Avid movie fans the world over hold certain iconic scenes close to their hearts; they’ve been watched time and again, their dialogue quoted word for word. But there are still little known facts about these moments that even the devoted might not know about and which, when discovered, cast said scenes in an entirely new light.
These 20 nuggets of movie trivia, for example, may well shatter everything that silver screen obsessives thought they knew about their favorite blockbuster scenes. Think everything from disobedient actors and insider info to behind-the-scenes gossip and an unusual use for chocolate.
20. Predator (1987)
Director John McTiernan’s classic Predator hides one little-known – but very neat – fact. As the dust is settling at the end of the movie, the helicopter pilot who arrives to pick up Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Dutch, is played by none other than Kevin Peter Hall – the man who also stars as the Predator. Hall landed the high-flying role after flippantly grumbling to McTiernan that the audience wouldn’t know what he looks like even after his time on screen as the fearsome extraterrestrial.
19. The Dark Knight (2008)
Christopher Nolan’s thrilling The Dark Knight saw Heath Ledger win a posthumous Oscar for his terrifying turn as the Joker. Indeed, Ledger’s character was so alarming that he didn’t even have to say a word to utterly silence co-star Michael Caine. The veteran actor has admitted that upon first clocking Ledger in full character get-up in rehearsal, he was so shocked by the sight that he “forgot every line.” And this experience was channeled on screen by Caine, whose character, Alfred Pennyworth, also appears utterly stunned when the Joker crashes a party hosted by Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne.
18. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Quentin Tarantino’s iconic Pulp Fiction is full of memorable moments – including that super-slick diner scene. However, only those paying keen attention will have realized something incredible: at Jack Rabbit Slims, Uma Thurman’s character, Mia Wallace, actually seems to reveal the plot to Kill Bill. After all, the main characters in Wallace’s in-world television pilot, Fox Force Five, sound very like those of Kill Bill’s Deadly Viper Assassin Squad. Plus, apparently referencing The Bride, Mia even says, “The character I played… was the deadliest woman in the world with a knife.”
17. The Godfather (1972)
The “horse’s head” scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is among the most famous in movie history – but not many people know that the equine noggin wasn’t a prop. In fact, even the actor in the scene, John Marley, had no idea before filming that the severed body part once belonged to a living, breathing animal. As a result, Marley’s shouts of dismay upon discovering it in bed with him while playing John Woltz are absolutely genuine. Coppola has revealed that he took delivery of the freshly removed head from a dog food factory.
16. Jurassic Park (1993)
Anyone who’s seen Jurassic Park will know that moment where an approaching Tyrannosaurus rex makes ominous waves in cups of water resting on a truck dashboard. In reality, though, this seemingly terrifying effect was caused by something altogether less dramatic: a guitar string fastened underneath the console and strummed from out of sight. Suddenly the Steven Spielberg-directed movie doesn’t seem quite so scary.
15. Trainspotting (1996)
Here’s a fact that may just forever spoil Trainspotting’s “Worst Toilet in Scotland” scene. When Ewan McGregor’s Renton dives into a truly vile-looking lavatory in the Danny Boyle-directed movie, the excrement apparently in and around the john was actually made from chocolate. And fortunately for McGregor, this brown stuff also gave the nasty-seeming commode a rather appetizing aroma.
14. Titanic (1997)
Few Titanic fans know that James Cameron is the artist behind the charcoal sketch of Kate Winslet’s character, Rose, or that the hands seen creating the drawing in the movie also belong to the director. Cameron is a man of many talents, then – but this tidbit does, perhaps, make the risqué scene just a little bit creepy as well.
Image: YouTube/Klassik Trailer
13. Fight Club (1999)
One of the smaller but still memorable scenes in David Fincher’s rip-roaring Fight Club involves a tipsy Narrator (Edward Norton) and Tyler (Brad Pitt) pinging golf balls at a van. And if the pair seem naturals at acting as though they’re under the influence, it’s because they genuinely were drunk. Talk about suffering for their art.
12. Scream (1996)
Director Wes Craven related cases of animal mistreatment to Drew Barrymore to ensure she appeared suitably upset during the notorious opening scene of Scream. Hence, it’s not surprising that the pet-loving actress’ on-screen tears when playing Casey Becker are real. Rest assured, though, that the seemingly sadistic directorial method was carried out with Barrymore’s blessing.
11. Psycho (1960)
It’s a little-known fact that Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano was intent on showing a toilet – and a toilet being flushed, no less – on screen for the first time. Director Alfred Hitchcock would only, however, give the go-ahead if there were a proper reason for this to happen in the script, which is why Janet Leigh’s character, Marion Crane, destroys some evidence via the U-bend.
10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
This classic adventure movie – and treasured gem of ‘80s kids everywhere – has one scene featuring Indiana Jones dispatching a threatening swordsman with a gun. This wasn’t part of Raiders of the Lost Ark’s screenplay, though. No, Harrison Ford had picked up dysentery while shooting in Tunisia, meaning he couldn’t face swinging Indiana Jones’ trademark whip. And as a result, the star pitched that they “just shoot the son of a bitch” instead, which director Steven Spielberg duly approved.
9. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
In John Hughes’ classic teen movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jeanie Bueller, played by Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey, encounters Charlie Sheen’s disheveled and spaced-out character at a police station. And rather than relying on his trusty tiger blood to get that suitably unkempt look, Sheen decided instead to skip sleep for two nights in a row. Fact.
8. Django Unchained (2012)
One of the stand-out scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained involves Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Calvin Candie, learning that he is being scammed by the movie’s protagonists. The frighteningly intense speech that ensues sees an angry Candie cut his hand on a glass – and the resulting injury was real. DiCaprio carried on despite his hand “pouring blood all over the table” and later needing medical attention. He subsequently said that he was “glad” the take remained in the film.
7. Oldboy (2003)
There was no computer trickery involved in the shooting of Oldboy’s infamously gross octopus-eating scene; actor Choi Min-sik really did eat a live mollusk when playing protagonist Oh Dae-su in the Chan-wook Park-directed movie. In fact, he consumed four of the creatures during filming. And while there’s nothing unusual about eating this delicacy in South Korea, the octopus is usually at least chopped up beforehand. Perhaps that was why Min-sik said sorry to each of his eight-armed co-stars before they met their demise.
6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings fantasy trilogy featured impressive special effects and big-budget tricks aplenty – most of the time. See, star Elijah Wood relied on something decidedly more low-fi for the moment when his character, Frodo, is stabbed by spider-monster Shelob in The Return of the King. The foamy liquid emanating from his mouth was actually the result of two dissolvable indigestion pills secreted beneath his tongue.
Image: YouTube/Hi =)
5. Thelma & Louise (1991)
Susan Sarandon was the main reason that the title characters of Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise share a kiss at the movie’s climax. Indeed, Scott was apparently unaware that Sarandon (Louise Sawyer) was going to plant her lips on co-star Gina Davis (Thelma) during filming. The move was made against Scott’s wishes – but, as shooting time was running out, there was no option but to include the smooch in the movie’s final cut.
Image: YouTube/Markus Ricker
4. Alien (1979)
One of the most shocking scenes in Ridley Scott’s Alien – and, indeed, the horror genre in general – sees an extraterrestrial burst from the chest of John Hurt’s character, Kane. It was, quite literally, a gut-wrenching spectacle for other cast members to watch, too, as they weren’t privy to the fact that actual animal innards were used. As a consequence, their horrified expressions on screen are genuine.
Image: YouTube/Paradise Of Trailers
3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
In the garbage-crushing incident beloved of fans of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Mark Hamill wanted his choking scene to look so authentic that he proceeded to hold his breath while cameras rolled – and popped a blood vessel in his left eye as a result. After that, the Luke Skywalker actor was forced to find ways to conceal the damage, including smiling a lot and only being shot from one side.
2. Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Sigourney Weaver really did pull off that incredible reverse basketball shot from way past the halfway line while playing Ellen Ripley in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection. Originally, Jeunet had planned for the shot to be simply faked using movie magic, mistakenly believing that it would take Weaver too long to get it on camera. After two weeks of practice, though, Weaver was experienced enough to nail the impressive move.
1. The Usual Suspects (1995)
The line-up scene in Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects was originally supposed to be free of laughs. Fun and games ensued, though, when Benicio Del Toro – who played Fenster – “farted, like 12 takes in a row,” according to co-star Kevin Pollak (Hockney). The relentless wind breaking resulted in the actors’ inability to maintain straight faces – and so a famous movie moment was born.