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Directors are sometimes at the top of the pyramid on a film’s production, but sometimes they get fired and are replaced so the movie can be released on time and under budget. While the film’s below vary in quality, some of them benefited from a new director, while others fell flat. Here are 11 directors who were replaced on movies.
- Steven Spielberg and Interstellar. When development on Interstellar began in 2006, Steven Spielberg was attached to the science fiction epic. He worked on the film’s screenplay with Jonathan Nolan for four years. However, when the production company Dreamworks moved from Paramount to Walt Disney, so did Steven Spielberg. Interstellar needed a new director to stay with Paramount, so Christopher Nolan stepped into make the film.
- Lynne Ramsay and Jane Got Her Gun. On the first day of production on Jane Got A Gun, director Lynne Ramsay didn’t show up for shooting. While it’s unclear what happened before the film started production, what is clear is that Ramsay and the film’s producers had a disagreement about its direction. She left the project and Gavin O’Connor was hired to take her place.
- Brenda Chapman and Brave. Despite winning a Best Animated Academy Award, Brave experienced a rift between its original director Brenda Chapman and producers John Lasseter. Mark Andrews was brought into finish the film, while she still received credit for working on it. Pixar wanted Brave to be brighter and more family-friendly, while Brenda Chapman wanted a darker tone.
- Richard Stanley and The Island of Dr. Moreau. After clashing with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer on location, Richard Stanley was fired from The Island of Dr. Moreau. John Frankenheimer was brought into salvage the film production, but he also clashed with Brando and Kilmer. Frankenheimer vowed never to work with Kilmer ever again, while he also admitted that he only took the job to work with Marlon Brando.
- Alex Cox and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Apparently, Alex Cox alienated Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson about Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, so producers fired him from the movie. Terry Gilliam was hired to finish, while he also re-worked the film’s screenplay and direction.
- Richard Donner and Superman II. Superman and Superman II were made back-to-back, but first film’s director Richard Donner left the project after more than 75% of Superman II was completed. It’s unclear why Donner was fired, but it’s believed the decision was purely budgetary. Richard Lester was brought in to complete the film, but had to re-shoot a majority of what was already finished.
- George Cukor and Gone with the Wind. After three weeks into shooting George Cukor was fired from Gone with the Wind when he fell behind production and clashed with producer David O. Selznick. Victor Fleming was brought into finish the movie, despite already working on The Wizard of Oz.
- Richard Thorpe and The Wizard of Oz. After 10 days of shooting, production on The Wizard of Oz was shut down when Buddy Epson was replaced with Jack Haley, after Epson was hospitalized because of his Tin-Man make-up. Again, Victor Fleming was working on the film when he was called into replace George Cukor on Gone with the Wind, who, in turn, directed The Wizard of Oz. It’s the ol’ MGM switcheroo.
- Anthony Mann and Spartacus. While Anthony Mann was the director for Spartacus, Kirk Douglas was the epic’s producer. Douglas wasn’t happy with Mann’s work, so he fired him and hired Stanley Kubrick to replace him. Kirk Douglas worked with Kubrick on Paths of Glory a few years eariler.
- Steven Soderbergh and Moneyball. Steven Soderbergh started working on Moneyball, while the film’s producer Brad Pitt wasn’t happy with his vision of Moneyball. There were problems with the screenplay, so Steve Zaillian was hired to re-work Aaron Sorkin’s original. Director Bennett Miller was hired to replace Soderbergh only a few days before Moneyball was scheduled to start shooting.
- Edgar Wright and Ant-Man. After years of development, Edgar Wright left Ant-Man when his vision for the film didn’t line up with the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wright didn’t want to compromise his vision, so he left the movie, while Peyton Reed replaced him.