Monday, December 14, 2009

Tony Not OKaye

A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to a column written by ad legend Ernie Schenck. The column was a celebration of the fiery spirit that once raged throughout the ad world but has since been tempered by a recession, the holding companies and rampant political correctness.

One of the lunatics cited by Ernie was Director Tony Kaye, who literally self-imploded with the post-production marketing of American X.

While Ernie's experience with Tony Kaye was nothing less than stellar, my experience with him was...less than stellar, that is. We were shooting a spot in Riverside and had what should have been a minor disagreement over the placement of a telephone in the shot. He wanted the phone in one place. I wanted it in another.

The disagreement turned into an argument. And the argument turned into something I've never experienced in my professional life. The angry words brought the shooting to a halt. With a full crew, a gaggle of account people and a slew of clients all watching, Tony grabbed a folding wooden chair, swung it high above his head and then proceeded to smash it onto the concrete floor.

The swinging/smashing/splintering of the wooden chair went on for a good 3 minutes until there wasn't a piece of that chair bigger than a matchstick. This was all accompanied by a fitful tantrum of words that would make a sailor blush.

When it was over, Tony walked off the set.

He came back 5 minutes later and acted like nothing had happened. He asked the lighting director to get ready for the next shot and was prepared to continue the shoot.

At this point the gloves were off and I intervened, telling him that we were not going to shoot another frame of film until he apologised to everyone on the set. I told him human beings don't act like that with other human beings. I called him an arrogant asshole. I told him that his station in life did not entitle him to behave boorishly.

Then I delivered the most crushing blow of all. I reminded him that he was like the other pimps of capitalism on the set that day. And that he was nothing more than a director, a director of television commercials.


braised shortribs said...

It's worth noting Edward Norton reduced Tony Kaye to a whimpering bag of skin and yellow teeth, then took over his movie and finished it himself. Richard Dreyfuss did the same thing to Joe Pytka, and since then neither director has ever walked quite the same way again.

Anonymous said...

that's so cool. I wish I'd been there. I would have had some warm chocolate chip cookies, and the fish probably. I never eat the nuts at the craft service table, even though I eat a lot of nuts at home. It always freaks me out to see a PA come out of the bathroom, and then stick his hands in the nuts.

Rich Siegel said...

I understand your aversion to pre-grubbed nuts. However I find your choice of entree a bit questionable.

Fish and the production roach coach are mutually exclusive as far I'm concerned.