18 Things You Might Not Know About “Rosemary’s Baby”

It’s been 45 years since Roman Polanski spawned his classic horror masterpiece.

1. The film’s producer, William Castle, bought the movie rights before the book was even published.

A literary agent gave Castle a smuggled copy of the unpublished manuscript.

2. Ira Levin, the book’s author, named the apartment building The Bramford, after Dracula author Bram Stoker.

Paramount Pictures

In the film, The Dakota apartment building, on New York’s Upper West Side, was used as The Bramford.

Today, The Dakota is most associated as the site of John Lennon’s murder, though he also lived in the building.

Source: The Criterion Collection

3. It was Polish director Roman Polanski’s American film debut.

James Jackson/Evening Standard / Getty Image

4. Polanski originally wanted actress Tuesday Weld for the role of Rosemary.

Polanski envisioned Rosemary as an all-American girl-next-door type.

Source: Mia and Roman

5. Then-Paramount studio head Robert Evans — who wanted a bigger name for the role of Rosemary — suggested Mia Farrow (center), who at the time was appearing on the very popular TV show Peyton Place.

ABC Television/ Hulton Archive

Source: Mia and Roman

6. Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson were all sought after for the role of Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s husband.

Victor Blackman/Express / Getty Images

Fox Photos / Getty Image

Roy Jones / Getty Images

 

Redford was the first choice, but turned down the role. While Nicholson actually tested for it.

Source: TCM

7. During filming, Farrow created a chart to keep track of everyone who was nice and mean to her. In response Polanski created one just for her.

 

Source: Mia and Roman

8. Farrow sang the lullaby over the film’s opening credits:

9. Contrary to popular belief, Vidal Sassoon did not actually create Farrow’s short pixie haircut.

Photoshot/Hulton Archive

While he did trim it, the actual hairstyle was created a two years earlier, while she was on Peyton Place.

Source: The Criterion Collection

10. The long hair Farrow had in the film was actually a wig.

Paramount Pictures

11. At the time of filming, Farrow was actually a very strict vegetarian, but for the scene in which Rosemary is hungry, Polanski asked her to eat raw liver — which took several takes.

Paramount Pictures

Source: TCM

12. Iconic silver screen legend Joan Crawford had her cameo cut from the film.

Reg Speller/Fox Photos / Getty Images

The scene was cut at the last moment — right before filming — when Polanski got upset and thought the scene was not worth shooting.

Source: The Village Voice

13. In the scene where Rosemary calls Donald Baumgart — the actor who mysteriously goes blind and is replaced by Guy — the voice heard on the other end is actor Tony Curtis.

Paramount Pictures

14. The scene where Rosemary walks into traffic was spontaneous and genuine. Polanski told Farrow, “Nobody will hit a pregnant woman.”

Paramount Pictures

Polanski followed Farrow a few steps behind her and also held the camera — since the regular cameraman did not want to walk into traffic.

Source: TCM

15. Frank Sinatra’s lawyer served Farrow with divorce papers while she was on the set, in front of cast and crew.

Source: Vanity Fair

16. A year after the movie opened, Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, was brutally murdered by Charles Manson’s followers. The murder created a myth that the film was cursed.

William Milsom/Evening Standard / Getty Images

Along with Tate, her unborn baby and four others were also murdered. Other strange coincidences that helped create the myth were the film’s producer Castle suffering kidney failure soon after filming completed and the film’s composer, Krzysztof Komeda, dying in a freak accident.

17. In 1976, a TV movie sequel was made, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, and starred Patty Duke in the role of Rosemary.

 

18. In 1997, 30 years after Rosemary’s Baby was published, Levin wrote a sequel, Son of Rosemary. The book also had nothing to do with the 1976 sequel.

Levin dedicated the novel to Mia Farrow.

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