Far Lengths Directors Took to Get Actors to Perform a Certain Way

Sometimes the acting isn’t quite good enough in the director’s eyes, sometimes there’s not enough motivation, and then sometimes there’s something blocking the actor from being truly great in a role. Whatever the case, there are those moments when it would appear that an actor just needs a bit of motivation that they haven’t been getting from the start, and a director might take matters into their own hands and find a way to get them motivated in a manner that makes sense to them. Of course, the idea that these methods might not be entirely healthy or even sane does come up every now and then, and the stories we hear later on are absolutely nuts and can make a person wonder just how the director and their actors didn’t end up brawling on the set at one point. In some cases the actors continued to work with the same director, making it obvious that some people are willing to do just about anything to further their career.

Here are a few of the craziest things that directors have done in order to get their actors motivated.

5. Sylvester Stallone told Dolph Lundgren to really hit him.

People have probably heard this story a few times now, but apparently Sylvester Stallone wanted to go for a bit of realism when Rocky was fighting the big Russian, Drago. Unfortunately for Sly, when he told Lundgren to really hit him, he must have forgotten that Dolph was a trained fighter and knew how to hit someone to really hurt. Once the hit landed and things were left to settle, Stallone had to be rushed to the nearest hospital and filming had to be put on hold for a couple of days so that he could heal. It’s great to want realism, but there are times when you might want to keep things light.

4. Rob Reiner yelled at Wil Wheaton and Jerry O’Connell to get them in the right frame of mind.

Remember when Gordy and Vern were running from the train and Vern was crying his eyes out while Gordy was freaking out? Those emotions weren’t fake. Rob Reiner had been yelling at both boys nonstop until they got the scene right since he didn’t think they were in the right frame of mind. Granted, it was a serious scene with a train bearing down on them and the idea of imminent death being the motivation, but yelling at a couple of kids on the set, even if it was for the purpose of motivating them to action, was kind of iffy back then and would be frowned upon today.

3. Alfred Hitchcock locked Tippi Hedren in a barn with a large number of agitated birds.

The more a person learns about Alfred Hitchcock the less it’s likely that they’ll respect him as a person since it does sound like he was out to torment Tippi Hedren. There was a moment during the movie when it was stated that he took out the mechanical birds and replaced them with live ones to get back at her for something. But locking her in a barn filled with agitated avians sounds like the work of a director that’s actively trying to torment a person and not for the purest reasons. This is something that would likely get a director in a lot of trouble today, largely because it would be considered dangerous and even cruel.

2. Quentin Tarantino actually strangled Diane Kruger on set.

When Hans Landa discovers that Kruger’s character is a spy he doesn’t waste too much time before strangling her, only the hands in the scene belong to Tarantino, not Christoph Waltz. He actually strangled Kruger to a certain point before letting go, and the look on her face is absolutely genuine, which was what he was going for. Despite all this Kruger was okay with it since she okayed the scene and was bound and determined to come back again. This is one of those times when you can’t help but wonder just how far someone would really go for their career.

1. Stanely Kubrick tortured Shelly Duvall to the point of a mental breakdown.

Stanley Kubrick has already gone down in history, but this is one of those moments when he’ll be looked at as more of a villain than anything since he set a serious double standard when treating Jack and Danny a certain way on the set since he tormented Shelly without mercy to get her in the right frame of mind. Needless to say, Shelly was a wreck at one point and needed a lot of time to gather herself by the end of the movie. It’s a wonder that anyone puts up with this kind of abuse, but then you start to realize that if you can’t hack it then the director will find someone that can.

Show business definitely isn’t for everyone, since some of us might have decked the director before walking off.