Hey howdy hey, readers! It is I. Me. Allie. BuzzFeed's most perfectly fine writer, editor, and — for the purposes of this post — BuzzFeed's "movie expert," I guess.
Anyway, you'd be surprised (read: confused?) by how often I get asked to tell people about the coolest/weirdest/strangest movie facts and behind-the-scenes stories I know whenever people learn what my job entails and/or what college degree I'm still in massive amounts of debt for.
So, with this in mind, I decided to compile 20 of my personal favorite behind-the-scenes facts and stories for your viewing pleasure. These are just a few of the ones I usually like to share when people ask — not necessarily because they're obscure or anything — because I find that they're fun conversation starters/continuers. So, if you've already heard all of these...cool! I'm happy for you! Let's talk about them together!
Ready? I sure hope so! Here we go:
And Army of Darkness wasn't even the full title. The stylized title of the film was meant to be Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness, as Raimi wanted to pay homage to classic films who would put their star's names in the title (like the old Abbott and Costello films), but the studio feared a long title would confuse people, and thus shortened it.
Anyway, there's not a lot more to this fun fact — The Medieval Dead was just a working title they changed during production, which happens a lot — but I still sometimes wake up in a cold, angry sweat whenever I remember that I was denied this perfect pun.
"The only reason it's called John Wick is because Keanu kept referring to it as John Wick [in interviews]," said co-creator Derek Kolstad.
"Marketing was like, 'Dude, that's $4 [million] to $5 million dollars in free advertising so far," Kolstad noted. "So, it's John Wick instead of Scorn. I can't imagine it being Scorn now."
3. The title of 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) was inspired by a real-life diary entry from co-writer Karen McCullah.
“I had a boyfriend named Anthony. I made a list called 'Things I Hate About Anthony.' When Kirsten Smith and I decided to write this, I went through all of my high school diaries," McCullah said. "When I told her about that list, she was like, ‘That’s our title.'"
"Anthony is very proud of that fact. We’re still friends today," McCullah also noted. "Every now and then I'll get a phone call in the middle of night. ‘My nephew doesn’t believe that this title is about me. Tell him.’ On the phone, I’m like, ‘Yes, I hated Anthony in high school.’”
4. And Samuel L. Jackson only took the role in Snakes on a Plane (2006) BECAUSE of the positively absurd title.
Similarly to Army of Darkness, the title for Snakes on a Plane was changed to Pacific Air Flight 121 in the middle of shooting. However, Jackson INSISTED they change it back to the original title immediately. He later admitted, “That’s the only reason I took the job. I read the title.”
Which, honestly? Fair. There are snakes. There's a plane. The snakes get on the plane. Jackson has it with the motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane. It delivers on its title, for sure.
5. While we're talking about Samuel L. Jackson, he won his role in Pulp Fiction (1994) because he entered his final audition eating a cheeseburger and sipping a drink — just like his character would in the film.
"In comes Sam with a burger in his hand and a drink in the other hand and stinking like fast food,” producer Richard Gladstein said. “Me and Quentin [Tarantino] and Lawrence [Bender] were sitting on the couch, and he walked in and just started sipping that shake and biting that burger and looking at all of us. I was scared shitless. I thought that this guy was going to shoot a gun right through my head. His eyes were popping out of his head. And he just stole the part.”
“He was the guy you see in the movie," Lawrence Bender added. "He said, 'Do you think you’re going to give this part to somebody else? I’m going to blow you motherfuckers away.'”
"I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent," Jake said. "I really do remember [the director] Peter Jackson saying to me, '...you know that you have to do this in a British accent?' We heard back that it was literally one of the worst auditions."
As we all know, the role went to Elijah Wood, which, if you ask me, is a casting choice that went...all too well.
7. On the subject of casting, Michael Caine declared he'd only take the role of Scrooge in The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992) if he could play it completely straight, treating the Muppets as the pure, unadulterated thespians they are, which — as an adult woman who unironically loves the Muppets — I respect and appreciate.
When asked by director Brian Henson (son of Jim Henson) during casting how he'd approach the role, Caine responded, "I'm going to play this movie like I'm working with the Royal Shakespeare Company."
"I will never wink. I will never do anything Muppet-y," Caine continued. "I am going to play Scrooge as if it is an utterly dramatic role and there are no puppets around me."
8. Also, long before he was ye ol' Man of Steel, Henry Cavill was author Stephanie Meyer's first casting choice to play Edward Cullen in Twilight (2008), but — by the time casting started — he was already too old for consideration.
"Indisputably the most difficult character to cast, Edward, is also the one that I'm most passionately decided upon," Myers said. "The only actor I've ever seen who I think could come close to pulling off Edward Cullen is Henry Cavill."
"Henry was Albert, the young son in The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)," she continued. "Can you see it?! I know I can!"
9. Moving onto on-set stories, while shooting How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Jim Carrey needed CIA torture-endurance training, because the heavy, full-body make-up made him feel like he was "being buried alive."
The makeup took eight-and-a-half hours to finish, and he did it "100 times." Carrey said that, after the first exhausting day of shooting, he walked into his trailer, put his "leg through the wall" in anger, and told director Ron Howard he couldn't do the movie.
That's when producer Brian Grazer came up with the idea of hiring a CIA operative trainer specializing in how to endure torture to help Carrey deal with the makeup, and he finished the film "for the kids," which I — a 30-year-old child who still loves that ridiculous movie — am grateful for.
10. The confusing-but-iconic spin Jennifer Love-Hewitt does in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) was dictated by a child.
In one of the film's most referenced moments, Love-Hewitt calls out for the stalking killer, asking what exactly they're waiting for (re: why aren't they just killing the teens and getting it over with?). The scene then, inexplicably, cuts to a wide shot as she does a full spin. It's A+.
"That scene was actually directed by a kid who won a contest to come on and create a moment for the movie," Love-Hewitt said. Upon hearing the idea, she thought it was somewhat absurd, but performed the scene anyway — and that take ended up in the final cut of the movie.
11. And the hilarious "He's a friend from work!" line in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) was ALSO dictated by a child.
During the fight scene between Thor and The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth was playing around with how he wanted his character to react when he first sees his Avengers buddy appear — and the best possible suggestion came from a wonderful source.
12. Tom Felton's candy-sneaking on the set of the first two Harry Potter films forced the wardrobe department to sew ALL of the students' pockets shut by the time they got to The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
"The robes had these huge pockets. The rumor was that they sewed them up after the third film because I was sneaking food and drink onto set," Felton said. "I want to clear this up because that is absolutely TRUE."
"I think the other kids started following suit," Felton concluded. "Wardrobe would put their hand in and find chocolate and sweets."
13. Speaking of snacks, Robert Downey Jr. hid treats for himself all around the set of The Avengers (2012).
In a very Tony Stark-esque move, Downey Jr. Did! What! He! Wanted! This included munchin' when he wasn't necessarily supposed to — i.e.: while the camera was rolling. So, he'd sometimes pull out random snacks that he'd previously hidden while they were actively filming.
Thus, in a way, those blueberries are a cameo.
14. Hey, while we're talking about cameos, Dustin Hoffman's cameo in The Holiday (2006) wasn't scripted — or even pre-planned in any way.
For those not in the know, during a scene when Jack Black is explaining iconic movie scores to Kate Winslet, he includes The Graduate and sings a bit of "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel. The scene then cuts to a quick shot of Hoffman, shaking his head and musing, "[I] can't go anywhere."
Well, according to the DVD commentary, this cameo was unplanned and the result of pure coincidence. Hoffman knew director Nancy Meyers, saw her shooting the film at a Blockbuster, stepped in just to say, "Hi" — and they wrote in his cameo on the spot.
15. Brad Pitt's two-second cameo was easily one of the funniest parts of Deadpool 2 (2018), and the actor agreed to do it for pretty much nothing.
“We just thought, ‘Oh my god, what a perfect idea for a celebrity cameo. Who is the hardest to get in Hollywood? Let’s call him,'" producer and writer, Paul Wernick, said of the thought process behind picking the actor for the cameo.
They decided on Pitt, who agreed to work for scale (i.e.: the minimum amount of money designated by the actor’s guild) and a single Starbucks coffee: “We got the coffee, Ryan [Reynolds] came in and gave it to him. It was hilarious because [Pitt] had kind of forgot that he asked for it."
16. On the "Um...no, that's not a special effect" side of things, in Alien Resurrection (1997), Sigourney Weaver made the "impossible" basketball shot FOR REAL.
While the production team had already planned on using CGI for the trick, they still needed to film her throwing the basketball behind her, and she ended up making it in! Honestly, the delightful smile on Ron Perlman's face tells the whole story.
17. And those bees in Tony Todd's mouth during the climax of the Candyman (1992) are not CGI, either — he really did have to hold all of those very much real and alive bees in his mouth — but don't worry, he negotiated a $1,000 bonus for each time he was stung.
"After every shot, [the bee handler] would vacuum them up into a little soft pouch and take them back to their dressing room. All Tony had was a dental dam to prevent them going down his throat," director Bernard Rose said. "He was very courageous — it’s such an unsettling and stunning image when the bees emerge from his mouth."
18. And, in OldBoy (2003), Choi Min-sik really did devour a live octopus on camera. And by "a live octopus," I mean FOUR, as the shot took four takes to get right.
And, despite playing a violent vengeance seeker in the film, Min-sik is a Buddist and vegetarian, so he apologized to and said a prayer for each octopus before he consumed it.
19. Let's close this post out with a couple of performance facts: director Mary Harron shot the Willem Dafoe interrogation scene in American Psycho (2000) three times, and three completely different ways.
She shot one where Dafoe's detective was positive that Christian Bale's Patrick Bateman was guilty, one where he merely suspected it, and one where he believed him to be totally innocent.
In editing, they then spliced all of the various takes together so that you never truly knew what was going on, resulting in a marvelously manic performance from Dafoe.
20. And — ending on what I personally consider to be one of the most moving movie facts I know — the loss of Mandy Patinkin's father at a young age to cancer is what gave way to his absolutely perfect performance in The Princess Bride (1987).
When director Rob Reiner gave Patinkin the script, he gave him his choice as far as which character he'd like to play. After finishing the script, Patinkin knew he wanted to play Inigo Montoya. He admitted later that he identified with the character — who seeks revenge after the unjust murder of his father — having lost his own father to cancer.
In the moment his character finally kills the man who murdered his father, Patinkin admitted his passionate delivery of those lines came from his acting as if he had actually destroyed the cancer that killed his own father.
All right, you've read the one's I've shared — but now it's time to flip the script! I want to hear all about YOUR personal favorite behind-the-scenes movie facts and/or set stories. Share your pick(s) in the comments below!
Also, I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I had fun making it, and am excited to read your fun facts! Yes, I do read my own comments despite *checks notes* every single person in my life telling me not to! So be nice! Or don't! I understand either way! Exclamation points!!!