Losing the Director: When Has It Happened Before?

Losing the Director: When Has It Happened Before?

When a director is fired from working on a movie, what is the end result?
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It was widely reported that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired by Lucasfilm over creative differences on the upcoming untitled Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, and were replaced by Lucasfilm alumni Ron Howard. Earlier in the year, Zack Snyder stepped down from directing Justice League and Joss Whedon came in to take over – though in Snyder's case, he wasn't fired, but had to leave the project because of personal reasons. However, Whedon is directing the already planned reshoots and additional scenes, whereas Lord and Miller still had at least three weeks of filming left, plus the reshoots. Now, we are not entirely sure what Ron Howard will be doing, be it going back to the start and filming everything, redoing some scenes, or even just picking up where they left off. This is not unprecedented, as there have been several occasions where a director is fired and replaced with someone who will do what the studio wants. From famous movies to box office bombs, this has happened many times before and will happen again – and the best examples come from two very different superhero movies, made in two different eras.

Most notably, Superman II was being filmed within the same timeframe as Superman in 1977. The intention was to release the two movies a year apart, so that there would be as little of a gap between them as possible. However, Richard Donner, who was set to direct the two, was constantly under the review of the producers, and when Donner was going too far over budget, a relatively unknown Richard Lester was brought in to help guide production. As time was starting to run out, as the effects needed to be completed, Donner was instructed to focus more on the first film and pick up on the second one after the first one came out. He did so, but not without some footage already being shot for the sequel – including all the scenes involving Marlon Brando. When Superman came out in December 1978, it was a massive success, revitalizing the character and proving another Superman film would be profitable. It is still unknown why exactly Donner was fired, with different people giving different stories, but when production resumed on Superman II, Richard Lester was completely in charge, scrapping much of the 75% of the Donner footage. This caused a massive fallout with several actors, such as Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman – Hackman refused to return for reshoots, partially due to another commitment and the whole “we fired the director because we could” reason, and was replaced with a body double. Brando, however, sued the producers over the change and received a massive cut of the profits from Superman. For petty revenge, Brando's character was completely cut and never even mentioned again in the following three films – his scenes were later restored for the 2006 Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which took the completed Donner footage and selected other scenes from the 1980 Lester cut, forming what many have said to be a vastly superior film. It should also be mentioned that John Williams could not return to compose the music, as he was committed to another 1980 project, The Empire Strikes Back, and that Richard Donner's wife, Lauren Shuler Donner, went on to produce the Marvel Comics X-Men series of films.

More recently, there was the controversial production on the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four. After the highly praised found footage film Chronicle, the film's director, Josh Trank, was being courted for several projects in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Marvel had cemented themselves as one of the most successful film companies in the world, having completed “Phase One” of the MCU. 20th Century Fox, who owned and produced the X-Men franchise, was running out of time on the contract involving the rights to Marvel's “First Family,” the Fantastic Four – and doing a sequel was practically out, as Chris Evans was now portraying Captain America in the MCU. To keep rights, they put a full reboot of their 2005-2007 films into production, hiring Josh Trank to direct, and write the script along with Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater. The script was rumored to have the planet eater Galactus as the main villain (not unlike 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer), but the studio wanted something smaller – so rewrites were done, following the studio's demands. Once production began, however, Trank saw that he was not hired to actually direct, but do what the studio said to do and just call “action” and “cut.” This led to him constantly fighting with lead actor Miles Teller, reportedy destroying a hotel room, and showing up to the set drunk. During filming, the script's ending was rewritten, and Fox executives felt the film was too much like Chronicle (which was why they hired him in the first place), so they ordered extensive reshoots without Trank, bringing in Simon Kinberg. Kinberg was not credited, and his role has been downplayed to the point of it even being debatable whether or not he directed it, or it being somebody else (Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn are the other rumored names).The original Josh Trank cut was also heavily edited, removing entire storylines and dramatic moments, and bringing the runtime to just over an hour and a half. As reviews came in for the film in early August 2015, it was hovering around an 8% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, some saying it was even worse than Catwoman or Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Trank said on Twitter that he did once have a “fantastic” version of the film, and made it very clear that he did not like the final product. Actor Toby Kebbell, who portrayed Doctor Doom in the movie, backed up Trank's statement. Recently, more rumors are coming out about yet another Fantastic Four reboot, though there is a relatively large fan movement to get the characters returned to Marvel for use in film, or a deal not unlike Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Like with any job, directors can be fired for whatever reason – though more often than not, it's because they aren't working well with the executives. Sometimes that can work out – Superman II was not a bad movie by any means, but then again, there's the completely inconsistent Fantastic Four. We really won't know what is going to be the end result of the untitled Han Solo movie, but it's not like they got just anyone to come in – Ron Howard is a talented filmmaker and has said he wants to work with what Lord and Miller had, then do what he feels is best after. Which really, is the best way to do it. Instead of scrapping the previous director's work, see what they did that was great, and fix what wasn't. That way they aren't just pretending that footage was never made, but being able to take the two and make a good product. Until 2018, we won't know, but we can at least hope.




Cover Image Credit: Lucasfilm

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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