July 9, 2001 -- If you thought the toughest part about directing aging Oscar winner Marlon Brando was his showing up without pants on the set, think again. First-time drama director Frank Oz got his share of off-screen drama as he clashed with the heavyset Oscar winner.
According to Time magazine, Brando began to refer to the onetime Muppeteer by the name of a character he once voiced: Miss Piggy. Ouch! The irony of the reference coming from a man so well-known for his gargantuan appetites was apparently lost on the portly actor. While making the film, in which Brando plays an elderly gay crook orchestrating a robbery to be pulled off by ready-for-retirement pro Robert De Niro and thieving upstart Edward Norton, the 77-year-old actor refused to take direction from Oz, and De Niro had to direct Brando's scene, the magazine reports. At one point, Brando told Oz, who also operated and spoke for Jedi Master Yoda in the Star Wars films, "I bet you wish I was a puppet so you could … make me do what you want," Time reports. Brando reportedly refused to wear pants on the set so that Oz would have no choice but to shoot the overweight actor above the waist.
The 57-year-old director, who earlier said that his method of directing his trio of thespians was to "just stand back and get the hell out of their way," lamented to Time, "I always imagined my first drama would be lower budget, maybe $15 million. I could get really dark and dirty with actors who were unknown." Instead, he got three big-name stars and a $70 million budget … and one hell of a taunting.
The Score opens nationwide Friday.