Everyone, at some point in their lives, will have the misfortune of working under a difficult boss. You know the type: the most undesirable of humans, suddenly thrust into a position of power, with a plan to wield that power to dastardly effect.
In the world of film, there have always been difficult directors overseeing the operation. But this list is not a compendium of the most troublesome directors of all time, living or dead (otherwise you can be sure Stanley Kubrick and Sam Peckinpah would have had places firmly booked).
Rather, all of the following are still working in some capacity or another, meaning they all actively retain their ability to be absolute shockers on the film set.
These are the 10 most notoriously difficult directors still scarring cast and crew today…
10. David Fincher
Some directors are happy with one or two takes. Others are maybe happy with a couple more. David Fincher is not one of either of these kinds of people – seemingly eager to take Stanley Kubrick’s throne as king of excessively repeated takes, David Fincher demonstrated on the set of his 2007 masterpiece Zodiac a new system entitled ’70 Takes and Up.’ It prompted Robert Downey Jr to remark “I think I’m a perfect person to work for him [Fincher], because I understand gulags”.
And who can forget the filmmaking-sadist’s predilection for deleting hours of takes in front of Jake Gyllenhaal in an effort to make the actor cry? Or that Robert Downey Jr was driven to dirty protest, leaving jars of urine around the Zodiac set because the practically unlimited digital filmmaking process meant he didn’t have time to take trips to the porcelain throne?
Hitchcock’s maxim that actors should be treated like cattle doesn’t even apply here – even cattle get toilet breaks.
This article was first posted on September 7, 2013