Youd imagine directors were queuing up round the block to get a shot at making a Star Wars film. But it turns out that the gig isnt for everyone. Chronicle director Josh Trank, who was lined up to helm the second Star Wars Anthology, recently announced that he was leaving the project, after working on it for a year with Lucasfilm.
In a statement on the official Star Wars website, he explained, "I've put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. He thanked his colleagues, and it all sounds very amicable, but its clear that in the end, this job wasn't working for him.
If were honest, we've probably all been in a similar situation. Sometimes, what sounds like a dream job on paper turns out to be more of a nightmare, either because the work isn't what we expected, or our colleagues aren't as friendly as we expected, or just because the commute is painfully long and difficult. Hollywood directors, it seems, aren't much different; Trank's far from the first to drop out of a high profile movie. Here are ten others, and the reasons why they left
The movie: The Wolverine (2013).
Reasons for quitting: Looking at his CV, its kind of surprising that Aronofsky was ever planning to make The Wolverine hes better known for strange, intense, unsettling films like Requiem For A Dream (2000) and Black Swan (2010) than superhero romps. But he was all set to take on the X-Men spin-off until he realised how much the film would affect his personal life.
As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of The Wolverine would keep me out of the country for almost a year, Aronofsky said. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time.
What happened next: James Mangold, director of Walk The Line (2005), ended up directing The Wolverine. Aronofsky decided to tackle Noah (2014) instead.
The movie: Gone With The Wind (1939).
Reasons for quitting: Movies dont get much bigger than the American Civil War epic Gone With The Wind. But production was troubled from the outset. Director George Cukor got three weeks into shooting before problems on set became too serious for him to continue; a terse statement issued by Cukor and producer David O. Selznick explained that as a result of a series of disagreements between us over many of the individual scenes of Gone With The Wind, we have mutually decided that the only solution is for a new director to be selected at as early a date as is practicable.
What happened next: Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming, though he too had some difficulties, even having to take time off for exhaustion. The finished movie won him a Best Director Oscar, though. Cukor didnt miss out, either; he directed The Philadelphia Story (1940), which earned him a Best Director statue the following year.
The movie: Alien 3 (1992).
Reasons for quitting: Execs at Fox didnt seem to know quite what they wanted from the third Alien film. But when producer Walter Hill saw Vincent Wards artsy The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey at Cannes, he thought hed figured it out. Ward initially didnt want to do a sequel, but was convinced to take the job when Fox agreed to let him create his own story.
Problem was, his idea featured a monastery on a steampunk style wooden planet, and ended with Ripley killing herself. When the studio told Ward he needed to make a long list of changes to his proposed movie, he refused to back down, and was effectively fired.
What happened next: David Fincher took over as director of Alien 3, which went into production without a finished script in place, and which was generally not well liked. Ward went back to work on his own projects, including What Dreams May Come (1998).
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
The movies: Highlander and The Crow (2016).
Reasons for quitting: Quitting one high profile remake is one thing, but quitting two in quick succession is quite another. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was set to direct a reboot of 90s goth favourite The Crow, but when he was also called in to replace Justin Lin as director of a Highlander reboot, scheduling conflicts led him to quit. And then he dropped out of Highlander, too, citing creative differences.
What happened next: While neither project has been completed yet, both The Crow and Highlander found new directors in Corin Hardy and Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, respectively. Fresnadillo, meanwhile, has been linked to a remake of Stephen Kings Pet Sematary.
The movie: Wonder Woman (2017).
Reasons for quitting: Michelle MacLaren is known for her TV work shes directed episodes of Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad, and won Emmys for her work on producing the latter but she was due to make her name in movies with an adaptation of DCs Wonder Woman.
And then she quit. The statement from Warner Bros doesnt go into detail about why, citing good old creative differences again.
What happened next: Just two days after announcing Michelle MacLaren had left the project, Warner Bros announced her replacement: Patty Jenkins, director of Monster (2003). The films still set to be released in 2017, with Wonder Woman also due to make an appearance in Zack Snyders Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice next year.
The movie: Thor: The Dark World (2013).
Reasons for quitting: Speaking of Patty Jenkins, shes also quit a big name superhero movie in the past she was due to direct the sequel to Marvels Thor (2011) before those pesky creative differences saw her walk away.
What happened next: Jenkins sounded pretty positive about her experiences working with Marvel, saying at the time, I have a long love of superhero films and Id been saying over and over again to my agents that Id like to do one. So perhaps its no surprise that shes ended up getting the Wonder Woman gig. Meanwhile, Alan Taylor took over directorial duties on Thor: The Dark World.
The movie: Ant-Man (2015).
Reasons for quitting: Another director who quit a massive superhero movie, Edgar Wrights departure came as a real shock, because Wright had been working with Marvel to develop the property since around 2006. And as well as taking the directors chair, hed also co-written the script. Somewhere along the line, though, Marvel must have changed their minds about what they wanted from the movie: the official line on why he and the studio had parted ways was that it was all down to differences in their vision of the film.
What happened next: Ant-Mans release date didnt budge its due out on 17 July and Bring It On (2000) director Peyton Reed took the reins. Wright, meanwhile, moved on to developing Baby Driver, an action comedy thats currently in pre-production.
The movie: The Wolfman (2010).
Reasons for quitting: Theres no need to read between the lines of official statements to find the reasons for Mark Romaneks departure from Universals monster movie reboot hes been pretty candid about it in interviews. The film was dramatically under-budgeted, hes said, explaining that the script he had to work from wouldve required an extra $30-40 million more than he had. The WGA strike compounded the problem since the script couldnt be changed, and Romanek decided it was best to just walk away.
What happened next: Joe Johnston took over and turned in a disappointing werewolf movie, while Romanek returned to directing music videos, including Taylor Swifts Shake It Off.
The movie: Fifty Shades Darker (2017).
Reasons for quitting: After the commercial success of her adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, it wouldnt have been surprising for Sam Taylor-Johnson to stay at the helm for the sequels. But she bowed out. And though her official statement was effusive Directing Fifty Shades Of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful, she said, going on to thank Universal and her cast and crew in other interviews she admitted to finding the process of adapting the controversial novel deeply stressful.
What happened next: No director has yet been confirmed for Fifty Shades Darker, though its due to start shooting this summer. As for Taylor-Johnson, we wouldnt blame her if she was just going on holiday.
Guillermo del Toro
The movie: The Hobbit (2012 2014).
Reasons for quitting: Guillermo del Toros version of The Hobbit was eagerly anticipated by fans; after all, hed more than proved his fantasy mettle with Pans Labyrinth (2006) and Hellboy (2004). But the production was beset with delays, and eventually del Toro ran out of time.
Sounding utterly gutted, he explained, In light on ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing, and designing a world as rich as Tolkiens Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.
What happened next: Del Toro got to work on his epic monsters-vs-robots film Pacific Rim (2012) instead, while Peter Jackson was brought back to Middle Earth to adapt The Hobbit into three very, very long movies.