Coronavirus: Director Paul Schrader Would Rather ‘Die on the Job’ Than Socially Distance After Filming Shut Down

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: Director Paul Kehr attends MoMA's Contenders Screening of "First Reformed" at MoMA Titus One on November 29, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for MoMA The Contenders)
Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for MoMA The Contenders

Paul Schrader, the acclaimed writer-director who penned Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, has lashed out at his producers for shutting down his new movie after a bit actor was diagnosed with coronavirus. The outspoken filmmaker called his producers “pussified” and said that he would have shot through “hellfire rain” to complete the film.

Paul Schrader said he was nearly finished shooting The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac and Tye Sheridan, in Mississippi when his producers decided to suspend production on the indie film. Schrader said on Facebook that the decision came after a day player — Hollywood speak for a cast member with a small role — from Los Angeles came down with coronavirus.

The movie had just five days left of shooting, according to Schrader.

“Production halted five days before wrap by my pussified producers because an LA day player had the corona virus. Myself, I would have shot through hellfire rain to complete the film,” he wrote on Monday. “I’m old and asthmatic, what better way to die than on the job?”

Schrader provided an update on Wednesday, saying that he was on his way back home to New York City, and will “self isolate” in Putnam Valley, in upstate New York.

The suspension of shooting on The Card Counter is the latest in a string of professional bad luck to hit Schrader. He was fired from the 2005 Exorcist prequel and the movie was re-shot with a different director. Something similar happened on his 2014 movie Dying of the Light after Schrader clashed with producers and lost control of the final cut.

The Card Counter, which doesn’t have a release date,  co-stars Willem Dafoe and Tiffany Haddish.

Schrader uses his Facebook account to freely express his career frustrations and political thoughts. The filmmaker recently slandered President Donald Trump and his supporters by comparing them to Nazis. He also advocated for violence shortly after the 2016 presidential election.

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