Have you ever created something, and once you were done you might have looked at it and not liked the finish product? What if everyone told you it was a masterpiece, but you thought it was garbage?Many of you have probably seen the 1998 movie, American History X, if not, I HIGHLY recommend it. Now a little known fact about the movie, is that the acclaimed film that almost won Edward Norton an Oscar, was actually hated by the director that made it.
Tony Kaye, was already considered a genius in the advertising world. He was famous for taking months to craft a perfect 30-second commercial, and his reputation as being very meticulous, and a perfectionist, made him the director to seek when you needed a commercial. All the top brands in the industry wanted him, and he could pick and choose who he wanted to work with. Kaye also made a few music videos, like Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train. Kaye was more then a perfectionist, he was very egotistical, and eccentric. In the mid-80’s during a period when he was unemployed, Kaye ran a full-page ad in London’s Evening Standard telling the world, “Tony Kaye Is The Greatest English Director Since Hitchcock!”
Kaye was a visionary, and pitched his idea for American History X to New Line Cinema, which being who he was and what his ideas were, made all the execs, very excited to have him create this masterpiece. So the execs at New Line, signed off on his movie about a former skinhead, who tries to keep his brother from following in his footsteps.After shooting 200-hours of footage, yes you read that right, 200-hours! for a two hour movie, and delivering a rough cut to the producers, Kaye was still very unsatisfied with what he created. He really wanted to tweak the storytelling, so he asked New Line Cinema to give him a little more time. They gave him another 8-weeks to complete the project. Kaye then filmed some actual Neo-Nazis and did not film editing during those two extra months. The studio finally took the movie from Kaye, and released an early cut to show audiences. Kaye was pissed, he sued New Line Cinema for $200 million and demanded that his name be taken off the film credits and replaced with “Humpty Dumpty.” He also spent $100,000 bucks of his own money to discredit the film on print ads and in interviews. He badmouthed Edward Norton, telling anyone who would listen, that Norton was a shitty actor, and that he was absolutely wrong for the lead role, the same role that we mentioned earlier, almost landed Edward Norton as Oscar nomination. So what do you do when you are brilliant and hate everything you create? It’s been 12 years since Tony Kaye made a movie, he is suppose to release another one maybe this year called, Black Water Transit. Who know if he’ll like this movie either.