From Westerns, to chase films, to Oscar winners, Tommy Lee
While one director gets all the credit, another is silently calling all the shots and working with the actors. Here are 9 movies that were secretly ghost-directed by a famous filmmaker.
- Poltergeist (Credited Director: Tobe Hooper — Ghost Director: Steven Spielberg). There are many reports that Steven Spielberg, who produced the film too, really directed Poltergeist, while its credited director Tobe Hooper was merely a pawn or puppet. It was rumored that Hooper would set up shots, but Spielberg adjusted. It’s believed Spielberg was contractually blocked from directing another movie while making E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, so he brought in Hooper to direct the film for him.
- Tombstone (Credited Director: George P. Cosmatos — Ghost Director: Kurt Russell). The popular belief is that Kurt Russell secretly directed Tombstone, while credited director George P. Costmatos didn’t have complete control on set. When journalist Henry Cabot Beck for True West magazine discovered Russell on set calling the shots. You can read the whole fascinating article here.
- Rambo: First Blood – Part II (Credited Director: George P. Cosmatos — Ghost Director: Sylvester Stallone). Much like Tombstone, George P. Cosmatos was hired to direct Rambo: First Blood – Part II as a puppet-director for Sylvester Stallone. It seems that Stallone recommend Cosmatos to Kurt Russell too. If you remember, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell worked together on Tango & Cash.
- A Prairie Home Companion (Credited Director: Robert Altman — Ghost Director: Paul Thomas Anderson). Robert Altman was 80 years old when he directed A Prairie Home Companion, so the movie studio wanted a younger director to step in if Altman couldn’t handle the workload. They hired Paul Thomas Anderson to consult on the film, but it is believed that he co-directed the film, while Robert Altman took sole credit. Paul Thomas Anderson dedicated There Will Be Blood to the memory of Robert Altman, who died in 2006.
- A Night at the Roxbury (Credited Director: John Fortenberry — Ghost Director: Amy Heckerling). It is believed that Amy Heckerling directed a few scenes in the Saturday Night Live movie, but was uncredited for her work. She was also one of the film’s producers.
- Waterworld (Credited Director: Kevin Reynolds — Ghost Director: Kevin Costner). The film’s original director Kevin Reynolds was fired from Waterworld when its schedule went overtime and budget, so it is believed that Kevin Costner finished the movie.
- Dances with Wolves (Credited Director: Kevin Costner — Ghost Director: Kevin Reynolds). It was rumored that Kevin Reynolds directed a few scenes in Dances with Wolves in 1990. Although he was uncredited for the work, Kevin Costner and Reynolds deny the rumors.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Credited Director: Gavin Hood — Ghost Director: Richard Donner). Fox and X-Men Origins: Wolverine director Gavin Hood disputed the general direction of the film, so the studio had Richard Donner, producer Lauren Shuler Donner’s husband, lined up to fill in. So when the superhero movie did re-shoots, it’s believed Donner came in and directed instead of Hood.
- Return of the Jedi (Credited Director: Richard Marquand — Ghost Director: George Lucas). It was believed Richard Marquand was only hired to direct Return of the Jedi so George Lucas could push him around. Furthermore, it is believed that George Lucas really directed Return of the Jedi, as the film’s producer and writer.