10 of Hollywood’s Most Legendary “Troubled Productions”

Apocalypse Now

DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola
PRODUCTION WOES: Ballooning costs (up from a $13 million budget to a final cost of $31.5 million); over schedule (the 16-week shoot ended up taking 16 months); directorial hubris (Coppola contemplated suicide during the shoot and tried to cover up Martin Sheen’s heart attack); rebuilding of sets (typhoons wiped them out); recasting lead role (Harvey Keitel was replaced by Martin Sheen after one week of shooting); shutdowns due to health (Sheen’s aforementioned heart attack); tensions between actor and director (Marlon Brando showed up overweight and underprepared).
RESULT: Though an undeniably troubled production, the result was not one but three great works of art: the film itself, its 2001 re-edit Apocalypse Now Redux, and the making-of documentary Hearts of Darkness, which is possibly the best “movie about movies” ever made.