10 Directors Who Nearly Killed Their Actors

The Shining Shelley Duvall

Filmmaking can be a cruel business; after all, at the end of the day, directors may be striving for artistic perfection and whatnot, but what really matters is profits, and studio executives trying to avoid losses while posting substantial gains. It's a cut-throat industry, and so movie directors tend to the forthright, driven, ambitious types who won't let anything - or indeed, anyone - get in their way. Though this might cloud their reputation as people, it can boost their stature as artists; a director who knows what he wants, no matter how demented it is, is more likely to be successful than one who dithers. These 10 directors took that to previously unknown extremes, however, by putting their cast through enormous turmoil in the quest to make a great movie, throwing caution to wind and giving not a damn about personal safety. Here are 10 directors who nearly killed their actors...

10. Tobe Hooper Tried To Drive Marilyn Burns Suicidally Insane

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6bWZhvvZQM Tobe Hooper's sublimely creepy horror masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an extremely queasy experience, not just because of all the violence, but the psychological torment on display. Reports from the set indicate that this mood was found in the making of the film as well, with Hooper aiming to break down his leading lady - and Final Girl - Marilyn Burns such that she wouldn't need to act at all - her terror would be real. The famous scene near the film's end in which Burns' Sally is restrained at the dinner table was shot near-continuously for 27 hours in the middle of the summer - and remember, this is Texas - with the windows sealed off to stop light from ruining the scene. What's more, props made of meat sitting around the room began to go bad, really bad, and apparently all this madness seemed to do something to Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen. Hansen, either infuriated with a blood squib that kept breaking, or driven mental by the sweltering heat, decided to instead just do the scene for real, cutting Burns' finger open instead, with the final result ending up in the film, along with Burns' genuinely stunned, pained reaction. Needless to say, Hansen might have been cracking up on set, but given his role as an antagonist, it was all directed towards poor Burns, who had to endure the brunt of everyone's frustrations.
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Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.