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25 Crazy Things Fans Didn’t Know Behind The Making Of The Original Star Wars Movies

This December, the Skywalker saga at the core of the Star Wars franchise will be coming to a definitive end. Fans have been following the story of Luke and Leia’s bloodline for over 40 years now, so a lot is riding on the big finale.

Long before J.J. Abrams rebooted the saga for Disney, and long before George Lucas divided his own fan base with a trio of prequel movies, we had the original trilogy. Lucas came to 20th Century Fox as a young man with an idea for a weird little space movie – the fourth part of a six-part epic – and somehow managed to get it funded. But he faced an uphill battle, as the studio had very little faith in the film and even tried desperately to bury it. It was all but guaranteed to be a failure.

And then something incredible happened: it struck a chord with audiences across the world. By the second or third week of its release, people were lining up around the block to watch it for the tenth time. Two highly anticipated sequels followed and the rest is history – the Star Wars phenomenon continues to this day. It’s stronger than ever, actually. Here are 25 Crazy Things Fans Didn’t Know Behind The Making Of The Original Star Wars Movies.

25 The Producers Wanted A Movie Star To Cameo As Darth Vader

At the end of Return of the Jedi, when Darth Vader is unmasked and we see his true face for the first time ever, he’s played by Sebastian Shaw. Who? Exactly. Originally, the producers wanted a huge star like Laurence Olivier to cameo as Vader in the unmasking scene.

However, during story discussions, they scrapped the idea as they realized it would lessen the impact of the scene. It was probably the right call. It would take us out of the scene to have to say, “Oh, look, it’s Laurence Olivier!” This is the moment in which Anakin Skywalker looks upon his son with his own eyes for the first time. That’s important enough without a big movie star.

24 Lucas Didn’t Know Leia Was Luke’s Sister At The Time Of Their Kiss Scene

Everyone likes to joke about the incestuous overtones of The Empire Strikes Back’s kiss between Luke and Leia, since they were revealed to be twins one movie later. However, while George Lucas had plotted out the rough outline for all six movies from the start, he hadn’t ironed out all the details and was still making some things up as he went along.

The exact plot points in each movie were still being decided in each subsequent writing process. When they shot the kiss scene, he still hadn’t figured out that Leia was Luke’s sister. Thus, it’s not totally weird.

23 Harrison Ford Wanted Han To Be Written Out Early In Return Of The Jedi

We finally saw Han Solo breathe his final breath after being slashed down by his own son in The Force Awakens, but Harrison Ford actually wanted the character to meet his end much earlier. During the production of the original trilogy, he never signed on for more than one movie at a time.

That’s why Han was frozen in carbonite at the end of The Empire Strikes Back – in case Ford didn’t sign back on for the third movie. He did, but he really pushed for a scene where Han is terminated early on in the story. Lucas refused, because Han needed to complete his character arc for the trilogy.

22 Emperor Palpatine Was Originally Played By A Woman With Superimposed Chimpanzee Eyes

In the prequel trilogy and the Special Editions of the original trilogy (and in the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker,) Emperor Palpatine is played by Ian McDiarmid. However, in the original cut of The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine only appears in a hologram scene and his character wasn’t fully fleshed out yet.

Back then, he was played by a female actor named Marjorie Eaton with chimpanzee eyes imposed on her face to give her a creepier look. It did successfully create the iconic Palpatine look, but future movies would just use makeup effects.

21 Mark Hamill And Carrie Fisher Didn’t Use Stunt Doubles In The Swinging Scene

The latest Star Wars movies – especially the prequels – can get around dangerous stunt work with CGI. But back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, every stunt had to be done practically (unless it involved miniatures). Most actors would just use a stunt double.

However, in A New Hope, during the Death Star escape, there’s a moment where Luke and Leia swing across a giant chasm. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher didn’t use stunt doubles in this scene and actually performed the stunt themselves. In fact, they nailed it in one take.

20 Return Of The Jedi Was Filmed Under The Title Blue Harvest

Family Guy fans will be familiar with this fact, because Blue Harvest was used as the title of the show’s special episode parodying Star Wars. It’s a common practice now to use a fake title during the production of a much-anticipated blockbuster like The Avengers or The Dark Knight to avoid fans finding out where they’re shooting and leaking plot details from the set or interrupting filming.

But back then, it was a novel idea thought up by George Lucas to protect the set of Return of the Jedi. Blue Harvest is the most well-known fake working title used by a Hollywood production, because it started the trend.

19 Harrison Ford And Carrie Fisher Were Hungover While Shooting The Cloud City Scene

If you look closely at Han and Leia in the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where they arrive at Cloud City, you’ll notice that they look a little dazed and tired. That’s because they both had terrible hangovers from the night before.

Despite the fact they were in the middle of shooting a Star Wars movie, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher spent the night partying until six in the morning with the Rolling Stones and Monty Python’s Eric Idle – and then they had to shoot the Cloud City scene. It’s not like you’re going to turn down an invitation to party with Eric Idle and the Stones, even if you do have work in the morning.

18 George Lucas Wasn’t A Particularly Hands-On Director

A New Hope was the only movie in the original trilogy that George Lucas directed, and according to the actors, he wasn’t very attentive to their performances. Some directors, like Martin Scorsese, watch their actors intently and provide detailed feedback.

Scorsese reportedly even keeps an eye on all of his extras and gives them specific notes between takes. However, Lucas just said either “faster” or “more intense.” At one point during filming, Lucas lost his voice, so the cast gave him a board with just those two phrases on. It worked a charm!

17 Return Of The Jedi Originally Had A Much Darker Ending

After the downbeat cliffhanger ending of The Empire Strikes Back, it was a relief when Return of the Jedi ended the trilogy on a positive note – but it almost didn’t. In early story discussions, George Lucas suggested taking the plot in a much grimmer direction.

Lucas told his co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, “Luke takes [Vader’s] mask off. The mask is the very last thing – and then Luke puts it on and says, ‘Now, I am Vader.’” Kasdan replied, “That’s what I think should happen.” In the end, and probably for the best, this was scrapped in favor of the happier, more hopeful ending we got.

16 The Actors Only Stopped Goofing Around When Alec Guinness Was On-Set

According to Harrison Ford, he and Mark Hamill would goof around on the set of the original Star Wars movie, but only on the days when Alec Guinness wasn’t on the set. If Guinness, a behemoth in the acting community, was around, Ford and Hamill acted more professionally.

To be fair, back then, the Star Wars universe was completely unknown. It was up in the air if it was going to be a success or not, and the odds were against that. The actors were uttering words like “Jedi” and “lightsaber” and “Death Star,” which were nonsensical back then. They probably figured they might as well have fun while they were doing it.

15 The Lightsaber Sound Effect Was Achieved Creatively

Sound designer Ben Burtt is famous for using unusual items to create sound effects. For example, he got the sound of the lid being removed from the Ark of the Covenant from sliding the lid off the back of a toilet. In the Star Wars trilogy, he created the sound of a lightsaber by mixing the hum of an unused 35mm film projector and the feedback that comes from moving a stripped microphone cable past a TV set.

There are endless digital archives of the sound effect now that there are countless toys, video games, and TV shows it’s used in as well as the movies, but it all stems from that.

14 George Lucas Tried To Get Some Big-Name Directors To Helm Return Of The Jedi

While George Lucas directed every prequel movie from his own scripts, he only directed the first movie of the original trilogy. Irvin Kershner took on The Empire Strikes Back, while Richard Marquand handled directing duties on Return of the Jedi. But before Marquand was hired, Lucas tried to get some A-list directors on board.

He first asked his friend Steven Spielberg, who declined because Lucas was producing the movie outside the Directors Guild of America, before courting horror directors David Lynch and David Cronenberg, who both turned him down in favor of their own projects.

13 Harrison Ford Improvised The Intercom Exchange In A New Hope

Remember the scene in the original Star Wars movie in which Han Solo is on the Death Star, talking over an intercom system? He ends up shooting to intercom and saying, “Boring conversation anyway.” Apparently, Harrison Ford decided not to learn his lines for that scene and instead improvised it on the day, so that it would seem more spur-of-the-moment.

It’s rare that actors get to ad-lib in a Star Wars movie, since each one goes through a rigorous story-breaking process that ends with a pretty rigid and air-tight script, but this resulted in a nice touch of authenticity, so maybe it should be more common.

12 The Dagobah Swamp Scenes Were Partly Shot In George Lucas’ Pool

The Dagobah sequence in The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most important in Star Wars history. It introduced audiences around the world to Yoda, and also resulted in Luke being trained once and for all as a genuine Jedi. Obi-Wan had given him some pointers, but this was where he truly grappled with his Force powers.

At one point during the Dagobah scene, R2-D2 is consumed by a monster and then spat out into the swamp. He splashes into the water and starts to sink. This might look like a genuine swamp on-screen, but it was actually filmed – at least partly – in the swimming pool in George Lucas’ backyard.

11 Han Solo Is Frozen In Carbonite With A Different Shirt

When Han Solo is frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back, we see him in a white shirt with folded-over collars like what a chef would wear. But in his frozen form, as we see him for the rest of that movie and the beginning of Return of the Jedi, he’s wearing a regular shirt with a narrow, low-hanging V-neck.

This was a result of a lack of communication between the people dressing Harrison Ford for the freezing scene and the people making the carbonite prop. An important lesson was learned.

10 The Jawas’ Sandcrawler Was Mistaken For A Military Vehicle

While the original Star Wars movie was shooting in Tunisia, the Jawas’ Sandcrawler was parked a little close to the Libyan border – close enough that the Libyan government feared it was a military vehicle, and that military action was imminent. After some wacky political misunderstandings, the Tunisian government had to politely ask Lucas to move the Sandcrawler.

While Lucas and his crew were shooting the scene where Luke and Uncle Owen buy Artoo and Threepio, and the Jawas try to rip them off with a droid that has a “bad motivator,” some politicians were in a frenzy as they prepared for what they thought meant a coming war.

9 Return Of The Jedi Was The First Movie To Be Given THX Certification

We all know the THX logo that appears at the beginning of some blockbusters and blows out your eardrums with a slowly rising instrumental sound. These movies have been awarded “THX Certification” by Lucasfilm, and they come with a set of instructions for theaters, claiming each screening room “must be acoustically neutral – on-reverberant – to prevent sonic reflections from muddying dialogue; and [their] sound systems must reproduce substantial deep bass throughout the hall.”

The very first one was Return of the Jedi, and the certification was born when Lucas couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the movie’s audio. He realized it wasn’t an issue with the print, but rather the theater he was screening it in.

8 The Alien Skeleton On Tatooine In A New Hope Is Still There

In one of the scenes set on Tatooine in A New Hope, C-3PO is walking through the desert and a giant alien skeleton can be seen behind him. This skeleton was later identified as belonging to a greater krayt dragon. After the crew finished shooting in Tunisia, no one removed the skeleton and it was just left there.

Years later, when the same crew returned to the same area of Tunisia to shoot Attack of the Clones, they found that the skeleton was still there – and it still is today. Go and check it out!

7 Steven Spielberg Was The Only One Of George Lucas’ Friends Who Thought Star Wars Was Any Good

Upon completing his final cut of the first Star Wars movie, George Lucas screened it for all his director friends, like Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma. He’d faced a disturbing lack of faith from the studio, the crew, and even some of the cast at this point.

And then his friends tore the movie apart. De Palma called it the “worst movie ever.” It can’t have been great for Lucas’ spirit. Spielberg was the only one of the bunch who thought it was good and would be successful – a beacon of hope, kind of like Luke in the movie.

6 George Lucas Hated Han Solo’s “I Know” Line

Towards the end of The Empire Strikes Back, right before Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and taken to Jabba the Hutt’s palace, Leia tells him, “I love you,” and Han simply replies, “I know.” It’s one of the most iconic moments in Star Wars history. But George Lucas hated the “I know” line.

Harrison Ford came up with the line himself and kept pushing for it, but Lucas thought it would be unsuitable for the film’s audience. Of course, Ford was right – it’s totally in character for Han and is remembered by every one of the saga’s fans.

5 The Big Empire Strikes Back Twist Was Kept Under Wraps

With the internet spreading any and all plot details that leak from the production of upcoming blockbusters these days, it’s tougher than ever to keep surprises and twists under wraps. But even back in 1980, it was difficult. George Lucas took some crazy precautions to keep the “I am your father” twist from leaking to the public.

In the script, the line claimed Obi-Wan eliminated Luke’s father, and this was also the line that David Prowse read (his lines as Vader were always redubbed with James Earl Jones’ voice) on the set. Mark Hamill was told the real twist seconds before the scene was shot so that he would react to the real twist, but aside from Lucas, he was the only one who knew before post-production.

4 Return Of The Jedi Was Called Revenge Of The Jedi Until The Last Minute

For most of its production, Return of the Jedi went by the title Revenge of the Jedi. George Lucas later changed it to Return of the Jedi when he realized that the Jedi would not seek vengeance. However, by this time, thousands of Revenge posters had been printed up with artwork by Drew Struzan.

Those posters even had a red twinge to reflect the darker-sounding Revenge title, which just goes to show how much a title can impact the feel of a movie. It still had Ewoks in it, but it was going to be marketed as a dark, gritty finale.

3 The Original Cut Of The Empire Strikes Back Already Identified It As “Episode V”

We know The Empire Strikes Back as the fifth chapter in the Star Wars saga now that we have the prequels and a bunch of home media releases that label the movies with the right episode numbers. However, back in 1980, as far as anyone knew, The Empire Strikes Back was the second part of the story.

Still, George Lucas put “Episode V” at the top of the opening crawl, figuring that fans would be invested enough to look into it. That’s easier to do now that we have Google, but back then, figuring this out would take some serious research.

2 George Lucas Took A Pay Cut In Exchange For Merchandising Rights

This one is actually quite widely known. When he was struggling to get funding for the original Star Wars movie, George Lucas took a pay cut in exchange for full merchandising rights. At the time, Fox executives thought he was a chump for taking the deal, since they didn’t think kids would want to buy space toys and film merchandising wasn’t that lucrative a business back then anyway.

Within a few short years, Star Wars merchandise would be a multi-billion-dollar industry, so Lucas got the last laugh and Fox executives were kicking themselves.

1 Everyone Hated The Ewoks Except George Lucas

It’s fair to say that the adorable Ewoks are not the most popular part of the Star Wars original trilogy. Very few fans really love the Ewoks, and some even wonder why they ended up in the film in the first place. Well, as it turns out, everyone in the cast and crew of Return of the Jedi absolutely despised the Ewoks.

Conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie even went as far as refusing to design them after George Lucas made it clear that he wanted them to look like teddy bears armed with primitive weapons. It’s a testament to Lucas’ resilience and commitment to his vision that he didn’t let this put him off and the Ewoks as he envisioned them made it to the final cut.


2019-04-25 05:04:52

Ben Sherlock

Shazam! Director Offers Behind the Scenes Look At His [SPOILER] Cameo

SPOILERS for Shazam ahead.

Shazam! director David F. Sandberg has offered a behind the scenes look at his cameo as one of the Crocodile Men. The DC Extended Universe film has quickly become a success, earning strong reviews and more than doubling its budget at the global box office so far. Unsurprisingly, Warner Bros. has already gotten the ball rolling on the sequel, which will build on the first movie’s mid-credits introduction to the villainous caterpillar, Mister Mind. Shazam! writer Henry Gayden is currently working on the followup, with Sandberg expected to officially sign on as director any day now.

In the meantime, Sandberg is keeping busy entertaining fans with more Shazam!-related trivia. It had already been revealed that the director appears in the movie as one of the Crocodile Men, who are shown playing cards behind one of the doors that Billy Batson and his foster siblings open in the Rock of Eternity (while they’re being chased by Sivana and the Seven Sins). Now, Sandberg has provided a glimpse at the process that he went through to become one of those reptilian men.

Related: Shazam 2: Mister Mind’s Origin & Powers Explained

Sandberg posted a series of images to his Instagram account, showing him being fitted for a mold for his Crocodile Man mask. The post also includes a pair of clips where the filmmaker tries out the mask’s animatronics, along with a short video that offers an up-close look at one of the mask’s motorized eyes. You can check the whole thing out in the space below.

Funnily enough, Sandberg’s cameo could payoff in a big way in Shazam! 2 or another future DCEU film. In the New 52 comics (which Shazam! draws from), the Crocodile Men hale from a region of the Seven Magical Realms known as the Wildlands, where animals walk around talking and wearing clothing just like humans from our world. Of course, there’s no guarantee that magical land will show up in the Shazam! sequel, given how expensive it would be to bring to life on the big screen. Part of the reason the first movie’s a success is because Sandberg was able to keep its budget down to a manageable $100 million, so WB might prefer to continue that approach with the followup. If so, it’s unlikely Billy and his family will be exploring The Magiclands anytime soon in the DCEU.

Either way, this is a fun glimpse behind the scenes at Sandberg’s cameo and one of many playful DC easter eggs in Shazam!. It’s also a testament to just much Sandberg clearly enjoyed making the movie, and all but assures that he’ll be back for more on Shazam! 2.  Whether he shows up dressed as an anthropomorphic reptile again or tries his hand at playing another fantastical creature in the sequel, of course, remains to be seen.

NEXT: Every Shazam! Easter Egg & Secret DC Reference

Source: David F. Sandberg



2019-04-15 09:04:52

Sandy Schaefer

Legends of Tomorrow: The True Story Behind The Nixon & Robert Redford Episode

President Richard Nixon’s famous “I Am Not A Crook” line acted as the establishing incident of “The Getaway,” episode 10 of Legends of Tomorrow season 4. The events of the episode saw everyone’s favorite team of time-traveling misfits trying to save the world (and, to a lesser degree, the independent film industry) in the face of a mysterious change to Nixon’s character that had dire consequences for future history. Although the episode is largely a Smokey and the Bandit homage, it was rooted in some very real and seismic events.

On November 17, 1973, Nixon met with a number of reporters and editors for a televised question-and-answer session at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Hotel. The hot topic of the day was the growing scandal centered around the burglary of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel by members of Nixon’s reelection committee and the mounting evidence that Nixon had been aware of their plans and worked to cover them up. When directly asked if he was involved, Nixon replied that “people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.” Nixon’s involvement would later be confirmed by the press and he resigned from office before he could be impeached by Congress.

Related: Every Historical Figure On Legends Of Tomorrow, Ranked

That’s not what happened in Legends of Tomorrow. “The Getaway” opens with the Legends learning that something altered the timeline just before Nixon met with the press and made his famous statement. For reasons that the team had to travel back in time to investigate, something rendered “Tricky Dicky” unable to lie. Worse yet, he was also incapable of not rambling about private matters in public settings, such as his belief that he was an adequate lover, at best, despite his wife Patrica’s assurances to the contrary. The end result was global chaos, as peace talks and trade deals fell apart in the face of Nixon’s sudden brutal honesty and inability to keep his mouth shut.

Ray Palmer notes an interesting side-effect of this is that Robert Redford’s film career apparently floundered in the new timeline. With reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein having no need to write their famous expose of the Watergate scandal after Nixon confessed everything, their story was never adapted into the film All The President’s Men, which starred Redford and Dustin Hoffman. This also apparently averted Redford’s creation of the Sundance Film Festival, prompting a sudden call to action from Mick Rory, who declared “No Redford? No Sundance?! No indie film?! No artful nudity?! We’ve got to fix this!

While this is an amusing gag, it is also perhaps the greatest point of exaggeration in the story of “The Getaway.” While All The President’s Men is a great film and one Redford was deeply involved with financing and bringing to life, it is highly unlikely that it never being made would have killed his career in Hollywood. At the time of the Watergate scandal, Redford was the hottest male star in Hollywood following an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in The Sting and it was his success in a string of hit movies afterward that allowed him to persuade Warner Bros. to take a chance on All The President’s Men in 1976.

It would be several years following the release of All The President’s Men before Redford would begin producing feature films on his own through his production company Wildwood Enterprises. While the absence of All The President’s Men may have delayed his success as a producer and director somewhat, it seems highly unlikely Redford would have had his Hollywood career collapse completely without it. Still, there is some humor to be found in the fact that this is the most unrealistic aspect of an episode of Legends of Tomorrow featuring a wolf-woman and a magical insect that forces people to tell the truth

More: Constantine Should Get A Season 2 After Legends of Tomorrow


2019-04-09 05:04:22

Matt Morrison

10 Behind The Scenes Facts About The Making of Us

Jordan Peele’s Us has received over $100 million at the box office, making it a huge hit. The director already had a brilliant level of success for his movie, Get Out in 2017. Us kept the theme of socio-political lessons and symbolism, but Peele still managed to surprise and wow his audience by making the takeaway more broad and challenging to unpack.

RELATED: SNL Parodies Jordan Peele’s Us With Fake Discover Card Commercial

So what kind of work went behind this movie anyway? What inspired such a wonderfully unsettling thriller? While many movie-goers are looking up what to make of the ending, some of you should definitely be curious as to how the movie was made in the first place. So here is a list of behind-the-scenes facts.

10 Peele Had A List Of Movies For Nyong’o To Watch Before Shooting The Film

According to actress Lupita Nyong’o, Jordan Peele gave her a list of horror movies to watch before they began filming. These horror films included famous classics such as Stephen King’s The Shining and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. 

It is easy to see why those movies were in a list for Nyong’o to see before filming. Us did feature creepy twins similar to the ones in The Shining.  The ending of Us also had a similar mood to the ending of Hitchcok’s The Birds, where the main characters drive away with a sense of dread in the wake of a massive attack.

9 Red’s Voice Was Inspired By Spasmodic Dysphonia

The character simply known as Red was a mysterious figure in Us. A trait that set her apart from all else was her voice. In an interview with NME, Lupita Nyong’o said that Red’s voice was inspired by a disorder called spasmodic dysphonia.

RELATED: Us Director Jordan Peele Unlikely to Cast White Male Leads in Future Films

“It’s a condition that is brought about by a trauma, sometimes emotional, sometimes physical, sometimes just inexplicable where your vocal chord folds start to spasm and they create this kind of irregular pattern of air,” explained Nyong’o. “It’s an interesting modulation of the voice. I built off of that from something in the script that said that she hadn’t used her voice for a long time. I worked very diligently to be able to do it without hurting myself.

8 Jordan Peele Finds Rabbits Scary

Rabbits played a certain role in the film, primarily as a source of food for the tethered in the underpass. When questioned about the rabbits role, Jordan Peele admitted that he found rabbits to be unsettling.

“I’m not afraid of them but I do find them scary,” he said. “They’re very cuddly but they also have a sociopathic expression, and they kind of look past you in a creepy kind of way.”

In a way, Peele shared his unsettling feeling of rabbits at the beginning of the movie when the camera slowly zoom out from a rabbits face in a cage. You don’t know what happening at that moment, but whatever it is, it’s definitely ominous. Is it also a coincidence that the movie came out near Easter?

7 The Ballet Scene Was Originally To Traditional Classical Music

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is definitely the duality between Red and Adelaide’s ballet dances as children. One was wide and out in the open with the freedom to move while the other was deep underground and crashing into walls as she tried to match the other.

RELATED: Every Song On The Us Movie Soundtrack

The dancing was to an orchestral arrangement of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It,” however that wasn’t always the plan in the film. In fact, it was originally going to be to Tchaikovsky’s “Pas De Deux” from The Nutcracker. When Peele tried it with the first cut, he changed his mind. He said he found the piece to be too “old-school” for the movie.

6 The Thriller T-Shirt Was Significant

There was more than one piece of imagery that was Michael Jackson related in Us. The most recognizable one is the thriller t-shirt from the 1980s flashback scenes. However, some fans may have also noticed an eerie resemblance to the red jumpsuits the doppelgängers wear and the “Thriller” red jumpsuits. Also like Michael Jackson, the doppelgangers wear a single glove.

“Michael Jackson is probably the patron saint of duality,” said Jordan Peele. “The movie starts in the ’80s — the duality with which I experienced him [Jackson] in that time was both as the guy that presented this outward positivity, but also the ‘Thriller’ video which scared me to death.”

5 Was Inspired By The Twilight Zone Episode “Mirror Image”

Jordan Peele has connections with the Twilight Zone, and it’s not just about him being in charge of the show’s reboot. He has said that a certain episode from season one of the show strongly inspired Us. The episode was called “Mirror Image.” In it, a woman finds a doppelgänger of herself at a bus station and becomes convinced that the double intends on replacing her.

“It’s beautiful, really elegant storytelling,” Jordan Peele said, “and it opens up a world. It opens up your imagination.”

4 Peele Wanted “Us” To Not Be Like “Get Out” In Terms Of Genre And Meaning

Get Out was a major hit in 2017, being a horror comedy about a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family. However with Us, Peele wanted to be able to have black characters without the message being about black identity and racism. Get Out also had genre confusion since comedy and horror are a unique mix, so Peele wanted Us to be purely horror.

“As much as the point of [Us] is setting out to make a movie where it’s not about race, America is about race,” said Peele. “It’s always about race. So you can’t really get away from that and people’s experience of the film. I think it only highlights how important it is that we try and forge into the territory where a black family is just a black family and that’s it.”

3 The Costumes Were All Symbolic

Besides the “Thriller” t-shirt and red jumpsuits, many other outfit choices in the film were made to hint at character identity.  Kym Barrett was the costume designer and she decided it was important for the protagonist to wear white through the film. “I wanted her to be the lantern that led her family,” Barrett said. “Along the way, that light is continually flickering … She’s getting more and more and more covered in blood. The idea was that [by the film’s end], she’s almost as red as Red.”

The husband on the other hand, Gabe, picks outfits to communicate where he belongs and who he is. The son, Jason, has clothes that reflect he’s a trickster from his white-tuxedo t-shirt to his JAWS shirt. Zora wears a lot of rabbit-themed shirts. As for the shade of red the tethered wear, Barrett said, “It’s half the color of wet blood; it’s half the color of dried blood. It’s like an old wound.”

2 Peele Was A Stand-In For The Actors

In a movie about doppelgängers, the actors had the challenge of acting with key characters missing. Nyong’o had to act as Red without Adelaide and act as Adelaide without Red. However, Jordan Peele decided to help the actors by making himself a stand-in for the missing character. Actor Winston Duke even said that Peele had a talent for mimicking their lines and mannerisms from the day before.

RELATED: What Jeremiah 11:11 Means In Us

This way, the actors had another character to bounce off of and communicate with. So many could not picture the movie until they saw it for themselves since they played two individual parts that had to interact with each other!

1 Nyong’o’s Acting Scared Her Co-Stars

Actress Shahadi Wright Joseph shared with Buzzfeed that Nyong’o’s portrayal of Red on film set was a scary experience. She said that Nyong’o was so dedicated, that she would often stay in character even when they were not filming.

“She really kinda spooked me out a little bit,” Joseph said. “She would really get into character and wouldn’t talk. It was kind of creepy.”

This does tie in to Red’s special voice, which the actress said she had to practice and find a way to use it without hurting her vocal chords.

NEXT: 10 Movies To Watch If You Liked Us


2019-04-08 09:04:16

Allison Stalberg

10 X-Men We’d Love To See In The MCU (And 10 That Can Be Left Behind)

With the recent purchase of 20th Century Fox by Disney, the first thing that came to just about everyone’s mind was whether or not the X-Men, whose rights are owned by Fox, would now be able to mingle with the heroes of the MCU. Of course, there is already a lot happening in the MCU, and it might not even be possible to integrate the X-Men. Even Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that the inclusion of the X-Men in the MCU is looking fairly unlikely with how much is already going on in that world. Still, fans can cross their fingers and hope against hope that the X-Men will somehow get the chance to rub shoulders with the Avengers or maybe even the Guardians of the Galaxy.

That being said, there are so many characters in the X-Men canon that Fox was able to build their own film universe with just that one property. If the X-Men do end up being included in the MCU, there will no doubt have to be some major cuts made to just how many characters can be included in upcoming stories. So that means that, unfortunately, some of the X-Men are most likely going to have to be benched when the team is introduced to the MCU. That might be for the best, though. If there was one glaring problem with the entire X-Men film franchise, it’s that it was so overstuffed with characters that some of the more important ones didn’t get as much of a chance to really shine. So here we present ten X-Men characters that should be included in the MCU (and ten that should be left behind).

20 WANT TO SEE: DEADPOOL

Since making a big splash with his first two R-rated films, Deadpool, especially as played by Ryan Reynolds has become an on-screen fan favorite. So obviously, Deadpool fans are wondering how the merc with a mouth will eventually fit in with the MCU if he’s even given the chance at all.

It would be a lot of fun to see Wade Wilson going on adventures with the Avengers, especially if he changed his mind about being in the X-Men and decided to join up with them instead. Would his fourth-wall breaking antics fit in with the world of the MCU? We know we would like to see if they did!

19 LEAVE BEHIND: WOLVERINE

Wolverine was, at one point, probably the most popular Marvel character to appear in films (right up until Spider-Man came out just a year after X-Men). Still, he remained a major fan favorite, and Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the character will no doubt stand as one of the best on-screen portrayals of a superhero ever.

That being said, it would be really hard for Wolverine to be brought back in the MCU, especially since he had such a beautiful swan song in Logan. Hugh Jackman has said he is done playing the character, and recasting the part this soon seems like it would be disrespectful to the legacy Jackman built.

18 WANT TO SEE: BEAST

Henry McCoy, also known by his code-name Beast, is such a great character because he truly displays the plight of mutants. Though he has a blue, hairy, intimidating appearance, he is intelligent, well-spoken, and not particularly violent. That is unless he is provoked, in which case he becomes, well, a beast.

Beast is one of the original X-Men, and it would be nice to see him reintroduced into the MCU. He would be a great ally for Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, what with him also being a scientist. It would be funny because he sort of falls between the two: a man who is intelligent but able to keep his more animalistic side in check.

17 LEAVE BEHIND: SABRETOOTH

Without Wolverine in the MCU, is there really any reason to have Sabretooth in there? His story is so strongly tied to Logan’s that he couldn’t really exist on his own. Not only that, but he just wouldn’t provide a great foil to the Avengers or any of the MCU heroes, considering that his powers are not all that impressive.

While Liev Schreiber did a great job playing the classic X-Men villain in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (and, next to Jackman, may have been the best part of that film overall), there’s just no need for any version of the character to exist in the MCU. There are already enough opportunities to feature great villains.

16 WANT TO SEE: PROFESSOR X

What would the X-Men be without Professor X? They are, after all, named after him. Without their fearless leader, mentor, and father figure, the X-Men would be entirely lost. Obviously, if the X-Men find their way into the world of the MCU, they’re going to need Professor X to come with them.

The only real question is whether Patrick Stewart would play the role again, or if he would open it up for someone else. Stewart has said that Logan was his swan song as the character as well, so maybe it’s time for the torch to be passed to someone else. Who that may be, we don’t know.

15 LEAVE BEHIND: MAGNETO

On the other hand, Magneto, who has been played so well by both Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen, is probably not going to need to be a major player in the MCU version of X-Men. Besides, there would already be some confusion, considering that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are supposed to be Magneto’s kids.

In the MCU, however, these two characters were just orphans who were given their powers through the use of an infinity stone. Adding Magneto into the mix and trying to explain all of that away would just make things more complicated. Its better if they’re just super-powered people in this world and not mutants.

14 WANT TO SEE: CYCLOPS

You may be noticing a pattern here, and that’s the inclusion of all the original X-Men in the ones we would like to see in the MCU. We just think that if you’re going to drop the X-Men into this established universe, why not start with the originals, the ones who made up the very first team?

That’s why we think Cyclops, despite his lack of popularity in the films overall, should be included in the MCU. Scott Summers is a born leader and someone whom the team can look to in tough times (especially if they’re away from the mansion and Professor X). Cyclops would be a welcome addition to the MCU, and his straightforward heroic demeanor would be a nice substitute for Captain America’s.

13 LEAVE BEHIND: JUGGERNAUT

We really don’t think we need to explain why Juggernaut should just stay very far away from the MCU, but it definitely has to do with his terrible appearance in the third X-Men film. While the big guy in the helmet got a little bit more of a fun treatment in Deadpool 2, there’s just no room for him in the MCU.

Juggernaut isn’t even a real mutant! He just got his powers from the Gem of Cyttorak, which, again, would be really hard to work into the history of the MCU. While he may have been fun in previous incarnations of X-Men stories, Juggernaut would be best left behind so that the other characters don’t have to deal with him.

12 WANT TO SEE: JEAN GREY

Jean Grey, next to Professor X, might just be the most important member of the original X-Men team. She is a powerful telepath and her telekinesis powers are practically unrivaled. Her transformation into Dark Phoenix is one of the most important story-lines in all of comic book history.

There would be no real X-Men team without Jean Grey. She needs to be there. Her relationship with Scott, though not her entire character arc, is important enough that leaving it out would really weaken the character dynamics of the team. Plus, it would be great to set her up as a villain in future films.

11 LEAVE BEHIND: PSYLOCKE

Psylocke is practically a B-list X-Men character as it is, so there’s really no need to include her in the MCU. Even when she was featured as a prominent character in X-Men: Apocalypse, it felt like she was barely there. Sure, her powers and fighting skills are impressive, but there needs to be more to a character than that.

Olivia Munn did a fine job playing Psylocke, giving her just the right amount of attitude, but ultimately she would not really fit in all that well with the MCU. Besides, there needs to be more room for the X-Men characters that people really know and love, which means that Psylocke gets benched.

10 WANT TO SEE: ICEMAN

Bobby Drake, also known as Iceman, has always been a central part of the X-Men films. He is also a member of the original team, which makes him alright in our books. Having Iceman included in the MCU would be great because his powers could make for some truly awesome set pieces in the films.

Iceman is also integral to the team in that he has always been humble and good-hearted. He has never tried to take over leadership of the team, and he is happy to just be helping the other mutants and saving the world. It’s the kind of personality that would fit right in and contrast just enough with other characters in the MCU.

9 LEAVE BEHIND: JUBILEE

Let’s face it: Jubilee is no one’s favorite X-Men. In fact, her powers aren’t even unique, considering that Dazzler has almost the exact same power, that being the ability to basically shoot a fireworks display out of her hand. sure, Jubilee’s personality may be unique, but how far can that go, really?

At the end of the day, Jubilee’s powers never prove to be that useful or important to the story, and as a character, Jubilee is pretty inconsequential. She is young, excitable, and rocks a pretty cool yellow jacket, but Jubilee being in the MCU would just feel like a pointless addition.

8 WANT TO SEE: COLOSSUS

Colossus may not have played a huge role in the previous X-Men films, but he became a major player in the Deadpool films, acting as a sort of rule-abiding foil to Wade Wilson’s anarchic mercenary. Colossus would be a welcome addition to the MCU if only because it would be great to have another super strong hero other than the Hulk.

Colossus would actually make a great opponent for the Hulk, or even Iron Man if they ever had to face off for the first time. As we have seen in the MCU, sometimes the heroes do end up fighting each other before coming to some kind of agreement. How cool would it be to see any of the familiar MCU heroes take on this metal-skinned titan?

7 LEAVE BEHIND: ROGUE

Rogue was a huge part of the original X-Men trilogy of films, and while Anna Paquin did an excellent job playing the young mutant, there’s not really any good reason to include Rogue in the MCU.

For one thing, her powers have never been all that impressive at the end of the day. Sure, she can absorb the life force of anyone she touches (which also gives her the power to absorb and use the powers of mutants), but how useful could that really end up being in the long run? Maybe it’s narrow-minded to write Rogue off completely, but it’s hard to see how she would fit into a newly reorganized team of MCU X-Men.

6 WANT TO SEE: SHADOWCAT

Kitty Pryde has always been one of the most popular X-Men in the comic books, and as played by Ellen Page in X-Men: The Last Stand, the character was made even more popular. Also known as Shadowcat, Kitty Pryde would make a great addition to the MCU.

Along with having the power to phase through solid materials, Shadowcat also has a great personality and attitude that would fit in very well with the entire feel of the MCU. Imagine her having a snark-off with Tony Stark, or rubbing any of the Avengers the wrong way, only to then phase out of the room when they get too annoyed with her. She could even trade some stories with Vision, who has similar powers.

5 LEAVE BEHIND: MYSTIQUE

Mystique has always been a fixture of the X-Men film series, but it might be time to leave the blue-skinned shapeshifter behind for good. Having now been played by Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence, Mystique has been given enough story on film to satisfy fans.

It just seems like giving Mystique anymore to do in the MCU would start to produce a fatigue with the character. There’s only so many times we as an audience can see the same character played by multiple actors. Mystique would best be left behind in the Fox X-Men universe in order to make room for some mutants who never got as much attention.

4 WANT TO SEE: NIGHTCRAWLER

Nightcrawler was introduced to the X-Men films in X2: X-Men United, but he had been a fan favorite long before then, having been included in some of the most important X-Men stories, as well as the television show and several video games. Alan Cumming and Kodi Smit-McPhee have done a great job playing him, and maybe it’s time for him to make an entrance into the MCU.

IT would be nice to have at least one other mutant (other than Beast) who has an appearance that cannot be altered in any way. Telling the mutant stories is much more effective when there are mutants who cannot hide their powers. Plus, Nightcrawler’s teleportation would be very useful to the MCU heroes.

3 LEAVE BEHIND: ANGEL

Angel only appeared in two X-Men films, and both times he failed to make any sort of lasting impression. While the character is part of the original team, and it would be nice to have that entire original roster show up in the MCU, there’s just no place for this winged mutant.

The problem with Angel is that there really isn’t all that much to his character. He has wings, but so what? Iron Man can fly without wings, and Angel has no other powers to speak of (except for when he is augmented by Apocalypse, which wouldn’t happen in the MCU, so it’s a moot point.)

2 WANT TO SEE: STORM

Storm might not be an original member of the X-Men team, but she has been around for a long time, and she is a beloved character that has been played by Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp. Storm, of course, has the power to control the weather, which would be a lot of fun to see in the MCU.

After all, who else do we know in the MCU who seems to have the ability to change the weather and bring forth lightning and thunder? Thor! It would be a lot of fun to see these two characters interact with each other and try to compare their abilities to one another.

1 LEAVE BEHIND: GAMBIT

We’re just going to go ahead and say it: stop trying to make Gambit happen! The character has never been all that important to the overall X-Men story, and honestly, he seems to only exist in order to be cool and give kids a hero that they get to fight over when they play X-Men video games.

Yes, there has been talk of a Gambit movie happening for a long time, and Channing Tatum is still interested and attached, but the character is just a result of the ’90s trend in making cool characters who are actually pretty hollow when you look closely. Gambit is best left in the realm of obscurity.


2019-03-17 07:03:06

Colin Leggett

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20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Independence Day

The possibility of extraterrestrial life is a tantalizing one; however, it carries with it the chance that creatures from another world might not be friendly. Authors from Lucian to H. G. Wells have written about the fascinating concept of hostile aliens. The alien invasion movie was a staple of American cinema in the 1950’s, but largely fell out of favor in the following few decades. During that time, Hollywood sci-fi films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. tended to depict aliens in a more positive light. The alien invasion genre was practically gone in 1996, when filmmaker Roland Emmerich’s spectacle Independence Day was released.

While it lacked established movie stars and wasn’t a part of a pre-existing franchise, the film still became a staggering box office success. Finally, there was a movie to accompany Fourth of July celebrations. While the film itself remains popular, the story of its creation is still fairly obscure. While behind the scenes stories about other blockbusters like Jaws, The Lion King, and Titanic are commonplace knowledge for movie buffs, facts about Emmerich’s most famous film to date seem to be about as well known as the true nature of Area 51. Rather than having Christmas in July, let us discuss Independence Day in December and look back at some of the interesting facts surrounding this landmark special effects movie.

From a one-sided feud with a Tim Burton movie to a scene based on a Shakespeare speech, we are looking at 20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Independence Day.

20 Ethan Hawke Was The First Choice For Will Smith’s Role

Following the modest success of the cult comedy-drama Reality Bites, Ethan Hawke became very selective about what roles he would take. During this time, Hawke was offered the part of Captain Steve Hiller in Independence Day. When he read the film’s script to a friend, Hawke thought that a joke in the film referencing E.T. was bad. In fact, he hated the film’s script so much that he threw his copy of it out of the window of his car onto a Texas highway.

After seeing the film in theaters, Hawke immediately regretted his decision. To be honest, we couldn’t imagine anyone besides Smith in the role.

19 Independence Day Did Not Inspire Mars Attacks!

When Tim Burton’s zany sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks! was released, numerous critics and viewers thought it was a satire of Independence Day, which beat it to theaters by less than six months. The parallels between the two films are obvious – they are both alien invasion movies which focus on dozens of characters from different walks of life. In actuality, Mars Attacks! went into production first and was designed as an homage to 1950s science-fiction films like It Came from Outer Space and Plan 9 from Outer Space, rather than Roland Emmerich’s star-spangled opus.

Emmerich and company were worried that they would look like plagiarists, and pushed for their film to be released to theaters first. Sadly for Burton, Emmerich’s film quenched the public thirst for aliens that year, and Mars Attacks! was a tremendous flop.

18 The Title Was Chosen To Force its release date

Emmerich knew that Mars Attacks! was slated for a release late in the year and was determined to beat it to the market. He decided to call his film Independence Day to encourage 20th Century Fox to give it a summertime release date. Emmerich and his co-writer Dean Devlin came up with the film’s title long before they completed its script and “wrote the concept around the release date.” After all, who wouldn’t want to see a film called Independence Day on Independence Day?

Apparently 1990s ironic detachment did not apply in this situation, but what did you expect from a film this sincere and straightforward? Once Emmerich named his film, it was sure to be everyone’s Fourth of July film of choice for 1996– unless, of course, another studio released a film starring Julia Roberts as Martha Washington.

17 It Was Almost Called Doomsday

In spite of what Emmerich and company wanted, 20th Century Fox considered changing the film’s title to Doomsday. Bill Pullman thought that the new title was bad, and it’s not hard to see why. The film wasn’t bleak and apocalyptic. It actually takes a very hopeful view of human nature, positing that times of great distress can bring out the best in people and that even people society has written off, like Randy Quaid’s character, can become heroes.

The film, in its own way, does embody some of the humanistic ideals that led to the revolution in the first place. The studio’s marketing department was apparently not thinking in such philosophical terms.

16 The Studio Didn’t Cast Any “Movie Stars”

When looking for ways to describe the cast of Independence Day, the term “star-studded” comes to mind. Between Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldman, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid, and The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, the film’s cast is full of familiar faces. However, 20th Century Fox refused to cast anyone in the film considered to be “movie stars.”

Emmerich did not believe that the film’s supposed lack of star power would hurt its chances at finding an audience. As Emmerich’s agent noted in a New York Times article, many of the most lucrative films ever made, from E.T. to Star Wars, did not star anyone who was well known when the film first appeared in theaters.

15 Doubts about Will Smith

Early into the film’s conception, Emmerich decided that he wanted Will Smith to play Captain Steven Hiller. The director believed that no one embodied the film’s core values like Smith. Initially, the studio was not on the same page. It was felt that Smith was so identified with his role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that audiences might have a difficult time accepting him in a new role.

In the studio’s defense, Smith had never carried a major studio film before, and well-known sitcom actors don’t always have prominent film careers. Eventually, studio heads were convinced that Smith was right for the part. This gamble paid off, and Smith became one of the most bankable stars of the late 1990s and 2000s.

14 It Sparked A Craze For Dolphin-Themed Jewelry

Film and television have a major influence on what we do and buy. The Hunger Games repopularized archery. Lisa Simpson inspired kids to learn to play the saxophone, and Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmatians convinced numerous people to buy Dalmatian puppies. Independence Day inspired a craze for dolphin jewelry.

If it’s been a while since you’ve caught the film on cable, you might not remember that Smith’s character gives his fiancée, played by Vivica A. Fox,  a wedding ring with bottlenose dolphins on it. This inspired a brief craze for similar rings. Sadly, the company that created the rings was not licensed to produce replicas of it; if they were, they might have made a ton of money. On a happier note, Fox was kindly allowed to keep the ring by the film’s producers.

13 Emmerich Doesn’t Believe In Aliens

Just because a director depicts an entity in their films does not mean that they believe in said entity. Stanley Kubrick didn’t believe in ghosts despite making The Shining, Steven Spielberg isn’t Christian even though he directed Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and George Lucas (probably) doesn’t believe in the Force. What is somewhat surprising, however, is that Roland Emmerich doesn’t believe in aliens.

Polls suggest that a majority of citizens from US and Germany do not think that we are alone in the universe, and a plethora of scientists have said that the existence of extraterrestrial life is highly likely given the vastness of outer space. Thus, it’s surprising to know that a director whose made several films about aliens does not think that they exist.

12 Will Smith Turned Down A Role In the sequel

Fans of Independence Day were surprised to hear that the film’s long-awaited sequel would not feature so much as a cameo from Will Smith. Instead, the actor chose to play Deadshot in the comic book blockbuster, Suicide Squad. When asked why he declined to appear in Resurgence, Smith replied that he would rather move forward in his career than nostalgically reprise an old role.

He also told Roland Emmerich that he was worried that he had been making too many science fiction films as of late, due to his back-to-back appearances in Men In Black 3 and After Earth. Perhaps if Smith had been in the film, it would have had a fighting chance at the box office.

11 Emmerich Has criticized the movie

Usually, when a filmmaker admits that one of their films has flaws, it’s because that film was lambasted by critics and rejected by the public. Examples of this would be Joel Schumacher apologizing for the shortcomings of Batman & Robin, and Will Smith saying that he should not have made Wild Wild West. Emmerich, however, had admitted that there are flaws in Independence Day, a film that was immensely popular with moviegoers and received a mostly positive response from critics.

He has said that the film’s plot relies on massive coincidences where characters just happen to bump into each other. However, Emmerich also feels that the film’s contrivances aren’t too significant, as the film is, in his words, “a fable.”

10 It Broke A Record Held By Jurassic Park

Like some of the Spielberg films that inspired it, Independence Day managed to break a box office record. Specifically, it broke the record for the shortest amount of time for a film to gross $100 million, accomplishing the feat in a mere six days. Previously, that record was held by Jurassic Park, which grossed $100 million in nine days.

As impressive as that was in 1990s, both of these accomplishments seem a little quaint today, when the latest superhero releases seem able to gross $100 million in their opening weekends. It also feels quaint that once a film could be a blockbuster spectacle and only feature special effects during its set pieces, unlike modern blockbusters, which are often shot primarily in front of a green screen.

9 A Second Sequel Probably Won’t Get Made

After the success of the first film, plans for a trilogy were quickly made. The second film in the franchise was not released until 2016 because Emmerich kept getting involved in other projects. Twenty years was apparently too long of a wait, as Independence Day: Resurgence was a box office disappointment, making 53% less money than the original film. With a domestic pull of just $103 million, it did not even make back its production budget.

This disappointment raised the question: would Emmerich’s planned third film ever get made? Devlin recently said that there are no current plans to complete the trilogy. Given Fox’s deal wiith Disney, we can only hope that the House of Mouse decides to keep the franchise going.

8 The hidden reference

When you think of Independence Day, one of the first things that comes to mind is images of massive spaceships destroying American landmarks. That idea was not born directly out of Emmerich and Devlin’s heads; instead, it was inspired by the beloved 1950’s sci-fi extravaganza Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, a film mostly remembered for its scene of a stop-motion flying saucer crashing into the Washington Monument.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was having a bit of a pop culture renaissance in 1996, as it was also a primary inspiration for Mars Attacks! Ray Harryhausen, the late special effects genius who created the spaceships for Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, would certainly be glad to know that his work has influenced generations of filmmakers.

7 Steven Spielberg Feels That Independence Day Changed The Course of Cinema

In crafting the film, Emmerich drew inspiration from Steven Spielberg projects like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future. With that in mind, it must have been amazing when Emmerich met Spielberg who told him that Independence Day had changed the course of cinema through its combination of genres. Part of why Independence Day has such mass appeal was that it’s a little bit of everything. It’s part war film, part 1950s sci-fi flick, and part 1970s disaster film, with a sprinkling of romance and a heavy dose of patriotism.

Spielberg felt that the film’s genre fusion was enormously influential on subsequent Hollywood features and Emmerich himself sees the film as a template for many of the recent Marvel movies.

6 Emmerich’s secret message

During the final assault on the mothership near the end of the film, characters of different ethnicities are seen teaming up to defeat the alien menace. This was not an accident. Emmerich wanted to show that people from different backgrounds could all work together in times of great conflict.

In that way, Independence Day embodies an optimism that is sorely lacking in more recent Hollywood blockbusters like Batman v Superman, which has a darker understanding of human nature. No wonder Independence Day managed to stick with people. It depicts an ideal of teamwork and inclusion. Or maybe it’s just because it’s entertaining to watch Will Smith punch an alien in the face and say “Welcome to earth!

5 A Key Scene Was Inspired By William Shakespeare

Faced with a possible title change that could have resulted in the film being released after Mars Attacks!, Roland Emmerich needed to find a way to keep the film’s original title. His solution was to work the phrase “Independence Day” into Bill Pulllman’s iconic speech in the film. The speech was modeled on the famous St. Crispin’s Day speech from William Shakespeare’s Henry V, one of the Bard’s most oft-quoted passages. The filmmakers simply replaced Shakespeare’s references to St. Crispin’s Day with references to the Fourth of July.

According to Emmerich, he was comfortable doing this because he didn’t think that Shakespeare was going to sue him anytime soon. Emmerich’s plan worked, and after seeing footage of the speech, Fox executives decided that the film should be released on Fourth of July weekend.

4 The Filmmakers Were In Awe Of Pullman’s Delivery

Bill Pullman may have appeared in a lot of silly comedies like SpaceballsScary Movie 4, and Lake Placid, but that does not mean that he does not take the art of acting very seriously. Before performing his rousing speech for the cameras, he spent time listening to recordings of some of the most well-known speeches from the 20th century to help him perfect his line delivery. When he gave the speech, he channeled those speeches and the performances of John Wayne and the rest of the film’s cast and crew were completely blown away.

Emmerich requested that almost no changes be made to the raw footage of Pullman in the editing room, as he wanted the organic energy of Pullman’s delivery to remain in the final cut.

3 State-of-the-art effects

Independence Day was produced just before a total reliance on CGI became the norm for Hollywood special effect bonanzas. Therefore, the film relied heavily on state-of-the-art miniatures to bring its most important moments to life. Members of the press were invited to watch one of the film’s models get destroyed as part of a scene of destruction and mayhem.

This stands in stark contrast to modern movie productions, which usually want to keep major effects from being seen before the film is released. The film won an Academy Award for its special effects; one of the four effects artists who got to share the award, Volker Engel, even got the chance to return to work on Independence Day: Resurgence, though the later film made no use of models.

2 It came out When Scientists Thought They Discovered Life On Mars

Roland Emmerich might know something that we don’t. Independence Day is fun popcorn entertainment to be sure, but for a second it looked like it could be prophetic. In 1996, scientists briefly believed that they had discovered evidence of bacterial life on Mars. The supposed evidence turned out to be nothing, but it would probably have increased public interest in the film and Mars Attacks! if actual aliens had been discovered.

Perhaps the discovery of extraterrestrials could have been an interesting counterpoint to the film if the extraterrestrials found turned out to be harmless. In that situation, we earthlings would have looked paranoid, but at least we would have two cool movies on our hands.

1 The Film Has Become Standard Fourth Of July Fare On Cable

Christmas has numerous specials. Halloween has the entire horror genre. Groundhog Day has Groundhog Day, and Independence Day has Independence Day. It’s rather surprising that cinema has been around for over a century, yet there still isn’t a popular film about the Founding Fathers that can be used as a Fourth of July movie. The few films which do portray the revolution, like 1776 and Emmerich’s The Patriot, are all but forgotten.

On that front, we will probably have to wait until the long awaited film adaptation of Hamilton makes it to the screen. Until then, we have Independence Day to serve as the viewing experience nearly as intertwined with our national holiday as barbecues and fireworks.

Do you have any trivia to share about Independence Day? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-12-16 01:12:09

Twilight: 20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of New Moon

With the origin stories and world building already taken care of in the first installment, sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon was free to hit the ground running and really start to establish the bigger plot and themes of the series.

Very early on in the movie, Edward Cullen– believing his presence to be a danger to Bella Swan– and his family relocate, sending Bella into a spiral of depression and also into the comforting arms of Jacob. Here is where the whole Team Edward vs Team Jacob dynamic first comes into play in a real way, thus laying down the first major source of conflict for the franchise. This is followed by the introduction of a bigger world of vampires and werewolves outside of just that core love triangle, with the movie exploring the entire cultures of both of those warring factions and even taking the events of the film international, well beyond the dreary confines of small town Forks, Washington.

In expanding the scope of the franchise, New Moon faced a lot of interesting challenges behind the scenes as well. Directors and filming locations changed, new characters joined, old actors were threatened with replacement, and a “wolf camp” was attended. The record-breaking success of the movie means that all of those challenges were not only conquered but worth the trouble, but it’s always fascinating to look at the many moving parts of a huge tent pole movie and how difficult it can be to keep those parts working together.

Here are 20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Twilight: New Moon.

20 Kristen Stewart’s Computer-Assisted Eye Color

Sometimes, more minor physical details about a book character are glossed over or changed when said character is adapted to movie form. Things like hair and eye color, for instance, are often seen as easy to alter when selecting an actor– but other times, everything has to be just right. Such was the case when the naturally green-eyed Kristen Stewart took on the role of brown-eyed Bella Swan, as she wore contacts to make her eyes brown– at least in her pre-vampiric state.

That said, colored contact lenses can cause a lot of issues. An example of this occurred during Bella and Jacob’s sad scene in the rain during New Moon, with the rain irritating Stewart’s contacts to the point that she couldn’t wear them. For that scene, her eyes had to be re-colored in post-production, which is costly and time-consuming.

19 Lucy Hale and Diego Luna Were Almost In It

Movies are rarely cast with all of the filmmakers’ first choices for each role, and it’s obviously also rare that everyone who wants a role in a movie gets one. The Twilight Saga has a pretty long list of actors who were almost in the series, but New Moon in particular has some interesting ones.

Perhaps the biggest name that was up for a part in New Moon but didn’t get it was Pretty Little Liars‘ Lucy Hale, who was in the running to play Jane of the Volturi before the role ultimately went to Dakota Fanning. Prior to Michael Sheen signing on to play Aro, both Diego Luna (Rouge One, Milk) and Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian, Netflix’s The Punisher) were on the shortlist of actors being considered for the important role.

18 Taylor Lautner Was Almost Recast

In the first Twilight movie, Jacob– played by Taylor Lautner– was supposed to be kind of a scrawny, shy teenager. The role didn’t require an actor with impressive body mass. Jacob was supposed to make a major physical transition between Twilight and New Moon, going from a gangly teenager to a buff young adult– and apparently the filmmakers didn’t think Lautner was going to be able to hack it.

So doubtful were they that Lautner wouldn’t be able to make himself physically imposing enough to play the new version of Jacob that they considered replacing him entirely, with the primary front-runner being Michael Copon (The Scorpion King 2). Lautner wasn’t willing to give up the coveted role, and surprised everyone when he added over 30 pounds of muscle in record time, giving himself the necessary bulk to ensure his job security.

17 Anna Kendrick’s improv

Actor Anna Kendrick’s star had already been rising by 2008, but there’s no doubt that her appearance in Twilight that year is what pushed her over the line into major mainstream recognition. Only a year later, she would receive her first Academy Award nomination for her work in Up In The Air alongside George Clooney.

Kendrick has earned a positive reputation for her strong improv skills, most notably put to use in the Pitch Perfect films. New Moon‘s director must have already been aware of that talent, as he allowed Kendrick to improvise heavily for the movie– including almost all of her dialogue for the scene where she and Kristen Stewart are leaving the movie theater and discussing zombie films.

16 It Broke A Record Previously Held By The Dark Knight

Thanks to the incredible drawing power of Star Wars and the MCU, there are currently three movies that have single-day domestic box office grosses of over $100 million. Back when The Dark Knight surpassed $67 million in a single day way back in 2008, it set a new record and was almost unheard of at the time.

Which makes it an even bigger deal that New Moon broke that record, when it brought in $72.7 million on its opening day. As the numbers stand today, Dark Knight ranks all the way down at #27 on the all-time list of single-day earners, and New Moon‘s take has since been surpassed by 12 other movies– but no other Twilight films. For a YA adaptation to break a record held by Dark Knight was still a really big deal.

15 Robert Pattinson Wouldn’t Wax His Eyebrows

The Twilight movies get a lot of gaff for the supposedly feminine appearance of Edward and the other vampires. Sun sparkling aside– which was significantly downplayed after the first movie– anyone who derides the Twilight film series on the basis of effeminate vampires clearly knows very little about how vampires have always been portrayed in popular fiction.

With that in mind, however, Robert Pattinson didn’t fully fault people for feeling that way about his physical appearance as Edward– because he agreed. In particular, he felt that his overly-waxed eyebrows in the first movie were too much, and for both appearances and for his own avoidance of pain, he refused to have them waxed from New Moon onward– the result of which is extremely apparent when you look back at his Twilight eyebrows vs his New Moon ones.

14 The Drowning Scene Scared Everyone

It was one of the most-used shots of New Moon‘s marketing– Bella appearing to sink to her doom in the depths of a body of water. It is definitely a breathtaking shot, and one that involved some clever camera trickery. It was almost done more organically– until someone else tried it out first.

The original plan was to have Kristen Stewart wear weights that would sink her to the bottom of a pool, at which point she could just remove the weights and swim up to safety. Stewart refused this plan as it sounded too dangerous, prompting director Chris Weitz to demonstrate it for the cast and crew. He was barely to the bottom before he panicked and quickly pulled off the weights, swam to the surface, and demanded a new plan be put into action, refusing to put Stewart through what he just endured.

13 The Actors Who Played Jacob’s Tribe Attended “Wolf Camp” Together

One of the biggest additions to New Moon were the werewolves that Jacob and the rest of his tribe shape-shifted into. While much of the actual time the characters spent as wolves was done via CGI, the actors still needed to be able to embody the essence of being a wolf and living as part of a unified pack.

In order to achieve this, the actors who portrayed the members of the Quileute tribe attended a “wolf camp” together, which served to help them form a close bond and to really feel as though they were part of a pack as close-knit and supportive as a real pack of wolves would be. It also caused them to “[drive] each other to get more buff,” according to director Chris Weitz, which makes sense since they spend most of the movie without shirts on.

12 Jamie Campbell Bower was almost Edward instead of Caius

Pro tip for anyone who auditions for parts and doesn’t get them– don’t fret, because the casting department might not necessarily forget about you and may keep you in mind for future parts. This is especially true for movies with multiple sequels.

For proof of this, look no further than New Moon. Actor Jamie Campbell Bower was hoping to catch his big break when he auditioned for the role of Edward in Twilight, a part that he obviously didn’t end up getting. But producers remembered him, and called him back for New Moon (and beyond) to play Caius. Of course, Bower is also associated with another major fantasy franchise, playing young Gellert Grindewald in both Harry Potter and the Deathtly Hollows — Part 1 and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald.

11 The Script Was Already Finished By Twilight’s Opening Weekend

While there tends to be a lot of hand-wringing when it comes to whether the first installment in a new film franchise is going to be a hit, movie studios are far less reserved when it comes to putting sequels into production once a part one is a proven success. And with New Moon, that happened especially quickly.

In fact, New Moon was greenlit by Summit Entertainment literally the day after Twilight opened. Coincidentally, the first draft of New Moon‘s script, written by Melissa Rosenberg on the weekends of her day job of writing for Dexter, was also handed in that very weekend. With everything in place, New Moon went into production almost immediately.

10 Michael Sheen Did It For His Daughter

One of the standout performances of New Moon is definitely Michael Sheen’s as Aro. Sheen is clearly relishing the excuse to give an intentionally to-the-rafters performance of the powerful vampire leader. He does just about everything a person can do to convey they are in on the joke but look directly at the camera and wink.

Like so many adults who appear in YA-focused properties, Sheen took the role in New Moon primarily because his daughter, Lily Mo Beckinsale-Sheen– whose mother is actress Kate Beckinsale– was such a big fan of the Twilight books. In fact, Sheen relied entirely on his then-eight-year-old daughter to tell him all about the character he’d be playing, and Sheen says that pretty much everything he used in his performance came from what Lily Mo told him about Aro.

9 My Chemical Romance Refused To Contribute A Song

New Moon‘s soundtrack brought together a number of heavy-hitters from across multiple genres, and included both big, major label artists and those on the more indie end of the spectrum. It is also notable in that every single artist– which included The Killers, Muse, OK Go, Death Cab For Cutie, and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, among others– contributed a song or at least a version of a song recorded specifically for the New Moon soundtrack, which was certified Gold and/or Platinum in six countries.

However, emo/pop-punk band My Chemical Romance declined to contribute their music to New Moon‘s soundtrack, despite multiple requests to do so. According to lead singer Gerard Way, their music simply “didn’t fit” with the film. That’s kind of strange coming from a band with a song called “Vampires Will Never Hurt You” in their back catalogue.

8 The Director Did It As A Favor

By most accounts, director Catherine Hardwicke had a positive experience with her cast, crew, and the studio in making Twilight. It seemed a given that she would come along for the next installment, and she was offered the job– but declined when she disagreed with the very tight shooting schedule the studio had put on New Moon in order to get it out as soon as possible.

Now needing to find a director to helm a major Hollywood sequel in a limited amount of time, producer Wyck Godfrey reached out to his friend Chris Weitz, director of such movies as About A Boy and The Golden Compass. Weitz agreed to take on the job in part as a favor to his friend, but also as an apparent fan of the source material.

7 The Significance of the Color Red

Although we don’t always consciously notice it– and often that is by design– filmmakers put a lot of thought into the colors that are used in a movie. After noting that the previous movie had mostly cooler tones, director Chris Weitz wanted to go in the opposite direction for his take on the franchise.

Not only did New Moon skew much warmer visually, with a lot of gold-like colors, but the color red played a huge part in the film. According to New Moon‘s DVD commentary, red was specifically downplayed or muted for most of the film, and saved for the Italy scenes where there was an explosion of vibrant red. The significance of the color red to the home base of the entire vampire race shouldn’t need any explanation, and the effect of all those red robes in the Italy scene is striking.

6 The Very Particular Casting Of the Quileute Tribe Members

Besides having to go to wolf camp together, the actors who played the rest of the Quileute tribe– save for Taylor Lautner– had another very specific, very important thing that bonded them all.

New Moon casting director Rene Haynes specializes in casting Native roles for films and television, also having done so for movies such as The RevenantCowboys & Aliens, and Dances with Wolves. She used her experience in casting New Moon‘s wolf pack, putting out a casting call that specifically asked for “first nation/aborginal actors” and required all perspective members of New Moon‘s Quileute tribe to provide official documentation of that fact in order to ensure authenticity. For what it’s worth, Taylor Lautner also claims to be at least partially of Native ancestry.

5 Filming Was Moved From Portland To Vancouver

Twilight was filmed in Portland, Oregon due to its geographical similarity to Forks– but for New Moon, production moved to Vancouver, which presented some challenges as many key locations in Twilight were shot in existing buildings that were now over 300 miles away. The filmmakers had to get creative.

While they found a new school to stand in for Forks High School, they had to use green screen to recreate the exterior of the Portland high school where Twilight was filmed. In other cases, various other buildings and rooms had to simply be built from the ground up in parking lots and on sound stages to match their look from Twilight, sometimes literally just using the Blu-ray version of Twilight as a visual guide.

4 It Was Edited In The Backseat Of A Car

The magic of computers has made our lives much easier, both in terms of work and play. In particular, the portability of computers has also led to an increase in the convenience of being able to work anywhere. Even in the back seat of a car, apparently.

A funny anecdote revealed during New Moon‘s DVD commentary was that editor Peter Lambert– who has also worked on Children of MenLove Actually, and this year’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again— edited a large chunk of the movie while sitting in the back of the car that took him to and from the set of both New Moon and 2008’s Body of Lies, where he was an assistant editor.

3 Dakota Fanning played Jane so she could be near Kristen Stewart

The Volturi in general played a prominent role in the Twilight films following their introduction in New Moon, but one of the biggest was Jane, played by Dakota Fanning. As big as the role was, it’s interesting that she had an ulterior motive for taking the part that had more to do with a different movie altogether.

Having already been cast alongside Kristen Stewart for the then-upcoming biopic The Runaways about the titular all-girl punk band, Fanning decided that the two being in New Moon together would be a great way to help build some much-needed rapport ahead of that “other” movie. She signed on to New Moon primarily just to be able to spend more time with Stewart both on screen and off to strengthen their bond in their future roles as Joan Jett and Cherie Curie.

2 Noot Seear’s Wasted Tanning Sacrifice

Noot Seear is primarily a model, having worked on advertising campaigns for major companies including Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Rolex. She was also the face of fragrances by both Calvin Klein and Vera Wang. Seear has dabbled in acting as well, with a handful of small roles on various television shows and in a few movies– including New Moon.

Even though Seear’s role in New Moon— Volturi member Heidi– was a small one, she took it very seriously and decided to forgo tanning for two months prior to filming in order to appear as pale as possible to play a vampire. While that dedication was admirable, it was all for naught, as Seear’s skin had to be painted white each day before filming anyway.

1 Kristen Stewart Was Genuinely Afraid Of Jackson Rathbone

The scene that sets into motion most of the events of New Moon occurs during Bella’s 18th birthday party, when she accidentally cuts her finger and sends vampire Jasper into a thirsty rage. If you found yourself frightened of actor Jackson Rathbone in that moment, you weren’t the only one– Kristen Stewart was right there with you.

Rathbone wanted that scene to be as believable– and scary– as possible, and instructed his co-stars to physically restrain him with all their might as he tried with his full strength to come at Stewart. Rathbone got so into the moment that he knocked one of his co-stars to the floor, and had Stewart later admitting that she was genuinely afraid that Rathbone was going to break free and actually attack her. Talk about method acting!

Did we miss any trivia about Twilight: New Moon? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-12-08 06:12:38

25 Weird Facts Behind The Making Of A Christmas Story

There’s no denying that A Christmas Story has become a holiday tradition for many families around the world. First released in 1983, the film starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie; a young boy who wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Since the film’s release, the movie has become regarded as a Christmas classic, and the original house shown in the movie has even become a museum. Many people watch the movie every year around the holiday season, with TBS even playing the movie on their station for 24 hours once a year.

Between the captivating storytelling, quirky characters, and overall filming style, A Christmas Story has stood out compared to several other similarly-styled Christmas movies. A Christmas Story has gotten a few sequels over the years, even one in 1994 directed by Bob Clark himself, but none of them have been able to live up to the original ‘80s flick. Much like other movies that are regarded as classics, A Christmas Story has a lot of fascinating trivia behind the movie that many people might not be aware of. With that in mind, here are 25 Weird Facts Behind The Making Of A Christmas Story.

25 He Didn’t Say Fudge

There are many iconic moments in A Christmas Story, but among the most popular scenes is when Ralphie says fudge. Well, Ralphie didn’t actually say fudge. He said: “The queen mother of [bad] words.” As it turns out, actor Peter Billingsley didn’t say fudge either.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Billingsley explained that he had to say this “bad word” over and over again until they got the right take. While people usually don’t hear 12-year-olds say that word, Billingsley explained that since he had been in Hollywood at an early age, that wasn’t the first time he heard or said it. 

24 They Gave Billingsley Stuff They Really Shouldn’t Have

While many child actors are forced to grow up too fast, Billingsley had to do something on the set of A Christmas Story that no actor should ever have to do. During the scene where Ralphie is firing at the bandits in his backyard, Billingsley was actually chewing on the real deal.

Most actors chew on black licorice to make it seem like they are chewing the same stuff Cowboys did, but the prop department on A Christmas Story gave the child actor something they legitimately shouldn’t have. Billingsley explained that he got really dizzy, started sweating, and his lips started burning on set. 

23 The Film Was Mainly Filmed In Cleveland and Toronto

Most movies film in several different cities to get the desired scenery for shots, and A Christmas Story was no exception. The film is supposed to take place in Northern Indiana in a town called Holman, but the film was mainly filmed in Cleveland, Ohio and Toronto, Ontario.

The Parker residence was filmed at 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, OH 44109 near downtown Cleveland, which has since been turned into a museum dedicated to the film. That being said, many of the interior shots of the house and the Christmas tree shopping scene were filmed in Canada.

22 Ralphie Teamed Up With Flash Gordon In A Deleted Scene

When a film goes through the editing process, many scenes are cut down or even taken out completely to fulfill a certain runtime. This means that sometimes, the filmmakers’ full vision doesn’t make it to the big screen, but will show up in deleted scenes instead.

One deleted scene for A Christmas Story was another fantasy sequence where Ralphie joins forces with Flash Gordon to defeat Ming the Merciless. While the scene can’t be found online, the Christmas Story Museum in Ohio has script pages from it, as well as an image of Ralphie on the planet Mongo in a spacesuit with his BB gun. 

21 A Christmas Story Is Based On A Book

Lots of times, movies aren’t technically original stories, since many of them are based on books. Much like superhero movies use comic book narratives to adapt popular characters, Bob Clark based A Christmas Story on a book written by Jean Shepherd.

The movie was based on a book called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, which was a collection of Shepherd’s stories that he had previously recited on the radio in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The book ended up becoming a best-seller, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that director Bob Clark ended up adapting it for a movie. 

20 The Infamous Tongue Scene Was Fake (But Is Actually Possible)

Among the most iconic scenes in A Christmas Story is a moment when Flick, played by Scott Schwartz, is dared to stick his tongue to a frozen flag pole. Only it wasn’t just a dare, it was a triple dog dare, so of course, Flick had no choice but to do it.

As it turns out, the child actor didn’t actually use his tongue because a human tongue can actually get stuck to a frozen pole! The scene was filmed by pulling the actors tongue with a suction tube, but Mythbusters proved that in cold temperatures, cold metal will basically turn saliva into “a kind of superglue.”

19 Jack Nicholson Almost Played Ralphie’s Dad

Many talented actors were part of A Christmas Story, including Darren McGavin. The actor had been acting for nearly 40 years by the time A Christmas Story was released, but his role of the “Old Man” almost went to a much younger actor.

Jack Nicholson almost played Ralphie’s father in A Christmas Story, but ultimately, he wasn’t chosen since the filmmakers couldn’t afford to pay him the amount he requested. By 1983, Nicholson was something of a superstar, so it isn’t a surprise that a low-budget family film couldn’t afford him. 

18 The Leg Lamp Was Inspired By A Soda Ad

Of all the images that A Christmas Story provided to fans, the Leg Lamp is arguably the most iconic symbol from the movie. The lamp was won by the “Old Man” in the original movie, but the design for the lamp was inspired by an illuminated Nehi Soda advertisement.

The lamp was first described in detail for the short story “My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award That Heralded the Birth of Pop Art,” written by Jean Shepherd. Describing the lamp is one task, but actually creating a physical prop was a whole other story. 

17 Nobody Knows When The Film Takes Place

Even though the film was made in the 1980s, the film actually takes place around the 1940s. Although it is widely thought that the film takes place in the ‘40s, the exact year is still unknown. Some people believe it takes place in 1941, since Mrs. Parker mentions the Bears vs Packers game that took place on December 14, 1941. Also, the Orphan Annie decoder pin is the Speed-O-Matic model that released in 1940.

However, the film could even be set in 1939, since the calendar in the kitchen puts December 1st on a Friday. 

16 Bob Clark And Jean Shepherd Have Cameos

Today, it’s not super uncommon for movies to throw in celebrity cameos. Just about every superhero movie has several celebrity cameos, but in the ‘80s it was a tad less common. That being said, A Christmas Story not only features a cameo from director Bob Clark, but from writer Jean Shepherd as well.

Shepherd is the narrator of the film, but he also shows up in the department store when Randy and Ralphie are waiting to see Santa. Clark also appears in the movie as the neighbor named Swede, who comes outside to look at Mr. Parker’s leg lamp. 

15 The Snow Was Made Out Of Soap And Foam

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that movies often use fake snow to create winter wonderlands. Not only is fake snow easier to control than real snow, but it is usually easier on the actors, since they won’t freeze while delivering their lines.

However, on the set of A Christmas Story, during the scene where the kids encounter the meanies, soap shavings and firefighter’s foam were used for the snow. While this probably made the actors warmer, several actors have stated that it made the set incredibly slippery. 

14 The Movie Inspired The Wonder Years

While A Christmas Story got a few unpopular sequels, it did partly inspire a popular TV show: The Wonder Years. This becomes apparent when viewers focus on the coming-of-age theme, as well as the narration used in the show.

The show revolved around Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), who told stories of growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, which is easily comparable to Ralphie telling the story about that Christmas in the ‘40s. Peter Billingsley even played Micky Spiegel in the final two episodes of the show. 

13 Peter Billingsley Was The First Child To Audition For Ralphie

When making a movie, casting is one of the most important steps during the development of a film. If a movie gets a casting decision wrong, it can often weaken the entire movie, but thankfully, Bob Clark chose Peter Billingsley for Ralphie.

Clark apparently went through thousands of child actors, only to return back to the first boy who auditioned for Ralphie. Clark didn’t think he should hire the very first actor that auditioned, but he ended up wasting a lot of time by auditioning so many other actors. 

12 The Character Scut Farkus Wasn’t In The Book

While many elements from Jean Shepherd’s novel In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash made it into A Christmas Story, Scut Farkus wasn’t present in the book at all. Farkus (Zack Ward) is one of the meanies that attacks the children in the movie, but he is also accompanied by Grover Dill (Yano Anaya).

While Grover was a character in Shepherd’s book, Scut Farkus was designed specifically for the movie.

11 The Actor’s Reactions To The Singers Were Real

While A Christmas Story has many heartwarming scenes and good family messages, the very end of the film is actually considered quite offensive. In one of the final scenes of the movie, the family goes to a restaurant where a Christmas duck is brought to their table.

The scene contains a group of men singing “Jingle Bells” in a very stereotypical fashion, which comes off as incredibly offensive. Despite that fact, the scene still happened, and the actors’ reactions to the singing were genuine as Bob Clark didn’t tell any of them that the men were going to sing during the film.

10 Billingsley Got To Take Home Several Props

There have been several occasions where actors are allowed to take home props from movie sets they worked on. While there are several props from A Christmas Story that fans would love to have, actor Peter Billingsley actually got to take home three items.

These items included the famous Red Ryder BB gun, the embarrassing pink bunny suit, and Ralphie’s broken glasses. What makes this even more interesting is that the broken glasses Billingsley took home weren’t really a prop, they were his own glasses that broke on set.

9 The Film Had A Very Small Budget

Even though Bob Clark was a successful director by the time A Christmas Story was released, the film still had an incredibly small budget. The film was given around a $3,300,000 budget, which wasn’t even made back in its opening weekend.

The film only made $2,072,473 when it opened, but ended up making a domestic total gross of $19,294,144. Since the film had a small budget, the film had very little special effects, meaning that the scene where the bandit has sparks appearing from his behind was actually real. 

8 Wil Wheaton And Sean Astin Auditioned For The Role Of Ralphie

While Peter Billingsley will forever be known as Ralphie from A Christmas Story, there were several other actors who auditioned for the role. Director Bob Clark is said to have auditioned over 1,000 kids for the character, including Wil Wheaton and Sean Astin.

Wheaton is known for his role in the movie Stand By Me, as well as the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation. Astin on the other hand, is known for his role in Richard Donner’s The Goonies, as well as his role of Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While both would have likely been good in the role, nobody can replace Billingsley as Ralphie.

7 Ralphie Says He Wants A Red Ryder BB Gun 28 Times

Everybody who has seen A Christmas Story knows exactly what Ralphie wants for Christmas. Ralphie wanted an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, but everybody tells him that he’ll injure himself.

It’s pretty hard to forget what Ralphie wants for Christmas, since the BB gun is such an important part of the story, and the fact that Ralphie says he wants it for a total of 28 times! Ralphie, of course, gets his wish granted on Christmas, but he also does injure himself in the process. Thankfully, those big glasses saved his eyesight.

6 Locals Filled In As Extras

Usually, when films are under development, they will begin an extensive casting process to find the right actors for the roles in the movie. Sometimes, a film will pass on famous actors, and instead, just cast regular people. In the case of A Christmas Story, several of the minor characters were filled in with local extras.

In the scene where Ralphie and Randy are waiting to meet Santa, Ralphie encounters a weird child wearing big goggles. The boy was just an extra, but Bob Clark decided to put him in the film because he looked odd. Santa, his elves, and the Wicked Witch of the West were also all local extras. 

5 The Movie’s Writer Would Often Try To Direct

Directors usually aren’t the only person on set to put their ideas into the film. Many times, directors will have pushback by other crew members who don’t think something is going right. For A Christmas Story, Bob Clark no doubt did an incredible job directing the film, but writer Jean Shepherd also tried to direct the actors many times.

In an interview with Variety, Billingsley explained that both Shepherd and Clark had a specific vision for the film and that Shepherd would often try to direct him after Clark had walked away. 

4 Bob Clark Thought Of The Film While Picking Up A Date

Filmmakers often have odd inspirations for why they make a film, but Bob Clark actually thought of A Christmas Story while he was picking up a date. While the movie was based on Jean Shepherd’s book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, he actually thought of the movie idea when he heard one of Shepherd’s stories on the radio.

In 1968, when Clark was going to pick up his date, he became so fascinated by Shepherd’s story that he continued to drive around the block until the story was over, leaving his date waiting for him.

3 The Success Of Porky’s Allowed A Christmas Story To Be Made

While A Christmas Story is a heartwarming tale that the entire family can enjoy, Bob Clark’s previous film was not. Two years prior to the release of A Christmas Story, Clark had released the raunchy comedy called Porky’s.

Even though Porky’s is now seen as an offensive movie that objectifies women, the film was a massive success in the ‘80s. The film made a lot of money at the box office and it is widely believed that A Christmas Story wouldn’t have been given the green-light if not for the success of Porky’s.

2 A Second Fantasy Scene With Black Bart Was Cut

Many scenes in A Christmas Story are fondly remembered, but among these scenes is the fantasy sequence. In the scene, Ralphie is saving his family from the outlaw, Black Bart, and his bandits. He uses his trusty gun “Old Blue” to defeat the bandits, but Bart gets away and says he’ll be back.

Apparently, Bart really did come back, only, it didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie. There was supposed to be a second fantasy sequence revolving around Black Bart, but much like that deleted scene with Flash Gordon, fans never got to see it. 

1 All Three Leg Lamp Props Were Broken On Set

Since the leg lamp has become such an iconic image not just for A Christmas Story, but Christmas in general, many people would love to have their own lamp for the holiday season. Many actors probably would have liked to take the original leg lamp home from the set as well, but that never got to happen since all three leg lamp props were broken on set.

After Jean Shepherd thought of the idea for one of his short stories, production designer, Reuben Freed, created three lamps that were used in the film, but none of them survived the production. 

Is there any other fun trivia you know about A Christmas Story? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-12-07 12:12:37

21 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Mr. & Mrs. Smith became a stand-out among the typical espionage-focused action films. Though often compared to the popular couple spy movie True Lies, the film managed to hold its own by taking the concept into a more developed direction. From its conception, Mr. & Mrs. Smith was planned as a movie about a failing marriage that happened to be a spy flick. The mix of romance, comedy, and action created a story about one couple’s journey to fix their relationship and (unknowingly) try to take each other out.

Both Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt brought the star power and action movie experience to the film, bringing the Smiths to life onscreen. Although the film did manage to run over budget, the box office sales from the film more than made up for the over expense. Running on a budget of $126 million, the worldwide box office total landed at over $487 million. The birth of “Brangelina” greatly overshadowed the movie both during filming and at release. Fans became more interested in the gossip surrounding the stars than the film itself. Sadly, several interviews and features focused only on the relationship and little on the movie itself. This legacy will always remain with the film for years to come.

Though several attempts have been made to extend the movie into an established franchise, the standalone film remains as the only glimpse into the life of John and Jane Smith. We will reveal more details behind the movie’s development, filming, and its future.

From the real-life inspirations for the film to the controversy over geographical misrepresentation, here are 21 Wild Details Behind the Making of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

21 Brad Pitt Dropped Out Because of His Co-star

The casting for Mr. & Mrs. Smith required two big-name Hollywood stars who would not only be believable as action stars but a married couple as well. Once the project was green-lit, their casting team landed on Oscar-winner star Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt to helm the film.

Unfortunately, Kidman could not keep the role. She ran into scheduling conflicts while filming for The Stepford Wives. All plans for the film came to a halt when she dropped out of the picture. Soon after, Pitt also declined to take part in the film, hoping to work with Kidman on the project. The cast directors had to start from scratch to find their second best choices for the romantic leads.

20 Gwen Stefani Almost Landed The Lead Role 

It might be hard to imagine any other stars besides Jolie and Pitt playing the titular roles of the film. Between their onscreen chemistry and action movie experience, they became the perfect couple to play married spies. However, No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani shared with Vogue that her chances of getting the lead role were pretty good. She stated, “It was between me and Angelina Jolie, and I’m like, ‘Oh, great. I got a shot here.’”

She further elaborated on the experience on The Howard Stern Show: “I feel like I almost got it… I went to a bunch [of auditions] … [It was] very competitive and I wanted to do it, but I wanted to do music more.”

19 Pitt came back to the movie because of Angelina Jolie

After Kidman and Pitt dropped out, the production team began their search alternatives for the roles. Director Doug Liman continued to search for an onscreen couple that would work best in the action film. Additional considerations for the parts included Catherine Zeta-Jones and Will Smith. Both stars had excellent backgrounds in action films and the star appeal to bring the audiences to the theaters.

Liman expanded his search to include other possible candidates. The coupling of Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett also became an option. However, the casting crew eventually landed on Angelia Jolie to play the role of Jane Smith. Thankfully, once her name became attached to the project, Pitt decided to come back to the cast.

18 Jolie was a Single Mom During Filming

One of the biggest stories surrounding Jolie’s personal life involved her marriage to actor Billy Bob Thornton. The couple married after only two months of dating and became one of the most unusual couples in Hollywood. Back in 2002, the couple jointly announced that they had decided to adopt a child. Jolie became the adoptive mother of seven-month-old orphan Maddox. Though this seemed to begin the start of their family together, the couple inevitably split three months later.

By the time the filming for Mr. & Mrs. Smith began, Jolie worked on the project as a single mother, given that they divorced back in 2003.

17 Jolie’s failed marriages inspired her role

Jolie decided to join the cast of the film for very specific reasons. Although the $20 million paycheck may have also been a motivator, she claimed that certain aspects of the role itself motivated her to accept the offer. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she explained how her “two failed marriages” to actor Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton helped her to connect to the role. She said, “It was a study in partnership and the things that go wrong and the things we fight through,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s: Can they work as a team? And do they have each other’s back?”

In addition, she told Extra that Jane’s ability to be so closed off and detached, aspects of her own personality, added to her interest in playing the role.

16 Director Doug Liman Clashed With Jolie

The onset drama that took place behind the scenes was not limited to gossip about Jolie and Pitt’s relationship. Sometimes Jolie and director Doug Liman clashed on set due to conflicting options about a scene. He stated, “When I was shooting a scene on Mr. & Mrs. Smith and I had one idea of how the scene should play out… Angelina Jolie had a different idea. I said, ‘OK, we could sit here and argue, but we’re wasting time, let’s just shoot it both ways’. And she was like, ‘But, then you’ll just use your way, in the editing room.’ And I was like, well, I am the director. I might. But I’m going to use the way that’s actually best for the movie. I have no ego in this.”

Clearly they worked it out, as the movie was a huge hit.

15 Brad Pitt paused filming to shoot Ocean’s 12

The production of Mr. & Mrs. Smith did hit a few issues with filming. One of the major involved the budget. Given Liman’s laid-back direction style, there were times when last-minute changes would be made to a filming schedule or location. Sometimes, the change came due to the looming paparazzi and the possibility of their interrupting the shoot. On other occasions, Liman simply couldn’’ make up his mind on how he wanted a scene to be shot. These delays, however, ended up affecting Pitt on his next production, Ocean’s 12.

In fact, the Smith filming became so delayed that scheduling overlapped into the Ocean’s shoot. Pitt had to leave the set for three months to film for his next movie, halting production of the current movie until he returned. The delay only added to the budget of the film.

14 Jolie’s Love Of Knives Helped With Filming

On occasion, an actor’s interest or hobbies outside of acting have helped in their performance onscreen. Some examples would be knowing how to ride horseback, ballroom dance, or even knowledge of martial arts. In the case of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jolie’s usual penchant for knives helped in her preparation to be an onscreen spy. She actually had quite a collection already, many weapons she had procured while in Cambodia.

Jolie even had a room in her home in the UK dedicated to their storage and display. She also admitted to Vanity Fair that she already knew how to throw them as well. It was the perfect skill for her onscreen battles– kind of makes horseback riding a little less impressive, don’t you think?

13 Pitt and Jolie’s On-Set Gun Competitions

In the film, Jane and John Smith work for rival companies and have been assigned to eliminate one another. Their competitiveness to succeed in this task resulted in some amazing confrontations and action scenes. That same rivalry existed between Jolie and Pitt as they filmed the movie. Both stars took lessons in gun training to perfect their portrayal of seasoned spies.

Jolie explained “We went to gun training, which is actually one of the most dangerous things two actors can do. We would go to rifle ranges and actually compete with each other.” In addition, they use live ammunition in their gunplay, so the two stars learned how to work together effectively, helping them learn to trust one another.

12 Angelina Performed The Window Jump Stunt Herself

When faced with complicated stunt work and action sequences, some stars have no problem with taking a backseat and letting profession stunt workers take over. However, some actors just like to challenge themselves with completing their own stunts, adding to their credibility as an action star.

During one iconic, Jolie escaped a hotel room by taking a 40-story leap out of a window. She spoke about the scene with The Today Show: “I happened to get this stunt that suited me. But, yeah, I was a little unsure about something the first time I went down and my coat flew off and I thought, “Oh, I have no pants on. I have no pants on and there’s just a crowd of people on the floor.”

11 There Were Over 40 Different Endings Written For The Film

Although the overall development of the script for Mr. & Mrs. Smith had been completed long before production started, director Liman seemed unhappy with the way it ended. He gathered a team of writers to create numerous alternate endings for the film– as many as 50 endings.

Though this may seem a bit extreme, the director has actually become known for such over-the-top actions. According to The LA Times, he built a set for the movie using his own money in his mother’s garage in NY. After filming concluded, he destroyed it with a hand grenade. However, in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Smith‘s ending, Limon’s extreme measure didn’t pan out. They decided to keep the ending as described in the original script.

10 Paparazzi Had To be Digitally Removed From The Film

Due to its A-list Hollywood headliners and the rumors of an on-set romance, the paparazzi kept a close eye on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Flocking to any on-location filming, the cameras would follow the stars’ every move. Although the actors are used to such intense scrutiny, the presence of the paparazzi actually affected the filming of the movie.

Producer Akiva Goldsman shared with the New York Post that, “There were armies of paparazzi lining the highway… It was impossible to stop them.” The problem became so bad that some of the press made it into the movie unintentionally. In fact, it was reported that the paparazzi had to be “digitally removed” from the final version of the film.

9 The Failed TV Spin-Off 

The box office success of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, along with praise from critics and audiences led producers to find new ways to expand on the franchise. Several attempts were made to bring the spy vs. spy marriage to more viewers via television.

In 2007, the series was put to pilot for ABC, with Simon Kinberg returning as writer and Liman stepping back into the director role. The show would take place six months after the conclusion of the movie. Instead of Jolie and Pitt, the roles of the lead characters were played by Jordana Brewster and Martin Henderson. However, the charisma of the original film didn’t transfer to the TV series. In the end, ABC decided not to commission the series, resulting in only the unsold pilot being produced.

8 The Ideas For The Sequel Just Weren’t Good Enough

Given the success of the original film and the added fame due to it being the origin of “Brangelina,” the popularity of Mr. & Mrs. Smith soared. Even after its debut, fans wanted to see the new Hollywood couple portray the characters again. Plans began to move the single film into a franchise with a sequel being developed to continue the Smiths’ story. Unfortunately, writers could not develop a story that met with its stars’ approval.

Jolie shared the details of the sequel that never came to fruition: “We did ask somebody to look into Mr. & Mrs. to see if they could crack a sequel, but there wasn’t anything original. It was just, ‘Well, they’re going to get married, or they’ve got kids, or they get separated.’ Never great.”

7 Keeping Up with the Joneses

In 2010, Regency Enterprises invested in developing a prequel to the original movie. With its development coming five years after the release of the original movie, the new project would not involve the original stars. In addition, the only member of the original production team to join the project would be returning producer Akiva Goldsman.

Titled Keeping Up with The Joneses, the film would explore how the lives of the two spies after graduating from agency training. However, details for the project ceased after the initial announcement. In 2016, a film by the same name released from 20th Century Fox. Although the film bore similarities to the original project, with married couples working as spies, the film did not have any connections to the original movie.

6 The First Original Ending

The determination of director Liman to find the perfect ending for the film results in countless 40+ endings being produced. Thanks to the team of writers assigned to the task, the production team had many alternate ending to test out. Although the original conclusions in the script seemed satisfactory, Liman wanted to explore his options for the best conclusion to the spy flick.

With the characters of John and Jane finally deciding to work together, Liman considered having the two spies finally confront the “villains” behind the entire scheme. One of the original endings of the series involved them finally facing their enemies, played by actress Jacqueline Bisset (also Jolie’s godmother) and actor Terence Stamp. In the end, this version of the ending was scrapped.

5 Carrie Fisher Was One Of The Writers

For many fans, the onscreen fame of Carrie Fisher hit its peak when she played Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise. Although this became her most recognizable role of her film career, Fisher actually had an extensive role in Hollywood that stretched beyond the acting realm. Her writing career also played a significant part in her showbiz career.

Not only did she writing the semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge, but she had an extensive career in screenplay doctoring. She wrote for several famous films– many uncredited– including Hook, Coyote Ugly, Sister Act, and Scream 3. In fact, Fisher actually served as one of the writers recruited to create one of 40+ ending written for Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

4 The Voice Only Parts

In yet another attempt to conclude the film, Liman decided to replace the original villains with two other stars. In place of Bisset and Stamp, he employed Angela Bassett and Keith David. Their official inclusion in the series was even announced, with their additions coming at the end of the movie’s production. Even though the characters were filmed for their scenes, their appearance never made it out of the cutting room.

In an interview with EW, Liman explained, “It was important to not give it that resolution. Because if you think about a relationship, there is no point at which you suddenly defeat the forces of antagonism.” Only the voices of the two stars remained in the film as the rival bosses.

3 Getting Bogotá all wrong

In the film, audiences witnessed the couple’s first meeting while on a trip to Bogotá, Columbia. They shared an immediate attraction upon meeting and eventually fell in love and married soon after. Although the setting appeared to be the perfect setting for their budding romance, the backdrop for their love story came under heavy criticism.

The film’s depiction of Bogotá made the city appear to be a small city in the jungle. In reality, the capital city is heavily urbanized with a population over 7 million. Then-Mayor of Bogotá Luis Eduardo Garzón and the national leader both criticized the film for its inaccurate depiction of their city. They even sent a letter to Liman and producer Arnon Milchan expressing their concerns.

2 The Idea Originated From Real-Life Marriage Therapy

The idea for the script for the film came from a personal source for screenwriter Simon Kinberg. He came up with the idea not from previous romance spy flicks, but from real-life situations. He didn’t have friends working in espionage, but he did have a few who experienced some rocky issues in their marriage.

According to an article in the Omaha World-Herald, Kinberg stated that the discussions of two friends about marriage counseling triggered the early concept of the movie. He explained, “The way they were talking about it sounded kind of aggressive and mercenary… And I just thought it would make an interesting template for a relationship inside of an action film.” That’s a pretty creative leap from marriage counseling to mercenaries for hire.

1 The Original Script was Kinberg’s Thesis for His MFA

Kinberg, who was born in London, England, came to the US to complete his higher education. He attended Brown University and graduated magna cum laude with a degree focus on film and literature. For his masters, he switched to Columbia University to obtain an MFA. During this time in school, he began working on the storyline for Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Interestingly, the development of the script had a significant impact on his education.

The Guardian reported that the screenplay for the film became his “final thesis project” for his degree. In addition to finding inspiration from his friends’ experiences, he also became motivated by Hong Kong action movies. He shared that such films “were cool, sleek… and kinetic, and all that became the impetus and framework for my original draft.”

Do you have any other trivia to share about Mr. & Mrs. Smith? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-12-05 04:12:21