Believe it or not, some of the most famous scenes, episodes, and even props came to fruition for some unexpected reasons. Whether budget issues, lack of time, or even running out of resources, there are some films and TV shows that had no choice but to work with what they had.
Thankfully, when plans are thrown out the window, it causes creative genius to spark! From Rocky and Adrian’s ice skating date to Monty Python‘s famous coconut “horse” scene, these onscreen moments went totally sideways from the original plan.
Breaking Bad Was Originally Supposed To Be Shot In California
The setting of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in Breaking Bad is almost as iconic as the character Walter White. It allowed the series to go into this weird, dark, contemporary western style of filming, which definitely aided the artistic nature of the series.
So, imagine how different it would have been if Vince Gilligan was able to go through with his original plan of filming in Riverside, California. Thankfully, Gilligan wasn’t able to afford shooting in California, having to downgrade to the one place he could afford — the deserts of New Mexico. It was a budgetary issue that resulted in one of the most iconic shows on television.
Batman Tweaked A Scene So All Of The Villains Were “Present”
If the 1960s TV series Batman was known for anything, it was its perfect amount of campiness. But nothing could trump the absolute perfection that was the episode of “The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra.” The original idea for the episode was to have Batman, Robin, and Batgirl fighting virtually all of their villains at once.
The thing is, the network didn’t have the funds to bring in six villains. So, they improvised. Insert the “invisibility pill” that gave each of those supervillains the power for a short amount of time. The result: the heroes swinging their fists into thin air and even turning the lights off to “even the odds.”
TARDIS’s “Chameleon Function” Is Forever Broken For A Reason
The police box in Doctor Who might as well be a main character, as it is an essential point in every episode’s plot. As fans of the show may know, the police box, aka TARDIS, has a slight malfunction; the “chameleon circuit” is permanently broken. The function was meant to allow TARDIS to blend in with its surroundings.
It was actually the writers’ original idea behind the transportation device. But the show didn’t have the budget for an ever-changing TARDIS, so they cut out the idea altogether, opting to keep the device as the iconic police box.
The Wasteland In Planet Of The Apes Was A Rewrite
One of the most iconic scenes from Planet of the Apes is when George Taylor walks along the shoreline and stumbles upon a half-buried Statue of Liberty, the first clue he had that he’s actually still on Earth. It was a huge plot twist that, interestingly, wasn’t the original concept.
At first, the setting was supposed to be 100% modern, with the apes driving, shopping, and being very, well, human. The producers axed the concept, not wanting to pay for the extra props and special effects. They brought in a new writer, and the iconic setting was created.
Godzilla Was Originally Drafted As A Giant Octopus
When the original 1954 Godzilla was still in the works, a giant lizard wasn’t even a thought in any of the creators’ minds. Truth be told, the special effects team wanted the monster Gojira to be a giant stop-motion octopus!
Unfortunately for their octopus vision, there just wasn’t enough time for such an enormous project. In the end, they threw some guy in a rubber lizard suit and had him terrorize a tiny play-set-sized town. The character is now iconic with multiple films, so everything seemed to have worked out for the best.
The Clerks Sign Was Due To Strict Nighttime Filming
While the film Clerks is well-known for many reasons, including Jay and Silent Bob, one prop is even more well-known — the sign hanging outside the convenience store. With a $27,575 budget, Kevin Smith had little choice on filming location, opting for the convenience store where he was employed.
The thing was, he was only permitted to film at night and with the shutters down and locked. Not too great for a daytime scene. His workaround? Putting a vandalism plot point into the film, resulting in the “I assure you, we’re open” sign.
“Fly” Was Due To Budget Issues With Breaking Bad
Fans might not have enjoyed the slow-paced Breaking Bad episode “Fly,” but critics argue it is one of the best of the entire series. Interestingly, this critically acclaimed episode came to be because the showrunners were out of money and needed a cheap bottle episode. And thus, “Fly” was born.
According to series creator Vince Gilligan, they were very much over budget and couldn’t even afford the $25,000–$35,000 it would take to move all of their production trucks. During an interview, he said, “We were hopelessly over budget … And we needed to come up with what is called a bottle episode, set in one location.”
The Fashion In Clueless Went From Couture To Store-Bought
The wardrobe in Clueless is so iconic (hi, Cher’s yellow plaid look) that it might be surprising to learn that it wasn’t the costume department’s first choice. In fact, when the film was being written, all of the popular gals were supposed to be decked out in couture.
As it turned out, the budget didn’t allow for such high-end apparel. So, the costume designer took her chances at the mall, grabbing things off the rack at a much lower price. The thing is, if the high schoolers were dressed in something else, the preppy look wouldn’t have come back into fashion as swiftly as it did, taking over grunge.
The Terminator‘s Dark Visuals Weren’t Originally Planned
The fancy neo-noir filming style of The Terminator wasn’t the original game plan. In fact, it’s shot in that visual style because the director, James Cameron, didn’t have a filming permit and was trying to save money! To shoot on his chosen location, Cameron opted to bite the bullet, filming at night so the cops “wouldn’t see.”
Then to make the fog, the crew passed on a typical fog machine, favoring pesticide clouds. Evidently, that’s a whole lot cheaper than a machine and a bunch of dried ice. At least it all worked out in the end.
Back To The Future Needed To Re-Evaluate Its Resources
Believe it or not, the famous climactic scene of the lightning at the clock tower in Back to the Future wasn’t the original plan. Instead, Marty was supposed to drive into a nuclear blast in the Nevada desert. Not a joke.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen because the studio had to re-evaluate the number of resources it had to pull something of that magnitude off. Long story short, they realized they couldn’t, and the climax of the film was rewritten for a cheaper scene at the clocktower.
Monty Python Used Coconuts Because Horses Were Too Pricey
The sound of banging coconuts and the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail go hand in hand. Ironically, the famous scene known by people who haven’t even seen the movie wasn’t the comedians’ first thought. They actually wanted real horses for the scene. Alas, they were too expensive.
So, the troupe did what they do best; they improvised! Taking a bit from an old BBC radio show, the coconut banging gag came to be. Honestly, the opening scene wouldn’t be the same with real horses and wouldn’t set viewers up for the absurdity they’re about to sit through. The coconut props were meant to be!
Psycho Was Filmed With Zero Studio Resources And Backing
Since Psycho is pretty much the blueprint every horror film has followed, it might be interesting to learn that it wasn’t backed by a studio’s resources. In fact, the director, Alfred Hitchcock, wound up having to use the crew and assets he had from filming his TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
The result: Hitchcock proved he didn’t need a cent, resources, or banking from the studio, as the film went on to become, arguably, his most notable and famous work. He was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director.
George Lucas Had To Be Practical While Filming Star Wars
Going into the first Star Wars film, George Lucas had pretty much no resources at his disposal. And with an entire universe (and future franchise) at stake, that meant improvising and making some adjustments when it came to character appearances and settings. One huge change actually has to do with two main characters, Han Solo and Chewy.
Originally, Lucas wanted to make Han Solo a green alien but was advised to go with Harrison Ford since it would be cheaper to outfit him. Lucas also wanted to make an entire planet of Wookies, but he didn’t have the resources. Instead, fans got the sole Wookie, Chewy.
Lack Of A Budget Led The Walking Dead To A Farm
For fans of the AMC series The Walking Dead, they might remember season two when the crew spent most of the time on Hershel’s farm. Well, that wasn’t the original game plan going into the season. Unfortunately, the network took away a lot of the season two budget before the pilot even aired.
So much for believing in a series! Even so, it worked out, with the second season going on to become critically acclaimed. The final episode was even the show’s most-watched at the time. See, who needs money to create something award-worthy?
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Spent $0 On Its Soundtrack
If one thing is for sure, when it comes to horror films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has one of the scariest and suspenseful soundtracks in the genre. The thing is, it wasn’t done by a professional musician who, ya know, knew what he was doing. To save money on the film’s $80,000-$140,000 budget, the director, Tobe Hooper, produced the soundtrack himself.
With Hooper doing things like playing broken instruments, screaming into a tube, and “torturing” a bass, the film wound up with something scary, sinister, and beyond memorable. While more of a budget probably would have been nice, he created something everlasting.
The Schedule Was Very Important On Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark has a very iconic scene, where Indiana Jones looks like he’s about to get into a very serious whip vs. sword duel with a swordsman in Cairo. But as the swordsman finishes up his fancy sword work, Jones shoots him in the chest, ending the fight before it begins. The iconic fight wasn’t originally scripted that way.
The scene was Harrison Ford’s idea. And director Steven Spielberg was dead-set on the film staying on schedule that taking out the time it would take to shoot an action-packed scene was too good for him to pass up. Thanks to timing, fans now have this amazingly realistic scene.
Rocky And Adrian’s Date Didn’t Go As Planned
While the date between Rocky and Adrian on the ice skating rink is adorable, it wasn’t supposed to happen exactly like it wound up being filmed. In fact, the rink was supposed to be full of people, 300 to be exact. The issue was Rocky was losing budget money fast, and they had no way to pay that many extras.
Even though the scene didn’t go as planned, the result is one of the sweetest and intimate onscreen first dates in film. The scene wouldn’t have been the same if all of those people had surrounded them!
Filming Techniques Made Money A Non-Issue For Citizen Kane
The critically acclaimed film Citizen Kane might have been all about one man’s wealth, but that money didn’t translate over to production. In fact, the film might have been very different had they had the funds to secure lavish set designs and locations. Alas, they didn’t, and director Orson Welles had to improvise.
With various camera angles and filming techniques to make rooms look way larger than they were, Welles wound up shooting one of the most iconic movies in history. The tricks he used while filming the movie were also later utilized by more than one filmmaker.
Lost Threw Characters In A Cage To Save Money
When it comes to a massive production like Lost, there are going to be times when money plays a huge factor, especially if the showrunners have big plans for the plot. That just so happened to be the case during the third season. Wanting to save money for the season’s second half, producers opted to do something with three characters.
Instead of having them wandering around the island, it was decided that Jack, Sawyer, and Kate would be captives held in cages. As a result of utilizing funds for the latter half of the seasons, fans received one of the best finales and arguably the series’s biggest plot twist.
The Incredible Hulk Used Scenes From Other Projects
The 1977 series The Incredible Hulk is well-known for its action-packed first season, making it a giant hit with viewers and critics. The thing is, it most likely wouldn’t have been as big as it was if the producers didn’t get a little help from various films.
The showrunners were so cheap that they reused shots from films the network had rights to, including footage from Steven Spielberg’s movie Duel, because they didn’t want to spend money on blowing up vehicles. Were the shots noticeable? Yes. Did people really care they were using previously used footage? No.