Everything seems really simple on paper until you take a camera out of the box. Then ninety people are offering up solutions to the problems those pages create. You’re trying to make something very clear in this maelstrom of activity, with all this anxiety about how much money is being spent. I don’t think you can ever make it the way you have it in your head
.- DAVID FINCHER
Directing is a herculean task, and in big budget movies one of the things a director has to deal with, is producers that want to dictate to him how things should be done, who should be cast, how quickly they need to shoot, what they can and can not afford to shoot etc. Most first time directors , or directors without a formidable name are at the mercy of what the producer wants. But as the captain of the ship, it’s his duty to steer the ship to it’s destination safely , giving the passengers the best journey.
Regardless of the suggestions and demands of the suits sometimes as a director you have to stick to you gut. A young Francis Ford Coppola faced a lot of opposition by the the studios and producer in his choice of casting Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in his adaptation of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. At the time Coppola was not the titan he is today, and he was in contstant danger of being fired. Literally, everyday he was on set not sure if he’d last the day as the director, but he saw something in Al, that he knew was right for the part and he stuck to his guts and as we all can see it paid off.
James Caan was a brilliant actor but just was not right for that part, he was BRILLIANT as older brother/son Santino(Sonny) but he didnt bring the gravitas and quiet strength that Pacino brought to it,
The director may not always be right, but ultimately if you cave in to the demands of the suits and they are wrong and you were right, he’s the one that would have to live with the regret/blame that comes with a bad film that could have been avoided if he stuck to his gut decision.
With Martin Sheen,Redford or anyone else the studios wanted instead of Pacino, it may have been a good film but it very likely would not have been the classic it is today.