In the late 1960's a group of film producers were in need of a Japanese director to film scenes for their upcoming epic based on the tragic events of Pearl Harbor. That film would become the war film classic: TORA TORA TORA. So, when you're around the 60's and in need of a Japanese director, who do you call? Sadly, no Ghostbusters at the time, so Akira Kurosawa was their #1.
But luring the elusive perfectionist writer/director isn't an easy task. So, the producers came up with a plan: Tell the director that British filmmaker David Lean is doing the American side of the film!
Ah, brilliance! They'll never work together, so he doesn't need to know the truth! Oh, but Kurosawa found out their evil scheme... and well, let's say he was none too pleased.
Kurosawa hired Japanese film industry insiders, friends, and general business people for key roles in exchange for future production finance. He stalled filming, putting it 3 weeks behind schedule. Forcing the studio to reach a breaking point, and ultimately fire him, therefore letting him out of his contract. Victory: Kurosawa.
Oh, and in case you're curious, less than 1 minute of footage shot during Kurosawa's time on the film is in the final release.
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