8 directors who disowned their own films

  • 8 directors who disowned their own films

There's been lots of talk this week of Fantastic Four director Josh Trank after he Tweeted that the much-maligned finished version didn't turn out as he wanted it to, prompting many to believe that it was heavy-handed studio execs that messed with the plan.

But he follows a line of directors who, for various reasons, have hated films they've created so much that they've tried to erase it from their past, including...

8. Dennis Hopper - Catchfire

The acclaimed actor and director of Easy Rider took on the 1990 action thriller starring Jody Foster and him, but before the film had even been released, Dennis Hopper decided that he hated it and didn't want to be a part of it.

He replaced his name as director with 'Alan Smithee', the industry pseudonym used by directors who don't want their name attached to projects they've worked on.

Hopper's unreleased cut ran at three hours long, while the theatrical version is a relatively-short 98 minutes.

Hopper eventually released a TV cut, which was renamed Backtrack, with an extra 18 minutes, but that still didn't make the terrible film any better.

7. Walter Hill - Supernova

Despite being a relative directorial unknown, Hill has brought us such films as The Warriors, 48Hrs and Sly Stallone's disappointing 2012 action film Bullet to the Head.

Bad acting and even worse CGI made this film a stinker from the get-go, but MGM screened an unfinished version to test audiences, Hill was furious and quit.

MGM then brought on director Jack Sholder to re-edit and reshoot scenes and Sholder deleted a lot of Hill's original scenes.

After that debacle, MGM then brought in Francis Ford Coppola to make another re-edit of the film and the film was released two years later than planned.

Walter Hill had his name replaced with Thomas Lee in the credits, as Alan Smithee had become too well-known and damaging for a film's reputation.

6. Kiefer Sutherland - Woman Wanted

Who knew that the romantic drama from 2000 was directed by Jack Bauer himself? Well, if no-one, if his plan worked.

The 24 star starred in the film as well as taking his place behind the camera, and obviously his direction wasn't great, as the acting, pacing and pretty much everything else falls way short of the mark.

Although it's fair to say that external forces (in the form of studio execs) had their contributions to add, as Keifer disowned the project and the director is credited as Alan Smithee, and was the last film to do so as use of the term was discontinued that year.

5. Matthieu Kassovitz - Babylon A.D.

Director of 1995's La Haine, one of the greatest foreign films of all time, Matthieu Kassovitz took on sci-fi adaption Babylon A.D. with a cast including Vin Diesel, Mark Strong and cinema's finest Frenchman, Gérard Depardieu.

Kassovitz bemoaned 20th Century Fox's consisted meddling, claiming that he never had a chance to shoot a scene as it was in the script.

While Babylon A.D. bombed at the box office, barely scraping back its $70m budget, Kassovitz was trying his hardest to distance himself from the film, comparing parts of the movie to "a bad episode of 24."

4. Steven Soderbergh - The Underneath

Early in the career of the director of such films as Erin Brockovich and Ocean's 11, Soderbergh took on 1995's thriller The Underneath.

The film has been all-but forgotten these days, and that's largely down to Soderbergh's efforts to downplay it.

Soderbergh called it "kind of a mess" and the only thing he got from it was using colour, "everything else about the movie I can't defend. It was a failed experiment."

3. Stanley Kubrick - Fear and Desire

The legendary filmmaker hated his first film which he funded with help from his family and friends.

Some rumours circulated that in the years following Fear and Desire's release, Kubrick had spent years trying to acquire all known prints of the film to stop it from ever being seen.

Kubrick later declared Fear and Desire as “amateurish”, saying he considered it “like a child’s drawing on a fridge. A bumbling, amateur film exercise… a completely inept oddity, boring and pretentious.”

2. Tony Kaye - American History X

The tale of a reformed neo-Nazi secured Edward Norton an Oscar nomination, but director Tony Kaye wasn't revelling in the celebrations.

First-timer Kaye was brought in and then heavily leant on by producers, which Kaye objected their cuts and suggestions to no avail.

The widely-praised released cut was the product of Ed Norton's re-edits, which made Kaye so unhappy that he unsuccessfully petitioned to have his name removed and replaced with Alan Smithee.

1. David Fincher - Alien 3

David Fincher, who brought us the likes of Gone Girl, Seven and The Social Network, started out in film in the disaster that turned out to be the third Alien film.

Before Fincher had even signed on, the executives had their say on proceedings and the script had gone through multiple rewrites.

The film ended up as a confused, messy imitation of the previous two legendary movies.

These days, David Fincher tries to distance himself from the film, explaining: “There’s nothing worse than hearing somebody say ‘Oh, you made that movie? I thought that movie sucked’ and you have to agree with them”.

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