6 Famous Directors Who Were Deranged Creeps On Set
It's easy to forget that despite all the costumes, play-fighting, and presence of Jared Leto, a movie set is still a workplace environment. Time cards are punched, hangovers are concealed, and there's a business hierarchy. Also like any workplace, there's that one office creep who somehow keeps their job while making everyone feel uncomfortable. And just as inevitably, that weirdo is the dude in charge. Take, for example ...
James Cameron's Quest To Make The Avatar Aliens Fuckable
Thanks to his aquatic hobbies and endless Avatar sequels, James Cameron has devoted his later years to exploring the depths of both the ocean and audience disinterest. But back in the ancient days of 2009, Avatar birthed a whole subculture of people unapologetically avid about the idea of railing a Na'vi. And if you've ever wondered whether this was part of Cameron's master plan, the answer is unequivocally yes.
This isn't speculation so much as it is going back and reading what Cameron and his concept designers said about the production. First, there was Cameron himself noting that the design process consisted of repeatedly bringing Na'vi concept art to his male crew members and asking, "Would you want to do her?" He would then adjust accordingly based on the reactions. That sounds harmless until you imagine your own boss walking from desk to desk, holding up a cartoon sphinx and asking, "How aroused are you right now?"
But what makes this particularly unsettling is how obvious Cameron's own arousal was, as concept artist Jordu Schell observed in an interview.
We need to share that quote in full because of how beautiful it is. James Cameron asked for an azure half-feline Real Doll, and his production team was like, "Uh, OK. Well, I personally don't want to make love to this extraterrestrial abomination, but here's what we got."
Filming The Big Sex Scene In The Room Was As Awkward As You'd Imagine
The Room feels like some kind of sex crime unfolding in a vague "mind invasion" sort of way, wherein time stretches forever and reality itself is usurped by dream logic. The film's actual sex scenes are immensely damaging to anyone with eyes, and so one could only imagine the horror that was being on set with a bare-assed Tommy Wiseau while he gyrated away at this poor woman's abdomen.
To the surprise of no one, Wiseau's nude humping was entirely his idea. According to The Disaster Artist (the book), the vampiric anti-star insisted that he "had to" show his ass, or else "this movie won't sell." He then proceeded to strip all the way down to a modesty pouch (a professional term for "junk-covering sock") and perform the scene until he was begged to stop.
Oh, and if you're wondering, the dick-sock fell off of him at least once while this was happening. We know this because the actress involved in this tragedy told us so. Juliette Danielle, who played Wiseau's fiancee Lisa, has detailed a lot of terrible things about this scene, including the fact that Wiseau's only direction to her was to watch the movie Eyes Wide Shut. Wiseau and Kubrick: a drive-in doubleheader if ever there was one.
Michael Bay Will Release The Hounds On You
It's such common knowledge that Michael Bay is a creep to women that his office is federally required to keep mace next to every fire extinguisher. So instead of going into what everyone already knows, we want to point out that Bay is, at the dirt-bottom least, an equal-opportunity a-hole, starting with the fact that he once almost let Shia LaBeouf get mauled by dogs.
That's from behind the scenes of the very first and retrospectively quaint Transformers film, when LaBeouf's character is chased by junkyard dogs. Notice how everyone stands in shock as The Beouf blows past the crew? That's because instead of hiring professional K-9 actors, the company went ahead with retired police dogs tied to flimsy chains that immediately broke. According to LaBeouf, the freed attack dogs did the only thing they were trained to do and beelined right to him as the crew desperately trying to stop the impending carnage by throwing chairs in their path. Eventually, the dogs were corralled and, in LaBeouf's own words, Bay responded to the whole ordeal by "just fucking giggling."
Bay's amusement makes sense when you consider that his art nearly killed before, like during Armageddon, when Ben Affleck almost suffocated to death while wearing a prop spacesuit. As Jerry Bruckheimer explained in an interview, Affleck had resorted to crawling on the ground and attempting to smash open his helmet like some kind of self-aware robot. And while that's technically not Bay's fault, it certainly punctuates the movie's DVD commentary, during which Bruce Willis mentions that Bay often reminded Affleck that he could be cut from the film at any time, while also forcing him to get lengthy dental surgery for the role to fix his "baby teeth."
Shooting The Sex Scenes In Blue Is The Warmest Color Was A Total Nightmare
When it came out, the French indie film Blue Is The Warmest Color was praised as a "masterpiece," and its extensive lesbian love scenes were described as "untethered, unembarrassed and joyful." The film has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. And that's kind of weird, since there's a good chance it was all director Abdellatif Kechiche's personal spank depository.
A critic from The New York Times first floated the observation that Blue's girl-on-girl scenes seemed to be clearly thought up by a dude, as many shots, even the nonsexual ones, seemed to ogle the women. But what makes that observation cross over into Creepsville (Population: Wuh) were later remarks from the two lead actresses, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, who described filming the sex scenes as "horrible," requiring ten days to shoot and making them feel like "prostitutes."
If you're wondering how some sex scenes took ten goddamn days to shoot ... well, so did the actresses, as apparently only 10 percent of what they did showed up in the finished film. At the time, Kechiche specifically asked that they trust his instincts as they performed non-choreographed lovemaking which he described as "special sex scenes." This was likely hand-waved as a quirk of a complex, genius director and not the insane red flag it clearly was. Kechiche also made the actresses act out violent and gross scenes that were also mostly cut from the film. One direction included him making one of the actresses hit the other over and over, and at one point licking the snot off her face. No, really. According to Exarchopoulos, the exact instruction given (in the form of screaming) was "Kiss her! Lick her snot!"
But hey, it's all in the interest of pure art, and we're sure the actresses were ultimately thankful for being pushed into their performances, right? Well, no. Both of them asserted that they would never work with Kechiche ever again, adding, "In America, we'd all be in jail."
A Walk In The Clouds Exists Thanks To Horrendous Sexual Harassment
Maybe you're too young to remember Keanu Reeve's thrilling follow-up to Speed, which was about a WWII vet who leaves home to sell chocolate door-to-door and somehow ends up dressed like a moth in a flaming vineyard.
We probably should have known right then that this film was the work of a warped mind, but it wasn't until 2017 that Will & Grace actress Debra Messing revealed that her first big Hollywood project was total hell. Messing was cast as Keanu's wife, who in one scene is caught sleeping with another man. While that's a pretty standard twist, what made this particular nude scene unique is that director Alfonso Arau didn't bother to tell Messing that it existed beforehand, and if she didn't strip down, she'd be fired. When Messing asked for a modicum of human empathy in this fiasco, Arau simply said, "Your job is to get naked and to say the lines."
Somehow it gets worse, as Messing's reservations seemingly upset Arau enough that he began berating the actress about the size of her nose. And by "berating," we mean yelling, "Can we get a plastic surgeon in there? Her nose is ruining my movie!" Because again, when you're a professional director in charge of a major motion picture, it's best to make the set as toxic as humanly possible.
Don't Quit An Oliver Stone Movie (Or Else)
If you've been following the latest in "Which acclaimed auteur is a creep now?" news, you're likely aware that Oliver Stone isn't exactly a paragon of decency. But of course, none of that should come as a surprise if you've read any interview from any actor who has worked with him. Totally great guy Sean Penn described working with Stone like "talking to a pig." Blake Lively compared working with Stone to "riding through Jurassic Park." And actor (and part-time vile maniac) James Woods, who was in Stone's 1986 film Salvador, about journalists covering the Salvadoran Civil War, has probably the craziest of tales.
According to everyone involved, the film faced immediate struggles, ranging from budget restrictions to colliding egos. At one point, Woods' agent told him to quit due to lack of payment. Later on, Stone himself gave up his salary in order to pay for a pivotal scene. Needless to say, fun wasn't being had. And in the thick of this, Woods clashed so hard with the director that he abandoned the film in the middle of shooting. Literally. He walked off the set and began to hitchhike back to Los Angeles from the set in Mexico.
And so, facing the worst of breakdowns between himself and a leading actor, Stone did what any perfectly sane director would do in such a situation: He called the police and told them there was an escaped lunatic with a gun on the road.
That's right, for a brief period of time, actor James Woods was an armed fugitive in the eyes on the law. Somehow this didn't end with him being shot dead in the middle of the highway, and Stone was able to lure Woods back to the set, thanks to the suspicious lack of people willing to pick up a man identified as a gun-toting threat. And yes, to be clear, Oliver Stone began waving down cars and warning them not to pick his actor up, allegedly with phrases like "There's a crazy gringo with a .45. Don't pick him up because he'll shoot you!" But hey, had he not risked the actor's life, we never would have gotten that timeless classic Salvador.
David is on Twitter and writes and stuff.
Next time you go to a The Room screening, make sure you bring some plastic spoons!
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