The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the most inventive stop-motion movies, but while everybody gives Tim Burton all the credit, actual director Henry Selick recently downplayed Burton’s involvement. The director commented, “It was my crew up in San Francisco that made that. He showed up at the end with an editor and trimmed out some stuff to tighten up the film.”
People often mistake Tim Burton as the movie’s director, and that’s simply because it shares his gothic aesthetic and his name was scrawled across the marketing materials to help promote it. But it isn’t the only film fans think was directed by somebody it wasn’t. Whether it’s because a well-known director is attached as a producer or it shares their distinctive style, these movies’ real directors often don’t get the credit or the blame.
Throwaway_Codex points to the fact that everyone thinks Brightburn was directed by the new CEO of DC Studios and The Suicide Squad director, James Gunn. Though it isn’t an original concept after The Boys, and other satirical movies and shows have explored it, Brightburn features an evil Superman and examines what that would be like.
Given that Gunn throws himself into violent superhero movies, the subject is totally something the filmmaker would direct. The mid-credits scene even features a cameo from The Crimson Bolt, who is the main character in Super, which was written and directed by Gunn. So all signs point to the movie being directed by the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker, but David Yarovesky was the film’s actual director. However, Gunn did produce the 2019 movie.
Kill3rT0fu notes that few people realize that it was The Batman director Matt Reeves who made the 2008 monster movie, Cloverfield. The Redditor comments, “Everyone claims it was J.J. Abrams.” Abrams had a big hand in the movie, as not only is it produced by his production company Bad Robot, but he has also had a big hand in creating the story (via First Showing).
It’d be forgivable if anybody assumed that Cloverfield was directed by Abrams, as it heavily features his typical storytelling that he likes to call “mystery boxes.” Babak Anvari will direct a new sequel, and whatever the Cloverfield 2 storyline is, there’s no doubt that general audiences will mistake it for being an Abrams-directed movie once again.
V for Vendetta (2006)
Effective-Dinner-686 thought that the Wachowski sisters directed the seminal comic book adaptation V for Vendetta. The Redditor claims, “I had only learned recently that V for Vendetta was not directed by the Wachowskis.” Many people have long been under that same impression, as they wrote the screenplay, and given that they were coming off the massive Matrix franchise, the promotional material had their names scrawled across all of it.
But while the film was actually directed by James McTeigue, it has long been rumored that the Wachowskis ghost-directed V for Vendetta, and if that’s true, the Redditor was right all along. Given that they were second-unit directors on a movie that they wrote, whether they did or didn’t direct V for Vendetta, something doesn’t add up.
Doitcloot notes that people are under the impression that Devil was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. “I don’t know why I’ve encountered this so much, but if someone brings up Devil I know it’s about to lead into how they don’t like M. Night Shyamalan.”
The Sixth Sense director Shyamalan already gets enough criticism, and that’s despite having an unheard-of comeback with the likes of The Visit and Split, so the last thing he needs is all the criticism for Devil, a film that he didn’t even direct. However, he did write and produce the 2010 supernatural horror movie. But Devil actually has an interesting spin on the murder mystery genre, as it’s about a group of people stuck in a lift and getting picked off one by one when the lights go out.
MCO87 notes, “I’ve seen many people online think that Jordan Peele directed the new Candyman film. Nia DaCosta was the director. Peele was a screenwriter.” This was a common misconception surrounding the 2021 horror film’s release, and the studio likely wasn’t in any rush to correct anybody.
Universal would certainly have liked people to be under the impression that the film was directed by Peele. The filmmaker has quickly become one of the few bankable director names, and his name comes with a guaranteed audience. People will happily go to theaters to watch a Peele movie without knowing anything about it or seeing any of the marketing. So having people believe Candyman was directed by the Get Out filmmaker wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.
According to Brettmgreene, some fans are under the impression that Steven Spielberg directed the horror movie Poltergeist. But the Redditor sets the record straight, explaining, “Spielberg wrote the screenplay and produced and he’s all over the making-of and press materials for the film. Poltergeist even looks like a Spielberg film with its clever camera work.”
The user is not wrong, as actual director Tobe Hooper lifted a lot of Spielberg’s signature moves. And though Spielberg has never directed an R-rated horror movie (despite War of the Worlds pushing the limits of its PG-13 rating), Poltergeist is the closest fans will get to one.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
KingDarius89 notes that people think Quentin Tarantino wrote From Dusk Till Dawn. The Redditor comments, “Tarantino is in it, but Robert Rodriguez directed it.” In fairness, the 1996 movie is full of Tarantino’s kind of humor, it’s more violent than any of Rodriguez’s previous movies, and only a movie that Tarantino was involved in making would feature such a prominent performance from him.
Taking that into account, it wouldn’t be surprising if any casual fan thought the Django Unchained filmmaker directed From Dusk Till Dawn, given the off-kilter and outrageous quotes. Tarantino wasn’t involved in producing or directing the film, but he did write the screenplay.
MediumSpeedEddie believed that Midsommar was directed by The Northman director Robert Eggers, noting, “For some reason for a while I thought The Witch and Midsommar were both directed by Eggers.” It’s easy to see where the Redditor is coming from, as both movies were released by A24, and they both focus as much on the aesthetic as they do on scares, too.
However, that would have been quite an achievement, as Eggers released The Lighthouse in 2019, and filmmakers directing two movies in one year is tough work. But a viewer not completely clued up with directors and their recent movies could easily suspect that the director of The Witch also directed Midsommar.
The Third Man (1949)
RandomStranger79 is quick to state, “Orson Welles didn’t direct The Third Man,” referring to the fact that many believe it was the filmmaker’s follow-up to Macbeth. The Third Man is often considered one of the greatest British films ever, and Welles was one of the few artists who could make such a movie at the time.
The 1949 movie expertly encapsulated the mood of Vienna following the war, and it’s full of clever camera trickery and mise-en-scene that hadn’t been done that well since Welles’ own Citizen Kane. But though he has a supporting role in the film, that’s all Welles had to do with it, and everything else is all thanks to writer Graham Greene and director Carol Reed.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
WindingRoad10 thinks a lot of fans believe George Lucas directed the Star Wars sequels. The Redditor posits, “I think many people think George Lucas directed all of the films in the original trilogy, when in fact it was only A New Hope.” The Redditor is not wrong, as most viewers wouldn’t have a clue who directed the two sequels to A New Hope if it wasn’t Lucas.
And it seems as if that’s what someone at LucasFilm is hoping for. In Light and Magic, a Disney+ documentary that features a lot of behind-the-scenes footage surrounding the Star Wars sequels, there isn’t a single shot of Irvin Kershner or Richard Marquand, the directors of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, respectively.