4 Times Chevy Chase Made Famous Filmmakers’ Blood Boil
Chevy Chase is mostly famous for playing clumsy idiots in ridiculous movies, like Clark Griswold in the Vacation series, Irwin Fletcher in the Fletch films, and, um, himself in Modern Problems?
Despite his penchant for reveling in lowbrow tomfoolery, Chase has worked with some of the biggest names in filmmaking. And because he is, from all accounts, about as easy to work with as an escaped zoo animal, things haven’t always gone very well. It turns out that Chase has truly enraged some A-list talent behind the camera, such as how…
John Carpenter Nearly Gave Up Making Movies After Working With Chase
Back in 1992, Chase attempted to show off his acting range with the bizarro dramedy Memoirs of an Invisible Man, all about a businessman who becomes invisible due to a freak accident. But unlike some other cinematic invisible men, he doesn’t use this amazing scientific breakthrough as a means to creep on female co-workers.
The film was directed by the legendary John Carpenter, of Halloween and The Thing fame. It was originally going to be helmed by Ghostbusters’ Ivan Reitman, but he dropped out due to “creative conflicts.” Carpenter’s experience was, reportedly, a tad less than ideal. Chase had to wear extensive makeup, and even contact lenses, for the film’s visual effects shots, but according to reports, he routinely ruined “hours of filming” by tearing them off whenever he felt like.
Carpenter called the making of the film “a horror show” (he should know), adding, “I really wanted to quit the business after that movie.” Not one to mince words, Carpenter stated in 1996 that an unnamed actor, with whom he’d recently worked, could “burn in hell for all eternity.” It says a lot that Carpenter vastly preferred the company of a knife-wielding maniac in a William Shatner mask.
John Landis Really Lost It When Chase Joked About His Manslaughter Trial
Before he was booted from the trio and replaced with Selena Gomez, Chevy Chase starred with Steve Martin and Martin Short in the musical comedy The Three Amigos. The film was directed by John Landis who’s best known for The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London and one of the worst tragedies in movie-making history.
The helicopter accident that took the lives of actor Vic Morrow and two small children (six-year-old Renee Chen and seven-year-old Myca Dihn) during the making of Twilight Zone: The Movie led to Landis facing manslaughter charges (he was eventually acquitted on all counts). Landis even had to edit Three Amigos on evenings and weekends because he was in court the rest of the time.
This wasn’t the only time that the notorious tragedy impacted the filming of the comedy; according to Chase, while shooting a scene atop a steep cliff, he made a “hideous comment” about how Landis didn’t care about on-set safety precautions, purely as a joke. What Chevy didn’t realize was that Landis A) was very touchy about this subject, and B) could hear everything that Chase was saying because the actors were all wearing microphones. “Boy, was he mad,” Chase recalled. “We almost came to blows.”
Chris Columbus Quit ‘Christmas Vacation’ Because Chase Treated Him ‘Like Dirt’
Chris Columbus has directed some of the most-cherished family movies of all-time — from Mrs. Doubtfire, to the first two Harry Potter movies, to Home Alone. Not to mention his more recent Christmas movie in which Santa’s elves attempt to castrate a teenager with an adorable ‘lil chainsaw.
But back when Columbus was still a struggling young filmmaker attempting to bounce back from a box-office bomb, his friend John Hughes helped out by sending him the script for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Columbus leapt at the chance to direct the film, being a huge fan of Christmas movies in general.
But things got off to an inauspicious start when he met Chase and Chase mistook him for an assistant. Columbus later said that Chase treated him “like dirt.” Columbus still “stuck it out” and shot some second unit footage that can be seen in Christmas Vacation, but after a follow-up meeting with Chase proved to be even worse, he called Hughes and told him: “There’s no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can’t do it with this guy.”
To his credit, Hughes totally understood, and whipped together another Christmas comedy for Columbus to make instead.
Chase and Kevin Smith Publicly Feuded Over a Failed ‘Fletch’ Reboot
You might recall that director and occasional NFT enthusiast Kevin Smith followed up the success of Chasing Amy with 1999’s controversial religious comedy Dogma, the only movie in existence to feature both Alan Rickman and a giant poop monster.
Prior to Dogma, back in 1997, Smith pitched Universal on the idea of making a new Fletch movie starring both Chase and Jason Lee as his son. Smith even met with Chase about the project, but things didn’t go well. As Smith later recounted, Chase acted like he’d "invented every funny thing that ever happened in the history of not just comedy, but also the known world.”
When the project eventually fell apart, Chase trashed Smith in interviews, claiming that the director had been “rudely deceiving me” and suggesting that “he can shove it up his hole.” Smith later fired back in his blog: “I owe that guy nothing.” All of which makes us think that Jon Hamm should probably watch his back.
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