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‘Directing is death by a thousand cuts’: Chad Stahelski discusses the brutal realities of directing films

He shares the secret to his success.

Chad Stahelski
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Chad Stahelski‘s journey to top Hollywood director was one rife with obstacles to overcome. He started as a stunt man after competing as a kickboxer in his early twenties. From there he became a second unit director. Now that he’s the top dog, he shared just how hard it is to hold the position.

Stahelski sat down with Josh Horowitz on his Happy Sad Confused podcast today to drop that heavy Hollywood wisdom on the world.

“I think people don’t really realize when someone directs like, it’s hard to practice directing…. directing on set with 500 people that you have to get on the same page like you know, directing is death by a thousand cuts.”

What does he mean? Every little detail has to be right and you “have to steer the ship,” but you can’t do it alone. It’s complicated because “you have to be the creative force, you have to be the driving force, you have to be the managerial force, but you need all those people to make your [movie].”

Stahelski compared it to being a musician, needing other people to complete a song or play in a band.

All he can hope for, he said, is that people see an evolution in his directing and his work, something you see in Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino. It’s been a long road.

The director also highlighted his “ten years of second unit directing and action directing and another ten years of sound recording” as pivotal to where his career is right now.

The whole podcast is pretty interesting, especially if you’re interested in directing or how movies are made in general. Who’s ready for John Wick 5?

Jon Silman
About the author

Jon Silman

Jon Silman is a stand-up comic and hard-nosed newspaper reporter (wait, that was the old me). Now he mostly writes about Brie Larson and how the MCU is nose diving faster than that 'Black Adam' movie did. He has a Zelda tattoo (well, Link) and an insatiable love of the show 'Below Deck.'