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Oliver Stone Said Working With Richard Dreyfuss Was "The Single Worst Experience" of His Career

The director and actor clashed on the 2008 biopic W.

Through the course of their careers, Oliver Stone and Richard Dreyfuss have both come to be considered outspoken and controversial figures, so perhaps it's no surprise that they clashed when they worked together. Dreyfuss played former vice president Dick Cheney in Stone's 2008 George W. Bush biopic W. And, apparently, he hated making the film so much that he felt the need to openly diss it while he was on the press tour to promote it. Stone spoke out in response, saying that directing the Jaws star was the "single worst experience" of his career.

Read on to find out more about what happened on W's set and the public war of words that followed.

READ THIS NEXT: Richard Dreyfuss Says It's "Crazy" That He Will "Never Have a Chance to Play a Black Man."

Stone and Dreyfuss have both shared some controversial views.

Both participants in this feud have found considerable success in Hollywood. Dreyfuss has starred in movies including JawsAmerican Graffiti, Mr. Holland's Opus, and The Goodbye Girl, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Stone is a two-time Oscar-winning director for Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, who has also directed Wall StreetJFK, and Any Given Sunday.

Stone and Dreyfuss have also both made controversial and offensive comments during their time in the spotlight. Notably, Stone has been a supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin. He also was in hot water for comments he made about Jewish "domination" of the media in 2010, which he apologized for. As for Dreyfuss, he recently made headlines for saying that it's "crazy" that he'll never get to play a Black man because blackface is considered unacceptable.

Dreyfuss called Stone a fascist.

Oliver Stone in Moscow in 2017
Photo_Doc / Shutterstock

Stone made a 2008 appearance on The View, presumably to get audiences interested in W., which was set to hit theaters a week later. Instead of stoking enthusiasm, he dragged the movie and the filmmaker.

Asked how he liked working with the Oscar-winning director, Dreyfuss said, "Imagine working for Sean Hannity." Conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said, "I would like that," so Dreyfuss added, "Then you'd like working with Oliver."

Co-host Joy Behar pointed out that TV news personality Hannity and Stone are "the opposite philosophically." To this, Dreyfuss said, "You can be a fascist even when you're on the left."

He criticized the movie.

"I think it's 6/8ths of a great film," Dreyfuss said of W. on The View. "I think the acting is terrific, and I think a lot of the writing is good. But I don't really know why Oliver didn't come to a conclusion with it."

He explained, "I think there's a character missing from the film. I think it's a very good and shockingly empathetic picture of Bush … because everyone expects [Stone] to be anti-Bush." But, he added, "It leaves out us, because we were all terrified of our own president. And that terror was our reality, and that character is not in the film, so that I question whether or not the film will have any historic legs."

Asked why he took the role, Dreyfuss said, "Money."

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Stone said directing Dreyfuss was the "worst experience."

Oliver Stone in the Czech Republic in 2013
Ales Studeny / Shutterstock

Four years after Dreyfuss' View interview and the release of W., Stone slammed the actor in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

"That was probably the single worst experience I've ever had with an actor in my life," Stone said. THR reports that he also said the Jaws star couldn't remember his lines. "I walked him outside, and I read him the Riot Act," Stone continued. "I said, 'You're going to read these [expletive] cue cards, and if you don't read them, this scene is over.' So, yeah, I was a fascist."

Dreyfuss shot back again.

Richard Dreyfuss at the premiere of "Sweetwater" in April 2023
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In 2014, Dreyfuss spoke to The Irish Times about his feud with Stone playing out in the press.

"I don't want to put Oliver down but, once he took all the politics out and made it about a contest between father and son, there was no story left," he said of the movie. "There are no historical legs. Oliver and I were at loggerheads about that and we still are. He screamed that I was the worst actor he's ever worked with. I'd held up the production and so on." He added, "I told him he had made one strategic error: the press junket is yet to come. I told the press exactly what I told you."

Asked if Stone enjoyed the back and forth, Dreyfuss claimed that the director was upset at him for not praising the movie publicly. "Oh, no, no. He called my agent and said: 'He'd better stop this because we're planning an Oscar campaign,'" he recalled. "And she said: 'What? For the worst actor you've ever worked with.' Ha ha!"

W. received mixed reviews. It was not nominated for any Oscars.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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