I have to imagine that the worst directors to work with make going in to work for the day absolutely horrible. I'm lucky enough to adore my bosses, but even if you hate yours, you can be thankful that you probably don't have to spend sixteen-plus hours a day getting screamed at and forced to do the same thing over and over again, right? Then again, directors have a lot of pressure on their shoulders – they're making movies, movies they want people to see and enjoy. They want to inspire their audiences, so maybe we can cut some of the worst directors to work with a little slack – right?
The funny thing (that's not actually funny at all) about so many of the worst directors to work with is that they actually make great movies. David O. Russell, for example, is by all rights a bully of a director – and no, I don't mean that in a good way. You might not think he makes good movies either, but I don't know, I like I Heart Huckabees. However, the whole process was a disaster. He bullied Christopher Nolan and stole Jude Law, he made Lily Tomlin, queen of everything, indulge in some next-level insults, and he's just kind of a jerk. I mean, George Clooney hit him.
You can't deny Coppola's genius but, rather like Quentin Tarantino, he's convinced of his own brilliance – although in his case, it's a little more justified. Still, he's something of a litigious director, and the rumor is that he drove Martin Sheen to a heart attack while filming Apocalypse Now. He fires actors at a whim (see: Harvey Keitel) and he pushes his actors tremendously – but you have to wonder, given his resume, is it worth it?
Stanley Kubrick was genius quality, no question, but he, too, was a bit of a jerk. He demanded the best and he sought to get it any way possible. He's known for clashing with his actors, with The Shining's Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers having the biggest beefs. Shelley had to redo the same scene nearly 130 times, and Kubrick reduced Scatman to crying. He made the man cry!
This is no surprise, right? Known for somehow being both indifferent and outright hostile to actors and the rest of his crew, this guy even got Hugo Weaving pissed. When you've got Elrond/Agent Smith mad at you, you're in trouble. When all the drama was going down over Transformers, I seriously wanted Hugo to bust out some Matrix magic.
Otto Preminger also demanded a lot from his actors, even the ones with whom he was intimately acquainted. Known for being a tyrant, he was also known for creating masterpieces of film – but at such a price. Actors who worked with him seem to agree that although he was a brilliant director, he knew nothing about acting itself, leading to conflicts with Faye Dunaway, among others. Then again, Dunaway herself isn't known for being an easy person to work with.
Werner is kind of horrible – he once threatened to actually shoot his actor – but I have a hard time hating him because I could listen to him narrate all day. Still, his relationship with frenemy Klaus Kinski is legendary (he was the one on the other side of the gun), but he's also gone up against Christian Bale and Joaquin Phoenix, both of whom he put in really dangerous situations. It kind of makes you understand his work on Grizzly Man a little better, huh?
Responsible for so many movies, and so many angry actors, Oliver Stone is just really bad. He comes up with great movies, but in the course of his career, he has: nearly killed James Woods; been called a pig by Sean Penn; insulted Jamie Foxx's acting ability; chafed Blake Lively; and been called a fascist by Mr. Holland himself, Richard Dreyfuss. Welp.
Then again, maybe not. Some of these folks are a little heinous. I suddenly don't think being an actor is so glamorous. Could you stand to work with any of these directors, or would you just walk off set?
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