10 Times When Actors Were Blamed For A Movie’s Failure By the Filmmakers
The entire process that goes into making a movie can be a very complex and quite multi-faceted scenario, and therefore, the movie’s success or failure cannot really be attributed to any one particular person. However, the praise or blame is usually drawn towards the director and in a few cases the screenwriter of the movie, as these are the two people who give direction to the project, overall.
And even though most of the filmmakers try to deflect the question or go defensive about their creative choices when questioned about their failures, they at times try to shift the blame to one of the other major collaborators of the movie, such as the cast.
This is definitely the case with the movies we will be discussing today, where the directors and writers very conveniently threw their cast members under the bus, citing reasons such as them delivering an underwhelming performance, failing to be a part of the promotions or even quitting the movie at the eleventh hour.
However, one of the skills a successful director should have is the ability to manage a dozen of egos of varying degree that are on the set, and manage the working methods of their cast to make sure they fall in line, so it is quite bizarre that the guy with the camera shouldn’t be the one actually responsible for the failure (or success).
Either way, the filmmakers that we’re about to discuss in this article weren’t exactly happy with their cast members and decided it was best to deflect a majority of the blame in their direction. Without further ado, let’s check out the list now.
Kevin Smith Blames Bruce Willis’s Grumpy Attitude – Cop Out
Kevin Smith is one of those directors who love to write their own movies, so that they can have complete creative control over the movie. This buddy cop flick, Cop Out is the only movie that he hasn’t written, and that shows.
As soon as people started panning his flick, Kevin went ahead and compared the response of the critics to “bullying a retarded kid.”
After a while, Smith tried to explain what really led to the movie performing so poorly on the box office, and he shifted most of the blame at Bruce Willis’s feet, saying that he felt his “soul-crushing” after working alongside the actor.
He further added, “It was difficult. I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where one component is not in the box at all…I mean, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to blame the movie on him.’ No, but I had no f**king help from this dude whatsoever.”
Some insider reports also pointed out that at the wrap party of Cop Out, Smith said: “I want to thank everyone who worked on the film, except for Bruce Willis, who is a f**king dick.”
Smith also pointed out that Willis did almost everything in his hand to make matters worse for the movie, as he refused to be a part of the press tours or sit for the promotional photos.
The only good thing about the movie was that it ended up as Smith’s all-time highest grosser, however, given that it couldn’t even double the $30 million budget, it is hardly anything worth cheering.
A recent report says that Smith has sorted out the differences with Willis now, so that is a good thing.
Roland Emmerich Blaming Will Smith for Picking Suicide Squad – Independence Day: Resurgence
The expectations were not really sky high when the announcement for Independence Day: Resurgence was made – it was already way too old for a sequel, and it was being made without the leading star of the first one, Will Smith. So, how awesome would it really be?
And in no time, everyone right from movie critics to fans started bashing Independence Day: Resurgence, which in all honesty, was nothing good at all except a few destruction moments and Jeff Goldblum quipping a few times. The movie came to the screens and went without a bang, earning somewhere close to only $400 million worldwide.
So, while Emmerich was on a press tour for his upcoming (and even worse movie) Midway, he was asked what went wrong with Resurgence, and he very conveniently shifted the entire blame to Will Smith, revealing that the star left the movie to work on Suicide Squad instead.
The director said, “I just wanted to make a movie exactly like the first, but then in the middle of production Will opted out because he wanted to do Suicide Squad. I should have stopped making the movie because we had a much better script. After I had to, really fast, cobble another script together. And I should have just said ‘no,’ because all of a sudden, I was making something I criticized myself, a sequel.”
Well, while we get it why Emmerich is so frustrated as his original script that involved Will Smith had to be thrown away, it is not a very good excuse why the alternate script turned out so poor as it could have been so much better.
Granted, the star presence of Will Smith would have made everything go up a notch, but a good script would have anyway made sure the movie does well, whether or not Will Smith decides to be a part of it.
Kevin Reynolds Blames Kevin Costner’s Inflated Ego – Waterworld
Waterworld, a $175 million blockbuster set in a post-apocalyptic world, is probably one of the biggest flops of all time. It isn’t honestly that terrible except that it was hugely over-budgeted and even though the makers were riding on a wave of hype created around the movie, it didn’t exactly break the box office and earned just shy of a $260 million mark, worldwide.
Kevin Costner did give his regular partner Kevin Reynolds a proper directing credit, but it is not exactly a secret that it was Costner who took over the production after Reynolds decided to leave, after he was fed up of Costner trying to force his ideas on almost every single scene in the movie.
And given that pretty much the same thing happened during the shooting of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves just a few years prior, it was honestly quite a surprise to see the two of them actually agreeing to work on this one together. It didn’t make sense at all!
Funnily enough, Reynolds later shared in an interview about his experience during the shooting of Waterworld, and he said, “In the future, Costner should only appear in pictures he directs himself. That way he can always be working with his favorite actor and his favorite director.” Ouch.
Clearly, Kevin Costner didn’t really take it personally, though, as the duo did team up again in the year 2012 for Hatfields & McCoys, a TV mini-series that won Costner an Emmy award for the lead actor while Reynolds ended up being nominated for best director.
Paul Kaye Blamed Edward Norton’s Narcissism – American History X
American History X is actually quite a strange instance of “failure”, as at almost every aspect of filmmaking, this 1998 crime drama was a success, earning itself praise from not only the critics but also the audiences. Also, Edward Norton was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars that year.
Despite that, the movie’s director, Tony Kaye was quite disappointed with the theatrical release of the flick, as several cuts and edits were made by New Line Cinema and finally a version that was co-edited by Norton was also released.
Kaye tried his level best to get his name removed from all the movie’s promotional content as well the credits and even ended up using more than $100,000 of his money on a lot of newspaper ads in leading newspapers, disparaging the producer of the movie John Morrissey and Norton.
Also, Kaye referred to Norton as “a narcissistic dilettante”, and accused him of making sure that the original movie was edited according to his whims and fancies.
The irony of this whole situation, of course, is that Norton’s performance was the only good thing about this movie and his acting career really took off after this movie, while Kaye found it really difficult to find any kind of meaningful work in the industry ever since.
John Schlesinger Blamed Madonna For Her Diva Attitude – The Next Best Thing
Barring a few exceptions, musicians-turned-actors are beyond pathetic as actors, and the movies featuring them are terrible as well. The Next Best Thing is one of those flicks.
It was so terrible that the actress ended up winning her fourth Razzie award for Worst Actress, while the flick was also nominated for the Worst Screenplay, Worst Film, and Worst On-screen Couple. The box office numbers were horrible, too.
The movie follows the story of a straight woman (played by Madonna) and a gay man (Rupert Everett) who are fighting a custody battle for a child they had together. The movie was directed by none other than the legendary Oscar winner, John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy).
The fight between Schlesinger and Madonna went on throughout the movie’s production, and the director claimed that Madonna influenced every part of the movie, and she even requested the visual effects team to make sure she looked more beautiful in the movie!
And the director didn’t just blame her for ruining the movie, he even blamed her for his health issues. A few weeks after the movie was shot, Schlesinger suffered a heart attack.
A letter that he sent to his agent, that was released after his death, read: “I do not for one moment think that [her and producer Tom Rosenberg’s] behavior has not added to the reasons I have ended up here.” Yikes.
Paul Schrader Blamed The Unpredictable Behavior of Lindsay Lohan – The Canyons
A movie that was supposed to be a comeback flick for not only the film’s leading star Lindsay Lohan, but also for the legendary screenwriter Paul Schrader, who gave us brilliant movies like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, who was heading the project as a director on a script written by American Psycho writer Bret Easton Ellis. This erotic thriller also starred porn star, James Deen.
The flick was heavily criticized by the audiences and critics alike, as its horrible writing and direction made sure that the movie wouldn’t be a success. Even though Lohan did receive some praise, the movie ended up being a dud.
However, during the press tour, Schrader more than once blamed Lohan for not attending the press tours and promotional tours, and that his wish was to fire her for her unpredictable behavior during the post-production stage.
The erotic thriller was largely panned for its underwhelming writing and direction, though Lohan did receive some scattered praise, and the film’s mere $250,000 budget prevented it from being a catastrophic bust.
Since then Lohan’s attitude has made sure that she hasn’t been able to work in even one popular movie while Schrader himself has gained immense popularity after his 2017 drama First Reformed, a movie for which he also ended up being nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay.
Jerry Lewis Blames None Other Than….Himself – The Day The Clown Cried
The Day The Clown Cried is perhaps the most infamous unreleased movie in the Hollywood industry that is even sought-after today. Written and directed by Jerry Lewis, who also stars in the movie, this 1972 flick tells the tale of a circus clown who is imprisoned at one of the Nazi concentration camps and is supposed to lure children into the horrific gas chambers by acting like a pied piper.
Jerry Lewis was very serious about the movie, and he took several tours of the concentration camps and also lost quite a bit of his body weight in order to play the part to perfection. Even though the shooting schedule completed on time, the movie couldn’t make it to the theatres because the makers couldn’t secure the rights of the movie from the original story’s writer, Joan O’Brien.
Even after a few decades, Lewis decided to let go of all attempts to secure the rights and made a vow that he wouldn’t let the movie release in his lifetime. He also admitted that he was embarrassed at his work as a writer, director, and actor in this movie.
While fans are still hopeful that a copy of the flick might still be screened someday, it still hasn’t happened even after five decades and the film continues to remain one of the industry’s biggest failures to date.
Joss Whedon Blamed The Actors For “Saying The Lines Wrong” – Alien Resurrection
Once Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) was killed for good in Aliens 3, it was quite obvious that there would be a sharp divide amongst the fans when Ripley would be back brought to life through a cloning process.
And it happened indeed, as Alien Resurrection got mixed reviews and a terrible box office collection figures, with the majority of fans calling it one of the worst installments of the Alien franchise.
A few years later, when screenwriter Joss Whedon was asked to talk about why the final installment failed, he said, “They said the lines…mostly…but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do.”
It certainly is not at all surprising to hear a blockbuster writer complaining about his script being tinkered endlessly during the production stage, it would still be tough for that stellar ensemble cast to make all those creaky dialogues work. It definitely wasn’t Whedon’s best work as a scriptwriter.
Ron Hutchinson Blamed Marlon Brando For His Laziness – The Island Of Dr. Moreau
Released in 1996, The Island Of Dr. Moreau went through perhaps the most troubled movie production in the 20th century Hollywood, as the dueling egos of Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer had to be managed by a relatively young filmmaker Richard Stanley.
Stanley couldn’t even manage to work for three days before he was fired, and legendary director Frankenheimer was asked to helm the project, which he did while dealing with the clashes he had with Kilmer.
The movie that came out was a huge flop, and the only good thing anyone got from this movie was the documentary on the conception of this movie, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.
Val Kilmer received most of the flak for the movie’s failure, especially because of his reputation of being “difficult”, but according to Ron Hutchinson (the movie’s screenwriter), it was Brando who was being tyrannical and should be blamed for the movie’s failure.
In fact, in a more recent interview, Hutchinson called Brando a “monster” who did his level best to sabotage the production, and even refused to read Hutchinson’s script and instead opted to do an improv, while he gorged on pizza by locking himself inside in his trailer quite routinely.
He even described his experience working on this movie as “awful.” After spending months working on a script, it would be a hellish scenario to see one’s hard work being butchered as a writer, and that is precisely what Hutchison faced.
Otto Preminger Blamed The Performance of Marilyn Monroe – River Of No Return
Directed by an Oscar-nominated director Otto Preminger, River Of No Return was a 1954 flick starring Marilyn Monroe, which was a western vehicle for her.
The movie’s lead actor was Kay Weston, and even though Preminger accepted Monroe as the female lead, he soon started having clashes with her on set, mainly because of her insistence that her acting coach is allowed to be there with her all the time.
This was quite a tricky situation, as the coach always gave contradictory advice to what Preminger asked Monroe to do, and when Preminger tried to get the coach fired, Monroe simply told the producers that she wouldn’t be able to work on the movie without her coach’s help.
Preminger took out his frustration on the actress herself, while he also had to deal with the sprained ankle she sustained because of an injury, and the male lead Robert Mitchum, who was always drunk but acted as a reference between the two clashing sides.
After the movie was released, Preminger often criticized Monroe whenever he got the chance to do so, and claimed that the actress couldn’t really act in a natural way and was merely a star. The movie didn’t really do well and was panned by the critics and the audiences.
In 1980, just a few years before the director passed away, he was a bit more charitable towards the actress, saying, “She tried very hard, and when people try hard, you can’t be mad at them.”