Movies Rumored To Have Been "Ghost-Directed"

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"Texas Chainsaw Massacre" director Tobe Hooper has always been credited as the director of "Poltergeist," but tell me you don't feel a Spielberg-ian vibe when you watch the film, of course you do. There have always been rumors — as well as accounts by cast and crew — that Steven Spielberg did, in fact, direct the movie. 

The rumors began when the  L.A. Times interviewed Spielberg about the film and nabbed this curious quote from him: “Tobe isn’t what you’d call a take-charge sort of guy. He’s just not a strong presence on a movie set. If a question was asked and an answer wasn’t immediately forthcoming, I’d jump up and say what we could do. Tobe would nod agreement, and that became the process of the collaboration.” 

The article sparked an investigation by the Director’s Guild of America into Spielberg’s involvement as a potential director; Nothing came of it. Spielberg then apologized to Hooper in The Hollywood Reporter right: “Regrettably, some of the press have misunderstood the rather unique, creative relationship which you and I shared throughout the making of Poltergeist, I enjoyed your openness in allowing me, as producer and writer, a wide berth for creative involvement.” 

What has Hooper had to say about this over the years? Well, in a 2000 interview with the AV Club he had this to say “When we were shooting the practical location on the house, the first two weeks of filming were exterior, so I had second-unit shots that had to be picked up in the front of the house. I was in the back of the house shooting Robbie [actor Oliver Robins] and the tree, looking down at the burial of the little tweety bird, so Steven was picking those shots up for me.” 


Zelda Rubenstein, who plays the film’s creepy spiritual medium, told AICN, “I can tell you that Steven directed all six days I was there. I only worked six days on the film and Steven was there.” JoBeth Williams also starred in the film and had this to say  “It was a collaboration with Steven having the final say.” 

It's rare for a film to be released under the name of one director, but  later revealed or rumored that, actually, another director was helming the entire thing, or, at least, a solid chunk of it, so much so that he or she deserved the actual credit for the film. The term for this occurence is a "ghost directing." Even though it's a pretty rare thing to happen, the last month has given us confirmations that two pictures were indeed "ghost-directed": George Cosmatos' "Tombstone" and Toby Hooper's "Poletergeist." The former is said to have been directed by Kurt Russell. This had me thinking of other such examples where the helmer of a film was actually not the actual director. Of course, with most of the cases I list below, they will likely never be confirmed, but there are enough stories from their respective cast/crews to justify the theory that they were in fact "ghost-directed."
"Poltergeist," Toby Hooper
Ghost Director: Steven Spielberg

"A Praire Home Companion," Robert Altman
Ghost Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

"Tombstone," George Cosmatos
Ghost Director: Kurt Russell

"Rambo," George Cosmatos
Ghost Director: Sylvester Stallone

"Dances With Wolves," Kevin Costner
Ghost Director: Kevin Reynolds

"Return of the Jedi," Richard Marquand
Ghost Director: George Lucas

"Waterworld," Kevin Reynolds
Ghost Director: Kevin Costner

"The Thing From Another World," Christian Nyby
Ghost Director: Howard Hawks

"Cobra," George Cosmatos
Ghost Director: Sylvester Stallone

"Black Magic," George Ratoff
Ghost Director: Orson Welles

Am I missing any others? Let me know!
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