CLOSE
Twitter.com/EdgarWright
Twitter.com/EdgarWright

7 Filmmakers Who Directed a Scene in Someone Else's Movie

Twitter.com/EdgarWright
Twitter.com/EdgarWright

Occasionally, directors let other filmmakers (defined by IMDB as "people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie: directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors") get in on the action during production. Here are seven examples.

1. Edgar Wright // Star Trek Into Darkness (dir. J.J. Abrams)

When Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright visited the Sony Studios set of Star Trek Into DarknessJ.J. Abrams invited him to direct one IMAX shot on the production's second unit, which was filming next door. "So I did," Wright tells mental_floss, "and was then late for my next meeting." His shot made up "about 32 frames of action in the finished movie," Wright says. "I did NOT shoot the whole scene, just one single set up of Klingons dying." Wright's shot appears in the action sequence that takes place on the planet Kronos in the Klingon Empire during Khan's capture and arrest.

2. Eli Roth // Inglourious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

The climax of Inglourious Basterds features a Nazi propaganda film called Stolz der Nation ("Nation's Pride" in English). Horror director Eli Roth, who also played Sergeant Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Basterds, directed the film-within-a-film using the pseudonym Alois von Eichberg (You can see a short clip from the DVD extra "The Making of Nation's Pride," with Roth as von Eichberg, here).

While the short film's running time is around 6 minutes, it took three days to complete. "When Quentin cast me, I told him that for the whole six-month shoot, I wasn’t going back to L.A. at any point, but there’s going to be long stretches where my character’s not being used, so if you need anything shot, pieces of scenes picked up to [make] the Cannes Film Festival, let me know," Roth told the Wall Street Journal:

He said that he’d never done that before, but would think about it. Later, he called me and said, get your a– on a plane to Berlin, you’re going to make “Nation’s Pride.” In the script, there are three lines of dialogue from ["Nation's Pride"]. Quentin said he would shoot that, but I need shots of guys shooting. We only had two days, so I asked to fly out my brother Gabriel, and I promised him that we’d get it done, and in two days, we got 140 shots of 20 guys running around in vignettes.

Tarantino was so pleased with the results of those first two days that he gave Roth a third day to shoot with Daniel Brühl, who played Nazi sniper Zoller.

3. Terry Gilliam // Monty Python and the Meaning of Life (dir. Terry Jones)

Originally intended to be an animated sequence at the end of Part V of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Terry Gilliam convinced the comedy troupe to make "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" a live-action sequence instead. Gilliam made the sequence bigger and bigger, and its running time jumped from 6 minutes to a whopping 30 minutes. The director was able to cut the sequence down to 16 minutes, and it was ultimately placed in front of The Meaning of Life as its prologue.

4. Don Bluth // Xanadu (dir. Robert Greenwald)

During post-production on Xanadu in 1980, Electric Light Orchestra—which created music for the film—wanted Universal Pictures to incorporate "Don't Walk Away" into the musical. Although the studio agreed, there was no place to put it in the final version. So Xanadu producer Joel Silver brought animator Don Bluth and his producing partner Gary Goldman onto the project to create an animated fantasy sequence featuring "Don't Walk Away," which would bridge two scenes.

Universal gave Bluth—who was in the middle of directing the animated film The Secret of NIMH—12 weeks to animate the fantasy sequence. He took a small team to his house and for three months—12 hours a day, seven days a week—they animated the sequence in Bluth’s garage while the rest of his crew produced The Secret of NIMH at the studio.

5. Aaron Sorkin // The Social Network (dir. David Fincher)

(25:52 mark)

On the last day of shooting on The Social Network, director David Fincher left the set early to give screenwriter Aaron Sorkin the opportunity to direct the last shot of the film. Although the scene Sorkin directed was a small transitional scene, which featured college students discovering Facebook for the first time, the screenwriter got to say "That's a wrap!" on The Social Network's production.

6. Quentin Tarantino // Sin City (dir. Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller)

As a favor for Tarantino, director Robert Rodriguez scored Kill Bill Volume 2 for $1. In return, Tarantino agreed to shoot one scene in Rodriguez's next film, Sin City, for the same amount. The scene Tarantino directed featured Dwight (Clive Owen) talking to a dead Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) while driving. Although Quentin Tarantino only shoots his movies using real film, he agreed to shoot Sin City using digital cameras because he wanted to get some hands-on experience using the filmmaking technology.

7. Kazuto Nakazawa // Kill Bill Volume 1 (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

In Kill Bill Volume 1, Quentin Tarantino turned to Production I.G. in Japan to bring "Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren" to life. Kazuto Nakazawa directed the seven-and-a-half minute animated sequence, which follows the early years of assassin O-Ren Ishii before she became a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and later the "Queen of the Tokyo underworld." Katsuji Morishita, Animation Producer at Production I.G, recalled that "A person in charge of Japanese casting and staff coordination for Kill Bill informed us of Quentin's strong request for IG to work on the animation sequence, and then later Quentin himself came to our studios to meet with us in person":

He already had the image and style in mind, and wanted us to make the animation based on his script. He actually acted out the performances of the characters to be animated in front of us. There were 4 sequences in all, and the production period was 1 year. Those 4 sequences would've been extremely difficult to make in live action. Even if it had been possible, it would've taken tremendous amount of budget and work.

Production I.G. is the animation studio behind seminal Japanese anime such as Ghost in the Shell, Blood: The Last Vampire, and the Neon Genesis Evangelion movies.

BONUS: Heath Ledger // The Dark Knight (dir. Christopher Nolan)

In The Dark Knight, The Joker kidnaps Batman impersonators and threatens to kill the people of Gotham if the real Batman doesn't unmask himself. He releases a video to the local news revealing his threats to Batman and Gotham. According to Christopher Nolan, Heath Ledger directed the threatening video. Cinematographer Wally Pfister set up lights for the scene and Nolan gave Ledger a camera and told him to do whatever he wanted to do for the scene. Ledger shot multiple takes in different ways to play around with the scene, but it always fell in line with The Dark Knight's overall story.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
The Jim Henson Company
arrow
entertainment
The Dark Crystal Is Coming Back to Theaters
The Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company

In 1982, Jim Henson and Frank Oz dared to venture into somewhat gloomier territory with the release of The Dark Crystal. Though the film, which centers on two Gelflings (a sort of creepy elf-like creature) attempting to save their species and restore peace to the world, wasn’t a huge hit at the box office, it has developed a large cult following in the more than 35 years since its release—even among those kids it scared the hell out of back in the day. Now, as Netflix preps its prequel series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, for release later this year, Nerdist reports that the original film will make its way back into theaters next month.

As part of Fathom Events’s ongoing effort to breathe big-screen life back into classic films with limited releases across the country, The Dark Crystal will be playing in more than 500 theaters nationwide on February 25 and February 28. In addition to the original film, the screenings will also feature a brand-new introduction courtesy of Lisa Henson, Jim’s daughter and current president/CEO of The Jim Henson Company, who will talk about the making of the film and how it fit within her father's creative legacy.

To find out whether The Dark Crystal will be coming back to a theater near you, log onto Fathom’s web page for the movie and type in your ZIP code; tickets are on sale now.

[h/t: Nerdist]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
15 Things You Didn't Know About Betty White
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Happy birthday, Betty White! In honor of the ever-sassy star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls's 96th birthday, let's celebrate with a collection of fun facts about her life and legacy. 

1. HER NAME IS BETTY, NOT ELIZABETH

On January 17th, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, the future television icon was born Betty Marion White, the only child of homemaker Christine Tess (née Cachikis) and lighting company executive Horace Logan White. In her autobiography If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't), White explained her parents named her "Betty" specifically because they didn't like many of the nicknames derived from "Elizabeth." Forget your Beths, your Lizas, your Ellies. She's Betty.

2. SHE'S A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER.

In the 2014 edition of the record-keeping tome, White was awarded the title of Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female) for her more than 70 years (and counting) in show business. The year before, Guinness gave out Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Male) to long-time British TV host Bruce Forsyth. As both began their careers in 1939, they'd be neck-and-neck for the title, were they not separated by gender.

3. HER FIRST TELEVISION APPEARANCE IS LOST TO HISTORY.

A photo of Betty White
Getty Images

Even White can't remember the name of the show she made her screen debut on in 1939. But in an interview with Guinness Book of World Records, she recounted the life-changing event, saying, "I danced on an experimental TV show, the first on the west coast, in downtown Los Angeles. I wore my high school graduation dress and our Beverly Hills High student body president, Harry Bennett, and I danced the 'Merry Widow Waltz.'" 

4. WHITE'S RISE TO STARDOM WAS DERAILED BY WORLD WAR II.

Before she took off on television, White was working in theater, on radio, and as a model. But with WWII, she shelved her ambitions and joined the American Women's Voluntary Services. Her days were devoted to delivering supplies via PX truck throughout the Hollywood Hills, but her nights were spent at rousing dances thrown to give grand send-offs to soldiers set to ship out. Of that era, she told Cleveland Magazine, "It was a strange time and out of balance with everything." 

5. HER FIRST SITCOM HIT WAS IN THE EARLY 1950S.

A photo of actress Betty White
Getty Images

Co-hosting the Al Jarvis show Hollywood on Television led to White producing her own vehicle, Life With Elizabeth. As a rare female producer, she developed the show alongside emerging writer-producer George Tibbles, who'd go on to work on such beloved shows as Dennis The Menace, Leave It To Beaver, and The Munsters. Though the show is not remembered much today, in 1951 it did earn White her first Emmy nomination of 21 (so far). Of these, she's won five times.

6. WHITE LOVES A PARADE.

From 1962 to 1971, White hosted NBC's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade alongside Bonanza's Lorne Greene. But that's not all. For 20 years (1956-1976), she was also a color commentator for NBC’s annual Tournament of Roses Parade. However, as her fame grew on CBS's The Mary Tyler Moore Show, NBC decided they should pull White (and all the rival promotion that came with her) from their parade. It was a decision that was heartbreaking for White, who told People, "On New Year's Day I just sat home feeling wretched, watching someone else do my parade."

7. SHE HAS BEEN MARRIED THREE TIMES.


Getty Images

White and her first husband, Dick Barker, were married and divorced in the same year, 1945. After four months on Barker's rural Ohio chicken farm, White fled back to Los Angeles and her career as an entertainer. Soon after, she met agent Lane Allen, who became her husband in 1947, and her ex-husband in 1949 after he pushed her to quit show biz. She wouldn’t marry again until 1963, after she fell for widower/father of three/game show host Allen Ludden.

8. HER MEET-CUTE WITH HUSBAND #3 HAPPENED ON PASSWORD.

Bubbly Betty was a regular on the game show circuit, but she met her match in 1961 when she was a celebrity guest on Password, hosted by Allen Ludden. Though White initially rebuffed Ludden's engagement ring (he wore it around his neck until she changed her mind), the pair stayed together until his death in 1981. Today, their stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame sit side-by-side.

9. WHITE ORIGINALLY AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF BLANCHE ON THE GOLDEN GIRLS.

A photo of actress Betty White
Getty Images

Producers of the series thought of White for the role of the ensemble's promiscuous party girl because she'd long played the lusty Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Meanwhile, they eyed Rue McClanahan for the part of naive country bumpkin Rose Nylund because of her work as the sweet but dopey Vivian Harmon on Maude. Director Jay Sandrich was worried about typecasting, so he asked the two to switch roles in the audition. And just like that, The Golden Girls history was made.

10. IF SHE HADN'T BEEN AN ACTOR, SHE'D HAVE BEEN A ZOOKEEPER.

"Hands down," she confessed in a 2014 interview. This should come as little surprise to those aware of White's reputation as an avid animal lover and activist. Not only does she try to visit the local zoo of wherever she may travel, but also she's a supporter of the Farm Animal Reform Movement and Friends of Animals group, as well as a Los Angeles Zoo board member, who has donated "tens of thousands of dollars" over the past 40 years. In 2010, White founded a T-shirt line whose profits go to the Morris Animal Foundation.

11. SHE DIDN'T DO AS GOOD AS IT GETS BECAUSE OF AN ANIMAL CRUELTY SCENE.

A photo of actress Betty White
Getty Images

White was offered the part of Beverly Connelly, onscreen mother to Helen Hunt, in the Oscar-winning movie As Good as It Gets. But the devoted animal lover was horrified by the scene where Jack Nicholson's curmudgeonly anti-hero pitches a small dog down the trash chute of his apartment building. On The Joy Behar Show White explained, "All I could think of was all the people out there watching that movie … and if there's a dog in the building that's barking or they don't like—boom! They do it." She complained to director James L. Brooks in hopes of having the scene cut. Instead, he kept it and cast Shirley Knight in the role.

12. A FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN MADE WHITE THE OLDEST SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE HOST EVER.

In 2010, a Facebook group called Betty White To Host SNL … Please? gathered so many fans (nearly a million) and so much media attention that SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels was happy to make it happen. At 88 years old, White set a new record. Her episode, for which many of the show's female alums returned, also won rave reviews, and gave the show's highest ratings in 18 months. White won her fifth Emmy for this performance.

13. SHE IS THE OLDEST PERSON TO EARN AN EMMY NOMINATION.


Getty Images

In 2014, White earned her 21st Emmy nod—and her third in a row for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program—for the senior citizen-centric prank show Betty White's Off Their Rockers. She was 92. She also holds the record for the longest span between Emmy nominations, between her first (1951) and last (so far).  

14. SHE LOVES JUNK FOOD.

The key to aging gracefully has nothing to do with health food as far as White is concerned. In 2011, her Hot in Cleveland co-star Jane Leeves dished on White's snacking habits, "She eats Red Vines, hot dogs, French fries, and Diet Coke. If that's key, maybe she's preserved because of all the preservatives." Fellow co-star Wendie Malick concurred, "She eats red licorice, like, ridiculously a lot. She seems to exist on hot dogs and French fries." 

15. SHE WANTS ROBERT REDFORD.

A photo of actor Robert Redford
Getty Images

White once gave this cheeky confession: “My answer to anything under the sun, like ‘What have you not done in the business that you’ve always wanted to do?’ is ‘Robert Redford.'” Though she has more than 110 film and television credits on her filmography, White has never worked with the Out of Africa star, who is 14 years her junior.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios