Few things can break a film’s spell faster than a photo of an actor just hanging out in an iconic costume. But it can also bring out a different kind of movie magic: knowing that the actor was having as much fun shooting the film as you had watching it. These 20 behind-the-scenes images show a raft of famous characters in a very different light.
20. Sissy Spacek as Carrie in Carrie
The 1976 Brian De Palma movie Carrie is by no means a happy story. The title character is abused, picked on, has a bucket of pig’s blood dumped on her and eventually ends up murdering countless people by using her telepathic powers. But at least Sissy Spacek, who became famous thanks to the title role, seemed to enjoy herself on the set. And well she might have, because she later received an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
19. Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette in Marie Antoinette
Wait, they definitely didn’t have laptops in the 18th century… did they? If you look at this picture of Kirsten Dunst on set, it almost seems like they did. But Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was deliberately designed to be anachronistic and capture the time the movie was made – 2006 – rather than the era in which Antoinette actually lived. So even though no laptops feature in the movie, it kinda makes sense for one to be there.
18. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
So perhaps Voldemort and Dumbledore weren’t enemies after all, then. And even more weirdly, Voldemort somehow gained a nose? That would have been quite an ending to the Harry Potter series, but in fact this picture is just of veteran actors Ralph Fiennes and Michael Gambon chatting behind the scenes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Give them a moment and they’ll be back to casting spells on each other again.
17. Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow
Johnny Depp is never one to do things to do things by halves. So when he starred in Tim Burton’s 1999 movie Sleepy Hollow – one of many films the two have collaborated on – of course he couldn’t resist picking up a super-soaker. That won’t help against the Headless Horseman, not unless it has holy water in it… Johnny’s also smoking something, but opinion on the internet is divided as to what the item is.
16. Steven Spielberg and E.T. in E.T.
Even puppets – yep, sorry, but E.T. was a puppet and not a real alien – need to chill out sometimes. This behind-the-scenes shot from the 1982 family classic shows director Steven Spielberg apparently giving the little guy a bath. Only dedicated fans of the movie will know where the bathroom came into things – there was originally going to be a scene where E.T. and his human friend Elliot shared a bath.
15. Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson in Goldfinger
One of the most iconic scenes in the James Bond franchise is when Jill Masterson’s golden corpse is found on a bed. Shirley Eaton had to spend two hours in makeup to have all the gold paint applied, and a doctor needed to be present in case it caused an adverse reaction. Curiously, after the movie came out in 1964 a groundless rumor started that Eaton had actually died due to the paint – and there was no internet to disprove it back then.
14. Heath Ledger as the Joker and Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight
After The Dark Knight came out in 2008 a picture started to circulate not long afterwards of Heath Ledger’s Joker kick-flipping over Christian Bale’s Batman. The picture seemed pretty legit, especially since Ledger actually had brought his skateboard to the Dark Knight set now and again. But alas, it was fake – someone had Photoshopped the skateboard in. The real picture was Ledger jumping over Batman like he’s about to fall on top of him, which is still pretty funny.
13. Uma Thurman as The Bride and Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill
In 2003’s extremely bloody Quentin Tarantino-directed Kill Bill: Volume 1, the fight between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii doesn’t end too well for O-Ren. She ends up with the top of her head sliced off, in fact. But this behind-the-scenes snap detracts from the gruesomeness somewhat, as it shows Thurman and Liu happily hugging, covered in fake blood, with Liu very obviously not dead. Hooray!
12. John Rosengrant as a raptor in Jurassic Park III
Did you think all the Jurassic Park dinosaurs were made with CGI? Nope! This nifty behind-the-scenes picture shows John Rosengrant, effects supervisor and puppeteer for the films, wearing the bottom half of a raptor suit. “I had always wanted to perform in suits,” Rosengrant told the Stan Winston School in 2013. “I think to do it well, you have to be a bit of an actor – although, the characters we play usually have a singular mission, which is to kill something.”
11. Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2
Freddy Kruger is one of the most terrifying villains in horror movie history. But seeing him sitting nonchalantly in a public park dilutes the terror significantly. Moreover, Englund’s own personality is also apparently the direct opposite of Freddy Kruger’s. His make-up artists have said in the past that he was so prone to having friendly chats with them that it made the process take even longer.
10. Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones
The relationships between the Stark kids and Theon Greyjoy would prove to be very complicated ones as Game of Thrones progressed. All sorts of horrible acts were involved – it’s Game of Thrones, after all. But in the beginning they were just a bunch of cute youngsters… playing cards? Well, TV sets can potentially be boring places, even with all the torture and dragons and political intrigue, so can you blame them?
9. Frank Darabont, Stephen King, and Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb in The Green Mile
In Stephen King’s book The Green Mile and the 1999 film adaptation of it, the electric chair is a symbol of terror and evil. King, however, didn’t mind sitting in it when visiting the set. Here we see him flanked by director Frank Darabont and Tom Hanks, who played Paul Edgecomb, the officer responsible for executing prisoners. It looks like a mock execution, in fact! Clearly the filmmakers knew how to appease King, because Mile ended up being one of the few adaptions of his work he actually likes.
8. Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins and Andy Serkis as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
There were lots of delightful pictures from the sets of the three Lord of the Rings films, and some of the best ones involved Andy Serkis in his motion-capture suit. Serkis’ work as Gollum launched a whole new era of CGI, and he went on to play plenty of other motion-capture characters, too. But he did look pretty funny dressed up in the Gollum suit, so no wonder Elijah Wood is laughing even as he tries to strangle Serkis.
7. Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster in Bride of Frankenstein
The name Frankenstein is forever associated with Boris Karloff, because to this day he’s considered to have given the world the definitive take on the iconic horror character – who is of course actually called Frankenstein’s Monster! But seeing him drinking tea on the set of 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein makes him a seem lot less frightening. And Karloff did, after all, consider the Monster to be a sympathetic figure.
6. George Lucas and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi
Princess Leia’s gold bikini is probably one of the most famous items of clothing in the whole of cinema. In this photo from Return of the Jedi, George Lucas’ expression seems to sum up exactly what many people thought when they saw it for the first time. Although Fisher appears to enjoy wearing the bikini in this shot, she later implied she had very mixed feelings about it. In 1999 Fisher described it to Newsweek as “what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of Hell.”
5. Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Melissa Cowan as “Bicycle Girl Walker” in The Walking Dead
The first zombie that Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes killed in The Walking Dead was the “bicycle girl.” It was also Lincoln’s favorite of all Rick’s zombie kills. “I’ve always said it was the human behind the monster and the monster behind the human, which is pretty much the essence of the show,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. “So I had to put her down.” But then they posed for a cute picture, reminding us all that thankfully, zombies aren’t real.
4. Bolaji Badejo as the Alien in Alien
Not many people know the story of the man underneath the Alien costume. The actor’s name was Bolaji Badejo, who was first seen by the casting director in a bar. His 7 feet 2 inch height made him perfect for the role, but it wasn’t all that easy to play the Alien, so it’s no wonder he looks exhausted in this behind-the-scenes picture. Sadly, Badejo would later pass away due to sickle cell anemia aged just 39.
3. Sean Gunn as Rocket Raccoon and Dave Bautista as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy
The Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge undertaking. How do you bring a talking raccoon to life? Well, Gilmore Girls actor Sean Gunn – brother of the film’s director James Gunn – had to put on a bright green bodysuit and basically, well, act like a talking raccoon. Clearly it worked, because here’s Dave Bautista petting him as if he really was an animal. Bradley Cooper may have provided the voice for Rocket, but Gunn did everything else.
2. Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit
There is absolutely no modern technology in Middle Earth, only magic. Unless you’re Gandalf, apparently. While filming The Hobbit in 2012 Ian McKellen was spotted using a MacBook Pro, and it led to a magnificent stream of memes and jokes, including a series called “Tech Support Gandalf.” “An installation wizard is never late, nor is he early. He completes precisely when he means to,” read one of them.
1. James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose in Titanic
So the ending of Titanic was all a big lie?! When fans of the movie saw this behind-the-scenes shot, they were shocked. Jack could have stayed on the door after all and not died! Why didn’t he? Well, director James Cameron simply doesn’t care, at least not anymore, about door physics. “The script says Jack died. He has to die,” Cameron said on Mythbusters in 2012. Well… problem solved, then.