While for most cinemagoers the first people they probably look at are the actors and actresses starring in a picture, often a far more interesting personality lies behind the camera, in the director themselves.

Through their sheer nature of their job, they often have a very singular, tireless mindset which they will not shift for anyone, and this is precisely how masterpiece are made, as well as how directors gain reputations for being difficult, and in more extreme cases, flat-out insane.

These 10 characters (yes, they’re characters alright) have done things life-threatening, hilarious, cruel and totally ridiculous, all in the name of trying to make a great movie.

Whether they succeeded or not, there’s no denying that, for better or worse, these directors are nearly as (and in one case, perhaps more) famous than the films they actually make. Demanding, meticulous, misguided, ambitious, violent and troubled, here are 10 directors who are certifiably insane…



10. David O. Russell

David O. Russell might have cleaned up his image a little in recent years with his seemingly trouble-free (not to mention Oscar-winning) projects The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, but few could forget his tempestuous past as a filmmaker, typified by explosive on-set arguments with his co-stars.

He had a punch up with George Clooney on Three Kings, but it’s his childish spat with Lily Tomlin on I Heart Huckabees which cemented his status as Hollywood’s go-to psychopath after it was unceremoniously leaked onto YouTube.

What’s more, when Jude Law decided to quit Huckabees to work on Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia, O. Russell approached Nolan at a Hollywood party and put him in a headlock, insisting that he back off from pursuing the actor. Though he sounds like an absolute nightmare to work with, at least O. Russell’s intense personality usually gets results.

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This article was first posted on February 28, 2013