Behind the Curtain: 47 Surprising Facts About Movies – Part 5

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1The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man

After a screening of the film The Elephant Man, studio executives recommended the surreal scenes be cut. Producer Mel Brooks responded: "We screened the film to bring you up to date as to the status of that venture. Do not misconstrue this as our soliciting the input of raging primitives."

2. While filming Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the live rabbit they used for the "monster" scenes were covered in what they assumed was a washable red dye. But when they had trouble cleaning it off, they had to stop filming to desperately clean the rabbit before its owner arrived.

3. Braveheart has been described as one of the most historically inaccurate modern films. One historian took particular exception to the costumes and compared it to, "a film about Colonial America showing the colonial men wearing 20th-century business suits, but with the jackets worn back-to-front."

4. The cast of the critically acclaimed "Das Boot" were not allowed to see sunshine during the entire year the movie was filmed. This was done in order to maintain their unhealthy pallor and contributed to their realistic portrayal of a "journey into madness."

5. In Saving Private Ryan, all main actors went through army training except Matt Damon so that the other actors would show resentment for him.

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6Gladiator Sequel

Gladiator Sequel

A Gladiator sequel script had Maximus reincarnated by the Roman Gods and returned to Rome to defend Christians against persecution; then transported to other periods including World War 2, the Vietnam War, and finally being a general in the Pentagon. It was rejected for being too far-fetched.

7. When Forrest Gump gets up to talk at the Vietnam rally in Washington, and you cannot hear him, he says, "Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. That's a bad thing. That's all I have to say about that."

8. In 2012, ‘V for Vendetta’ was broadcast in China without any censorship, surprising many viewers.

9. While shooting ‘No Country for Old Men’ on-location in Marfa, Texas, the movie There Will Be Blood (2007) was shooting nearby. One day, while filming a wide shot of the landscape, directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen had to halt shooting for the day when a gigantic cloud of dark smoke floated conspicuously into view. The Coens resumed filming the next day, when the smoke finally dissipated. A year and a half later, both films were the leading contenders at the Academy Awards.

10. The original version of the French film, The Passion of Joan of Arc, was lost in a fire. The master negatives were found 53 years later in a Norwegian mental institute by a janitor in a closet.

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11Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

2 versions of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' were made: a PG-13 version and an R-rated version. Test audiences preferred the R-rated version, so that's what was released.

12. The 3 timelines shown in The Grand Budapest Hotel were each shot in a different aspect ratio, to reflect the cinematic history of the period being depicted.

13. Clark Gable nervously munching on carrots in "It Happened One Night" was the inspiration for Bugs Bunny's continual munching on carrots.

14. Monty Python's Life of Brian was mainly financed by George Harrison after EMI withdrew their funding. Harrison put up the money for it as he "wanted to see the movie" (this was later described by Terry Jones as the "world's most expensive cinema ticket").

15. The Lion King was originally called “King of the Jungle”... until the Disney team remembered that lions don’t live in the jungle.

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16Big Lebowski

Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski secured rights for the song Dead Flowers (closing credits) when rights owner and Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein, who was asking $150,000 heard the line "I hate the f*ckin’ Eagles, man!'' Klein stood up and said, ‘That’s it, you can have the song!'

17. If the story told in the animation "Finding Nemo" was real, when Nemo's mum and siblings got eaten, Nemo's dad would have developed female gonads and formed a breeding pair with Nemo.

18. During the filming of the Wolf of Wall Street, Jonah Hill took revenge on Leonardo DiCaprio by giving him food poisoning. By improvising a line, Hill made DiCaprio eat the last piece of raw yellowtail sushi. DiCaprio had to repeat this 70 times. Only Hill and Martin Scorsese found it funny.

19. During the filming of Taxi Driver, De Niro asked Cybill Shepherd out on a date. She turned him down, and he did not speak to her, except in character, for the rest of the filming. She later said that she regretted turning him down.

20. While the "Shining" was playing in New York and Los Angeles, Stanley Kubrick ordered projectionists to cut the original final scene from the film by hand, and mail the deleted filmstrips back to Warner Bros. The original ending has never been released since.

21City Lights

City Lights

Charlie Chaplin, while directing his movie "City Lights", made actress Virginia Cherrill re-do a scene where she says "Flower Sir"? 342 times. The movie was a silent film.

22. The "Funny how? Like a clown?" scene in Goodfellas is based on an actual encounter Joe Pesci had with a mobster while working in a restaurant as a young man.

23. The entire movie "Chinatown" is portrayed subjectively through the eyes of the main character, Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), who appears in every scene. In fact, in one scene when Gittes is knocked unconscious, the film fades to black and fades back in only when he awakens.

24. During the filming of the Great Escape's famous motorcycle chase, Steve McQueen not only did most of his own motorcycle stunts but also did it as one of the Nazis chasing his character. Thus, through the power of editing, Steve McQueen is actually chasing himself.

25. In 2014, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar was the only film in the top 10 worldwide box office to be completely original.

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