Robert Duvall lashed out at Stanley Kubrick for ‘terrible’ movies

Today, January 5, 2023, is the 92nd birthday of iconic actor Robert Duvall. The American star made a name for himself in movies like The Godfather trilogy, Days of Thunder, and Apocalypse Now. But it seems that he had a secret disdain for the legendary director Stanley Kubrick.

Duvall has worked with countless directors throughout his career, and while some of them have been considered some of the greatest filmmakers of all time, he couldn’t bear the thought of working with Kubrick.

Kubrick delivered films as immense as The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Eyes Wide Shut, and A Clockwork Orange. The genius of him has long been praised, but he’s also been described as “extremely harsh” on certain actors. The biggest example was in The Shining while he was directing Shelly Duvall, whom he was forced to cry for days on end during filming. He even told the other actors in the film not to “go easy” on her.

Robert Duvall spoke candidly about working with Kubrick. He called the American director “an actor’s enemy.”

Later, Duvall also criticized Kubrick’s work, claiming that his directing ruined the work of the actors he was filming.

He said: “I can point to the movies he’s done, the worst performances I’ve ever seen in movies: The Shining, A Clockwork Orange.”

The Shining received a lot of criticism at the time, but in the years that followed it gained a cult following. In 2018 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It was described as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

A Clockwork Orange earned four Oscar nominations, three of which were for Kubrick’s work, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. In 2020, it was also selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Despite this praise, Duvall was not happy with how the films turned out.

Duvall considered these examples of Kubrick’s work “great movies” but filled with “terrible, terrible performances”. The renowned actor then slammed another famous director while at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual roundtable. He targeted David Fincher, of Gone Girl, Fight Club and Zodiac.

Duvall compared the two directors, saying, “Has he always been like this, David Fincher? How about when he did Se7en? He got good results from that… I turned down a role in Se7en maybe.” [his methodology is] the reason why I did it. I subconsciously knew it.”

He also had some problems with another important director: Henry Hathaway.

Duvall once recalled: “The director and I didn’t get along, I don’t get along with many directors…Henry Hathaway…we won’t talk about him.”

Looking back on what he didn’t like about the filmmaker, Duvall continued, “He was like, ‘When I say, action! Tension, dammit.'” It’s hard to work under that as a young actor.”


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