Flying Off the Handle
Let's just say that Tippi Hendren and Alfred Hitchcock's relationship was for the birds. Click through for 15 memorable battles of will between legendary directors and the actors who'd describe their taskmasters less charitably.
Tippi Hedren vs. Alfred Hitchcock
The conflict: "He was a misogynist," Hedren said of Hitchcock a half-century after she starred in "The Birds" (1963). According to Hedren, the Master of Suspense set out to punish her for rebuffing his advances.
The meltdown: Without telling her, Hitchcock had mechanical birds replaced with live crows, gulls and ravens, which left Hedren bloody and hysterical.
James Dean vs. George Stevens
The conflict: Stevens wanted Dean to drop his mannerisms for what would be his last film, 1956's "Giant." Behind Stevens' back, Dean called the director "Fatso."
The meltdown: One day Dean's co-star Mercedes McCambridge reported for work on time, despite an accident that had sent her to the ER the night before. When Dean showed up late, Stevens publicly berated him and then walked off the set.
Faye Dunaway vs. Roman Polanski
The conflict: "The little s--- wouldn't talk to me about the part," Dunaway said of her director in "Chinatown" (1974). That comment is mild compared to her reaction when Polanski, noticing a stray hair, yanked it out of her head.
The meltdown: Dunaway complained to her agent, who demanded a public apology. Producer Robert Evans smoothed things over, but not for long.
George Clooney vs. David O. Russell
The conflict: Russell is notorious for his angry outbursts. During the filming of 1999's "Three Kings," Clooney took it upon himself to defend extras and crew members enduring the director's rage.
The meltdown: While shooting a final scene, Russell "went nuts on an extra," according to Clooney, who wound up in a physical fight—some say a fistfight—with the celebrated filmmaker.
Katherine Hepburn vs. Joseph Mankiewicz
The conflict: While directing "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959), Mankiewicz was very hard on Montgomery Clift, by then an addict going through what would be called "the longest suicide in Hollywood history." Hepburn was deeply offended by this treatment of her struggling co-star.
The meltdown: As soon as the film wrapped, Hepburn reportedly spat in the director's face.
Rip Torn vs. Dennis Hopper
The conflict: Hopper, director and co-star of 1969's "Easy Rider," dined out for years on a story about how actor Rip Torn lost the plum role that made a star of Jack Nicholson. According to Hopper, Torn pulled a knife on him at a dinner party.
The meltdown: In 1994 Torn finally sued, claiming it was Hopper who wielded the knife. The court sided with Torn. (Peter Fonda's version: The pair went at it with a fork and butter knife.)
Björk vs. Lars von Trier
The conflict: In 2000, Björk starred in "Dancer in the Dark," a avant-garde musical directed by Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, who admits that he and the Icelandic pop star were mean to each other throughout their collaboration. Trier's sole regret: "That I wasn't meaner!"
The meltdown: "I met Björk one day and instead of saying hello she spat on the ground," Trier told GQ. He later smashed a monitor in front of her.
Clark Gable vs. George Cukor
The conflict: The macho actor now synonymous with Rhett Butler took the part in 1939's "Gone With the Wind" reluctantly—he didn't want to play such a well-known character—and from Day One was at odds with Cukor, a gay bon vivant he viewed as a "woman's director."
The meltdown: Gable was furious when a friend of Cukor's made a gay innuendo about him and played a key role in getting the director fired.
Marlon Brando vs. Frank Oz
The conflict: Brando and Robert De Niro co-starred for the first and last time in 2001's "The Score," directed by Oz, a veteran of "The Muppets." Oz insisted that Brando, then 77, was too flamboyant in his role as an elderly gay crook. From then on, Brando called the director "Miss Piggy."
The meltdown: It got so bad that, for two days, Brando would accept direction only from De Niro.
Marilyn Monroe vs. Otto Preminger
The conflict: Monroe showed up in Alberta, Canada, for the filming of "River of No Return" (1954) with an acting coach Natasha Lytess, who would routinely contradict Preminger's direction.
The meltdown: Preminger had Lytess banned from the set. But Monroe went over his head, calling studio boss Darryl Zanuck, who overruled Preminger. The director's anger then shifted to Monroe.
Tom Cruise vs. Brian De Palma
The conflict: Tom Cruise wasn't just the star of 1996's "Mission Impossible"—he was also its co-producer. And that put him at odds with director De Palma.
The meltdown: After shooting about 15 takes of one scene, De Palma was ready to move on to the next one, but Cruise demanded more takes. To prevent them from coming to blows, co-producer Paula Wagner stepped in as mediator.
Shelley Duvall vs. Stanley Kubrick
The conflict: Kubrick reportedly picked on Duvall relentlessly during the 200 days it took to shoot "The Shining" (1980). Duvall called the experience "almost unbearable."
The meltdown: Remember the scene in which Duvall pathetically swings a baseball bat at a demented Jack Nicholson? Kubrick is said to have filmed it in a record 127 takes. Toward the end, Duvall was, like her character, on the verge of cracking.
Dustin Hoffman vs. Sidney Pollack
The conflict: Like the struggling actor he plays in "Toosie" (1982), Hoffman is notoriously uncompromising, and he and Pollack butted heads repeatedly about the direction of the film. Pollack remembers Hoffman accusing him of trying to make "a gentle love story as opposed to an outrageous comedy."
The meltdown: In this case, there wasn't one. As Pollack sees it, the creative conflict only improved the movie.
Cher vs. Peter Bogdanovich
The conflict: "Cher ... sort of irritated me, because she had such a negative attitude," Bogdanovich recently told the Hollywood Reporter, still miffed 30 years after they collaborated on "Mask."
The meltdown: Their quarrel went public at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, where Bogdanovich said at a news conference that Cher had ignored his direction. The pop diva countered that Bogdanovich was just "looking after his own interests."
Klaus Kinski vs. Werner Herzog
The conflict: Kinski and Herzog were creative partners who clashed bitterly, especially on location in South America for 1982's "Fitzcarraldo."
The meltdown: One day, Kinski became unhinged. (Here's an idea of what that means.) Afterward, Herzog recalls, one of the native extras offered to kill the German actor on his behalf. The extra wasn't joking.
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