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How do some of Hollywood’s top directors handle firing an actor or a conflict on the set?
Six top directors answered those questions and more when they gathered for a nothing-off-limits conversation as part of The Hollywood Reporter‘s roundtable series.
(See a teaser video above.)
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The directors were Gravity‘s Alfonso Cuaron, 51,The Butler‘s Lee Daniels, 53, Captain Phillips‘ Paul Greengrass, 58, 12 Years a Slave‘s Steve McQueen, 44, American Hustle‘s David O. Russell, 55, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘s Ben Stiller, 47.
Asked about conflicts on set, Russell got a laugh by answering, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” while Cuaron said a director doesn’t seek out conflict, “he is just trying to figure out the way through his movie.”
“The hardest thing as a director is to not know what your inspiration is,” said Russell. “There’s a music, there’s a rhythm to it. And that’s what I’m listening to.”
STORY: 6 Top Directors on Fighting With Studios, Firing Actors and Quitting Film School
Asked if he’d ever fired an actor, Greengrass balked, saying ” ‘Fire’ is a horrible word, isn’t it?”
But he admitted he had indeed let an actor go before.
“It was really because the way I work is so particular, and there is a high degree of improvisation, but it’s a particular form of improvisation, and it’s not to everybody’s taste, and you have to accept that,” Greengrass said.
The directors also took issue with the notion that 2013 has been a great year for television, but not for film.
“Oh, come on. I disagree,” said Daniels, while McQueen added, “Every film here wouldn’t be sitting at this table it weren’t exceptional.”
Watch the full interview here.
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