While Marvel may be currently spearheading the superhero movement, there’s no denying that it is DC Comics who laid the groundwork. From their first string of caped crusaders in the 1970s and 80s to the genre defining heights of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, DC’s cinematic history is vast and rich. And, with any studio that’s seen success for a lengthy period, there has been plenty of behind-the-scenes drama along the way.
Actors have been enraged, comic book authors have been offended, and, perhaps most notoriously, directors have been fired well into the pre-production of several DC properties. Sometimes all at once, depending on the film. As is to be expected, many of these feuds have been the result of DC’s Extended Universe, which is currently undergoing some major infrastructural changes, but there are others, tinted by the warm glow of nostalgia and campy reverence, that just might catch you off guard.
Here are the 15 DC Behind-The-Scenes Feuds You Had No Idea About.
15. Ryan Reynolds and Martin Campbell Clashed on the Set of Green Lantern
We don’t have to mince words here, 2011’s Green Lantern is a terrible movie. Even with the superhero grading curve, it’s an unholy mess, with blotchy CGI, generic villains, and a cast that’s performing way beneath its potential. That last quibble apparently bothered director Martin Campbell as well, who envisioned a completely different set of actors that the ones he was given.
Campbell wanted Bradley Cooper for the titular role and when he was forced to accept Ryan Reynolds instead, he reportedly took his frustrations out on the rising star.
This led to an uncomfortable shooting experience for Reynolds, who claims that he was asked to do an excessive amount of takes for each scene and that his performance was constantly being criticized by Campbell. The film’s subsequent failure actually proved to be something of a relief for Reynolds, as he told Variety that he “dreaded” the idea of having to do a sequel under similar circumstances. As we all know, however, 2016’s Deadpool gave him sweet, sweet revenge in the guise of some blatantly Lantern-themed gags.
14. Jared Leto Was Furious Over the Cut Scenes in Suicide Squad
People were rightfully disappointed over the lack of The Joker in Suicide Squad, but no one was more disappointed over the matter than the man who played him, Jared Leto. The Academy Award winner claims to have shot enough scenes as the Clown Prince to fill up his own movie.
However, when he saw the final cut of Suicide Squad, he was shocked to find that he had been almost entirely edited out.
When Variety asked what was cut specifically, Leto had this to say on the matter: “Was there anything that didn’t get cut? I’m asking you, were there any that didn’t get cut? There were so many scenes that got cut from the movie, I couldn’t even start. If I die anytime soon, it’s probably likely that it will surface somewhere.”
Leto’s unhappiness has continued to be a thorn in the side of Squad director David Ayer, who told Vanity Fair that he wish he had a time machine to go back, “make The Joker the main villain, and engineer a more grounded story”, and DC as a whole, given that the future of their most beloved villain is still up in the air. To make matters worse, the announcement that Warner Bros. is looking to release a standalone Joker movie without Leto has reportedly turned him off further from reprising the role in the DCEU.
13. Gal Gadot Prompted Brett Ratner’s Dismissal from Wonder Woman 2
Brett Ratner was one of the many Hollywood players whose lurid past came back to haunt them in 2017. Several women came forth to accuse the producer/director of sexual harassment, and, taking inspiration from her upright character, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot decided to take a stance.
According to Vanity Fair, Gadot threatened to not return for Wonder Woman 2 if Ratner stayed on as one of the film’s producers, and DC ended up siding with their leading lady.
Ratner was promptly dismissed from the film. “The truth is, there’s so many people involved in making this movie—it’s not just me—and they all echoed the same sentiments,” Gadot told The Today Show. “You know what I mean? So everyone knew what was the right thing to do, but there was nothing for me to actually come and say because it was already done before this article came out.” Gadot elaborated on her views in an Instagram post, where she wrote “Bullying and sexual harassment is unacceptable! I stand by all the courageous women confronting their fears and speaking out. Together we stand. We are all united in this time of change.”
12. Tommy Lee Jones Hated Jim Carrey During Batman Forever
While Val Kilmer’s open-mouthed performance as Bruce Wayne has aged poorly, most fans will agree that Batman Forever is still worth seeing for the gonzo performances of Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as The Riddler.
Both actors, at the height of their commercial powers in 1995, looked as they had a blast chewing the scenery together.
Appearances can be deceiving, however, as Carrey later revealed in a 2017 interview with Norm Macdonald. As Carrey tells it, he bumped into Jones at a restaurant shortly after production on Forever had begun and, upon greeting him, was met with a venomous retort: “He went to hug me and said ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ I said ‘Gee man, what’s the problem?’ I pulled up a chair, which probably wasn’t smart. And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.’” The two still have several key scenes to film together afterwards and reportedly did not interact between takes.
11. Zack Snyder Called Out Marvel for Making ‘Flavor of the Week’ Movies
While most of the feuds on this list happen internally within DC, Zack Snyder decided to shake things up during the filming of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and throw shade at his competition, Marvel Studios. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Snyder praised his own film by saying: “Batman and Superman are transcendent of superhero movies in a way, because they’re Batman and Superman. They’re not just, like, flavor of the week Ant-Man— not to be mean, but whatever it is. What is the next blank man?”
The comments not only emphasized the fan rivalry between DC and Marvel, but drew the ire of MCU actor Sebastian Stan, who responded to Snyder by saying: “‘Oh thanks, Zack. That’s great. Way to do something original. But I would say we’re still making something very original in our own way. I mean, the Russo’s are coming in and taking something people are used to and they’re shaping it up and changing it in a very different way. They’re not trying to mimic a better Christopher Nolan movie or something like that.”
While it gave both studios some added exposure, the feud turned out to be a bad omen of sorts for Snyder, as Batman v Superman received negative reviews and put the DCEU on a correction course that has seen them try to borrow, albeit unsuccessfully, from Marvel Studios.
10. Tim Burton Clashed With the Producers of Batman
Today, Tim Burton is widely recognized as a brand unto himself. He’s proven that he can make artistic, heavily-stylized blockbusters time and time again, but, in 1989, he was still relatively unproven and Batman producers Peter Gruber and Jon Peters were skeptical of his vision.
So much so, in fact, that Peters was reportedly on set every day, making decisions and offering creative suggestions to Burton.
That includes the fight between Batman and The Joker’s sword-wielding henchman, and the idea that the finale be set in a cathedral. Despite seeming Burton-esque in concept, the director was actually opposed to the latter idea and it wasn’t until Peters had an entire cathedral set built behind his back that Burton (bat)caved and agreed to make the necessary changes. While the encounter led to friction on both sides, the film wound up being a blockbuster for the ages and Burton was given complete creative control over the sequel, Batman Returns, as a result.
9. Val Kilmer Was Difficult on the Set of Batman Forever
While Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey were duking it out on the set of Batman Forever, there was another feud going on between Val Kilmer and director Joel Schumacher.
The two were so at odds that they would go weeks without even saying a word to each other, and rumors have even surfaced that they got into a fist fight while on the set.
Schumacher made his feeling towards Kilmer clear when he was interviewed by Premiere magazine, saying: “Val is the most psychologically troubled human being I’ve ever worked with. The tools I used working with him—tools of communication, of patience and understanding—were the tools I use on my 5-year-old godson. Val is not just high-strung. I think he needs help.”
Yikes. The disdain got so strong that when it came time to do Batman & Robin, Schumacher gave Kilmer the boot and opted to go with George Clooney. Fortunately, it looks like the two have since mended fences, with Schumacher even complimenting the actor’s performance in 2012: “For me, Val Kilmer was the best Batman. I thought he looked great in the costume, and I thought he brought a depth to the role.”
8. Rick Famuyiwa Stepped Down from Directing The Flash
The anticipation for The Flash spiked dramatically in 2016 when Rick Famuyiwa was brought on to write and direct. Having just come off the acclaimed 2015 comedy Dope, he seemed the perfect choice to bring youth and vitality to the DC Extended Universe. Sadly, in October of that year, Famuyiwa announced that he was leaving the film due to “creative differences” with the studio. This was the second time a director had left The Flash over “creative differences,” with the first being Seth Grahame-Greene.
Famuyiwa elaborated on his decision to leave in an official statement, writing “When I was approached by Warner Bros and DC about the possibility of directing The Flash, I was excited about the opportunity to enter this amazing world of characters that I loved growing up, and still do to this day… I pitched a version of the film in line with my voice, humor, and heart. While it’s disappointing that we couldn’t come together creatively on the project, I remain grateful for the opportunity.”
7. Christopher Reeve Hated Superman IV
While Henry Cavill has improved during his tenure in the tights and Brandon Routh was never as bad as people made him out to be, there’s no denying that Christopher Reeve is the quintessential Superman. His looks, his voice, and his innate goodness, made the man simply born to play the Last Son of Krypton onscreen. These qualities are what made Superman IV such a disappointing experience for audiences.
And based on the way Reeve behaved during the shoot, he was disappointed too.
The actor reportedly took the film so that he could receive financial backing for a passion project of his, the superb crime thriller Street Smart, but was shocked by how cheap and poorly conceived everything was when he arrived on the set. Reeve was particularly upset about the scene where Superman walks to the United Nations building, which was supposed to be shot on location in New York City. Instead, director Sidney J. Furie shot it at a bus station in England. Reeve, the consummate professional, still gave it his best, but in the end, even he couldn’t rescue this mess from going up in flames.
6. Zack Snyder’s Son Criticized DC for ‘Meddling’ With Justice League
Not only was Justice League a film made by two different directors, it was a film that felt like it was made by two different directors. It was awkwardly stuck between a somber Zack Snyder mythology and colorful Joss Whedon adventure and the results, both critically and financially, were not the triumphant coming out party that DC had hoped it would be. Some felt that Whedon’s lighter touch salvaged what was left of another boring epic, while others, like Snyder’s son, felt that the studio’s “meddling” was what kept Justice League from becoming a big hit with fans.
“I did enjoy the movie,” Jett writes on Vero, “Although it was clearly not what it could have been due to the meddling by Warner Brothers and the forced comedy. The run time was my biggest gripe with the movie, with events that should take a long time over in a flash.” It appears that the younger Snyder wasn’t the only one who felt this way, as a petition to have DC release his father’s original cut of the film has earned over 100K signatures.
5. Alan Moore Hates All of DC’s Film Adaptations
Alan Moore is one of the most esteemed comic book writers of all time, with a resume that reads like a “best of” ranking: Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and The Killing Joke, just to name a few. It’s only natural that filmmakers would choose to adapt these great stories for the big screen, given their cultural significance, but Moore, a man with a reputation for being a recluse as much as he is a master, has hated all of them with a passion.
Whether it’s The Wachowskis’ take on V for Vendetta or Zack Snyder’s detailed recreation of Watchmen, Moore has been vocal in his disdain.
He told Hero Complex: “I find film in its modern form to be quite bullying. It spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination.”
When asked about Snyder’s Watchmen, he had this to add: “It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms. The Watchmen film [feels] like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms.” Moore has specifically asked that his name not be included in the credits of either Watchmen or Vendetta, citing their message as being the polar opposite of what he originally intended. He formally ended his relationship with Warner Bros. and DC in 2006.
4. Michelle MacLaren Stepped Down from Directing Wonder Woman
Michelle MacLaren was hired to write and direct Wonder Woman way back in 2014. A veteran of shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, she envisioned the film as a sprawling war epic in the vein of Braveheart, but DC was hesitant to give her to green light. They wanted something more akin to a character piece that highlighted their leading lady Gal Gadot and that, coupled with the rumored concern that they didn’t want to give such a large budget to someone who had only worked in television, led to MacLaren’s exit in April 2015.
MacLaren cited “creative differences” as the cause for her departure and has remained largely silent on the matter since, but DC insiders have let bits and pieces loose since hiring replacement director Patty Jenkins. One source told Variety that MacLaren was unaccustomed to the lengthy development of feature films and that the pre-production process leading up to Wonder Woman was “torturous.”
3. Richard Donner Was Fired from Superman II
Richard Donner has the distinction of directing one of the most influential superhero films of all time with 1978’s Superman. Sadly, due to mounting tensions with the film’s producers, Alexander and Ilya Salkind, he was promptly fired from the 1980 sequel, Superman II. According to AMC, the biggest disagreements between Donner and the Salkinds were regarding the cast and the dramatic tone of the sequel, and, frustrated that the budget was increasing, they replaced Donner with comedy director Richard Lester.
Not only did Lester change the tone of the Superman II to fit a more campy aesthetic, he reshot several of the scenes Donner had already wrapped so as to receive full directorial credit. The film was another big hit, but the decision wound up hurting the franchise in the long run, as evidenced by Lester’s subsequent misfire with Superman III (which in turn led to the abominable Superman IV, but more on that later). As a silver lining, Donner was able to release his version of the film in 2006 as Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut.
2. Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder Boycotted Superman III
Angered over the unfair dismissal of Richard Donner during Superman II, actors Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder were opposed to returning for a third installment, despite the fact that it meant turning down a surefire hit. According to the Superman Super Site, Hackman, who had grown close to Donner during the first film, told the Salkinds that they could either write him out of it or find another actor to play criminal mastermind Lex Luthor. They opted to do the latter.
Kidder, who rose to stardom as Superman’s love interest Lois Lane, was similarly unhappy, voicing her support of Donner and dislike of the Salkinds during the production of Superman II. As a perceived punishment for her opposition, Kidder was almost completely written out of Superman III, save for a cameo that she was contractually obligated to make. Both Hackman and Kidder would return in 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, but, by that point, the franchise was beyond saving.
1. Henry Cavill’s Mustache Caused a Standoff Between DC and Paramount
This is one of the more ridiculous entries on the list, if for no other reason, how quickly it escalated. Henry Cavill had wrapped shooting on Justice League, and had grown a mustache for his role in the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Fallout, when he was told that the former would need him back for reshoots. Cavill was contractually obligated not to shave the mustache, and it turns out Paramount was keen on keeping that obligation, as they refused to concede to DC, even after they had offered to pay for the CGI needed to replace his presumably shaved mustache.
Paramount refused. Neither studio was willing to back down, but it was ultimately DC and Warner Bros. who caved due to the time crunch of shooting additional scenes. The mustache stayed, a thousand internet memes were born, and Justice League premiered, albeit with a handful of scenes that sport Cavill’s weird, rubbery CGI lip. A DC visual effects artist went on to call the whole thing “ridiculously petty” on Paramount’s part.
Which of these shocked you most? Let us know in the comments!
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