the most miserable experiences of his life.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise experienced two of these.
    • The first came with the second film, Dead Man's Chest. Writing wasn't finished by the time it started, ships had to be built, the small island where it was filmed wasn't ready to receive the huge crew, and Hurricane Wilma devastated the Bahamas set.
    • And the fifth film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, was being produced as its star Johnny Depp was going through a bitter divorce from his wife Amber Heard. As such, he was chronically late to the set, as most of his time was spent drinking and getting into fights with Heard, to the point where it ate into the schedule as the set often came to a halt for hours at a time. It got to the point where a production assistant was hired just to wait outside Depp's house and announce that he was awake when they saw the lights inside come on. There was also a two week delay when Depp got injured and had to be flown to the United States for surgery. This was nothing compared to his fight with the Australian government, which took up a whole year and saw Disney and all the Pirates fans wondering if Depp was going to be charged with dog smuggling. While Amber Heard ultimately was forced to plead guilty after it was discovered that the dogs belonged to her, the year long saga was a massive draw on Disney's patience, and was a major factor in Depp getting fired.
  • The experience of making Planes, Trains and Automobiles was not a happy one for John Hughes as many shooting days were either lost or delayed due to weather issues or having to work around certain loopholes. For example, a sequence involving a train had to change shooting locations due to a lack of snow, and the crew had to create a train route from scratch as the local train company wouldn't allow them to use theirs. Also, the rough cut ran over three hours and the film spent many months in post-production so to cut the film to a manageable length (this is also why references to Hughes's next film appear, as it began production right after this film finished filming). In addition to these problems, Hughes was also smarting over the fact that his long-term business relationship with Molly Ringwald had gone sour after she turned down the Lea Thompson role of Amanda Jones in Some Kind of Wonderful. Hughes was so upset over the rejection that he never worked with Ringwald again for the rest of his life.
  • Jacques Tati envisioned Playtime as his masterpiece, and for that the film had to be somewhat more than ordinary. This grand social satire and ode to classic slapstick could not be done on any ordinary set. Rather, it required a set for which two full-size modernistic buildings had to be constructed on the outskirts of Paris, along with several smaller models, a full-size road, and its own working electrical system powered by a small plant. The development of the film would then necessitate numerous script rewrites and continuous maintenance of the set. Filming in itself lasted three years, during which Tati had to take out numerous loans in order to continue production. In order to further accommodate his immense vision, the film was shot on 70mm film and edited for a stereophonic sound setup. These decisions would eventually cause difficulties in finding theatres that could properly screen the film. When the project was finally completed and released in 1967, it flopped pitifully. The official budget has gone unreported, but the failure of Playtime led Tati to file for bankruptcy and pay off the film's debts for the rest of his life. Fortunately the film's reputation has improved since its release and is now considered Tati's masterpiece.
  • From the Police Academy series:
    • During filming of Their First Assignment, some of the original cast members allegedly complained about losing screen time to the newer cast members, causing shooting to be shut down temporarily and a mediator being brought in to mellow out the cast.
    • Filming of Assignment Miami Beach was temporarily suspended due to Hurricane Floyd moving through Southern Florida in October 1987. While filming Proctor's scene atop the swaying tree outside Harris' office, strong winds picked up, causing the tree to sway more than planned. With news of the hurricane fast approaching, the cast and crew were then sent home for their safety until the dangerous weather conditions subsided a few days later.
    • Filming of Mission to Moscow was disrupted by the 1993 Russian Constitutional Crisis to the point where production nearly moved to Budapest. There were also difference of opinion between producer Paul Maslansky (who wanted to keep the slapstick nature of the previous films) and director Alan Metter (who would have preferred to derive the humor more from the location and cultural differences between the American and Russian officers), eventually culminating in Metter disowning the finished product.
  • Popeye was hit by this:
    • The script went through rewrites during the production, and writer Jules Feiffer expressed concern too much screen time was being devoted to minor characters. He also found fault with Harry Nilsson's songs, feeling they weren't right for the characters.
    • The original inflatable arms designed for the muscle-bound Popeye did not look satisfactory, so new ones were commissioned and made in Italy, leaving Robert Altman to film scenes not showing them until the new ones arrived. Altman also had the cast singing their musical numbers live — contrary to standard convention for a movie musical where songs are recorded first in a studio and lip-synched — causing sound quality problems.
    • Robin Williams also had to re-record his dialogue after running into trouble with his character's mumbling style, a by-product of talking with a pipe in his mouth, and his affinity for ad-libs also led to clashes with the director.
    • Producer Robert Evans was arrested for trying to buy cocaine, and as a result was removed from the final stages of production.
    • During filming the scene at the end where Pappy throws Popeye the can of spinach, Ray Walston hit Williams in the head so hard, that he required several stitches in his scalp and delayed filming for several weeks.
    • The partnership with Walt Disney put pressure on the production to keep the film family-friendly, including cutting a fleeting profanity uttered by Williams in one scene.
    • The final battle involving the octopus led to more headaches when the mechanical beast failed to work properly. After the production cost rose beyond $20 million, Paramount executives ordered Altman to stop and return to the U.S. with what he had.
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) was an absolute nightmare to get to the screen:
    • Even before the original 1934 novel by James M. Cain was published, RKO Pictures was interested in buying the film rights, only to be told by the Production Code Administration (PCA) that the content and themes of the story were "definitely unsuitable for motion picture production." Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. were also interested, but were fearful that any attempt to film the story would end in disaster. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer finally purchased the rights two hours after Columbia's deal fell through, but did nothing with them for 12 years, under pressure from the PCA. Meanwhile, other film versions of the novel were produced in France and Italy. It wasn't until Paramount's Double Indemnity (also based on a Cain novel) became a critical and commercial success that MGM finally decided to greenlight the project.
    • The film's two stars, Lana Turner and John Garfield, did not get along with each other at first. When Turner found out that Garfield was cast as her leading man, she quipped, "Couldn't they at least hire someone attractive?" However, they did become friends as the project went along, and were even (according to some accounts) briefly romantically involved.
    • Director Tay Garnett insisted on shooting almost entirely on location instead of on a soundstage, which was very rare at the time. When it came time to film the seaside scenes at Laguna Beach, the intense fog made shooting impossible. After several days of waiting, filming was moved to San Clemente, where the crew also ran into thick fog. After the fog had finally cleared out of Laguna Beach, it returned when the cast and crew attempted to film. The situation was very stressful for Garnett, who was a recovering alcoholic, and he fell off the wagon. Filming was completely delayed after Garnett locked himself in his hotel room, and refused to come out. MGM came very close to replacing him. After hearing this, Lana Turner convinced Garnett to seek treatment. Filming eventually resumed when the fog finally cleared from Laguna Beach.
    • A subplot was filmed involving Audrey Totter's character as a giant cat tamer, as in the original novel. During filming, Garfield was sprayed by one of the lions, and he jokingly asked for stunt pay.
    • The sneak preview was a disaster, with audiences laughing at the scenes of Totter's character showing off her collection of lions and tigers. James M. Cain crawled out of the screening in embarrassment to avoid producer Carey Wilson. The film underwent many reshoots, with Audrey Totter's character reduced to a minor role with barely a minute of screen time.
    • The film was highly successful at the box office, but got mixed reviews from critics. MGM head Louis B. Mayer hated the movie and found it out of the studio's comfort zone of lavish Technicolor musicals. However, the film was eventually vindicated by history and is now regarded as a noir classic. Lana Turner considered it one of the only films of hers that she enjoyed, mostly because it gave her the opportunity to "do some real acting."
  • Power Rangers already suffered badly with their series... but the movies were worse!
    • With Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie:
      • Director Bryan Spicer didn't see the actual series when he was hired. As such, he did a quick "fast-forwarding" run of the series, ensuring things would go wrong.
      • When the Ranger suits were developed, the helmets were designed without visors or mouth pieces, intending on the heroes showing fear or worry. It wasn't until a little while later that they realized that they were meant to be a fearless force to be reckoned with and they remolded the helmets to include those missing pieces.
      • Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, the original and final choice for Dulcea, was replaced partway by Mariska Hargitay. However, after filming her scenes, which included a training sequence, they felt she wasn't the right one for the job and they rehired Gabrielle, dumping all of those scenes.
      • The filming for the final scene where the team is thanked turned into a disaster area when local radio shows caught wind of it and tried to turn it into a "Meet the Power Rangers" contest.
      • Originally, Ivan Ooze was meant to mutate a bunch of rats for the Rangers to fight. However, the rat costumes proved to be too low budget even for the actual series, leading to the creation of the Ooze Men. However, the suits were spared and used in "The Return of the Green Ranger" three-parter.
      • Delays in the series forced the cast to remain in Australia for filming, forcing Saban to make the aforementioned "The Return of the Green Ranger" episode.
    • Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie was just as bad. Initially envisioned as a reunion of the original MMPR cast teaming up with the new Turbo team, it fell apart when Walter Jones and Thuy Trang refused to give up their Guild membership cards to film. The explanation of the Turbo powers was dropped when David Yost left near the end of Power Rangers Zeo. The original cut was actually over three hours long and they were forced to trim it down to under two. Beyond all of that, it was no wonder the movie flopped!
  • Predator:
    • According to FX supervisor Steve Johnson, pre-production of the film began with director John McTiernan dramatically throwing down concept art for the creature at a meeting with FOX executives — which looked awful. The original idea called for a creature that had backwards-jointed reptile legs, along with an extended head and arms. The crew was also planning to film the project in the muddy slopes of Mexico. Despite Johnson and other members of the crew telling them that it would be physically impossible to shoot with such a creature, McTiernan went ahead anyway.
    • Jean-Claude Van Damme (then recently-emigrated from Belgium) was brought in without giving him any sufficient explanation of what he was supposed to be doing. Van Damme was furious due to believing that the temp effects suit (which was used so the "cloaking" effect could be applied in post-production) was the actual suit for the final product. Additionally, the suit was unwieldy (causing him to bump into trees because he couldn't see), and he was further angered to learn that he wouldn't be able to do any of his martial arts moves, which he was famous for.
    • Filming got underway in Mexico, and it quickly became apparent to the cast and crew that the conditions weren't favorable. While the suit was still being constructed, the crew had to deal with sweltering heat and rough terrain. Every member of the cast and crew but Arnold Schwarzenegger (of course) and McTiernan got bouts of Montezuma's Revenge due to unclean hotel water.
    • Things got worse when the finished (original) suit actually reached the production set and saw the result. Faced with Van Damme complaining relentlessly and the crew treating the suit as a joke, McTiernan shot some test footage and sent it back to FOX hoping that they would see reason. The studio did and shut down production. Lawrence Gordon (one of the producers) was forced to secure additional funding so that Stan Winston and his team could come in and redesign the suit. Van Damme either left the production because of fears for his own safety (supposedly due to a stunt he was supposed to do, but which was helmed by another stuntman who broke his own leg the first time attempting it) or was fired by the studio.
    • Kevin Peter Hall was brought on to play the title character, and production continued in earnest, though not without running into more problems during the filming of the final confrontation. Schwarzenegger found himself being caked in cold mud for hours at a time, while Hall also found it difficult to move around in the suit.
  • The Producers did manage to avert the time and money problems that plague most movies here - Mel Brooks managed to do everything in 40 days on a $941,000 budget. Otherwise, as this article proved, it was no easy feat.
    • Even before filming began, Brooks had problems selling his Springtime for Hitler script, as many felt making fun of the Fuhrer was in bad taste - one studio even suggested renaming it "Springtime for Mussolini". Even once he did get producer Sidney Glazier, he asked to change the title as most theaters would refuse to put Hitler's name in the marquee (thus Brooks came up with The Producers, feeling it was an ironic Non-Indicative Title given how the protagonists are anything but producers).
    • Brooks convinced Glazier and the studio that he could direct the film, despite being his feature debut. His inexperience showed right off the bat (Brooks yelled "Cut" instead of "Action" to start shooting), the slow pace of production compared to television annoyed Brooks, and both his sleep and his temper suffered for hit: in addition to only two hours of rest, Prima Donna Director tendencies showed up, with Brooks clashing with the cinematographer, insulting a visiting reporter, and temporarily banishing Glazier from the set.
    • Star Zero Mostel, who was afraid of Typecasting but still accepted the role of Max Bialystock because his wife loved the script, was hard to deal with, and only with Brooks as both were frequently at odds. Mostel had injured his leg in a bus crash sometime before production and added a clause in his contract being forfeited from any work past 5:30 PM. Assistant director Michael Hertzberg managed to convince him once to work overtime, by enduring Mostel screaming his lungs off at him for several minutes. And given the leg injury got worse in humid weather, the very last scene at the Lincoln Center's fountain had Mostel throwing a fit and give up on production. Glazier had to leave a dentist appointment and rush to the set where Mostel and Brooks were arguing, and once the producer managed to calm them down, the resulting scene had to be shot all night long. (it shows in the finished film, as the sky is as dark as possible).
    • Once filming ended, long post-production where Brooks clashed with the editor ensued. Upon release, critics were divided, the film barely got distributed and subsequently only got enough to cover its low budget. Still, the Academy liked it enough to give it an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (to Brooks' surprise), and eventually, the film was Vindicated by History.
  • Considering Prom Night III: The Last Kiss's low budget and pressure to get things finished as quickly and cheaply as possible, there were numerous issues the cast and crew encountered during production:
    • Al Magliochetti, who did visual effects work on the film through VFX company Light and Motion, recalled numerous instances of a tense and confusing on-set atmosphere. For example, he did not get along with producer, co-director Peter Simpson, labeling him an uncivilized thug and one of the nastiest producers he'd ever worked with. He described one instance where Simpson reduced actress Courtney Taylor (Mary Lou) to tears after making a crude comment about her chest.
    • Editor Nick Rotundo was also the cause of much tension, as Magliochetti recalled that Rotundo would often try to override the wishes of director Ron Oliver and the VFX department, simply doing whatever he wanted with the picture. After Oliver exploded at Magliochetti over an unauthorized change, he simply showed Oliver the instructions Rotundo had given him, causing Oliver to realize the source of the problem.

    Q 
  • The Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle The Quest. In his autobiography, Roger Moore recalled that the film was a disorganized production that was running out of money due to poor preparation. Apparently, when the production was running out of money, many of the crew were even asked to work for free to keep filming on schedule; the producers promptly found the money for the filming when said crew laughed at them and threatened to strike. In the end, Moore credits Second Unit Director Peter MacDonald for bringing it all together.

    R 
  • Radio Flyer, the story of two brothers who escape an abusive stepfather with a homemade flying machine, was a red-hot script when it was picked up by Columbia Pictures and initially was directed by its screenwriter, David Mickey Evans (who later did The Sandlot). But after a week of shooting, he was fired and production was shut down until Richard Donner was brought in to replace him. In the process, the production budget more than doubled from $15 million to $35 million.
  • The Rage: Carrie 2. To begin with, the film was supposed to start production in 1996 as an original project titled The Curse, with no relation to Carrie beyond a similar plot. However, production got stalled for two years, during which time it was rewritten into a sequel to Carrie. A few weeks into production, director Robert Mandel quit, citing Creative Differences, leaving Katt Shea (maker of Poison Ivy) to take over the production with less than a week to prepare. This also forced two weeks of reshoots.
  • This trope just seems to follow films about a certain wrecked ocean liner around. Consider Raise the Titanic!:
    • Most of the trouble was in pre-production. Lew Grade read Clive Cussler's script and saw the potential for a Dirk Pitt franchise. The legendary Stanley Kramer had already been set to direct, and when Grade bought the rights he made Kramer the producer as well. However, he quit when Grade kept complaining that the models of the ships to be used were two or three times bigger than they should have been. Kramer was replaced by Jerry Jameson, who had just come off the similarly effects-heavy hit Airport '77, though whose career had mostly been directing television and schlock cinema like It Lives by Night.
    • The real trouble was with the script. The first draft, by Eric Hughes, was a pretty straightforward translation of Cussler's novel. Unfortunately, Grade felt it was far too long and wanted something with more appeal to family audiences, and so hired someone else to rewrite it... several times. Ultimately 17 writers worked on the screenplay, and all of them except for Larry Mc Murtry, who disliked the novel to begin with, petitioned the Writers' Guild for credit on the released film (credit was given to Hughes and Adam Kennedy, the latter of whom was mostly responsible for the final draft). Between the writing clusterfuck and the efforts to find a ship that could be dressed to look like the Titanic, $15 million (an amount that could have paid for a few modestly budgeted films at the time) had been spent without shooting a single frame.
    • It didn't help that they didn't have a cast after Elliott Gould turned down the part of Pitt. Eventually an All-Star Cast including Jason Robards and Alec Guinness was hired at yet more considerable expense.
    • The film had to deliver on its title promise, and in order to do so a 50-foot (15-meter) model of the Titanic was built. It turned out to be too large for any existing water tank, so a special 10-million-gallon "horizon tank"note  was built off the coast of Malta. As if they hadn't already spent enough money they never expected to, it took 50 takes to get the shot of the ship rising they way they wanted it. Grade famously quipped that it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic.
    • Thus finished, the film sat on the shelf for two years. Its 1980 release made just barely $7 million, nowhere near the final budget of $40 million (again, almost astronomical for the time) and video rentals weren't much help. Grade was left vulnerable to being bought out by a corporate raider who promptly started mismanaging a bunch of properties he couldn't care less about (most notoriously, this was a major reason for the decline of the Muppets in the '80s as they'd lost Grade's support).
  • Reach Me: According to director-writer John Herzfeld, he wrote the script for Reach Me in 2001 and spent the next twelve years trying to get it made. During the second week of shooting, an important producer pulled out and the film was left without funding. As a result, Herzfeld started a Kickstarter campaign to complete it. In order to allow for bigger contributions, the campaign was moved to Indiegogo, where it reached just over $178,000 in less than a week (although an anonymous backer pledged almost $150,000), allowing Herzfeld to finish it. The Indiegogo pitch can still be seen here.
  • 1993 saw Kim Basinger team with Val Kilmer in the heist-caper movie The Real McCoy. Problems arose right from the start due to creative differences between Kilmer, director Russell Mulcahy, and producer Martin Bregman. According to Basinger, the screenplay that she initially read and the story that ended up in the finished film didn't match. More to the point, Basinger originally signed on to a movie that going to be a love story instead of a caper movie. Bregman attested that Kilmer almost tried to destroy the picture. As a result, the filmmakers had to rewrite it because of him. The problems with Kilmer didn't end there. According to one exec on the set, Kilmer once became enraged when a scene wasn't altered to his liking. Kilmer reportedly started firing his prop gun at a car. Producers also told horror stories about Kilmer snapping at someone to “never speak to him like that again” when he was just asked to rehearse a scene once more. Apparently, Basinger lobbied for Kilmer to be in the film, and he took it. Ultimately, however, Basinger accused him of sinking the movie purposefully by acting poorly. When The Real McCoy was released in September 1993, critics savaged the movie, and audiences didn't care. It currently has only a 19% score on Rotten Tomatoes and just grossed $6,484,246 against a $24 million budget. The Real McCoy wound up being one of a string of busts that damaged Basinger's career.
  • Rebecca started production five days after World War II broke out, causing lots of problems with the mostly British cast and crew. Alfred Hitchcock's perfectionism slowed production down, to the point where he refused to allow lights to be set up during camera rehearsals - because he found the noise distracting. Within two weeks, the film was behind schedule. Stagehands went on strike during filming and Joan Fontaine suffered a nasty flu. In addition, Laurence Olivier greatly disliked his leading lady (he had wanted his new bride, Vivien Leigh, to be cast as the second Mrs De Winter) and wasn't shy about letting her know it. Hitchcock got a suitably uncomfortable performance out of Fontaine by telling her that everyone on set hated her. The film ended up going $500,000 over budget.
  • The remake of Red Dawn (2012) was originally meant to be released in 2010. MGM was hit with financial difficulties which halted production for a while. Distributors refused to pick up the film for fear that the Chinese antagonists would anger the Chinese government, which has the power to censor films in China and cut a film's box office take. After resuming production MGM spent an additional one million dollars to turn the Chinese villains into North Koreans by digitally altering images and dubbing dialogue. The film was finally released in November 2012, and only then with Film District, a surprisingly small distributor for such a big film... and it flopped big-time.
  • When the cast of Red Planet went on location in the Australian desert, Tom Sizemore apparently had an exercise machine shipped out to him. That flipped out Val Kilmer, and the two escalated into throwing weights at each other until Sizemore knocked out Kilmer with a punch to the chestnote . Kilmer then refused to do any of his remaining scenes with Sizemore, locking himself in his trailer while Sizemore did his lines and forcing the crew to work around him. By the end of production, however, he wasn't even saying Sizemore's character's name, further crimping things. Antony Hoffman has never directed another film.
  • The Dolph Lundgren action vehicle Red Scorpion was originally set to film in Swaziland, but the production was denied permits just a week before filming was to begin. As a result, it was instead filmed in what was then the South African province of South-West Africa (now the republic of Namibia). This immediately caused problems, as South Africa at the time was under massive international pressure over apartheid. More importantly, the South African government and the film's producer and writer, the infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff, were using the film (in which Lundgren plays as Spetsnaz operative in Africa who defects to the anti-communist rebels) as part of their propaganda efforts to portray the African National Congress as communist sympathizers. Warner Bros. pulled out of the production as a result, not wanting to run afoul of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, while anti-apartheid activists led a boycott of Lundgren's films in protest. Even a number of cast and crew members, such as Carmen Argenziano (who plays a villainous Cuban colonel), were disgusted when they found out that South Africa was essentially bankrolling the film. Tom Savini, meanwhile, who did special effects work on the film and described his experience in one of the DVD bonus features, also said that the meals on set were barely edible and that he and his family almost died in a flood during production. The budget ballooned to $16 million as a result of the delays to production that these issues caused, even with the South African Defense Forces providing support of their own, and it landed at the box office in April 1989 with a resounding thud.
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ran into problems when Milla Jovovich's stunt double Olivia Jackson crashed into a malfunctioned camera crane during a motorcycle stunt. The accident left her in a coma for two weeks, and among Jackson's injuries were cerebral trauma, a crushed face, a severed artery in her neck, a paralyzed arm, several broken ribs, a shattered scapula, a broken clavicle, torn fingers with a thumb that needed to be amputated, and five nerves torn out of her spinal cord. The paralyzed arm also later needed to be amputated. One of the film's crew members was also crushed to death by a US Army Hummer (a prop in use for the film) while on set.
  • Independent filmmaker Tom Laughlin, creator and star of the Billy Jack films, spent years trying to get a fifth entry off the ground, and probably came closest to doing so when The Return of Billy Jack actually entered production in 1985. Unfortunately, with only an hour of the film completed, he suffered a head injury on set that put production on hold, and by the time he recovered, he had run out of money to finish it. The film, as well as plans for a TV show, would remain in Development Hell until Laughlin's death in 2013.
  • The Revenant, the followup to Alejandro González Iñárritu's Oscar hit Birdman, has endured one of the harshest productions in recent memory. What was supposed to be a $60 million film had its budget balloon to $135 million and Inarritu's infamously temperamental nature, the high-pressure schedule, unpleasant filming conditions, and his insistence that they shoot long, elaborately choreographed scenes in single takes while only using natural light made it a very difficult shoot. This caused several crew members to quit the project in response and some were even fired by Inarritu himself. Tom Hardy in particular was concerned about the safety of some of the stunts he had to do, which caused friction between him and Inarritu before Inarritu allowed Hardy to choke him out in return. Later, the image of Hardy strangling Inarritu was immortalized in a T-shirt gifted by Hardy to all members of the crew at the end of the shoot. Fortunately, the result paid off: it resulted in Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar!
  • Roar (1981) was a passion project for Tippi Hedren and her then-husband, Noel Marshall. The couple and their family raised 150 wild animals over the course of a decade (first in their Los Angeles home, then on a ranch in California), then spent five years making a film with these animals. All hell broke loose.
    • Before filming, Marshall's son John was the first victim; he was attacked by a lion who clamped its jaw on John's head. It took 25 minutes to get the lion to let go of John's head, and the result was 56 stitches.
    • During filming of one scene, a lion bit through Noel Marshall's hand; that moment is in the film, and Marshall can be seen attempting to shake the blood off his hand!
    • One lion grabbed Melanie Griffith's (Hedren's daughter) hair and wouldn't let go. That moment also made it to film. She later got clawed in the face, requiring reconstructive surgery. Some reports would later blame the latter incident for playing a major role in her becoming addicted to painkillers, which she needed post-surgery.
    • The cinematographer, future Speed director Jan de Bont, needed 200 stitches on his scalp as a result of another attack. On top of that, de Bont ended up effectively having to co-direct much of the film, due to Marshall's lack of experience working on an actual film set.
    • Tippi Hedren was thrown off an elephant and broke her leg. Now a staunch supporter of animal rights, Hedren regrets having ever put the animals in the situation she and her husband put them through. The strain of the production ultimately played a major role in destroying their marriage, and led to their getting divorced in 1982.
    • The film was released to tepid reviews in late 1981. Hedren and Marshall had intended to donate all proceeds from the film to charity, but couldn't find a U.S. distributor who was willing to give more than around 10% of the gross revenue to charity. As a result, it only made around $2 million; a not-insigificant amount of charity money, but much less than had been hoped for.
    • When the film was eventually released in America by Drafthouse Films in 2015, its nightmarish production was front-and-center in promotions, with taglines proclaiming it "The most dangerous movie ever made" and "No Animals Were Harmed in the making of this movie. 70 members of the cast and crew were." (John Marshall thinks the number might be higher.)
  • Filming of the Rat Pack movie Robin and the 7 Hoods was interrupted by the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra's son Frank Jr. After a two day ordeal he paid the ransom and his son was returned, but he was left so shaken by the incident combined with the assassination of his close friend President John Kennedy that it was questioned if he'd be able to complete the movie.
  • Laurel and Hardy's final film Robinson Crusoeland had such a shambolic production a whole book was written about it, The Final Film of Laurel and Hardy: A Study of the Chaotic Making and Marketing of Atoll K:
    • From the beginning, there were disagreements on the film's screenplay. Stan Laurel was unhappy with the storyline envisioned by French director Léo Joannon and insisted on bringing Alfred Goulding and Monty Collins to aid in the screenplay's creation (Alf Goulding received no on-screen credit and Monty Collins was credited with "gags"). There were also considerable problems in communications, since neither Laurel nor Oliver Hardy spoke French and Joannon spoke very little English.
    • During the production, the two comedy stars encountered serious problems. Laurel's pre-existing diabetes was aggravated and he developed colitis, dysentery and a prostate ulcer while on the French locations for the film. He eventually required hospitalization, and his widow would later fault the quality of the French medical care, claiming that at one point, she had to substitute for an absent nurse by changing her husband's bandages. Laurel's weight dropped to 114 pounds, and for most of the production he could only work in 20 or 30-minute spurts. Hardy, however, saw his already hefty frame expand to 330 pounds while in France, and he required medical care for cardiac fibrillation and the flu. Adding to the medical problems was Italian actor Adriano Rimoldi, who played the stowaway, when he fell from a docked yacht and required a month's recuperation away from the production.
    • When they were able to work, Laurel and Hardy saw their relationship with Joannon fray dramatically. Ida Laurel, Stan's widow, would later claim Joannon was an incompetent who spent three days filming a lake because, as she said, "it was the most photogenic lake he'd ever seen." In the middle of the production, US film director John Berry was quietly brought in to work with the comedy team. Berry's US career had been ruined by the Hollywood blacklist and he sought to start over in France. However, his participation was kept secret out of the fear that the film would not get a US theatrical release if it became known that a blacklisted director was at its helm. Berry's contribution was not publicly acknowledged until 1967, when film historian William K. Everson cited the uncredited director's input in his book The Films of Laurel and Hardy. While Berry never publicly acknowledged his work on the film, the film's leading lady Suzy Delair confirmed his role during an interview with historian Norbert Aping.
    • Ida Laurel told biographer John McCabe, "I'm hardly likely to forget the date we left for France and the date we returned – April 1, 1950, and April 1, 1951. But there was no April Fooling about that terrible year. That bloody picture was supposed to take twelve weeks to make, and it took twelve months."
  • RoboCop (1987) was shot during a very hot summer in Dallas, and Peter Weller's costume not only came in late, but he could barely move in it, rendering his previous mime training useless. In addition, it ran behind schedule and over budget, actors Kurtwood Smith and Ray Wise stole the crew's golf carts during the shooting of one scene and executives kept trying to interfere with the production while it was still going on.
    • A fair portion of the scheduling delays were caused by difficulties in lighting the Robocop suit properly — originally, they tried to light it as actors were normally lit, which didn't work because the suit reflected too much light. Eventually, they hit on the solution of lighting it like a car.
    • Verhoeven mentions a minor adversity on the commentary track of the Criterion Collection release: Dallas was chosen as the shooting location in part because of the futuristic look it has downtown. Verhoeven especially liked the look of one particular building when it was lit up by external lights at night. Unfortunately, that building was being renovated during the shooting and the lights were shut off. As they were finished in Dallas and were leaving, they literally saw the lights come on through the plane's window...
  • The Rollerball remake. Anyone who's seen the original script says it was very good—even superior to the original 1975 film, some thought—but John McTiernan disliked it and ordered multiple rewrites. Principal photography took place in 2000, but after uniformly negative test screenings the studio ordered reshoots. The film was then heavily cut for a more family-friendly rating before its release in 2002. The end result was critically panned (3% on Rotten Tomatoes), earned lead actress Rebecca Romijn a Razzie nod, and earned back just over a third of its $70 million budget. McTiernan would never produce another picture, and would only direct one more film in 2003's Basic, which didn't do much better. William Harrison, who penned the short story on which both films were based, later said he had neither seen the remake nor had any interest in doing so.
    • It later turned out that, in the middle of production, McTiernan had hired private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap the phone of another producer, a felony for which he would later serve several months in federal prison and declare bankruptcy, effectively ending his film career.
  • The Room had a very troubled production due to writer/producer/director/star Tommy Wiseau's... eccentricities. These are described in detail in The Disaster Artist, a dual "making of The Room" and "My bizarre friendship with Tommy Wiseau" book by Greg Sestero, who played Mark. Some of the more notable things out of Sestero's book:
    • Wiseau made the film because he was tired of waiting to be cast as an actor, and decided to make his own film, despite having never made a film before and having little discernible talent for acting or writing. As his heavy accent makes clear, English is not Wiseau's first language, hence the script's many bizarre turns of phrase (such as Mark's "Keep your stupid comments in your pocket!"). Sestero recalls that the original script rarely specified whether scenes were taking place by day or at night, indoors or outdoors, or in which room, and one scene began with Lisa answering a phone call from her mother and ended with them walking to the door. Wiseau refused to take any advice from the cast or crew, dismissing concerns about characters' motivations changing within scenes or subplots abruptly coming and going and insisting that they deliver their lines exactly as written, which were apparently even more nonsensical than they were in the finished film.
    • Wiseau was verbally abusive towards the cast. Juliette Danielle, who played Lisa, got the worst of it; in one scene, she had been put in a backless blouse, and Wiseau shouted loudly enough for the whole cast and crew to hear that she needed make-up on her back acne. Carolyn Minnott, who played Lisa's mother Claudette, had to be rushed to hospital after passing out from heat exhaustion when Wiseau refused to rent an air conditioner for the studio. The original Michelle walked off the film, taking several cast and crew members with her, after Wiseau threw a water bottle at her during rehearsals. Kyle Vogt, who played Peter, told Wiseau that he had a limited time to shoot due to another commitment, but Wiseau made no attempt to schedule Peter's scenes before Vogt was due to leave, requiring the casting of Greg Ellery as Steven, who got Peter's lines during the party sequence. When Vogt hit his head on Johnny and Lisa's spiral staircase, ending up with a concussion, Wiseau made him film his scene anyway, resulting in Vogt having to hold onto props and blinking woozily throughout the take that went into the finished film.note  Sestero and his girlfriend broke up during filming, and Wiseau decided to use this as inspiration for a scene in which Mark grumbles about women to Johnny over coffee.
    • The crew were even more poorly treated. Wiseau would shout at them for minor or imagined infractions (including one crew member who farted during filming) and lack of professionalism even though he routinely arrived on set three or four hours late. Though most of the crew had the training and/or experience to back up their technical advice, Wiseau ignored every suggestion, resulting in multiple resignations. Sestero was given double duty as line producer as well as playing Mark, requiring him to handle everything from casting to catering between (or even during) takes. The first director of photography, Raphael Smadja, stormed off the film, taking his entire crew, when Wiseau refused to hire a dedicated line producer. His replacement, Graham Futerfas, only lasted a few weeks before quitting (along with his entire crew) after catching Wiseau in a lie about having been unable to rent a generator that would save time lost re-charging equipment. His replacement, Todd Barron, was a cameraman who was deemed the Closest Thing We Got.note  Script supervisor Sandy Schklair also quit after getting an offer to work with Steven Spielberg's double Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and losing patience with Wiseau viewing him as his personal assistant.note 
    • Numerous illogical decisions were made that inflated the film's budget unnecessarily, including purchasing (rather than renting) half a million dollars' worth of equipment, filming on 35 mm film and high-definition video simultaneously (even though they require entirely different lighting,note  and no HD footage ended up in the finished film), and filming scenes that could have been done on location on sets - this despite Wiseau being The Scrooge when it came to any cast or crew requests for minor but necessary expenses. The haphazard allocation of the production budget left almost nothing for costumes, forcing the wardrobe director to buy them from thrift stores (hence the film's Rummage Sale Reject look), while the condominium set was a window display from a furniture store bought in its entirety, and the crew had to buy such items as the infamous framed spoon photographs to make it look like someone actually lived there. Rather than filming all of the scenes on a particular set and dismantling it, Wiseau chose to film scenes almost at random, requiring sets to be struck and then re-built days later. When the studio shoot wrapped and production moved to San Francisco for location shooting, Wiseau didn't bother to obtain filming permits, attracting unwelcome police attention.
    • Due to Wiseau's inability to remember his lines (even though he wrote them himself) or move to the appropriate place, minutes-long dialogue sequences often took days to shoot, while he is visibly reading off-screen cue cards or looking at his feet for his mark in takes that went into the finished film. For example, Johnny's infamous "I did not hit her!... Oh hai Mark!" line, which lasts seven seconds, took three hours and thirty-two takes to film.note  The equally infamous "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!" scene, conceived as a tribute to Rebel Without a Cause, also took hours to film when Wiseau couldn't remember the line "I cannot go on without you!".note  Despite being brutally critical of the other actors' performances, Wiseau would accept no criticism of his own performance, so the crew set up a "giggle tent" where they could laugh at blown or unusable takes in privacy. Not that this escaped Wiseau's notice, as he hired a Czech man named Markus to film the cast and crew, ostensibly for a "making of" documentary but really to see what they were saying about him behind his back.
    • By the end of the shoot, nobody was even trying to be professional about it, and most of the actors admitted to phoning in their performances, while the crew were no longer paying attention to continuity or even whether or not scenes were in focus. Post-production was just as bad, as Wiseau refused to listen to editor Eric Chase, who told him that the film's pacing was a complete mess and there was simply no way to join the scenes together into anything like a coherent whole without cuts; the only scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor were alternate versions of Chris-R confronting Denny and the final sequence, plus three minutes of Johnny and Lisa's sex scene. Convinced he had made a masterpiece, Wiseau sent the finished film to various major studios seeking distribution; Sestero notes that while studios usually take two weeks to make a decision on distributing films, Paramount rejected The Room in just twenty-four hours. Wiseau ended up paying to distribute the film himself.

    S 
  • What happens when you combine the elements of two other famously troubled productions, like, say, a lengthy location shoot in Morocco with an attempt to relaunch a franchise based on Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt Adventures? You get another legendarily troubled production, Sahara (2005).
    • After the mess that had been Raise the Titanic! 20 years earlier, Cussler had refused to sell the movie rights to any of his books, not just the Pitt ones. Until he was approached, just as he had been for that film, by a very rich outsider, in this case Philip Anschutz. A Denver billionaire who had parlayed his oil and gas fortune into a broad range of investments, he was also a strongly conservative Christian. One of his investments had been the Regal theater chain, the largest in the country, and like many successful film exhibitors he decided to put some of his money into productions. The Anschutz Film group sought to produce films that weren't R-rated and delivered a strong moral message. Like Lew Grade in the 1970s, he saw the possibility for a film series in the Pitt books.
    • Cussler, remembering the earlier experience, not only got Anschutz to shell out $10 million for the rights to his 1992 Pitt novel Sahara, about a search for lost Confederate gold in Africa, he also got final approval for the script, cast and director—a highly unusual provision for the author of a novel being adapted into a film.
    • And just as it had during Raise the Titanic, that provision led to a huge and expensive revolving door of writers and directors. Cussler had written his own script, but clashed bitterly with every professional screenwriter brought in to polish or rework it, deriding them as hacks (the feeling was apparently mutual). Before long, 10 different writers had been paid almost $4 million for their services, without getting any closer to a script everyone was happy enough with to start filming (much less casting—Cussler actually bragged that he turned down Tom Cruise for the part as "too short").
    • Finally (or so they thought) a draft that the studio and the producers liked met with the approval of Rob Bowman, who had agreed to direct. But when the producers, whom he said never told him the extent of Cussler's creative authority, kept telling him Cussler disliked that versionnote , he quit. Breck Eisner, son of Disney head Michael, replaced him. Despite his parentage and the familiarity it gave him with this kind of moviemaking, he had never directed a big-budget film himself. Strife over the script and casting continued, with Cussler later alleged to have used racist and antisemitic slurs to refer to some of the counterparties during arguments.
    • There were other pressures on the script. Anschutz would not fund any film with even a possibility of getting an R rating, which meant that some scenes Cussler wanted in the film, such as the brutal revenge murder of a slave boss, were not likely to be shot no matter how much the novelist complained. The studio was also securing Product Placement deals, resulting in scenes being added that had little purpose save for making Jeep look good or having the characters drink certain brands of liquor.
    • After three years of this, filming finally got underway in London with a script credited to four writers. Cussler had had it by this point, and blasted the film on his latest Pitt book tour. Before it was even released he filed suit, alleging Anschutz and the other producers had never intended to honor their promise to give him creative control and deceived him all along. They, in turn, countersued, alleging he had promised to sabotage the film if they didn't use his script. Cussler lost, but some theater chains grew leery about booking the film (and that wouldn't be the end of the damage from that one).
    • Meanwhile, on set, the costs of the tortured writing process were becoming apparent. Expensive action sequences, such as a $2 million plane crash, ultimately had to be cut from the finished film so that contracts with advertisers who had paid millions to have their products featured could be honored. The budget ballooned to twice its original size, well over $100 million. That meant that, despite winning its opening weekend and doing well otherwise despite poor reviews, the film would still lose money. Just as had happened with Raise the Titanic, the Dirk Pitt franchise was again dead after one film (a sequel was cancelled). Eisner has only directed one feature film since then, The Crazies (2010).
    • The Coup de Grâce came two years later — when the film's full, 151-page line-item budget, entered as evidence in the lawsuits and supposedly confidential, was leaked to the Los Angeles Times. This rare look into the detailed finances of a film, especially a notoriously expensive bomb, showed the production benefiting from cheap Moroccan labor and European tax credits on one hand, but wasting the money on a plane crash that was cut and paying Penélope Cruz's hairstylist and dialect coach over a quarter of a million dollars. More seriously though, it even included $237,386 of expenses for what were explicitly labeled as bribes to Moroccan officials, some (a $40,688 payment to stop a river improvement project and $23,250 for "Political/Mayoral support") of which may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Serena: a big-budget period piece set during the Great Depression, with a great director, Darren Aronofsky, and an incredible cast — it starred Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Toby Jones and Game of Thrones's Conleth Hill (Varys). Unfortunately, Aronofsky left shortly before filming started, and the back effects of the production stall seemed to have caused some issues with keeping the filming and post-production cohesive. Whilst this is easily overlooked, it did become a problem when faced with the added delays in release. Its initial releases were only in foreign markets, and it only really lived up to expectations with the box office outcome of the UK. It then suffered only a limited theatrical release in America, which was bad enough but also probably was the move that spoiled its Oscar Bait chances.
  • Seven Samurai may be one of the most celebrated films ever made, but it had a tough time getting there.
    • Akira Kurosawa's demanding directing style led to regular disputes with the actors. Almost all the actors except for Toshiro Mifune, who got into arguments with Kurosawa constantly, were scared of him; poor Yoshio Inaba (Gorobei) was yelled at constantly for blowing his lines. Kamatari Fujiwara insisted on playing Manzo comically when Kurosawa wanted him to play the part more seriously, until he realized later that Fujiwara had the right idea and allowed him to play the character how he wanted.
    • Filming had to be stopped several times due to a shortage of horses for the final battle sequences.
    • Yoshio Tsuchiya (Rikichi) got badly scorched and blistered by fire in the scene where Rikichi, Heihachi and Kikuchiyo were setting fire to the bandits' camp, and fainted from a blast of flame during filming. Yukiko Shimazaki, who played Rikichi's wife, also got her face covered in blisters while filming that scene.
    • Toho pulled the plug on the project several times when it ran over budget, forcing Kurosawa to go back and personally argue with the board of directors, which was convinced that Toho was making a flop. The film wound up going more than four times over budget, with production stretched out to 148 days of shooting; the simultaneous production of this and Gojira nearly forced Toho into bankruptcy.
    • The film's final battle scene, originally scheduled to be shot at the end of summer, was shot in February in near-freezing temperatures. Mifune later recalled that he had never been so cold in his life.
  • Shock Treatment underwent a long and tumultuous process between its initial conception as a direct sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show to a social satire with little connection to its predecessor.
    • Originally, Richard O'Brien's script for Curse of the Baby (later Rocky Horror Shows His Heels) started with Janet finding herself pregnant after the sex-filled night at Frank's castle. Meanwhile, Brad decides he is gay, and joins Rocky (who somehow escaped the castle alive) and also-gay Dr. Scott in finding virgin blood to revive Frank, who proceeds to turn the town of Denton into transsexuals while requiring further transfusions. Eventually, Janet has her baby, but it's promptly kidnapped by Riff Raff and Magenta while Frank meets his demise again. Fox and his RHPS collaborators rejected the script because it was just plain terrible.
    • O'Brien tossed the script but kept some of the songs for a new script provisionally titled The Brad and Janet Show, which only featured them and Dr. Scott as returning characters. Production was to take place in Denton, Texas — an idea which never progressed beyond location scouting due to the 1980 Screen Actors Guild strike.
    • In a last-ditch attempt to get a second movie to the Rocky fanbase, Richard rewrote the new script as Shock Treatment, which drastically simplified the story to take place inside a television studio, with the citizens of Denton as a brain-dead studio audience entertained by whatever on-set activities occur in front of them. The role of "fake cripple" now went to sleazy game show host Bert Schnick, with Dr. Scott written out. Thus production was scaled down as much as possible, but then casting proved difficult.
    • Susan Sarandon, now a genuine movie star, would only reprise her role as Janet for a fee far beyond what the film's minuscule budget would allow. Cult actress Jessica Harper's version of Janet seemed to be an exact carbon copy of Phoenix, her character from Phantom of the Paradise, rather than Susan's take. (Allegedly, Susan has never actually seen Shock Treatment to this day.)
    • Barry Bostwick was involved in other projects and could not reprise his role as Brad. The next potential actor was Tim Curry (no kidding), who felt that he couldn't pull off an American accent. In the end, Cliff de Young played both Brad and his evil twin brother Farley; and like Janet, Cliff's version of Brad bears no resemblance to Barry's, leaving some fans to question if they're even meant to be the same characters.
    • 20th Century Fox still had high enough hopes for the film to give it (by critic Drew McWeeny's recollection on an episode of the podcast '80s All Over) six months of promotional hype via ads in comic books and movie magazines; there was also a TV special. But come Halloween 1981, the initial midnight-only screenings in New York City and Los Angeles went so poorly that the planned national rollout never took place. Despite gaining a small cult following over time, Shock Treatment has been disowned by Richard O'Brien and most of the RHPS fanbase, although a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation was staged in the U.K. in 2015.
  • The production of Michael Cimino's The Sicilian, while nowhere as well-known (or troubled) as Heaven's Gate, still deserves a mention:
    • The film was an adaptation of the Mario Puzo novel, and Puzo was paid $1 million for the rights. Producers David Begelman and Bruce McNall hired Cimino, but Cimino butted heads with Begelman over the screenplay and casting - Cimino wanted Christopher Lambert to play the lead, but Begelman (understandably) didn't want a French actor to play an Italian-American in an English-language movie. Begelman and McNall eventually caved so that production could move forward. Meanwhile, Gore Vidal had been hired for major rewrites, and sued the Writer's Guild of America and screenwriter Steve Shagan for a writing credit.
    • Production itself was relatively smooth, and, while the film did go over-budget and behind schedule, this was mostly because of delays that were out of Cimino's control. There was one exception - some shooting locations were controlled by actual mafia men, who were disrupting the shoot. Cimino suggested Begelman and McNall meet the criminals, which they did, finding out that the mobsters wanted parts in the movie. The producers decided to incorporate them in minor roles and as extras, which gave Cimino access to new shooting locations and local labour.
    • This relative smoothness was not to last - in post-production, Cimino disappeared for months in editing, finally delivering a 150-minute cut of the film which he refused to make any changes to. However, in his contract, Cimino had the right to final cut only if he delivered the film at under 120 minutes. Things got worse when the distributor, 20th Century Fox, flatly refused to distribute the film unless it came in under two hours. Once this information was relayed to Cimino, he became enraged, and, days later, he delivered a cut of the film with all of the action scenes removed, which brought it under 120 minutes but angered the producers.
    • Things really hit the fan when, in response to Cimino's cut, the producers took Cimino to court, claiming he had cost the studio money and violated his contract. The producers hired Burt Fields, a lawyer who had earlier represented Warren Beatty in his battle for final cut on Reds, and who, in doing so, established legal precedent that a filmmaker's contractual right to final cut was absolutely binding.
    • When producer Dino De Laurentiis was called to the stand to testify on whether Cimino was given final cut, De Laurentiis said:
      De Laurentiis: Final cut? I no give-a him final cut.
      Fields: But we've seen the contract.
      De Laurentiis: Have you seen the side letter?
    • Turns out, when Cimino signed his contract with De Laurentiis - a contract which did give Cimino final cut privilege - attached to it was a side letter, written by De Laurentiis, that stated Cimino did not have final cut on an earlier film, Year of the Dragon. The producers argued that, because Cimino withheld the letter, he was intentionally defrauding them. The judge agreed, and Begelman personally reinstated the action scenes and cut the film down to 115 minutes for release, without Cimino's involvement. The Sicilian was eventually released in 1987, to negative reviews and commercial indifference. A 149-minute "Director's Cut" did emerge, and, while it has received better reviews, with critics finding it more cohesive, reception was still average at best.
  • For Since You Went Away, David O. Selznick cast his mistress Jennifer Jones opposite her estranged husband Robert Walker, sadistically forcing them to perform loves scenes together (before rather symbolically killing off Walker's character).
  • Singin' in the Rain was a bumpy ride for Debbie Reynolds. Despite the fact that Reynolds and Gene Kelly's characters (eventually) became sweethearts on screen, in reality the two actors did not get along very well and frequently bumped heads (not in the least because she had not been his choice as she had to learn not just to do the dances for the film but to dance, period, in all of three months). In fact, Kelly, in his role as director, once mocked Reynolds' dancing to the point where, after shooting finished, Fred Astaire (who was visiting the set that day) found her huddled under a piano, sobbing. He helped her get her dancing closer to Kelly's draconian standards. Kelly also made Reynolds tap so much for the number 'Good Morning' without any break that her feet began to bleed and she needed to be carried to her dressing room. In the end, Kelly hated how Reynolds' tapping came through, so he dubbed over it (mind you, Reynolds was entirely new to tapping until Fred Astaire came along and helped her). She wasn't the only one to have problems; Kelly spent three days filming the title number while running a high fever, and Donald O'Connor was so exhausted after one of his big numbers that he needed four days of bed rest afterwards. None of the three ever worked together again afterwards.
  • The Snowman, based on Jo Nesbø's novel of the same name in his Harry Hole series, ran headlong into this so much that the director spoke openly about its production problems after the film's release:
    • The project was in Development Hell for several years, with Martin Scorsese attached to direct at one point before dropping out (though he stayed on as executive producer). Several directors, including Baltasar Kormákur and Morten Tyldum, either declined or dropped out.
    • Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, who was known for critically-acclaimed projects like Let the Right One In, joined the project in 2015 while it was still in development hell. According to Alfredson, the project was dormant for a year, then suddenly sprung to life in January 2016 when a critical investor was found, causing the crew to rush into production in London.
    • Michael Fassbender started shooting his scenes only two days after filming of Assassin's Creed (2016) was concluded.
    • The shoot finished after two-and-a-half months, but to the production team's horror, the film was still missing anywhere from 10-15 % of the script, due to what Alfredson described as a "compressed shooting schedule". As a result, the production team had to go back a year later and either refilm or shoot missing parts of the script. A feature story from Den of Geek showed that an entirely different team of production leads (including additional screenwriters and a second assistant director, along with Platoon film editor Claire Simpson) helmed the reshoots.
    • In the final product, all of the scenes featuring Val Kilmer (notwithstanding his frail appearance) are badly-dubbed, with the re-recorded lines bearing absolutely no similarity to his own voice. It was widely speculated (and later confirmed by Kilmer in a Reddit AMA and various interviews) that he was suffering from throat cancer at this time, and his lines were unintelligible.
    • Universal's marketing campaign for the film, which depicted crude, child-like drawings of snowmen backed by ominous phrases, were widely mocked by social media users, with the "Mister Police" phrase and drawings quickly entering Memetic Mutation status. A Tweet where the studio invited audiences to "find out where it all went wrong" quickly went viral for the wrong reasons while the film debuted to a dismal $3.3 million opening weekend, with particular criticism singling out the film's choppy editing, bizarre cameo appearances and unintentional humor.
  • The little-remembered 1990 sci-fi flick Solar Crisis owes its obscurity to this trope. Based on the novel of the same name by Takeshi Kawata, the film began shooting in November 1989 with an announced budget of $30 million. At first, production went fairly smoothly aside from some minor conflicts between scientific advisor Richard J. Terrile and the production crew. It wasn't until much later that things got out of control, with the budget eventually ballooning to well over $43 million. When Solar Crisis opened in Japan in 1990, it underperformed massively despite the presence of such recognizable names as Charlton Heston, Peter Boyle, and Jack Palance as well as production design by renowned concept artist Syd Mead and a score by Academy Award-winning composer Maurice Jarre. This prompted the producers to order extensive recuts and rewrites in the hopes of securing an American distributor, resulting in a choppy, disjointed end product. In the end, the film's production woes led to director Richard Sarafian taking his name off the credits and retiring from the film business.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) took a long time to actually start production thanks to extensive Executive Meddling.
    • Earlier attempts to adapt the franchise not withstanding, Sonic was originally set up at Sony Pictures in 2014, just before the studio's devastating cyber attack resulted in a management shakeup, thus delaying its planned 2016 release. Before then, Sony had a turbulent time trying to negotiate the rightsnote . Story co-writer and former co-screenwriter Van Robichaux also got into a number of fights with Sony executives, most notably Amy Pascal, over the film's creative direction.
    • The film's producer and Sony executive Neal Moritz didn't get along with new studio head Tom Rothman, who sat on the film for more than a year before deciding to let Moritz start working on the film in late 2016. Tim Miller, who had just bailed from Deadpool 2, was hired by Moritz as executive producer, bringing frequent Sonic collaborator Blur Studio into the movie. After a script rewrite to make the film more family-friendly, things seemed to be moving forward until the failure of Passengers (2016) and the loss of financing partner Lone Star Funds resulted in Sony canceling the movie via turnaround before a release date could be announced. Moritz got tired of Rothman's antics and left Sony altogether in favor of a new contract at Paramount, who then bought the Sonic movie rights and finally moved the film out of pre-production. The budget cuts Paramount imposed upon the movie shortly thereafter resulted in filming being moved to Canada, instead of Atlanta as originally planned.
    • After filming wrapped up, Sega, whose contract stipulated they would co-finance the movie and own half of the film's copyright, had to oversee every aspect of production to ensure it stayed faithful to the franchise. In particular, they frequently sent notes to the visual effects team expressing dislike towards Sonic's realistic, muscular body in the movie, with their biggest criticism being towards Sonic's eyes. They also initially forbade the producers from referring to Dr. Eggman as his former North American name, Dr. Robotnik, though in the end the producers and SEGA worked out a compromise to allow the name to be used.
    • When the trailer was released, fans and critics complained over the redisigned look of Sonic as being unfaithful to its source material and looking downright horrifying for children, the film's intended target audience. The backlash ended up being so strong that director Jeff Fowler decided to go back and redesign Sonic altogether, which ended up adding additional months to the production schedule and forced the visual effects artists to work overtime. The release date was pushed back by several months so Paramount could properly compensate the workers, though it ended up increasing the budget after Paramount had slashed it when they first picked up the rights.
  • Sorcerer (a remake of the similarly troubled The Wages of Fear) was supposed to be a "little 2.5 million in-between movie" by director William Friedkin, particularly as he had just gone through Hell with The Exorcist. Then he decided to go all the way - the budget was 10 times more than the original estimate - with four different locations, most prominently in Latin America, providing an antipode experience to what Coppola was facing in Southeast Asia with Apocalypse Now:
    • Actors refused the movie even when they liked the script due to having to travel to Ecuador and Dominican Republic, and one of the eventual stars, Roy Scheider, was tougher with Friedkin than when they did The French Connection. The ten month shoot was described as "Friedkin took his camera crew to the jungle and never quite returned", with the crew being stricken by food poisoning and malaria - the latter including the director himself - and departures due to injury or gangrene; difficult stunts and effects, with at a certain point an arsonist being sent from NYC to help the pyrotechnics; and Friedkin firing a cinematographer, five production managers, and the trucker crew.
    • The famous bridge scene was a complete disaster to make, as the first location turned unsuitable and required to move the production, build the bridge (greatly straining the budget) and right when the bridge was finished the entire area was struck by a drought, requiring to artificially create the storm and high water on the river. A helicopter was hovering few meters away from the bridge to create the illusion of strong wind. The entire sequence, lasting for about ten minutes, basically doubled the film budget and extended filming by two months. On the plus side, it still looks fantastic, especially in the restored Blu-ray edition.
    • Upon release, Sorcerer divided critics and flopped at the box office, as along with the Non-Indicative Title ("Sorcerer" is the name given to one of the truck, not a wizard) and subtitles to alienate audiences, being released shortly after Star Wars (even replacing it at the Chinese Theater before demand made the space opera return) destroyed any chance of success. Still, Sorcerer has since been Vindicated by Cable and earned Cult Classic status.
  • Spartacus (1960) is another Epic Movie beset with myriad difficulties. Articles, essays and at least one book (Kirk Douglas's memoir, I Am Spartacus!) have been written about its tumultuous production.
    • Things started smoothly enough. Douglas purchased the rights to Howard Fast's novel for just $100, and cast most of the key roles without difficulty: Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis and Peter Ustinov all eagerly signed on. Jean Simmons was cast as Varinia after Douglas auditioned a young German actress, Sabina Bethman, who proved unsuitable. The production cleared its first hurdle when a rival project titled The Gladiators, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Yul Brynner, fell apart in pre-production.
    • Problems began when shooting started. The original director, Anthony Mann, shot some early scenes with Peter Ustinov but dropped out after a few days. Douglas offered David Lean, Joseph L. Mankiewicz and others the chance to direct; he even considered letting Olivier take over direction. All declined. Then Douglas remembered Stanley Kubrick, whom he'd worked with on Paths of Glory, and offered him the job. Ominously, Kubrick had just dropped out of One-Eyed Jacks, another film with a temperamental producer-star (Marlon Brando).
    • Though Douglas and Kubrick had collaborated amicably on Paths, Spartacus proved another story. Kubrick's notoriously prickly, perfectionist personality led to endless rows with Douglas, arguing over script content, editing, the staging of scenes and even Kubrick's wardrobe. When Douglas asked Kubrick his opinion of the "I Am Spartacus" scene, Kubrick (in front of cast and crew) called it "a stupid idea." Douglas promptly chewed the director out. When Kubrick removed close-ups of Spartacus's crucifixion during the finale, Douglas (by his own account) grew so angry he attacked Kubrick with a folding chair.
    • Douglas and Kubrick weren't the only ones feuding on set. Olivier and Laughton, longtime rivals, were barely on speaking terms; Olivier actually refused to film a key scene between them unless Laughton left the set. Laughton's prima donna behavior aggravated everyone, storming off the set and threatening to sue Douglas for trimming his part. Olivier was distracted by his dissolving marriage with Vivien Leigh and exasperated Douglas by insisting that he play Spartacus. And both Laughton and Peter Ustinov disliked Dalton Trumbo's script, rewriting scenes on set or else ad-libbing dialogue. Only Jean Simmons avoided the squabbling, partly because she missed six weeks of shooting after an emergency surgery.
    • After filming ran way too long and extremely over budget, Kubrick delivered a disastrous rough cut - a formless mess with little coherent story. Hoping to salvage the picture, Kubrick insisted on filming Spartacus's final battle with Crassus (at this point, the movie only showed its aftermath). Universal reluctantly relocated to Spain (having previously shot in Hollywood and Death Valley) for an expensive battle employing thousands of Spanish soldiers as extras. Along with other last-minute reshoots, this swelled the budget to a then-staggering $11,000,000.
    • Douglas hired blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to write Spartacus, under his alias Sam Jackson. At some point during production, journalist Hedda Hopper discovered the identity of "Jackson" and demanded Douglas fire the screenwriter. In this case, Douglas stood his ground; he not only retained Trumbo but credited him in the finished film, hence breaking The Hollywood Blacklist. Douglas's decision was vindicated as Spartacus became a smash hit.
  • Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker wound up literally killing many of the people involved, including the director himself. How so?
    • Tarkovsky shot the film in Soviet-occupied Estonia with cinematographer Georgy Rerberg. Despite past collaborations, the pair's working relationship wasn't smooth. Tarkovsky continuously resisted Rerberg's pushes to rewrite the script. He also asked Rerberg to do a special effect that he had seen in an Ingmar Bergman film, going so far as to build a special studio for the task, only to erupt when Rerberg didn't nail the effect. Accounts vary as to whether Rerberg was fired, or just walked out of the production.
    • Tarkovsky's wife Larisa convinced him to cast her as the wife of the protagonist. However, she turned out to be so difficult on set that the crew derisively nicknamed her "the empress." Rerberg eventually persuaded Tarkovsky to recast the role with Alisa Freindlich, which angered Larisa and caused her to hold a grudge against Rerberg.
    • When the footage was sent back to Moscow for processing, the film laboratory — unfamiliar with the experimental Kodak 5427 film stock that Tarkovsky had flown in from America — botched the job, resulting in the footage having a darkened green tint. Tarkovsky managed to convince Mosfilm to let him completely reshoot the film from scratch, with the aim of releasing it in two parts.
    • Tarkovsky hired a new cinematographer named Leonid Kalashnikov for the reshoot, and moved to a new shooting location after the original had been damaged by an earthquake. Unsatisfied with Kalashnikov's performance, Tarkovsky replaced him with yet another cinematographer, Alexander Knyazhinsky, and completely reshot the film for a third time. This version became the final product, which reportedly bears little resemblance to what Tarkovsky shot with Rerberg.
    • The new location, an abandoned hydroelectric power station, sat near a chemical factory which heavily polluted the area; the "snow" in one scene is actually airborne pollutants from said factory, which caused female crewmembers to break out in allergic rashes. The cast and crew were in close contact with (and in some cases were literally knee-deep in) a miasma of toxic chemicals, and many of them — including Tarkovsky, Larisa, and actor Anatoly Solonitsyn — later contracted fatal illnesses as a result.
  • The 2004 parody remake of The Stepford Wives underwent massive reshoots, script rewrites that created gaping plot holes, John and Joan Cusack pulling out of the film (and Nicole Kidman, who played the main character, considering it after she saw the changes to the script), and fighting on set between director Frank Oz and his stars. It all built to an utterly incoherent final product that bombed at the box office and was savaged by critics.
  • Steve Jobs, a biopic of Steve Jobs written by Aaron Sorkin, was originally set to be made at Sony Pictures and directed by David Fincher. However, as hacked emails from the company revealed, Jobs found itself in contention with another Sony Pictures project, a remake of Cleopatra starring Angelina Jolie, largely because Jolie wanted to get Fincher to direct her film instead, which led Jobs producer Scott Rudin to call her a diva (in far less polite terms). Eventually, Fincher passed on the project, at which point Danny Boyle was brought in to direct, with Michael Fassbender their first choice to play Jobs. Unfortunately, Sorkin strongly disagreed with the casting of Fassbender. Meanwhile, financing for the film fell apart, leading to a temper tantrum by Rudin that poisoned relations with Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal. Ultimately, Sony Pictures lost the film and Universal picked it up, and released it in theaters in 2015. There are also reports of Jobs' widow, Laurene Jobs, attempting to sabotage the production by contacting potential cast and crew members and telling them not to do the film, most likely because it portrays Jobs in a very honest and open way, which includes negative traits like how he treated his co-workers.
  • Street Fighter's many behind the scenes problems were documented here:
    • Initially, writer-director Stephen de Souza only wanted to feature seven fighters from the game (presumably Guile, Ryu, Chun-Li, Ken, M. Bison and a few others), arguing that having too many characters would make for a messy and disjointed story. The Capcom representatives initially agreed to this, but eventually began pressing him to include additional characters in order to help promote the brand. By the end, the script included nearly the entire cast of Super Street Fighter II, with only Fei Long being excluded. Having 15 fighters from the game not only unnecessarily divided the screentime, but also necessitated making odd changes to the characters in order to fit them into the story, such as Dhalsim becoming a Shadaloo scientist or E. Honda and Balrog being part of a news team with Chun-Li.
    • Due to the script having to be rewritten multiple times to accommodate the changes Capcom had dictated, the casting process was very rushed, with key roles like Ryu and Ken not being cast until just two weeks before filming was to begin. Additionally, Capcom pushed for Japanese actor Kenya Sawada to play Ryu, even though his English wasn't very good. de Souza wanted an actor with more comedic chops and a better grasp of the English language, so it was decided that the film would introduce a new character for Sawada to play, named Captain Sawada. This meant there was now yet another character who had to be written into the movie, and Sawada's poor English ultimately resulted in the character being dubbed. Things were so down to the wire that de Souza found Kylie Minogue, the actress who would play Cammy, while reading a magazine during his flight to Thailand to begin filming.
    • Well-known actor Raúl Juliá was hired to play M. Bison, the film's lead villain, but when he arrived in Thailand, he was visibly frail and emaciated. It turned out that Julia had recently undergone surgery to combat stomach cancer, and the crew had not yet been informed of his condition. It was decided that Julia needed time to regain weight, so the filming schedule was hastily rearranged to have the fight scenes (which didn't feature Bison) bumped forward.
    • The rescheduling angered Charlie Picerni, a veteran stunt coordinator who had previously worked on big films like Die Hard. He had taken the job on the condition that he be given enough time to properly plan everything, as capturing the high-flying martial arts moves of the game required extensive wirework and staging, as well as ample rehearsal time. With the schedule flipped, a lot of the fight scenes had to be improvised, sometimes moments before filming was about to begin. Additionally, many of the actors didn't have actual martial arts experience, which only exasperated things.
    • At the time, Jean-Claude Van Damme was still a major star, and brought a massive ego to the set. He was also addicted to cocaine at the time, and was reeling from a very bitter divorce. Because of this, he was frequently late to the set, and sometimes didn't show up at all, meaning de Souza and the others would have to make stuff up on the spot to stall for time. Van Damme's thick Belgian accent also caused problems when it came to delivering his lines, a situation that was compounded by the star's refusal to actually rehearse his dialogue.
    • While the jungles of Thailand made for some beautiful exterior shots, the soundstage the movie had rented was rundown and full of holes, making it unsuitable for filming. A series of minor catastrophes befell the production, including the line producer suffering a heart attack and the local power station having a blowout. Many of the actors also lost weight due to being unfamiliar with the local cuisine, as well as the extremely humid temperature. Some of the young male actors had also let their salaries go to their heads, and had begun frequenting Thai massage parlors in order to receive sexual favors. By the end of the Thailand shoot, the movie was fifteen days behind schedule.
    • Though the movie was behind schedule, Capcom was adamant that the movie still be ready by its coveted December release date. The film had also struck a partnership with Hasbro, who needed the movie to be released on time so they could have the toys ready for Black Friday. The tight schedule led to things being very rushed, and the second unit team having to shoot entire scenes by themselves. Tensions also began to flare between de Souza and Picerni, as Picerni didn't want to incorporate the game's more outlandish combat elements, like the trademark Ki Attacks. Things eventually got so heated that Picerni threatened to leave the film. By the time filming finished in Australia, 20 pages of the script still needed to be filmed. At Capcom's request, de Souza also had to reshoot some of Picerni's fight scenes in Vancouver to make them look more like the fights in the game, complete with the fireballs and other special moves.
    • During the editing process, the film received an R-rating, which de Souza believes came from a then-recent school shooting that had made people sensitive to violence in children's movies. This resulted in many of the fight scenes being heavily trimmed down and reedited, which sometimes messed up the flow and even caused continuity issues. Despite Capcom's insistence, many of the special moves also ended up being cut due to the level of violence or there simply not being enough time to create the necessary special effects.
    • Though Street Fighter was a modest success (grossing nearly $100,000,000 on a $35 million budget), it was not the big hit the studio was hoping for, and was absolutely savaged by critics. Stephen de Souza never directed another theatrical film, and the careers of many of the actors involved stalled out as well.
  • Streets of Fire suffered a fair share of behind-the-scenes issues:
    • Production went significantly overbudget and overschedule (a tent built to allow day-for-night shooting cost $1.2 million to build, and it took 4 weeks to shoot the sledgehammer fight between Cody and Raven). Walter Hill was not used to filming musical numbers, and had serious trouble shooting them within the time and budget given. Rough weather disrupted location shooting in Chicago. The negotiations for music rights held up production several times, most notably with Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Fire" which was used in the original ending sequence, but negociations with Springsteen dragged on for too long to secure the rights in time for opening day. Jim Steinman wrote "Tonight Is What It Means to be Young" as a replacement in two days, and the ending had to be reshot at the cost of a million dollars.
    • There were also issues related to the casting. Hill mandated that none of the cast be over 30 years old as part of the film's stylized universe. As a result, a good amount of the cast fell under child labor laws, which meant that shooting could only take place in daytime hours. Michael Paré, the film's lead, was inexperienced with large productions and often felt overwhelmed by the demands put on him. Paré and Rick Moranis didn't get along, as he didn't take well to Moranis heckling him throughout filming. Moranis himself didn't enjoy his time on the film, as he wasn't allowed to improvise his material as he preferred to do.
    • The film turned out to be a Box Office Bomb, making a measly $8 million out of a $14.5 million budget. The abysmal opening weekend numbers (likely due to pitting it against Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) caused producer Joel Silver to quip "Tonight is what it means to be dead." Co-writer Larry Gross (whose career took a significant hit from this failure) was deeply upset by the film bombing, blaming Paré's performance as a key reason why it failed. Walter Hill intended to make a trilogy of films starting with this one, but its failure resulted in a Stillborn Franchise. However, the film became a massive Cult Classic in Japan, where it inspired Bubblegum Crisis and Street Fighter, among others.
  • Striking Distance had to deal with star Bruce Willis' huge ego:
    • Namely, Willis would often rewrite scenes and have them directed the way he wanted them to be done, to the point where one crew member called him "Orson Willis". This is not the first time this has happened with Willis.
    • Since audiences found the original cut confusing, they had to do loads of reshoots to make the movie more sexy and violent; Willis didn't want to do them, and even blamed the director for the original cut's poor quality. Overzealous executive Mark Canton, known for being behind various other troubled productions, wanted many scenes altered, and even shielded the movie's production problems from the public.
    • Finally, the title was changed at the last minute from Three Rivers due to the increase in action scenes. All of this resulted in a product that flopped at the box office, and is now an Old Shame to Willis.
  • The infamous Super Mario Bros. film adaptation suffered from a nightmare mix of this and Executive Meddling, and started a trend of poorly received video game film adaptations that continues to this day.
    • Before the film had even reached production, the project went through several directors and script writers. Unable to find a director willing to commit to the original idea of a more direct adaptation, the producers decided to take a chance on a pitch by husband-and-wife directing team Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel of Max Headroom fame, who envisioned the film as dark, gritty political satire. New scripts were written with this new direction in mind, and while it impressed the likes of Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper, and Fiona Shaw enough to sign on, the adult tone completely flew in the face of the conception of being a children's film and had nothing to do with the game series beyond its name. The producers proceeded to bring in new script writers, again, and ordered massive rewrites just before and during shooting.
    • Things truly turned disastrous once shooting began. Conflicts between Disney and the directors led to massive Executive Meddling, daily on-set rewrites occurred without any of the involved parties allowed to communicate with each other, and production went over-budget and far over-schedule (Dennis Hopper stated "I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for seventeen."). Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel's Control Freak tendencies and poor communication caused severe friction between them and the film's stars. John Leguizamo declared that he and Bob Hoskins were having such a bad time that they would frequently get drunk to make it through the experience (which led to injuries to the both of them during shooting). Around a half-hour of scenes were cut from the final film to get it to an acceptable run-time. In the end, the film became a massive Box Office Bomb, making a mere $20 million out of a $48 million budget.
    • The fallout from the film was massive. It scuttled an attempt by Disney, who distributed the film through Hollywood Pictures, to integrate Nintendo into their business model. It caused Nintendo to reject any further forays into live-action film adaptations of its franchises, it ruined the directorial careers of Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, and played a large role in the downfall of producer Roland Joffe's career. It was also considered a massive Old Shame by Dennis Hopper and Bob Hoskins, the latter of whom had the following to say in an otherwise pretty congenial interview with The Guardian in 2011:
      What is the worst job you've done?
      Super Mario Brothers.
      What has been your biggest disappointment?
      Super Mario Brothers.
      If you could edit your past, what would you change?
      I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.
    • It is said that the film's turbulent history ultimately led to Nintendo granting their theme park license to Universal Studios instead of Disney twenty-two years later. According to rumors, Nintendo executives still knew about Disney's treatment of the project, and were adamant that Disney not get any slice of that pizza.
  • The Stunt Man. Richard Rush suffered two heart attacks during the production. The film was completed in 1978 but it took two years to find a distributor. The studio had no idea how to market it because it didn't fit easily into one particular genre. Peter O'Toole would later famously quip that the film wasn't so much released as it escaped.
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  • Jeremy Renner broke both his arms while making Tag, interfering tremendously with the film's violent slapstick. For much of the film, his arms are CGI replacements.
  • Midway through production on Tango & Cash, Andrei Konchalovsky was fired as director by producer Jon Peters who wanted to movie to be a spoof while Konchalovsky wanted it to be a buddy cop movie and Peter MacDonald took over. In addition, Barry Sonnenfeld was fired as cinematographer before production started, the budget went over by 20 million dollars and a third director took over editing. Through it all, Sylvester Stallone was often said to be the man who actually held everything together.
  • Before Tank Girl was released, MGM were insisting on numerous changes and holding even more test screenings. When the director refused, the studio took the movie away from her and had it directed and re-edited by the people involved in marketing. This plus the failure to film several scenes enraged the creators of the comic, who canceled it for a decade after the end result of the production tanked.
  • Trey Parker and Matt Stone legitimately had no idea how difficult Team America: World Police, an all-marionette action film, would be to make (judging by the source material) and clashed with the puppet-makers when they were told that even the puppetry that was meant to look bad on purpose took a considerable amount of puppeteering expertise and rehearsal that would not allow for the same kind of spontaneous script-changes that would come with making an episode of South Park. They also forfeited their salaries in favor of complete creative control when Paramount started coming down on them about censorship, making them more apathetic to their already disillusioned vision. The result was Parker and Stone swearing off feature films for the rest of their lives.
  • The little-seen and less-remembered 1988 film The Telephone owes its obscurity to this trope.
    • It was written and produced by veteran screenwriter Terry Southern and ... Harry Nilsson. Yup, the singer. By the mid-80s his career had slowed down, partially because of the effect of his smoking and drinking on his voice and partly because he was depressed by the deaths of longtime friends Cass Elliott, Keith Moon and John Lennon. He told people he was retired from music and began looking at a career in TV or film, writing songs for Robert Altman's Popeye that were in some cases better than the film deserved. So he formed Hawkeye Productions with Southern.
    • Of several projects they got behind, only The Telephone would actually be produced. It had been written with Popeye star Robin Williams in mind for the lead role of an unemployed, unhinged actor who sets the plot in motion with a series of prank calls. After he turned it down, Whoopi Goldberg signed on, and it was greenlighted.
    • Nilsson and Southern got another aging '60s survivor and friend, Rip Torn, to make his directorial debut. However, he had to deal with Goldberg during her coke phase, and she constantly ignored the script and improvised (supposedly at the behest of New World Pictures, which was financing the film). It got to the point where he was begging and pleading with her to do at least one take of each of her scenes as written. She was also able to use her clout to force the replacement of the cinematographer, John Alonzo, Torn's friend and a veteran who had shot Chinatown and Scarface (1983), with her then-husband David Claessen.
    • After production ended early in 1987, the film was set for a summer release. But then Whoopi sued to try and block the film's release, arguing that its low quality would hurt her career. She lost, but by then it was almost Christmas.
    • Nilsson, Southern and Torn put a cut of those takes Goldberg had done according to the script together and took it to Sundance, where it attracted some interest. However, New World sabotaged them by putting the film out in a very limited Dump Months release around that same time—using the takes Goldberg had improvised instead.
    • The film's failure left many casualties, some literal. Hawkeye Productions had gone bankrupt by 1990. Just afterwards Nilsson discovered his assistant had embezzled all but $300 of the remaining money from his music royalties. With neither a film nor music career left, Nilsson made only one more public appearance and died of his second heart attack in a year in 1994. Southern, who had been in shakier financial circumstances before Hawkeye, also went into both a literal and figurative death spiral. He was never able to get another screenplay produced, and survived mainly through journalism and teaching jobs. In 1995, on the way to one of them, suffering from stomach cancer, he collapsed, dying four days later. Torn never directed another film, and Goldberg and Claessen got divorced afterwards, as well.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) went reasonably smoothly for the most part, but its third act seemed to be trying to make up for that.
    • First, lead actress Marilyn Burns proved completely unable to convincingly keep ahead of Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface while he was chasing her through the woods, forcing Hansen to run much slower than he actually could, and even resorting in one shot to pointlessly cutting up tree branches to let Burns widen the gap between them. There was also an incident where Hansen slipped on the wet grass and lost his grip on the still-running chainsaw, which flew up in the air and then came down point-first just inches from his head.
    • For the scene where Sally's finger is cut for the Grandfather to suck on, the device to spurt fake blood wouldn't work. Thus, what you're watching in that scene is Marilyn Burns actually getting her finger sliced open. Though they thankfully didn't go as far as to make the guy playing Grandfather suck on her real bleeding finger, and there's a quite noticeable edit before he starts sucking.
    • And then came the worst part of all with the climactic dinner scene. All the food on the table quickly rotted under the filming lights, and the room's poor ventilation made the stink even worse, raising it to genuinely health-threatening levels. Several of the actors suffered genuine Sanity Slippage and took Tobe Hooper's direction as meaning they really were their characters, not exactly the result you want when most of them were playing cannibalistic murderers. Edwin Neal, who played the Hitchhiker, had just come home from the Vietnam War and described filming this scene as worse than anything the Viet Cong put him through. After it was all over, the rest of the crew were all furious at Hooper and he's said it took years for any of them to cool off.
  • The 13th Warrior was reshot at least twice before test screenings. Two scores were written. Countless Executive Meddlings halted production a few times, forcing the crew and actors to start from scratch. Then there was another reshooting after unsatisfying results from test screenings. There was apparently poor teamwork between crew and actors (Omar Sharif said a lot of harsh words about John McTiernan's skills as director) and open conflict between execs, McTiernan and Michael Crichton about screenplay. A horse was killed during the production, slowing it even further. It's a wonder the film didn't end up in Development Hell.
  • Leni Riefenstahl is best-remembered for her Nazi propaganda epics Triumph of the Will and Olympia. However, her longtime passion project was an adaptation of Eugen d'Albert's opera Tiefland. The saga of the film's torturous production, rescue and release spans an astonishing twenty years, to which the actual film (rarely listed among Riefenstahl's masterworks) seems almost a footnote.
    • Riefenstahl first mooted the project in 1934, planning to shoot in Spain, but the film ran afoul of budget issues, equipment snafus (apparently, cameras were shipped to Spain without any film) and Riefenstahl came down with a serious illness. Riefenstahl was forced to scrap the project, allowing Adolf Hitler to commission her for propaganda work.
    • By the time Riefenstahl returned to Tiefland in 1940, she'd lost much of her original ardor for the project, mostly wanting to make a movie without political overtones after the hostile international reception towards her documentaries. Which didn't make filming such a large epic in the midst of World War II any less problematic. Riefenstahl shot scenes in Spain and Italy, but logistical difficulties and the ongoing conflict forced her to relocate to Germany. Riefenstahl's art director constructed an entire village near Mittelberg, Germany, which she tore down after finding it didn't meet her specifications, wasting several months and millions of marks. In Germany, poor weather and problems retaining cast and crew repeatedly delayed filming, forcing Riefenstahl to call in favors from the Nazi government to keep the production afloat.
    • Unfortunately, Riefenstahl's ongoing rivalry with Joseph Goebbels complicated matters. Goebbels felt Tiefland a waste of time and wanted money and resources diverted to more prestigious projects like Kolberg and Uncle Kruger. Apparently out of spite, Goebbels ordered Riefenstahl's sets destroyed without informing her, and denied access to Berlin studios in favor of other productions. Riefenstahl went over Goebbels' head, asking Hitler's secretary Martin Bormann for assistance in procuring funds, but the Propaganda Minister continued meddling in the production as long as possible. This governmental interference helped Tiefland become the second most expensive German film up to that point.
    • Tiefland generated a controversy which lasted decades after the war. Riefenstahl employed dozens of Roma extras for the movie. Unfortunately, these extras had been interned by the German government, and there are accusations Riefenstahl procured them from concentration camps with help from the SS. It didn't help that most of these Roma were later sent to Auschwitz. As late as 2002, Riefenstahl was still being sued for complicity and Holocaust denial, charges for which she was legally cleared but further damaged her already checkered reputation.
    • The movie's final days were especially chaotic. Allied bombers destroyed Bamberg Studios, where the film's interior scenes were being filmed. Riefenstahl was forced to decamp to Prague, and later Kitzbuhel, Austria to finish production, narrowly avoiding Allied troops which by then were entering Germany and Austria. Riefenstahl wrapped editing Tiefland just weeks before Germany's surrender. But her difficulties were hardly over.
    • Riefenstahl was arrested, first by American and later French troops. The French Army confiscated the Tiefland negative. Riefenstahl was tried and acquitted of Nazi collaboration, but it took her years to locate the film footage. Even then four reels of footage remained missing and were never recovered. And Riefenstahl's Nazi connections made studios reluctant to release it. She finally reedited and released Tiefland in 1954, but its distribution was suppressed in several countries and the movie received lukewarm reviews. Riefenstahl herself disowned the film and pulled it from release after it recouped its budget. Its failure ended Riefenstahl's directorial career, though she experienced a Career Resurrection as a photographer in the '60s and '70s.
  • Nazi Germany produced another troubled wartime epic, the infamous Titanic (1943). Say what you will about James Cameron's film, but at least his jerkassery stopped well short of actual murder.
    • The film, commissioned by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, was intended as a wartime propaganda film, depicting the sinking of the Titanic as the result of a plot by British capitalists Gone Horribly Wrong, with a heroic German officer saving the day and rescuing many people from the sinking ship. It was filmed in the occupied Polish port of Gdynia on board the SS Cap Arcona, which was later used as a prison ship before being sunk a few days before Germany's surrender.
    • By this point, Germany was instituting mandatory blackouts in response to Allied bombing. However, Goebbels bent the rules for writer/director Herbert Selpin so he could shoot the night scenes at, well, night. This had the unfortunate side effect (or fortunate, from the Allied point of view) of making the shooting location a convenient target for enemy bombers.
    • Merely one week into the shoot, Selpin loudly criticized the Kriegsmarine officers who served as marine consultants for the film over their propensity for molesting the female cast members. Co-writer Walter Zerlett-Olfenius reported Selpin to the Gestapo, who arrested him and brought him to be questioned by Goebbels personally, who had hand-picked Selpin for the project and was furious about his comments. Selpin stood by his criticisms of the officers' behavior, and was found twenty-four hours later hanged in his jail cell — and while his death was ruled a suicide at the time, everybody with common sense knew it had been an assassination carried out on Goebbels' orders. Asked about the director's "suicide," Goebbels commented Selpin had "drawn the same conclusions that would probably have been drawn by the State."
    • Selpin's murder rendered Zerlett-Olfenius a pariah in the German film community, and most of the cast and crew of Titanic almost revolted over what happened. Goebbels' response was to tell them that anybody who continued to shun Zerlett-Olfenius would have to answer to him personally, and presumably meet the same fate as Selpin. The film was completed by an uncredited Werner Klingler, having gone badly over-budget.
    • The film was set to premiere in Berlin in early 1943, but the theater that had the finished print was bombed by the RAF in an airstrike the night before. While it was ultimately released in the occupied countries, Goebbels blocked it from release in Germany proper, as by that point Germany was undergoing nightly bombing raids and he felt it was Too Soon to release an epic about death and destruction. It was rediscovered in 1949 and, like most Nazi propaganda films, quickly banned in most Western countries (except West Germany itself, oddly enough, where it could occasionally be found on television), while in the Eastern Bloc a version dubbed into Russian was screened as a "trophy film". It wouldn't receive an uncensored releasenote  until 2005.
    • As for Zerlett-Olfenius, he was tried after the war for complicity in Selpin's murder. During the trial, investigators found photographs of Selpin's death scene (staged by Goebbels) among Zerlett-Olfenius's possessions. Zerlett-Olfenius spent four years in prison, lost most of his personal assets, and was prevented from working in the German film industry again.
  • Tombstone: From the start, Kevin Costner was placing pressure on studios not to finance the picture (Tombstone and Wyatt Earp were two halves of the same project that more or less split off due to Creative Differences between Costner and writer Kevin Jarre), with Buena Vista (Disney) stepping up at the last minute. Disney refused to have anything to do with the original choice for Holliday, Willem Dafoe, due to the controversy still surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ. Jarre was originally set to direct, but was fired due to his refusal to cut the screenplay (both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer have stated the original shooting script was about 30 pages too long). Disney hired George P. Cosmatos to finish the film; Kurt Russell (who had significant pull behind the scenes with both cast and crew) has in recent years made the claim that he directed the picture with Cosmatos as a front (he was the same guy who did Rambo: First Blood Part II, so he was at the very least agreeable to actor input), although Michael Biehn has denied Russell's claims, and at least some of Jarre's directorial work is still in the film. As a cherry on top of all of this, the actor playing Old Man Clanton, Robert Mitchum, was injured in a horse-riding accident, which led to the part being cut entirely (although Mitchum was able to do the beginning and ending narrations) and much of his dialogue given to Curly Bill.
  • Tootsie was frequently referred to this way during shooting. Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack feuded so intensely that Hoffman finally resolved it by suggesting Pollack play his agent and get that tension into the actual film. The script was still being rewritten as filming began (so many writers appeared before the Writers' Guild panel seeking to be credited that the arbitration over it delayed the release), and it took Elaine May to come up with Bill Murray's character as a much-needed foil for Michael. In the end, it actually worked out well, becoming one of the best comedies of the 1980s.
  • The Mexico City shoot on Total Recall (1990) was considered a nightmare for most of the cast and crew. Many cast and crew members got sick at one point from contaminated water (the only major members of the production who didn't get sick were Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had remembered being sick during the Mexico shoot of Predator and took special precautions, and producer Ronald Shusett, who would give himself B12 shots each day to avoid illness) and the air was so polluted that Schwarzenegger recalled having trouble breathing on most days. The initial marketing was also underwhelming, to the point Arnold had to convince the studio to revamp the ads just three weeks before release.
  • Ishtar veteran Warren Beatty was at the centre of another troubled production and financial disaster in 2001's Town & Country.
    • The script was first brought to Beatty's attention in 1998, with a planned budget of $19 million. However, Beatty commanded a salary of $8 million and demanded numerous script changes. Over $40 million had been spent on actor and writer salaries even before the cameras began rolling.
    • British director Peter Chelsom's previous credits consisted mostly of low budget, whimsical comedies, meaning he was ill-suited to direct the big-budget, all-star film and deal with the resulting egos. He and Beatty clashed frequently over various details in the script and the visuals.
    • Filming began in 1998 but had to be shut down after five months so that cast members Diane Keaton, Garry Shandling, and Jenna Elfman could honour prior commitments. The shoot did not resume until April 2000 (requiring further increases in the actors' salaries), with the final act of the film still being constantly re-written. A sequence in Sun Valley in which artificial snow was created to make up for the absence of real snow on the ski slopes was re-shot after over a foot of natural snow fell on the resort.
    • The final production budget for the film was estimated at around $90 million; it was clear to all involved that it had no hope of breaking even, and just $15-20 million was spent on marketing and distribution for the film's release in April 2001, leading to a paltry domestic box office take of $6.7 million and a worldwide take of $10.4 million. It would be a decade and a half before Warren Beatty made another film, the similarly money-losing Rules Don't Apply.
  • The Train saw Arthur Penn replaced as director a week into production, cold weather in France and going over budget and over schedule. John Frankenheimer says on the DVD Commentary that several of the French cast members were killed off because the overlong production interfered with previous work commitments.
  • The infamously So Bad, It's Good film Troll 2 was, unsurprisingly, plagued with many problems, most of which can be placed at the feet of director Claudio Fragasso:
    • The film was originally titled Goblins, but distributors in the US felt the film would not succeed on its own as a stand-alone project, so they insisted it be named Troll 2, despite not having anything at all to do with the first movie. The film was more or less a way for Fragasso's wife, who was irritated with her friends becoming vegetarians, to give them a thinly-veiled Take That!.
    • Fragasso brought over his all-Italian crew to the United States to begin filming at Morgan, Utah. However, only the costume designer spoke any English. This communication barrier led to much confusion between the English-speaking cast and the Italian-speaking crew. Compounding this problem was the fact that Fragasso refused any kind of assistance from any English speaking crew or cast. The cast would later state that they had no idea what was going on.
    • To compound the cast's confusion, none of them were aware they were getting lead roles, and they had no experience as actors. The casting call from nearby towns was specifically stated to be for extras alone, only for Fragasso to declare that the people who had showed up were going to be playing lead roles. One of the most ridiculous examples of this was Don Packard, who played the store owner. He stated later that he was on a day trip after being released from treatment at a local hospital, and had—in his wordssmoked an enormous amount of marijuana prior to showing up on set. His disturbed demeanor is evidently not acting.
    • Fragasso wrote the script himself, but only had a tentative grasp of the English language. This created a script that has been repeatedly described as "written in pidgin English". This was further compounded by the fact that Fragasso insisted that the script be read verbatim. He later claimed that he "knew how Americans spoke better than they did" and would repeatedly deny the cast members attempts to make what they said more grammatically correct and sensible. On top of that, they were only given parts of their script on a scene-by-scene basis, so rarely did they get any kind of context as to what was supposed to be happening.
  • Troy had a tamer production than most examples but still troubled. Filming happened in Morocco at first but had to be moved due to the impending Iraq war. Filming then happened in Mexico, where two hurricanes tore through the sets. Many stagehands also fainted in the intense heat.
  • During shooting for Twilight Zone: The Movie, long-running television actor Vic Morrow and two child actors named My-Ca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (both working illegally, without proper work permits and at 2AM, far later than the times allowed for child actors), were killed when a stunt helicopter crashed near them during the filming. This led to nearly a decade's worth of lawsuits, changes in the law about child actors doing stunts, and fewer helicopter scenes in movies thereafter until CGI made it possible to put them in digitally. Director John Landis was acquitted of manslaughter charges but his career went into decline after this.
  • Twister was almost as disaster-plagued offscreen as it was onscreen.
    • The original concept for the film was pitched in 1992, and Michael Crichton and his wife Anne-Marie Martin were reportedly paid $2.5 million to turn it into a feature-length screenplay. However, Joss Whedon was hired as a script doctor in early 1995, and had to leave the production twice - once after developing bronchitis (resulting in Steven Zaillian being brought in while he recuperated) and once shortly after production began when he married Kai Cole (this time, Jeff Nathanson took over as script doctor). Neither Whedon nor his temporary replacements were credited in the finished film.
    • Much of the film shoot took place in sunny weather, requiring Industrial Light and Magic to more than double the number of "digital sky replacement" shots needed to make the weather look suitably dark and stormy. Even when they did get dark skies, the weather changed so quickly and so often that director Jan de Bont had to schedule at least three scenes a day. Worse, however, was the solution to the inappropriate weather conditions for shots of Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in the cab of their truck; bright electronic lamps were set up behind the cameras that burned their retinas, leaving them unable to see at the end of a day's shooting. Eventually, Plexiglas filters were put in front of the lights, while Paxton and Hunt needed eyedrops and special glasses for several days to recover.
    • Hunt's problems didn't end with the bright lights. She and Paxton had to be injected against hepatitis after hiding in a particularly unsanitary ditch, and while filming the same sequence, Hunt stood up too quickly and hit her head on a low wooden bridge. In the scene where the truck drives through a cornfield, she inadvertently let go of the door of the truck and was hit in the side of the head by it (suffering a concussion according to some sources); the door was wedged open for further attempts at the sequence. Jan de Bont later said that much as he loved working with Hunt, he described her as "clumsy", which Hunt didn't appreciate.
    • The crew also had problems working with de Bont, whom they saw as "out of control". The first director of photography, Don Burgess, blasted de Bont for not knowing "what he wanted till he saw it", resulting in numerous cases of the crew shooting a scene from one direction, only for de Bont to insist on shooting from the other direction immediately and losing patience with the time the crew members needed to move cameras and lights and sound equipment around to the far side of the set. When de Bont knocked over an assistant cameraman for missing his cue, Burgess and his crew walked out en masse, to the shock of the cast. Jack N. Green and his camera crew were hired to replace Burgess, but things didn't go smoothly for them either; a hydraulic house set that was rigged to collapse on cue was accidentally set off too early while Green was inside, and he was hit on the head and back by the falling ceiling and had to be rushed to hospital, forcing de Bont to take over as director of photography for the final two days of filming.
    • Filming was planned to finish in time for Hunt to resume her commitments to Mad About You, but inevitably it ran over schedule, and Hunt's Mad About You co-star and series creator Paul Reiser agreed to push back production on the 1995-96 series to accommodate the delays. Because of de Bont's insistence on using multiple cameras, 1.3 million feet of film were printed (more than three times the amount usually printed for a film of its length), propelling the final budget to $92 million. It became a box-office smash despite tepid critical reception, but it had a difficult time getting there.

    V 
  • Vampirella: The 1996 movie, according to the director: "What went wrong??? Wrong choice for the star, massive union problems in Vegas, studio interference, theft, accidents, 112-degree heat, you name it, we had it happen. But as least I got to see Soupy Sales perform."

    W 
  • The Wages of Fear was beset by a series of misfortunes as life imitated art. Where to begin?...
    • It all started well. The director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, managed to secure the rights for the novel's adaptation and then-rising star, Yves Montand, in the leading role. Next, Clouzot started scouting appropriate locations in Spain. Just when he found one, after a few months of searching, Montand refused to go there (his then-wife, Simone Signoret, was strongly opposed to Francisco Franco's politics). The crew managed to make an exhaustive photodocumentation and the small town was meticulously rebuilt in southern France. Then, Jean Gabin suddenly pulled out (he thought that his fans would dislike his part as a 'coward'); Charles Vanel was hired at the last minute.
    • The shooting started in late August of 1951. And the troubles came en masse. The September of 1951 was particularly capricious: many days were lost due to rain, and sometimes a sunny day could turn into a heavily rainy one within a few minutes, endangering the equipment and electrics. The two trucks, playing a central role in the movie, were initially quite solid and dependable, but after some raining they started bogging down. The rains made the ground wet, causing camera cranes to suddenly collapse and damage the sets several times. Just when the crew managed to get some control over everything, lead actress Vera Clouzot was admitted into the ICU (she suffered from major heart problems which, unfortunately, claimed her life in 1960). Just as she was released from the hospital, Henri-Georges Clouzot broke his ankle. Adding Clouzot's trademark perfectionist attitude and multiple retakes, it is no surprise that the production already was 50 million francs over budget and way over schedule when they had to quit shooting as the autumn rains set in. During the next few months, Clouzot managed to secure some funds and the shooting continued in the summer of 1952. This time, the only major accident occurred when both Montand and Vanel ended up in the hospital due to conjunctivitis after a few days of filming in the pool of crude oil.
    • It all paid off when the movie, finally released after months of editing in the spring of 1953, turned out to be a major hit both critically and commercially (it was the first picture to win both the Golden Bear in Berlin and the Palme d'Or in Cannes). It was initially less enthusiastically received in the US due to the movie being re-cut (some key plot points were eliminated because they were considered 'anti-American'), but the complete version was one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of the 1950s.
  • Wagons East, the last film John Candy starred in, would have been an example of this without the Actor Existence Failure it came to be known for. Some of the details were covered in Robert Crane's book Sex, Celebrity and My Father's Unsolved Murder:
    • Candy was contractually mandated to make the film due to his existing contract with Carolco Pictures. Despite his misgivings about the material, and due to the fact that he owed more than $1 million due to his stake as a minority owner with the Toronto Argonauts football team, he agreed to make the film in Durango, Mexico.
    • Crane, who was Candy's assistant at the time, flew to Durango for location scouting and discovered that the conditions for the cast and crew were substandard. After securing the "best" hotel in the town and dealing with extreme heat, Crane began to notice that the project was quickly spiraling out of control, not only due to underlying factors like the script being "unfunny", but also a lack of chemistry between Candy and co-stars Richard Lewis and Ellen Greene. Not helping matters was that Candy was rapidly gaining weight during his time on-set because of homesickness and the fact that he had quit smoking just before filming started. Adding to that was his discovery that the Argonauts had been sold to another owner behind his back — after he'd agreed to shoot on-location videos promoting their upcoming season ticket sale. In response, Candy went on a two-day tequila bender.
    • With eleven days left to go in production, Candy had a sudden heart attack in his hotel room and passed away. While most of his key scenes were completed, the filmmakers were forced to use a combination of Fake Shemp/re-edited clips to fill out the rest of the scenes in which his character was supposed to appear in (notably, a scene near the end where Candy's character, Harlow, pours out some whiskey in response to a fallen settler re-used footage from a similar scene earlier in the film).
    • The finished film was released to scathing reviews and became a Box Office Bomb, only earning $4.4 million at the box office. It was also part of the string of box office flops that Carolco endured in 1994/1995, culminating in their bankruptcy after the notorious flop Cutthroat Island (also covered on this page). In an Amazon review written years later for the film's soundtrack, a musical supervisor mentioned that composer Michael Small was under immense stress due to Candy's death and political infighting at Carolco.
  • Warcraft was, in the words of director Duncan Jones, "a political minefield". During production, Legendary Entertainment's deal with Warner Bros. expired and made another one with Universal Pictures. The company was then later bought out entirely by the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group. Blizzard Entertainment was also very protective of the Warcraft brand and supervised many aspects of the production. A revolving door of producers combined with his inexperience in dealing with such a high level of Executive Meddling led to Jones having a very stressful time writing and directing the movie.
  • Waterworld. Budget overrun (from $100 million to the then-record $175 million), director Kevin Reynolds leaving and leading Kevin Costner to further take over the film, a hurricane destroying the sets, stuntmen getting lost or drowned... and Executive Meddling kicked in to order cuts and reshoots. Cracked has more on the subject.
  • While Wayne's World was finished on-time and on-budget, it was a grueling experience for all involved.
    • Mike Myers' father was dying during the shoot, and he says he barely remembers filming because of the emotional strain.
    • Myers was also constantly fighting Executive Meddling from producers who didn't "get" the film and wanted to make a number of changes that Myers categorically refused to make.
    • Director Penelope Spheeris said that she had to shoot each scene three times, once Myers' way, once Dana Carvey's way, and once Lorne Michaels' way. She also fought with Myers over the final cut of the film, and Myers himself in one case threw a tantrum over the lack of margarine for a bagel. Spheeris did not return for the sequel.
  • During production of West Side Story, Jerome Robbins, with his background in stage, shot and re-shot until the film was over $1,000,000 over budget and six months behind schedule. He was fired, and co-director Robert Wise, who was supposed to helm only the non-dancing scenes, had to finish the film alone, including the numbers Robbins was supposed to direct. Despite directing the majority of the film (and also being the producer), Wise still insisted Robbins share the directing credit with him.
  • It took 22 years to finish and release the 1996 boxing documentary When We Were Kings ...
    • ...because it was originally supposed to be a concert film. In conjunction with the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight title bout, promoter Don King had persuaded the host, Zaire's then-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, to stage a concert where top African-American artists like James Brown and B.B. King would perform alongside their African counterparts. King had originally wanted to hire a black director, but gave it to Leon Gast instead because he was impressed by Gast's having worked with the Hell's Angels. King's only stipulation was that half Gast's crew be black.
    • Gast and his crew arrived in Kinshasa a few days before the fight's scheduled date in September 1974 and filmed both fighters' arrival and some footage of them both training. He had always intended for that to be b-roll to the concert footage, as he would not be able to use any footage from the fight itself since the closed-circuit broadcaster had the exclusive rights. Then Foreman was cut over his eye during a sparring session. The fight was postponed for six weeks. Mobutu ordered both fighters and their entourages to remain in Zaire during that time to ensure that the fight would take place.
    • But the concert had to go on since the musicians had prior commitments. And indeed it did. But tickets had been priced with the expectation that most would be sold to foreigners in town for the fight—foreigners who were by and large leaving town. Average Zaireans, who made on average the equivalent of $100 a year, couldn't for the most part afford tickets that cost a quarter of that amount.

      The show went on, and Gast filmed it, with many of the performers rising to the occasion. But the many empty seats were an embarrassment to the regime. So on the second day Mobutu announced the show would be free. Great for the locals, and the performers, who upped their game for the larger crowds. But not for Gast, as the concert's receipts were supposed to have paid his post-production costs.
    • He continued filming the fighters training, and Ali interacting with his many local admirers. In return he got some lengthy interviews with the boxer. Eventually the fight happened, and Ali pulled off a stunning upset through his rope-a-dope strategy, making Foreman exhaust himself until Ali could knock him out and reclaim the title he had been stripped of for refusing to be drafter in the late 1960s.

      Gast returned to New York to start editing. When he tried to get the production company in Zaire, which he had been told was a local subsidary of a British firm, to reimburse him for his expenses there, he and his producer could not find any record of it. Eventually it turned out to be a shell company in the Cayman Islands controlled by the Liberian finance minister. He promised to help Gast get paid, but lost his job in a coup shortly afterwards.
    • As a result of a lawsuit he filed against the shell company, Gast got ownership of the film footage he had shot. But it mostly sat in boxes in his apartment. Eventually he was able to transfer most of it to video and put together clips to show prospective financiers. Taylor Hackford, one of those who saw it, suggesting adding the interviews with Norman Mailer, George Plimpton and Spike Lee to help a younger audience understand the story better. Hackford shot those himself, earning him a co-credit under "A Film By ..." but not under "Directed By ..." And eventually Gast, who had long realized the film was really about the fight, got the rights to use the footage of it.
    • The long delay in putting it together ultimately worked in the film's favor critically and commercially. Ali, long retired, was beginning to return to the public's consciousness after lighting the torch at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; Foreman, also retired, was better known by then for the grill he pitched on TV. The film ultimately won the Oscar for Best Documentary and is considered one of the best sports documentaries ever, and the best boxing documentary.
  • Filming of Where Eagles Dare was delayed due to the weather in Austria. Shooting took place in winter and early spring of 1968 and the crew had to contend with blizzards, sub-zero temperatures and potential avalanches. Further delays were incurred when Richard Burton, well known for his drinking habits, disappeared for several days with his friends Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris.
  • The film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are was incredibly troubled:
    • Concepts for the film dated all the way back to the 70s when several animators took a whack at it, but failed to stir up any interest.
    • In the 80s, the first serious production was started, backed by Disney. While an animation test was completed as well as a few other story elements, John Lasseter was ordered to halt production (it didn't help that the combination of traditional animation and CGI annoyed some traditionalists in upper management), and the film proceeded no further with the company.
    • In the early 2000s, Universal picked up the project and attempted to make it a CGI animated film. This idea got canned and got switched to a live action film.
    • Finding a director that had the talent necessary to adapt such a difficult book was a challenge. When Spike Jonze was finally put behind it, he made several demands that made the film too costly in Universal's eyes. Eventually Universal gave up and let the rights go.
    • Jonze brought the idea to Warner Bros. and got the film greenlit. When actual production began, the troubles only got even worse. The costumes for the wild things arrived and were heavy, bulky, and awkward for the actors wearing them. The faces were entirely blank, leaving freedom for CGI faces to be added later, but proved to be a challenge for child actor Max Records to work around, as he was basically talking to a faceless object with an actor uttering the lines behind him. To make things less awkward for Max, Jonze had some of the crew members invite their children onto the set.
    • Michelle Williams was originally supposed to do the voice to one of the wild things, but ended up leaving after only a few days in production, as Jonze felt her voice didn't fit the role.
    • Getting the scene where Max runs and barks at the dog proved to be quite difficult, as getting him and the dog to move in rhythm proved to be much more of a challenge. Jonze had to resort to shooting the two separately.
    • Rumors of Arcade Fire doing the soundtrack spurred much fanfare for fans of the band. It has never been confirmed, but Arcade Fire apparently worked on a partial score and then decided to abandon it. Karen O. from Yeah Yeah Yeahs was called in to record the soundtrack instead, which was allegedly rushed.
    • The film, while debuting at number 1 in the box office, was so over-budget that it didn't break even. Had it not run over, it probably could have been a smashing success. The film was also met with mixed to positive critical reception, but many are seeing it getting vindicated by history as one of Jonze's masterpieces.

      The film would probably have done far better critically if the marketing department had been on the same page as everyone else. Choosing to advertise an ultimately dark and depressing coming-of-age film, clearly aimed at an older audience, as an epic fairytale celebrating the joys of childhood and imagination was a serious factor behind the critical dissonance.
  • Bette Davis' last film, Wicked Stepmother, became troubled very early on. A week into principal photography, Davis, the star of the movie, took a leave of absence for a dental appointment...and never came back.note  Now without its leading lady, the part was nearly recast with Lucille Ball, but her own illness led her to back out.note  Then the director came up with a plan. In the script, Davis magically turns her cat into a human played by Barbara Carrera. Instead, the finished product has Davis turning herself into Carrera. Now all the footage of Bette could be salvaged, for a film that was ultimately buried in its theatrical release.
  • The conspiracy thriller Winter Kills ran into some unique production difficulties, as two of its producers, Robert Sterling and Leonard Goldberg, were mob-connected drug dealers. Filming began in 1976 and quickly exceeded its modest budget, grinding production to a halt as the producers struggled to find funds. Filmmaking soon became the least of their problems, as Goldberg was murdered by the Mafia and Sterling was arrested and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Writer-director William Richert abandoned the film at that point, making The American Success Companynote  with Jeff Bridges (who starred in both movies) instead, which made enough money for Richert to fund Winter Kills out of his own pocket. The movie was finally released in 1979 and, thanks to Embassy Pictures's cuts and lukewarm promotion, became a box-office bomb. Production of Winter Kills was so troubled it has, like, Apocalypse Now, Fitzcarraldo and The Island of Dr. Moreau, earned its own documentary, Who Killed Winter Kills?
  • The direction and casting of The Wiz led to a lot of the changes that made the film such a drastic departure from the musical; the producers had Stephanie Mills in mind to play Dorothy but were ultimately convinced to cast Diana Ross who fought to get the part, which prompted director John Badham to quit out of dissatisfaction, and so Sidney Lumet stepped in to fill the chair. Rounding out the production was Joel Schumacher, and to accommodate Diana Ross' age rewrote the script to focus on a much older Dorothy living in New York City instead of Kansas. Lumet's inexperience with musicals, combined with these casting and scriptural decisions led to a lot of internal skepticism of the project that was ultimately vindicated when the film failed at the box office.
  • As mentioned on the main page quote, The Wizard of Oz.
    • The trouble began with the script. Three writers were ultimately credited (Florence Ryderson, Edgar Allen Woolf, and Noel Langley); however, these were merely the three who did the most work on it, as the laundry list below the three credited writers will show.. And Langley, the studio's favored writer, took a massive step away from the story, introducing slews of new characters (including Prince Florizel, a handsome prince given a Baleful Polymorph into the Cowardly Lion), pushing Dorothy completely to the periphery of the plot, and turning Auntie Em into a cruel, heartless caretaker that was, in the first drafts, the one trying to get rid of Toto. Woolf and Ryderson mostly applied damage control, cutting away the more bizarre elements of Langley's scripts while keeping the majority of his dialogue.
    • Casting was another problem. Margaret Hamilton, a single mother, got into an argument with the studio over guaranteed time to work, only agreeing to take the role of the Wicked Witch three days before filming. Ironically, although she finally got an agreement for five weeks of work, she ended up working on the film for three months. Buddy Ebsen was originally cast as the Scarecrow, while Ray Bolger was the Tin Man; Bolger, whose childhood hero was Fred Stone (who had played the Scarecrow in a 1902 stage adaptation of the story), worked out a deal with Ebsen and switched roles with him. During filming, Ebsen suffered a severe allergic reaction to his Tin Man makeup and was forced to quit, being replaced by Jack Haley. He remained plagued by respiratory issues for the rest of his long life, bitterly calling it "that damned movie."
    • The film went through no fewer than five directors. The first, Norman Taurog, oversaw initial casting and set construction, but left before shooting began. Actual filming began under Richard Thorpe, who lasted a little over a week before being fired, after the footage he shot looked like absolute crap; Dorothy in particular was made to wear ridiculous-looking "baby doll" make-up. George Cukor then came on-board for a few days to help re-tool the film's look, before being sent off to work on Gone with the Wind, and replaced by Victor Fleming. Fleming oversaw the vast majority of filming, but was ironically sent away to replace Cukor on Gone with the Wind, leaving King Vidor to handle filming of the Kansas scenes. In the end, Fleming was the only one of the five directors to be credited.
    • The elaborate nature of the makeup caused a great deal of agony for all actors involved, but particularly Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion) and Hamilton. Lahr could only eat through a straw (if he decided to eat anything more elaborate, he had to spend an extra hour in makeup to repair his face appliances), and due to the massive amounts of hot stage lighting needed for Technicolor, had to remove his entire costume and stand in front of a fan between shots to avoid heat stroke. Hamilton, meanwhile, couldn't eat at all due to the copper in her makeup! Ray Bolger was at least able to eat with his Scarecrow makeup on, but the rubber mask cut off air and moisture to his face; his skin would regularly crack and bleed when he removed the mask. When filming finished, the mask had left a pattern of lines on his face that took over a year to fade. A change in the Tin Man makeup from aluminum powder to aluminum paste meant that Jack Haley didn't have the same problems Ebsen had experienced, but the rigidity of the costume left him unable to sit down while resting between takes, and he had to lie on a reclining ironing board instead.
    • Hamilton suffered a serious burn during the filming of her exit from Munchkinland, which was aggravated by her makeup making treatment difficult. Once she recovered, she refused to film the "SURRENDER DOROTHY" scene on hearing they'd made her a fireproof costume, despite the studio's insistence that the scene involved no pyrotechnics; her stand-in did the scene... and was seriously burned herself!
    • And because of that burn (which put her in the hospital for weeks), and her subsequent refusal to do any more fire stunts, the studio was stuck with the rehearsal take of the scene, in which the smoke comes on too early and the trapdoor can be seen being opened.
    • Filming in general was a struggle uphill, with the cast's call time being four AM and their departure being at seven or eight at the earliest.
    • The only element that went relatively peacefully was the music... and even then several songs were conceived and dropped, and one, the famous "Jitterbug" sequence, was cut entirely after early test screenings found the audience unreceptive. Though this ended up being quite serendipitous, as with the reference to such a '30s-centric dance craze gone, the film is far more timeless.
  • By all accounts, the film adaptation of World War Z was one of these, to the point where Vanity Fair devoted its June 2013 cover story to it. Despite this, the movie wound up a smash hit.
    • Brad Pitt, the film's producer and star, was most intrigued by the book's geopolitical aspects (what with his partner being a UN Goodwill Ambassador and all), and his production company Plan B, together with Paramount, spent $1 million on the film rights. However, it soon became clear that much of the geopolitics that Pitt was interested in would have to be dropped if they wanted the story to come together on screen. Furthermore, Pitt's production company, Plan B, had never taken on a project of this size, its experience limited to eclectic, low-budget dramas; their biggest film before this was the Julia Roberts rom-com Eat, Pray, Love.
    • The real problems started with director Marc Forster, Pitt's personal choice to direct the film — and a man whose whose background (not unlike Plan B) was in making smaller, dramatic films like Finding Neverland and Monster's Ball. His only experience making big-budget tentpole films was the much-criticized Bond film Quantum of Solace (mentioned earlier on this page). It was hoped that he would be able to focus on story and characters while his crew could guide him on action and effects, but not only was he unable to bring his usual team with him, the lack of a strong leader at the head of the project produced a muddled vision for what the film would be like. As late as three weeks before shooting was to begin in June 2011, Forster hadn't even decided yet on what the zombies would look like or how they would behave.
    • Forster and screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski clashed throughout the writing process. Forster wanted to focus on the action, which Straczynski felt detracted from the story's main themes; he was more interested in remaining faithful to the book, focusing on the characters and the global reaction to the Zombie Apocalypse. Straczynski was eventually fired and replaced with Michael Carnahan (writer of The Kingdom and Lions for Lambs), who made the film an action-adventure focused on a UN field specialist named Gerry Lane, dropping the book's first-person accounts. It was at this point that Pitt was cast as Gerry.
    • And then production began. From the start, it was clear that Pitt, Plan B, and Forster were in way over their heads. Shooting in Malta for the Jerusalem scenes was a nightmare, with two film crews working side-by-side, hundreds of extras, and all sorts of minor costs dealing the budget a Death of a Thousand Cuts. One day, shooting had to be delayed for several hours because the caterer hadn't prepared enough food. When work in Malta finished, the wrap-up crew found a stack of purchase orders related to the cast and extras that had been casually tossed into a desk drawer and forgotten; the amount totaled in the millions of dollars. And all the while, the script still wasn't finished, with work still being done on the third act.
    • Things got no better when production moved to Glasgow for the Philadelphia scenes. Forster began to fight with both Pitt and the head of the SFX team; the latter was dismissed after principal filming ended. Cinematographer Richard Richardson asked more than once to leave the project, and struggled to keep the crew under control, often antagonizing them in the process. He ended up leaving by the end of production (to shoot Django Unchained) and being replaced by Ben Seresin for the reshoots (who received sole credit). Furthermore, Pitt's schedule conflicted with his commitment to starring in Killing Them Softly, and he also took time off to spend time with his family, pushing production back even further.
    • During shooting in Budapest in October for the climax in Russia, the crew found out the hard way that their 85 "prop" assault rifles were in fact fully-functional weapons when a Hungarian anti-terrorism unit raided their warehouse and seized the guns. Furthermore, Paramount, after seeing how out-of-control production had gotten in Malta, ordered a scaling back of the budget, forcing the production to scrap a number of scenes. Members of the production criticized the third act as "Rambo vs. zombies", losing the character-driven drama of the rest of the film, and production wrapped with the knowledge that rewrites and reshoots were inevitable.
    • In June 2012, Paramount ordered, depending on the source, anywhere from five to seven weeks of reshoots totaling forty minutes' worth of the film. They also hired Damon Lindelof to do a third-act rewrite; he later brought in his old Lost buddy Drew Goddard to help him give the script a thorough overhaul after determining that it had much deeper problems. A climatic twelve-minute battle sequence was dropped entirely. This pushed the film's release from December of that year to June 2013. By this point, the budget had ballooned to anywhere from $170 to $250 million depending on who you ask, and the filmmakers had only 72 minutes' worth of largely incoherent footage to show to the studio.
    • During reshoots, Forster and Pitt reportedly weren't on speaking terms — Forster's notes for Pitt had to be relayed through an intermediary.

    Y 
  • Famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti's one and only Hollywood vehicle, the 1982 Yes, Giorgio, quickly ran into problems when its star proved completely unable to handle the demands of a feature film's shooting schedule, refusing to work more than 12 hours a day and insisting on stopping shooting no later than 8 PM. On top of that, he proved to be quite the prima donna on-set, insisting that he only be filmed in angles that hid his infamous girth, and making so many demands that crewmembers began to jokingly nickname the film "No, Luciano." This, along with weather problems that delayed the sequences filmed in Pavarotti's native Italy — and even forced some planned shots to be replaced by matte paintings — caused its original $17 million budget to inflate to a then-sizeable $23 million. The finished product crashed and burned at the box office, barely crossing the $1 million mark, derailing Pavarotti's screen career out of the gate and torpedoing the once-illustrious career of director Franklin J. Schaffner.

    Z 
  • Zapped, the 1982 Scott Baio sex comedy, ran into difficulty when the filmmakers decided to make the movie Hotter and Sexier. Following the box office success of Porky's, parts of Zapped! were refilmed to increase the amount of nudity and to intentionally earn an R-rating. These changes gave Heather Thomas serious reservations about filming her nude scenes. In post-production, the filmmakers used a body double for Thomas's topless scene at the prom, and pasted her head onto a topless body double in a photograph in the movie. These changes, which Thomas alleges occurred without her permission, prompted her to file a complaint with the Screen Actors Guild.
  • Zardoz had various mild to moderate problems during production, including a lack of budget, difficulty finding convincing prop guns due to the UK and Irish governments heavily regulating all real and even replica guns due to The Troubles, and the film's ending having to be reshot twice after various mishaps resulted in the footage being damaged, much to the annoyance of stars Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling, who had to spend hours in make-up each time the ending was shot. However, by far the biggest issue was that director John Boorman was absolutely stoned off his head during most of the shoot, and kept rewriting scenes and adding new sequences on the fly, to the point where the editor was unable to assemble the footage into anything coherent, forcing Boorman to ADR in extra lines to try and get the film's storyline to somehow progress logically. The studio then forced him to film a prologue scene in order to make the storyline clearer, but most viewers seem to agree that the prologue, if anything, just made things even more confusing. To this day, Boorman himself admits to having absolutely no idea what most of the film means, beyond having a vague Who Wants to Live Forever? message and considers it an Old Shame.
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