From long filming nights to hours spent in hair and makeup, a lot of behind the scenes movie magic goes into your favorite Hollywood films before they hit the big screens. There’s also a lot of scenes, moments or anecdotes that don’t make it into the films which are equally as interesting.
Stunt doubles falling in love, hallucinogenic-infused clam chowder, kidnapped crew members, we’ve got it all here for you! Wait until you find out what JoBeth Williams had to go through on the set Poltergeist…
Heath Ledger’s Joker Scared Michael Caine
Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight was so unsettling it caused Michael Caine to forget his lines the first time they filmed together. Caine said in an interview that the two had never met prior to their first rehearsal together and during that rehearsal Ledger was so terrifying Caine forgot all of his lines.
Caine talked about how differently Ledger played the character compared to Jack Nicholson and described Ledger as “the most murderous psychopath you’ve ever seen on the screen.”
The Chestburster Scene In Alien Was A Surprise
For the legendary scene in Alien when the chestburster emerges from Kane, Ridley Scott opted not to warn the rest of the cast in the scene in order to get genuine reactions. Scott said in an interview that “if an actor is just acting terrified you can’t get the genuine look of raw, animal fear” but the problem is one of the actors got a little too scared.
Actress Veronica Cartwright passed out the first time the scene was filmed after the 3-foot stream of blood unexpectedly exploded from Kane’s chest and hit her in the face.
The Cast Of Titanic Was Drugged
Yes, you read that right. The cast of Titanic was actually drugged with PCP on the last day of shooting in Nova Scotia, Canada, the night before they were meant to move on to another location.
The cast and crew, including actor Bill Paxton and director James Cameron, were all unknowingly drugged thanks to a batch of spiked clam chowder that was given to them all on set by the catering team. Marilyn McAvoy was one of the movie’s crew who fell victim to the clam chowder.
And They Never Caught The Culprit
McAvoy has talked about the experience in a number of interviews saying that once the drugs started to kick in “some people were having a really hard time. I think maybe the people who had more experience with drugs were having flashbacks and bad trips.”
The entire cast and crew were taken to the local hospital where “they gave us this drink that had charcoal in it, to remove the toxins. By sunup, we had started to come down.” The weirdest part of this is that the culprit was never caught! They never found out who was responsible for the psychedelic trip.
Kubrick Destroyed All Of A Space Odyssey‘s Props
Rumor has it that after filming wrapped for the sci-fi cult classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, director Stanley Kubrick destroyed nearly all the props used in the film. Thought to be because he didn’t want a sequel to be made or for the props to be used in any other films, the exact reason Kubrick did it is still unknown.
He didn’t just destroy props either. According to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Kubrick destroyed all sets, costumes, and models as well, which makes the remaining props so valuable.
The Price You Pay
In the 2015 Premiere Props’ Hollywood Extravaganza Auction, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences purchased the Aries 1B Trans-Lunar Space Shuttle for $344,000. The shuttle sold for such a high price because of Kubrick’s destructive path, making it a far more rare item.
Prior to the auction, the shuttle had belonged to an art teacher from Hertfordshire, England, who kept the shuttle on display in his studio for more than 40 years.
The Director Of Grease Worried About Newton-John
Director Randal Kleiser didn’t recognize Olivia Newton-John during her last scene as Sandy in Grease. When Kleiser first met Newton-John he had reservations about the actress, saying, “she seemed perfect, yes, but I wasn’t sure if she’d be right to do the end scene, because it’s so different from her as a person.”
When she arrived on set to film the last scene Kleiser claims he didn’t even know who she was, and then once he realized, he knew that he had nothing to worry about with the final scene!
Finding Love In The Post-Apocalyptic World Of Mad Max
Despite it not being anywhere close to a romantic film, two actors found love on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Mad Max was filmed over the course of several years and during that time Tom Hardy’s stunt double Dane Grant and Charlize Theron’s stunt double Dayna Porter fell in love, despite the reportedly unfriendly relationship between Theron and Hardy. Despite Grant being from South Africa and Porter being from New Zealand, they claim it was love at first sight. They’ve since married and share a son together.
Jim Carrey Trained With A Torture Expert For The Grinch
Jim Carrey hated the makeup so much for The Grinch that after just one day of sitting through the hair and makeup process – which took 8.5 hours – Carrey told Ron Howard he wanted to quit the film.
While on The Graham Norton Show, Carrey said in order to make it more bearable they hired a man to work with him who teaches CIA operatives how to endure torture. Some of the tactics suggested to him were “eat everything you see” and “smoke as much as you possibly can.” The film was one of Carrey’s most successful films so it definitely worked.
Poltergeist Used Real Human Bodies
The 1982 supernatural horror film Poltergeist took on a whole new level of creepy when it was revealed that real bodies were used for the scene where actress JoBeth Williams swims through a pool of corpses and bones. Real dead bodies.
At the time of filming, Williams was not aware of this fact. It was only revealed to her and most of the cast & crew after the scenes were finished. Williams said in an interview that “I assumed that these were not real skeletons. I assumed that they were prop skeletons made out of plastic or rubber.”
Why Not Buy Fake Ones?
So why use real dead bodies? Surely there would’ve been an alternative right? Well, it turns out that at the time replica skeletons didn’t exist, according to assistant prop master Bruce Kasson, and it would’ve been far too expensive to create any, so they chose to purchase human skeletons.
The skeletons were purchased from Carolina Biological, which sold human skeletons that were mainly meant to be used for science classes or medical students, or in this case, Hollywood films!
The Interstellar Crew Planted Hundreds Of Acres Of Corn
Something that isn’t usually part of the job of working on a movie set is agriculture, but that wasn’t the case for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Prior to the film the cast and crew planted nearly 900 acres of corn in two separate locations because director Nolan didn’t want to use a CGI corn field.
The problem was the film was shot in Calgary, which isn’t exactly known for their corn crops, so Nolan and the crew of the film took on the responsibility of growing the crops!
Tom Felton Angered The Wardrobe Department
While filming Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, actor Tom Felton – who plays school boy villain Draco Malfoy – was punished by the wardrobe department. Felton himself has confirmed that he used to sneak chocolate and sweets onto set in his pockets, and once the wardrobe department caught on to that, they sewed his pockets shut!
According to Felton in an interview at Calgary Comic Expo, the robes’ pockets were sewn up permanently for the rest of the series, not just the one film. Talk about one kid ruining it for the whole class.
Recasting Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet
The 1996 Baz Luhrmann adaption of Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes originally featured a different up and coming actress: Natalie Portman.
The filmmakers initially wanted to cast Portman, but because of the age difference between Portman and DiCaprio, everyone decided it wouldn’t be the right choice. At the time Portman was 13 and DiCaprio was 21, and Portman explained in an interview that “it wasn’t appropriate in the eyes of the film company or the director, Baz. It was kind of a mutual decision too that it just wasn’t going to be right…”
The recasting of Juliet wasn’t the only interesting thing to happen on the set of Luhrmann’s 1996 smash success.
In an interview after the film was released, Luhrmann revealed that the key onset hairstylist, Aldo Signoretti, was kidnapped and held for ransom by gang members during filming. They demanded $300 to return Signoretti, which Luhrmann said seemed like a bargain. When they went to exchange the money, Signoretti was thrown out of the car so hard the kidnappers broke his leg, but other than that Aldo was returned safely.
A Body Was Discovered During Filming Of The Amityville Horror
During the filming of the 2005 film The Amityville Horror, the cast and crew ran into a bit of real-life horror when a body was discovered nearby.
Actress Melissa George said in an interview that “We were filming and the police came by and said they were around the water because they said they had discovered a dead body floating around.” The Amityville star said the discovery certainly didn’t help to make her feel any more comfortable on the set of the horror flick.
Hermione Almost Had To Be Re-Cast In Harry Potter
Emma Watson nearly quit the Harry Potter franchise prior to the filming of the sixth movie, Half-Blood Prince, for the most Hermione-like reason: to continue her education. Watson was still in high school at the time but wanted to make sure she could sit for her A-levels in order to later go to university, but the filming schedule left no room for that.
Watson told the network she would have to leave the franchise because of this, and rather than lose her they chose to shift the entire filming schedule around her exam dates.
We Almost Met Frozone’s Wife In The Incredibles 2
After being a faceless voice in The Incredibles, Frozone’s wife Honey was originally set to make an actual appearance in The Incredible 2 but it was changed before the film premiered.
Writer and director Brad Bird confirmed in a press event leading up to the film’s debut that initially they planned on making her a full character, but ultimately decided it was funnier to keep her as just a voice. They believed her jokes landed better if she interacted with Frozone from a distance.
Steven Spielberg Turned Down Harry Potter
Back in February 2000 before the Harry Potter series ever hit the box office, Steven Spielberg was offered the spot of director for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone but he turned it down, despite “knowing” it would succeed.
At the time he said “I have every certainty that the series of Harry Potter movies will be phenomenally successful. However, at this time, my directorial interests are taking me in another direction.” It’s rumored that Spielberg wanted to combine the books into only a few movies and there was talk of animating the films, so maybe it’s for the best.
OJ As The Terminator?
During the casting of the 1984 film The Terminator, before Arnold was selected, OJ Simpson was actually cast in the role of the Terminator.
Director James Cameron vetoed that decision though, saying in an interview that “this was when everybody loved him… he was this likable, goofy, kind of innocent guy.” Cameron saw this as a problem because he thought Simpson was too nice or likable to play the role and that it wouldn’t be taken seriously.