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    Whitney Houston Was Not Supposed To Sing "I Will Always Love You," And 24 Other Deep-Cut Movie Facts You Probably Never Knew Before

    The Wizard of Oz is only iconic today because of TV, not its original theatrical run.

    1. The 1896 French short movie Le Manoir du Diable, or The House of the Devil in English, is considered to be the first horror movie ever made...

    Ghosts haunting men
    Open Culture / Via youtube.com

    2. ...while The Fall of a Nation is considered to be the first feature-length movie sequel.

    Poster for The Fall of a Nation
    Bruce Greengart/ V-L-S-E / Via youtube.com

    The 1916 movie — which was directed by Thomas Dixon Jr. — was a follow-up to D.W. Griffith’s very racist and controversial film The Birth of a Nation, which had been released the previous year. 

    Also, I mention "first feature-length," as there had been several sequels to short films released prior to The Fall of a Nation.

    3. The term "prequel" is often associated with the Star Wars prequel films. However, those weren't the first movies to use the word.

    Lucasfilm

    The 1979 movie Butch and Sundance: The Early Years is credited as being the film that helped popularize the term.

    Publicity image of Tom Berenger and William Katt on horses
    Nik Wheeler / Corbis via Getty Images

    The movie was a prequel to 1969's Butch and the Sundance Kid.

    4. To say Walt Disney had a lot riding on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be an understatement. Not only had he borrowed money to complete the film, but he also mortgaged his home to help finance it.

    Snow White exploring the Dwarfs' cottage
    Walt Disney Co. / © Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Had the film been a box office bomb, it most likely would have marked the end of Walt Disney Studios.

    5. The 1940s were actually an overall bad time for Disney, and by the end of the decade, the studio was over $4 million in debt. Cinderella actually financially rescued the studio after it became a huge hit in 1950.

    Disney

    And as with Snow White, even making the movie was a huge risk for the studio.

    6. The iconic scene in The Seven Year Itch, where Marilyn Monroe's dress is lifted up by the air from a subway grate, had to be reshot in California at 20th Century Fox's studios.

    20th Century Fox

    The scene was originally filmed on location in New York City, but there were over 2,000 spectators on the street watching the scene being filmed, and they would yell every time her skirt went up. The noise coming from the crowd made it impossible for director Billy Wilder to use any takes from it.

    Black-and-white photo of the scene being shot
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

    7. Truman Capote, who wrote the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, disliked Audrey Hepburn's performance as Holly Golightly in the film adaptation. He had really wanted Marilyn Monroe (who turned down the role after being advised against it) to play the character.

    Holly Golightly looking into the window at Tiffany's
    CBS Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

    In fact, Hepburn wasn't even a second, third, or fourth choice to play Holly. After Monroe turned down the role, the producers considered casting Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day, and Elizabeth Taylor in the part before finally settling on Audrey. 

    And for the record, Capote didn't just hate Hepburn's performance; he hated the entire movie in general because it steered away from the darker themes in his book. 

    8. Contrary to popular belief, Cleopatra was NOT a box office bomb; in fact, it was the highest-grossing film of 1963. The issue was that the film was so expensive to make, it really didn't turn a profit.

    Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra with dramatic eye makeup
    Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

    At the time, the movie cost $42 million to make (which, when adjusted for inflation, is over $379 million in 2021 money). 

    9. Cleopatra was so costly that it almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox — which was forced to sell 300 acres of its backlot to stay afloat. That area is now modern-day Century City.

    Aerial photo of Century City in the late '80s
    George Rose / Getty Images

    10. The Wizard of Oz was not a box office hit when it was released in 1939. Like Cleopatra, it was a very expensive movie to make and had a hard time recouping its money at the box office. It would take almost 20 years for the movie to make its money back.

    The Wicked Witch of the West threatening Dorothy as Glinda holds her
    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Also, the reason the film has become such an iconic piece of pop culture is that starting in 1956, it began having yearly TV showings that helped introduce it to new generations of kids over the decades. 

    11. "Hopelessly Devoted to You" wasn't included until after filming on Grease had completed.

    Sandy singing on a porch
    Paramount

    When Olivia Newton-John signed on to do Grease, she had a clause in her contract that said she got to do a solo number, but there was none written for her before the movie started filming, and Sandy doesn't have one in the musical. 

    However, halfway through the filming, her longtime songwriter John Farrar came up with the song. They then filmed the "Hopelessly Devoted to You" scene after the movie had wrapped and added it in. 

    12. Marlon Brando's performance as Vito Corleone in The Godfather is considered legendary and has gone down in cinematic history as such. But he almost didn't get the part of Vito because at the time, he was considered a temperamental, washed-up actor, whom the studio refused to hire. And for his part, Brando initially wasn't interested and didn't really want to work.

    Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone
    Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In fact, it was truly a series of events that got Brando cast in the role.

    The film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, was dead set on casting either Brando or Laurence Olivier as Vito. When he was told no to casting Brando by Paramount’s then-president, Stanley Jaffe, Coppola faked a stress-induced epilepsy in Jaffe's office. After that stunt, Jaffe reconsidered and told him he would consider Brando for the role on three conditions — with one of them being that he would need to screen-test for it. 

    Meanwhile, Mario Puzo, who wrote The Godfather novel, read a story that comedian–sitcom star–producer Danny Thomas was interested in buying a majority share in Paramount with the sole purpose of casting himself as Vito. That caused an alarmed Puzo to write a letter to Brando — whom he had envisioned in the role — and plead with him to consider the role of Vito. 

    Brando's personal secretary, Alice Marchak, knew that he needed to work because he was deeply in debt, so she bought a subscription to the Hollywood Reporter to keep tabs on potential roles for him. However, he caught her reading it one day and got mad that she would bring "movie magazines into [his] house." So she left his house and let him cool off for a few days, during which time she read that Paramount was looking to cast the role of Vito in The Godfather. When she came back to Brando's house, she found Puzo's letter in the mail.

    Puzo and Brando would eventually talk over the phone, and by then Marchak had read the book and knew the role was right for him. She also slowly played to Brando's ego by commenting to him about all his fellow actors who were being considered for the role — causing him to want the part even more.

    Eventually he agreed to it, but Coppola knew he would need to screen-test him in order to cast him (something that would be an insult to an actor of Brando's stature). So he devised a plan in which he didn't tell Brando it was a screen test, but instead told him that he wanted to come over to his house to try some things for the camera, experiment a bit, and try some improvisation. And that worked.

    When Coppola finally did the not-a-screen-test-at-all at Brando's house, he saw the 47-year-old actor transform into Vito in front of his eyes as he smeared black shoe polish on his blonde hair to give it a darker and greased-back look, gave himself a shoe polish mustache, and put wads of tissue in his cheeks to give himself an appearance of a bulldog. The rest, of course, is movie history.

    13. American Gigolo launched then-unknown fashion designer Giorgio Armani's career — Richard Gere's entire wardrobe in the film was Armani.

    Richard Gere in blue lighting wearing an Armani suit
    Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Armani's involvement in the film came about because John Travolta was originally going to star in the movie, and his management suggested they use Armani to style the film. However, Travolta ended up dropping out two weeks before production started. 

    14. Originally, Yoda was only meant to appear in The Empire Strikes Back, but after George Lucas consulted with a child psychologist, he decided to include the character in Return of the Jedi so that he could confirm to Luke that in fact, Darth Vader really was his father.

    Lucasfilm

    15. In the original script for Gremlins, Gizmo was supposed to be the villain, turning into the gremlin Stripe and becoming the leader of the gremlin pack.

    Image of Gizmo with blue background
    Warner Bros. / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    However, Steven Spielberg (who produced the film) suggested they change that plot point because he liked Gizmo and felt that he should be the hero's pal throughout the movie.

    16. In 1984, Red Dawn became the first movie ever to be rated PG-13.

    Red Dawn cast photo
    MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Before then, movies were rated G, PG, or R (and X). But after films like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom — which weren't child-friendly enough to be PG or graphic enough to be R — received PG ratings, the Motion Picture Association of America was inspired to create a new rating.

    17. Melora Hardin — whom you probably know best as Jan from The Office — was originally cast as Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly's girlfriend, in Back to the Future. However, she was let go after Eric Stoltz was fired from the movie. The reason: She was too tall for the new actor who had been cast as Marty, Michael J. Fox.

    Maarten De Boer / ABC via Getty Images, Universal / © Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    According to Hardin, Robert Zemeckis, the film's director, called her to give her the bad news that Stoltz had been let go and that they liked her as Jennifer, but she would tower over Fox, so she would have to go too. Also, to be clear, she hadn't filmed her scenes yet, just taken publicity photos for the movie.

    18. Also in Back to the Future, the iconic storyline/scene of the lightning hitting the clock tower was actually added in order to save money, and it was NOT the original way Marty McFly got back to 1985.

    Universal Pictures

    Originally, Marty was supposed to travel back to 1985 by driving into a nuclear test site in Nevada and harnessing the power of a nuclear explosion during a bomb test.

    The idea was dropped after the producers realized that just that scene alone would cost over $1 million to film.

    19. Julia Roberts was the one who convinced Richard Gere to costar with her in Pretty Woman (which he had initially turned down). In fact, she flew to New York to meet with him one-on-one, and during their meeting, she took a piece of paper and wrote on it. She then turned it around and it said, "Please say yes," to which, of course, he said yes.

    Disney

    According to Roberts, a lot of actors had been interested in the role of Edward, but none of them were the right fit, and most of them were comedians. It was actually the idea of the film's director, Gary Marshall, for the two of them to fly to New York City and meet with Gere in person to try to convince him to take the role.

    20. In the original script for The Addams Family, it was supposed to be revealed at the end that Uncle Fester truly was an imposter. However, Christina Ricci voiced her concern about that ending to the film's director, Barry Sonnenfeld, who decided to change the scene after talking to her.

    Publicity photo of Addams Family
    © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    According to Sonnenfeld, the entire cast was unhappy with that ending during the first table read except for Christopher Lloyd.

    In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Sonnenfeld explained how, with some nudging from Anjelica Huston, Ricci made a really thoughtful case: "Christina explained to me how the audience would be left emotionally adrift if it wasn't the real Fester. Does that mean the real Fester is still out there? And how could Gomez just give up his search for his brother after all these years just because this imposter came into their family?"

    21. Whitney Houston was originally supposed to sing a cover of Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" as the main theme song for The Bodyguard.

    Sony Music

    The song was switched after they found out that Paul Young was doing a cover of the song for the soundtrack to Fried Green Tomatoes. Kevin Costner then suggested to David Foster (who was producing The Bodyguard soundtrack) that it should be "I Will Always Love You."

    They also almost ended up doing a slightly different cover of "I Will Always Love You," since the only version Foster could find was Linda Ronstadt's cover. But when Foster spoke with Dolly Parton (who wrote it), she told him they needed to do her version because it included the "And I wish you joy and happiness" final verse:

    View this video on YouTube

    Linda Ronstadt / Rhino / Via youtube.com

    22. The iconic scene in Clueless where Cher is being mugged and hesitates lying on the ground because she is wearing an Alaïa dress is inspired by something that really happened.

    Cher being robbed in the parking lot
    Paramount

    According to Amy Heckerling — who wrote and directed the movie — she was having dinner with some agents when one of them told them the story he had heard about another agent who had been mugged while he was wearing an Armani suit. When the mugger told him to get on the ground, he replied, "But this is Armani!"

    23. Someone at Pixar accidentally deleted all of the work that had been done on Toy Story 2 — while the film was in production — from the studio's internal computer server. It was only saved because the film's supervising technical director had been on maternity leave and working from home (which meant there was a copy of the film that existed outside of Pixar's internal servers).

    Toy Story 2 publicity image
    Mary Evans / Walt Disney Pictures / Ronald Grant / Everett Collection

    Galyn Susman — Toy Story 2's supervising technical director — remembered that Pixar had set her up with a computer at home that would periodically download an entire copy of the film. Sure enough, after she brought the computer in, they discovered that she had most of the film on it, and they had only lost a few weeks' worth of work.

    24. Hard to even believe, but Anne Hathaway was actually the ninth choice to play Andy in The Devil Wears Prada.

    Andy typing on her desktop in the office
    20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Rachel McAdams was actually the first choice (and the producers really wanted her to play the role, but she turned it down). Other actors they heavily considered, but who turned it down, were Kirsten Dunst, Scarlett Johansson, and Natalie Portman.

    25. And finally, Rachel McAdams' wig in Mean Girls was made of human hair and was VERY expensive.

    Publicity photo of Regina George
    Paramount / © Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    According to Rajiv Surendra, who played Kevin Gnapoor, the wig cost around $10,000. Which might have inspired the joke as to why her hair was insured for $10,000.