Filmmaking can be serious business, and sometimes getting the best movie means making some hard choices. Tommy Lee Jones knows this all too well, since he decided to fire his own daughter while making Western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
Victoria Jones played a small part in the drama movie, but she almost didn’t make the cut. She struggled to make it to set for an early start one day, leading to her father decided to cut down her role. Tommy explained in a profile for The New Yorker. “She’s a good actress, has her SAG card, speaks impeccable Spanish,” he says.
“But I fired my daughter. She had to get up at 5am for her part. One morning, she wouldn’t get out of bed. I said, ‘Honey, this is work.’ But she wouldn’t budge. So I fired her,” he finishes.
Thankfully, others involved in the thriller movie ensured that scenes Victoria had done were included in the final cut. Dawn Laurel-Jones, Tommy’s wife, was around as well, serving as a photographer.
The celebrated star, whose credits range from Batman movies to science fiction movies to Coens Brothers pictures, has only directed once since then, for 2014’s The Homesman. No immediate family members are credited in that. Maybe after this experience, it was decided they wouldn’t collaborate.