James Caan has stepped down from the political comedy Nailed after a dispute with director David O. Russell over what appears to be a cookie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the trouble started Wednesday on the first of Caan's two days of shooting the role of a U.S. speaker of the house who chokes to death on a cookie. Russell asked him to cough as he choked, but Caan argued that the character couldn't cough and choke to death at the same time.
Russell suggested that they shoot it both ways, but the actor expressed distrust that his version would be considered and left the South Carolina set. A spokesman for Caan wouldn't confirm or deny the specifics of what happened but said with a laugh that there were creative differences and the departure was amicable.
Producer Douglas Wick said the discussion was "part of an ongoing creative conversation between the actor and director" and that Russell has behaved professionally throughout the shoot.
Caan's part is being recast. The shoot began April 15.
Nailed stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden, Catherine Keener, Tracy Morgan and Olivia Crocicchia in the tale of a woman who gets a nail lodged in her head and travels to Washington to fight for better health care.
Russell and Caan have reputations for on-set battles. The director had well-documented differences with George Clooney (in which the two came to blows on the set of Three Kings) and Lily Tomlin (in heated verbal exchanges on the set of I Heart Huckabees as seen last year on YouTube).