Over at Slate, NPR's Kim Masters offers a fairly lengthy recounting of the many problems that plagued the set of Michael Mann's Miami Vice, such as a) its crazy, exacting director, b) disastrous weather events that threatened production (who could have seen that coming while filming in Miami during hurricane season?), and c) a shooting while on location in the Dominican Republic. The article's money shot is the revelation that the aforementioned gunplay convinced Jamie Foxx, the film's egomaniac, award-winning star, that his new Oscar-derived superpowers did not include the ability to deflect bullets with his bare abs—a realization that sent him fleeing for the safety of the United States and forced Mann to shoot an ending that could accommodate Foxx's diva-like refusal to be assassinated on foreign soil. Reports Masters:
The irony, in Mann's view, was that when the production moved to a relatively upscale area, a local man—a police officer—approached the set, got into a quarrel with a guard (one supplied by the Dominican military), and allegedly pulled a gun. The man was shot and wounded. "It was very scary," Mann acknowledges. "What if this guy has six brothers? What if they blamed us? ... All these questions rush into your head." He says care was taken to ensure that the cast and crew could leave the set safely that day.
But immediately after that incident, [Jamie] Foxx and his entourage packed up and left for good. "Jamie basically changed the whole movie in one stroke," a crew member says—and not, in his opinion, for the better. The ending that was supposed to be shot in Paraguay would have been "much more dramatic."
Asked about Foxx's departure, Mann doesn't speak for a moment and then says, "You hear the sound of silence."
While the Foxx story is certainly interesting and dishy enough, we were most fascinated by the sheer variety of ways that Mann's associates attempted to politely depict him as a borderline insane, control-freak asshole-genius who'll go to any length to get a shot, as in: "Sure, everyone was pissed that we were shooting in the middle of a Level 4 hurricane that blew the production office into the ocean, but the gales knocked down most of the sniper fire—hey, does anyone know if Jack the grip survived the gut-shot?—and I'll be damned if Colin Farrell's hair didn't look fucking great blowing in that 120-mph wind."