Today, Saturday, November 19, 2022, is the 60th birthday of iconic actor Jodie Foster. The actress is best known for playing Clarice Starling in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs – a role for which she earned an Oscar. However, a year before this life-changing performance, she fell out with a major actor-turned-director over a frustrating filmmaking experience.
Jodie began working with American actor Dennis Hopper in 1990 on his film Catchfire. It was the latest in his string of directorial efforts in Hollywood.
However, this time around, Dennis not only directed but also played the main character. He took on the role of Milo, an assassin who fell in love with Jodie’s character, Anne.
Filming was strained. Hopper reportedly had interference from the studio which didn’t like what he was doing in the picture.
Dennis’ original screenwriter, Ann Louise Bardach, was later interviewed about her work on the Catchfire. She described working with Dennis as “completely insane”.
There were further reports that Jodie was not happy about some of the scenes in the movie. One of which was a “gratuitous” shower scene in which Jodie was entirely naked. She apparently assumed it was going to be cut and edited in the final version of the movie. It was not.
One moment reportedly had Jodie so frustrated she yelled “cut!” during the middle of filming a scene. Dennis was not happy at all.
He reportedly pulled Jodie aside and gave her a “lecture” about conducting herself on the set of his movie.
Dennis did not only struggle with Jodie, however. He also found himself battling with the studio, eventually getting to the point where he dragged his name from the movie.
Dennis said at the time: “They had taken an hour out of my movie, and they’d taken a half-hour of stuff I’d taken out of the movie and put it in. Then they took all my music out and threw it away. They put in great violin love themes beside Jodie and me — this is a hit man and an artist, and it’s certainly not a violin romance.”
He followed up by damning the editing company, Vestron. He said: “This is not a film by Dennis Hopper. This is not directed by Dennis Hopper. This is directed by some idiots at Vestron.”
Dennis eventually took his name off the final cut of the film. In his place, the name Alan Smithee was declared the director of Catchfire – a name used by Hollywood directors who no longer want to be associated with their films.
Dennis later rereleased Catchfire as a director’s cut with 18 minutes of new footage. He renamed the picture Backtrack.
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