Saturday 17 March 2018

Lights, camera. . .fight!

The just-released 'Blue is the Warmest Colour' is already notorious for the spat between the film's director and its stars. Paul Whitington on a long tradition

The ego has landed: Director Michael Bay found Megan Fox difficult to work with
The ego has landed: Director Michael Bay found Megan Fox difficult to work with
Director Michael Bay

Paul Whitington

The success of French drama Blue is the Warmest Colour -- which won the Palme d'Or, was lionised by the critics and opened here to much acclaim last weekend -- has been overshadowed somewhat by a nasty spat between the director and his actors.

The film tells the story of a torrid romance between two young women and includes a graphic, 10-minute sex scene. While director Abdellatif Kechiche and his stars Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos were all loved up during Cannes, things have got a lot frostier since.

Both actresses have complained about Monsieur Kechiche's harshness during that gruelling sex scene, which they claim took 10 days to shoot, and Lea Seydoux has described the experience as "horrible" and says she'll never work with him again.

The fallout is part of a long tradition of spats between directors and actors. Let's face it, we all love it when show folk throw their toys out of the pram, and here are a few of my all-time favourite on-set bust ups.

Joel Schumacher v Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer already had something of a reputation for being difficult on set, but on Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever he excelled himself. Kilmer had been called in at the last minute to replace Michael Keaton as Batman. When Schumacher apparently saw him throwing his weight around on set too many times, the veteran director snapped and gave Val a dressing down. After that Kilmer apparently refused to talk to his director for weeks, which Schumacher said was "blissful".

What they said:

Val Kilmer: "I've done an absurdly commercial cartoon."

Joel Schumacher: "I'm tired of defending overpaid, over-privileged actors."


Alfred Hitchcock v Tippi Hedren

The master of suspense had a cheerfully cavalier attitude to actors and was particularly hard on his leading ladies. The only one he had any respect for was Grace Kelly, and when she wasn't available to star in The Birds, he hired inexperienced model Tippi Hedren instead. By all accounts Hitch became obsessed with her, controlling her dress and movements and constantly harassing her on set. The famous scene in which Hedren's character is attacked in her bedroom took seven days to shoot using real birds, and the actress later described it as "the worst week of my life".

What they said:

Alfred Hitchcock: "Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints."

Tippi Hedren: "You fat pig!"

David O Russell v George Clooney, Lily Tomlin and James Caan!

Director and screenwriter David O Russell is currently riding high on the success of his Oscar-winning comic drama Silver Linings Playbook, but his on-set reputation is not good. James Caan walked out of Russell's never-completed comedy Nailed after the director told the actor he wasn't choking on a cookie correctly. Lily Tomlin had a spectacular row with Russell during filming of I Heart Huckabees involving every expletive you can think of (you can watch it on YouTube). And he and George Clooney actually came to blows on the set of Russell's 1999 war film Three Kings, with the star grabbing his director warmly by the throat.

What they said:

George Clooney: "Without exception, the worst experience of my life."

David O Russell: "I'm not here to be f***ing yelled at!"

Michael Bay v Megan Fox

Tennessee beauty Megan Fox was virtually unknown when she lit up the screen in Michael Bay's 2007 blockbuster Transformers, but by the time a sequel was made in 2009, Megan was the next big thing and had become a little less easy to manage. She took it badly when Bay asked her to put on 10 pounds for the shoot, and later compared Bay to Adolf Hitler.

What they said:

Megan Fox: "He's a nightmare to work for."

Michael Bay: "I'm sorry, Megan. I'm sorry I made you work 12 hours and that I'm making you show up on time."

Henri-Georges Clouzot v Brigitte Bardot

French master Henri-Georges Clouzot was notorious for resorting to extreme measures to get the best out of his actors, but he met his match in volatile starlet Brigitte Bardot. Bardot was just 26 when she made the thriller La Verite in 1960. Her character was accused of murder, and Clouzot went so far as to demand that Bardot drink whiskey to excess and pop tranquillisers in order to make her performance more realistic. By the end of the shoot they weren't on speaking terms, but Bardot later admitted La Verite was her favourite of all her films.

What they said:

Clouzot: "I don't need amateurs in my films -- I want an actress."

Bardot: "And I need a director, not a psychopath."

Lars von Trier v Bjork

The sparks were always going to fly when iconoclastic Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier locked horns with volatile Icelandic pop diva Bjork, and in the end neither party disappointed. They joined forces to make Dancer in the Dark, von Trier's Palme d'Or-winning drama, but Bjork took a dim view of her director's attitude to women. At one point she left the set for four days and returned with a manifesto of demands for von Trier. The film got made, but von Trier and Bjork probably don't exchange Christmas cards.

What they said:

Bjork: "He envies (women) and he hates them."

Von Trier: "It was like dealing with terrorists."

Irish Independent

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