5 Movies That Got Their Filmmakers Arrested

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Getty Images

While some audiences would like to have filmmakers brought up on charges for a truly bad movie, no such law currently exists. (Write your Congressman—we’ll happily sign the petition.) It takes more than creative misdemeanors to put cast or crew in the back of a police car. These five films managed to do just that.  

1. Lost River Gets Ryan Gosling in Trouble

Gosling had designs on directing his first feature at least as far back as 2011, when he was filming The Ides of March in Detroit with George Clooney. The then-30-year-old actor finished principal photography on that film and proceeded to wander around the city with a camera to get ideas for what would become his 2015 drama Lost River. At one point, Detroit police found Gosling in an abandoned building and thought he was trying to steal copper. Apparently unfamiliar with either Gosling’s work or his Internet memes, they hauled him in. Though he told the Los Angeles Times he was “not proud that I got arrested,” he said the experience gave him some ideas for the project.  

2. The Minnesota Delivery And A Too-Real Robbery

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When other locations fell through, producer Tim Christian decided to shoot the climax of his independent feature, 2013’s Minnesota Delivery, on a public block in St. Paul, Minnesota. As actors with guns stormed around, took cover behind a car, and generally did their best to look suspicious, 10 St. Paul police cruisers surrounded the scene, drew their (real) weapons, and ordered the men to the ground. Christian had failed to secure a shooting permit from the city; he and three performers were arrested and held until authorities checked out their story. “That was some bad producing on my part,” Christian told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  

3. The Wizard of Oz Revisited

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Gigapix Studios may not sound familiar, but that could change if you happen to work for the FBI: The film company enlisted over 750 investors beginning in 2011 to finance a 3-D animated version of The Wizard of Oz. Over $22 million was raised for that film and other projects—but none of the films were ever made. After receiving several complaints, Federal agents arrested several Gigapix employees in 2014 and handed down a 36-count indictment. Quoting the charges, the Los Angeles Times reported that instead of investing in the picture, Gigapix honchos “spent investor money on salaries for themselves … and to pay their personal expenses, employee salaries, and commissions.” In February 2015, two were sentenced to eight and five years in prison, respectively.

4. Gasland And The Fracking Controversy

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The practice of fracking as a means to obtain natural gas has become a controversial issue—one that certainly lends itself to a documentary-length examination. Perhaps director Josh Fox thought the gravity of such a film, a sequel to his own Gasland, would invite cooperation. In the case of an interrupted congressional hearing, it did not. In 2012, Fox was told Gasland would be discussed during an Environmental Protection Agency report meeting; when he was denied attendance after a short-notice request, he decided to go anyway. After he refused to put away his camera, Capitol Hill police arrested him, citing unlawful entry. Fox later told Huffington Post that he felt “my [press] credentials are my American citizenship.”

5. Midnight Rider

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Shooting on train tracks can be a perilous situation. In 2014, director Randall Miller set up a scene for Midnight Rider, a biopic about musician Gregg Allman, that was intended to show Allman (played by William Hurt) in a dream sequence. But as a train loomed, several crew members were unable to get out of its path in time. As it smashed into set props, seven people were injured; one, Sarah Jones, died as a result of her injuries. Miller and three others were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass; Miller pled guilty to the charges and, according to an ABC News report, was sentenced to 2 years in prison and is prohibited from directing or assistant directing a film for 10 years. It’s believed to be the first time a director has ever been held responsible for the death of a crew member.

Cook a Game of Thrones-Inspired Feast With This Video Tutorial

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, and Emilia Clarke celebrate in Game of Thrones
Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, and Emilia Clarke celebrate in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Tonight marks the series finale of Game of Thrones. Hosting a watch party? Consider skipping the chips and dip, and try whipping up a dish inspired by the show. In the video below, first spotted by Laughing Squid, Binging With Babish host Andrew Rea provides recipes for three foods featured in the fantasy series: Purple Wedding pigeon pie, Dothraki blood pie, and Sansa Stark’s lemon cake.

For the uninitiated, Binging With Babish is a YouTube tutorial channel that features Rea cooking—and in some cases, improving on—foods from popular movies and television shows. Game of Thrones's characters are likely better on the battlefield than they are in the kitchen, so Rea takes a few culinary liberties while recreating Medieval and Dothraki fare: His “pigeon pie” is made with squab, and the blood pie, in Rea’s own words, is “essentially a black pudding in pie form” that’s garnished with figs, goat cheese, and black sea salt.

Updated for 2019.

The Very Real Events That Inspired Game of Thrones's Red Wedding

Peter Graham's After the Massacre of Glencoe
Peter Graham's After the Massacre of Glencoe
Peter Graham, Google Cultural Institute, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Ask any Game of Thrones fan to cite a few of the show's most shocking moments, and the so-called "Red Wedding" from season 3's "The Rains of Castamere" episode will likely be at the top of their list. The events that unfolded during the episode shocked fans because of their brutality, but what might be even more surprising to know is that the episode was based on very real events.

Author George R.R. Martin has said that the inspiration for the matrimonial bloodbath is based on two dark events in Scottish history: the Black Dinner of 1440 and 1692's Massacre of Glencoe. “No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly in 2013. And he’s absolutely right. See for yourself.

The Massacre of Glencoe

The West Highland Way in 2005, view from the summit of the Devil's Staircase looking south over the east end of Glen Coe, towards Buachaille Etive Mòr with Creise and Meall a' Bhuiridh beyond
Colin Souza, Edited by Dave Souza, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

In 1691, all Scottish clans were called upon to renounce the deposed King of Scotland, James VII, and swear allegiance to King William of Orange (of William and Mary fame). The chief of each clan had until January 1, 1692, to provide a signed document swearing an oath to William. The Highland Clan MacDonald had two things working against them here. First of all, the Secretary of State, John Dalrymple, was a Lowlander who loathed Clan MacDonald. Secondly, Clan MacDonald had already sworn an oath to James VII and had to wait on him to send word that they were free to break that oath.

Unfortunately, it was December 28 before a messenger arrived with this all-important letter from the former king. That gave Maclain, the chief of the MacDonald clan, just three days to get the newly-signed oath to the Secretary of State.

Maclain was detained for days when he went through Inveraray, the town of the rival Clan Campbell, but still managed to deliver the oath, albeit several days late. The Secretary of State’s legal team wasn't interested in late documents. They rejected the MacDonalds's sworn allegiance to William, and set plans in place to cut the clan down, “root and branch.”

In late January or early February, 120 men under the command of Captain Robert Campbell arrived at the MacDonalds's in Glencoe, claiming to need shelter because a nearby fort was full. The MacDonalds offered their hospitality, as was custom, and the soldiers stayed there for nearly two weeks before Captain Drummond arrived with instructions to “put all to the sword under seventy.”

After playing cards with their victims and wishing them goodnight, the soldiers waited until the MacDonalds were asleep ... then murdered as many men as they could manage. In all, 38 people—some still in their beds—were killed. At least 40 women and children escaped, but fleeing into a blizzard blowing outside as their houses burned down meant that they all died of exposure.

The massacre was considered especially awful because it was “Slaughter Under Trust.” To this day, the door at Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe has a sign on the door that says "No hawkers or Campbells."

The Black Dinner

In November of 1440, the newly-appointed 6th Earl of Douglas, who was just 16, and his little brother David, were invited to join the 10-year-old King of Scotland, James II, for dinner at Edinburgh Castle. But it wasn’t the young King who had invited the Douglas brothers. The invitation had been issued by Sir William Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland, who feared that the Black Douglas (there was another clan called the Red Douglas) were growing too powerful.

As legend has it, the children were all getting along marvelously, enjoying food, entertainment and talking until the end of the dinner, when the head of a black bull was dropped on the table, symbolizing the death of the Black Douglas. The two young Douglases were dragged outside, given a mock trial, found guilty of high treason, and beheaded. It’s said that the Earl pleaded for his brother to be killed first so that the younger boy wouldn’t have to witness his older brother’s beheading.

Sir Walter Scott wrote this of the horrific event:

"Edinburgh Castle, toune and towre,
God grant thou sink for sin!
And that e'en for the black dinner
Earl Douglas gat therein."

This article has been updated for 2019.

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