Film is an amazing medium because of all the emotional journeys characters go through in such a short period of time. To achieve this, directors often have to rely on interesting and sometimes extreme measures to get amazing performances from the actors and actresses.
Unfortunately, that means that there are truly awful things directors have done to actresses to perfect their film. It’s no secret that there are a ton of bad things directors make actresses do. There are all sorts of actress horror stories out there, from being verbally harassed to getting physically injured to being completely traumatized. It’s actually quite disturbing to see so many acclaimed directors torturing actresses just so they can get that perfect shot for their film.
Here’s a few of the worst things directors have done to women, all in the name of art.
Just as the deadline was setting in for the first cut of Shane Black's The Predator, 20th Century Fox discovered Black hired actor Steven Wilder Striegel, a friend, to play a small role. Striegel was in a scene opposite Olivia Munn, and his character repeatedly made passes at her. Directors cast friends all the time, so that isn't a big deal - but the fact Striegel is a registered sex offender and Black knew it is.
Striegel pleaded guilty to trying to coax a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship back in 2010. When Munn found out about Striegel's record on August 15, 2018, she alerted 20th Century Fox and they removed the scene from the film.
This isn't the first time Black got Striegel a role post-conviction, either. Black snuck him into Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. Black defended his choice, saying, "I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his convection was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly." Black went as far as to partially protect his friend, adding that Striegel was "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous."
Munn released a statement as well:
see more on Shane Black
[It was] both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production. However, I am relieved that when Fox did receive the information the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder to release of the film."
Shelley Duvall is one of Hollywood's sweetest women, so it comes as a pretty big shock to learn Stanley Kubrick emotionally tortured her to film The Shining. It's more than just how he talked to her, or gave her direction - it's things like keeping her isolated on set, and shooting exhausting take-after-takes for hours, days, or sometimes even weeks. Duvall notes in her book The Complete Kubrick just how exhausting working with Kubrick was.
"From May until October I was really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great. Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had to play."
Even her costar Jack Nicholson was aghast at how Kubrick treated Duvall. He noted that he was a great director towards everyone except her.see more on Stanley Kubrick
David O. Russell is a notorious Hollywood director known to be highly abusive towards his actors and actresses. He famously got into a fist fight with George Clooney when they worked on Three Kings, so it's not much of a surprise to hear that Russell was also relentless in his abusive behavior on American Hustle, especially towards Amy Adams. She said Russell's behavior on set was so extremely demanding that she often cried at the end of each shoot day.
In an email exposed during the 2014 Sony hack, journalist Jonathan Alter wrote to Sony CEO Michael Lynton, chronicaling Russell's open abuse of Adams: "His abuse and lunatic behavior are extreme even by Hollywood standards," Alter claimed.see more on David O. Russell
Louis B. Mayer isn't exactly a director, but he's basically Hollywood royalty all the same. In fact, he's one of the M's that make MGM Studios: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. And perhaps similar to Harvey Weinstein, Mayer was one of the most powerful Hollywood producers (and predators) at the time.
The Wizard of Oz is the film that propelled Judy Garland - who was 16 at the time - to stardom. In the 1930s, there really weren't any laws or rules in regards to child actors and actresses, and she would be given adrenaline pills to keep her alert when the cameras were rolling. When they stopped, Mayer would give her sleeping pills so she could rest. He also gave her diet pills to control her weight. In other words, as a teenager, Garland was turned into an addict in order to make blockbuster movies for MGM. Garland struggled with substance abuse and addiction for her entire adult life.see more on Louis B. Mayer