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Stranger than fiction: Our fave filmmakers who did very bad things

Let’s take a look at ten directors who may have made some great movies, but who also pulled some real bad stuff in their time.

Stranger than fiction: Our fave filmmakers who did very bad things

Directors: they have to be authoritarians to some degree to get the job done. But there’s being an authoritarian and then there’s being a real asshole. Let’s take a look at ten directors who may have made some great movies, but who also pulled some real bad shit in their time (that they probably wish we’d all just forget about).

Roman Polanski

Whenever anyone thinks of a director whose done something terrible, Roman Polanski and Woody Allen are always the first two that come to mind. In 1977, Polanski was arrested and charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl before fleeing the country never to return. (Not yet anyway, and we don’t think anyone is holding their breath.)

Having done something as unbelievably terrible as that, it seems almost redundant to even mention his work, but Chinatown is an astounding piece of cinema. If you can seperate the man from the director, you will be blown away by it.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

Yep, second on that list (or often first) is Woody Allen (Manhattan). In 1997, Allen married his ex-wife’s adopted daughter Soon Yi (who was also much, much younger than him). And while you’d think that kind of thing would be enough to bury any director’s career, Allen has continued to work at his usual pace of a new movie every year since.

Though with the recent events surrounding the #MeToo movement and further allegations from his adopted daughter Dylan, maybe Allen might have to break that one-a-year film thing sometime soon.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Fox and His Friends) was a complicated man. He was a genius and a drunk. A poet and a brute. An artist and, well, a violent thug who beat up his girlfriend. Yep, Fassbinder was all these things and probably more.

Similar to the others on this list, it is often hard to detach the man from the director and his films, but as Fassbinder died aged only 37 from a cocaine and barbiturates overdose (oh yeah, he was into drugs to), there’s probably not much point hating him for what he did in life because he never really got a chance to redeem himself.

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Hitch was one of the greatest filmmakers there has ever been. But in recent years there have been allegations made about him regarding his behaviour towards his leading ladies, especially by Tippi Hedren (The Birds).

Hitchcock often cast blondes before allegedly taking far too close an interest in them. Hitchcock’s films often looked at the darkest parts of the human soul, so it really wouldn’t be a great surprise if those sinister traits lurked within him.

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Perhaps the greatest filmmaker there ever was, Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator) wrote, directed, starred in, produced, edited, and did the music for his films. He was the most famous man in the world and loved all over for his hilarious character, The Tramp.

Chaplin also had a thing for younger girls. He married his second wife – Lita Grey – when she was 16 and he was 35. The marriage only lasted three years, which was probably for the best really.

Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick

Well, he faked the moon landings for one. Can’t get much worse than that really can you? Of course, Stanley Kubrick didn’t fake the moon landings, but what he did do was often treat actors like crap (and they get that at their normal day jobs so they don’t want it when they’re acting too).

After making The Shining, Kubrick was accused of treating lead actress Shelley Duvall terribly to the point where she ended up handing him clumps of her hair that had fallen out during the year-long making of the film. He may have been a genius, but he was also clearly kind of a douche.

Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli

After casting Bruce Robinson (who would one day go on to direct the classic Withnail and I) in his film of Romeo and Juliet, Robinson says that Franco Zeffirelli made certain advances on him which, when Robinson declined them, left Franco a little annoyed. Zeffirelli then hired a middleweight boxer to come in and do a scene where Robinson was meant to be punched by someone in the film. It’s safe to say Franco was a bit of a prick.

D.W. Griffiths

D.W. Griffiths

In some ways, Griffiths is credited as being one of the leading lights in the history of cinema for his film The Birth of a Nation. But when people find out what actually happens in the film, they decide not to watch it. It glorifies the KKK and uses white actors in blackface to play bloody thirsty rapist black men. So he probably wasn’t someone you’d invite round for relaxed drinks and maybe a barbecue on a warm summer’s evening.

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson (Braveheart) makes pretty watchable films. What’s less watchable though is the footage of him being arrested for drink driving and then making some very anti-semitic remarks. It wasn’t the first time Gibson has been in trouble for this kind of thing either and even though he seems to be back in Hollywood right now, he’s on his final warning.

Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.

We all know what Louis C.K. has done. Less of us have probably seen his film I Love You, Daddy though, after the movie’s producers made the decision to shelve the project following the allegations and his admittance of guilt. Pretty much all the reviews of the film have said that it’s terrible, so Louis can just put that on his list of terrible things he’s done.

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Adam writes comedy for The Daily Mash and Succubus Magazine. He also wrote jokes for both series of the BBC 2 show, The Mash Report. He's written and produced 2 plays and won a couple of awards for his short films. Top 3 films, 'Mirror', 'Eight and a Half' and 'A Short Film About Killing.' He spends most of his time watching his neighbours cats in the back garden just going about their weird, daily cat lives.

adam@filmdaily.co

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