The only thing better than choreographed action is the real thing. Shooting a film is not at all an easy task but some productions become such a nightmare that real action takes place behind the scenes. Take a peek at the 15 movies with the most troubled productions:
15. The Shining (1980)
Director Stanley Kubrick was notoriously difficult to work with due to extreme stress on perfection. That did manage to make The Shining a magnificent film but it came at the price of mentally frustrating leading actors Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.
The director kept taking excessive retakes on several scenes that exhausted its actors. The iconic “Here’s Johnny” scene that lasts mere seconds took three days to shoot and the short scene in which Shelley swings her bat reportedly took 127 takes.
Moreover, Kubrick was particularly too harsh on Shelley in order to break her spirits so she could add a sense of realism into her scenes. His plan worked but behind the scenes, she became ill and even had hair loss due to the abundant amount of stress.
14. American Graffiti (1973)
Right after the first day of shooting in San Rafael, California, the city council revoked the production’s filming permits as local merchants complained that the shooting was responsible for their business losses.
Despite relocating to another city, the dilemmas kept on rolling as actor Harrison Ford was arrested for a bar fight, a member of the crew was arrested as well for growing marijuana, director George Lucas’ motel room mysteriously caught fire and two cameramen almost died while shooting the final car racing scene.
13. Blade Runner (1982)
While it currently holds the status of being one of the finest sci-fi movies of all time, it is often overlooked how much of a distressed experience was its production. Blade Runner was partially based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the script went through countless rewrites. Director Ridley Scott was not accustomed to shooting in the United States and he revealed in an interview that he preferred working in the United Kingdom.
Upon his return, the entire crew welcomed him by wearing shirts which had the words “Yes gov’nor my ass” written on them. The environment would steadily become extremely hostile as Scott would repeatedly clash with the entire crew including leading star Harrison Ford.
12. The Bourne Identity (2002)
Director Doug Liman and Universal Pictures constantly argued over the pacing of The Bourne Identity. The two were severely at odds against at one another which caused the script having numerous rewrites and the release date suffered a delay of nine months.
Even though The Bourne Identity was a tremendous success and made Matt Damon an action star, the relationship between Liman and Universal Pictures was so soured that the former was not asked to return for any of the sequels.
11. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
The production of The Island of Dr. Moreau was such a catastrophic experience that it has its own documentary to narrate the events. Leading actors Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer kept fighting against each other and director John Frankenheimer.
Brando refused to memorize his lines and demanded that his dialogues should be delivered to him via an earpiece. Among his bizarre demands was that his scenes should be accompanied by a dwarf who dressed like him.
The presence of the unnecessary character was never explained. Brando and Kilmer tried multiple times to sabotage the project and when the movie finally concluded its shooting, Frankenheimer vowed never to work with Kilmer again.
10. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The production crew of Mad Max: Fury Road were definitely overjoyed at the Academy Awards ceremony as the movie won six of them from its ten nominations, but that was hardly the feeling during its shooting phase that was conducted in the soaring heat of Namibian desert.
The initial stages were extremely confusing due to the production crew being forced to work while relying on vague storyboards since the script had not even been completed yet. The editing phase was not a walk in the park as well since there were 400 hours of footage.
9. Jaws (1975)
It was Steven Spielberg’s second movie with a major budget and his lack of experience as a film-maker certainly came with a handful of hurdles. The production and budget of Jaws kept going way past schedule due to several technical dilemmas.
The mechanical shark kept malfunctioning and Spielberg was forced to rewrite several scenes in order to show the shark as little as possible. Additionally, the boat used in the final scene ruptured and the actors on board almost died while it sank.
8. Heaven’s Gate (1980)
It is bad enough that a movie’s budget keeps skyrocketing but it is even worse when it reaches so high that the studio almost becomes bankrupt. When Michael Cimino was hired by United Artists to direct Heaven’s Gate, his methods to capture the intricacies of the plot increased the approved budget of $11 million to $44 million.
Multiple takes and reconstructing million dollar sets did not help either as the director ended up shooting 220 hours of footage which cost the studio around $220,000 per day. Following the editing phase, the final cut of the movie was 5 hours and 25 minutes long but the studio axed it down to 2 hours and 48 minutes. The end result was such a humungous mess, Heaven’s Gate was critically panned and merely earned $3.5 million.