13 Movies Actually Ghost Directed By A Second Filmmaker

Who really directed these movies?

Dredd Reboot

Just getting a movie to the point of completion is an arduous mountain to climb in the first place, so it’s crazy to think that sometimes a director is heavily responsible for a film without ever getting the credit their work deserves.

If they're employed as a sort of puppet-master behind-the-scenes or come in to salvage a project when there’s a vacated directors chair they tend to only be considered a ’ghost director.'

And while their names remain hidden, sometimes uncredited party is more responsible for the final result than the filmmaker credited. Gareth Edwards certainly had some guidance and re-writes on Rogue One via Tony Gilroy, even if Edwards still stands by the final product.

These days, publicity around such changes makes the required air of secrecy for a 'ghosted' movie less likely. The recent case of Justice League is a good example, as original director Zack Snyder left with majority filming wrapped, then Joss Whedon came in, rescripting and directing reshoots for the final project. The entire ordeal was done with such transparency it's difficult to make a case for its inclusion.

But there are other examples that fit this strange mandate where a second filmmaker called the shots yet remains forever an invisible presence in the credits.

13. Albert Magnoli - Tango & Cash (1989)

Dredd Reboot
Warner Bros.

This piece of 80s buddy cop cheese - starring superstar duo Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell - is a definitive guilty pleasure of that era. Full of baffling plot mechanics, excessive one-liners, blatant homo-erotism and of course, Harold Faltermeyer music. Yet for a film that reads like a simple checklist of action movie cliches, who knew it was marred by such creative turmoil?

Stallone was infamously hands-on during the 80s (more on that later), and several casualties resulted from a production tug of war between him and producer whackjob Jon Peters.

Cinematographer Barry Sonnefield was the first to suffer, as he was fired at Stallone’s behest. Next, the director Andrey Konchalovskiy - championed for his action/drama Runaway Train - was shown the door by Peters. The supposed reasoning was Konchalovskiy and Stallone wished to make a gritty cop thriller, while the producers wanted a full-blown campy quip-fest. It would seem from the final results the producers blatantly won.

With Konchalovskiy gone and Stallone and Peters at loggerheads, Albert Magnoli of Purple Rain fame was brought in to add spades of neon stylings and flighty pizzazz whilst the creative tone of the movie was constantly pushed and pulled.

Konchalovskiy was given final credit for the movie yet the bizarre tonal shifts and emphasis a music video aesthetic feels much more like something from Magnoli’s repertoire.

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is a freelance writer that loves ingesting TV shows, Video Games, Comics, and all walks of Movies, from schmaltzy Oscar bait to Kung-Fu cult cinema...actually, more the latter really.