I absolutely LOVE movies! I have grown pickier over the years, in large part because so many movies these days are straight up horrible. Nevertheless, I will always adore the cinema, both big screen and the boob-tube. For that reason, trivia is always fascinating to me so from time to time I’ll share bits I pick up. I knew a few of these randomly selected factoids but not most of them. How many did you know?
Valkyrie ~ Germany has strict laws against displaying the swastika, though artistic displays are specifically exempt. Filmmakers usually use incorrect swastikas to avoid causing public outrage. The producer wanted swastikas for authenticity, so the crew posted warnings around the filming locations. Still, a local resident filed an official complaint with the city, who pressed charges against the owners of some filming sites.
Pretty Woman ~ Edward (Richard Gere) snapping the necklace case down on Vivian’s (Julia Roberts) fingers, was improvised by Gere, and Roberts’s reaction (laughter) was totally natural. The filmmakers liked it so much, they decided to leave it in.
Bridget Jones’s Diary ~ To prepare for the role, Renée Zellweger gained 25 pounds, and then went to work at a British publishing company for a month. She adopted an alias, as well as her posh accent, and was apparently not recognized. On her desk in this office she kept a framed picture of then-boyfriend Jim Carrey. Workers who did not recognize her found this to be odd, but never mentioned it to her for fear of embarrassing her.
Forrest Gump ~ Tom Hanks was not paid for his role as Gump. Instead, he took percentage points, which ultimately netted him in the region of $40 million dollars. Smart move!
Man of Steel ~ Henry Cavill refused to take steroids to muscle up for the role. He also refused any digital touch-ups or enhancement to his body in his shirtless scenes. He said it would have been dishonest of him to use trickery while playing Superman, and he wanted to push his body to the limits, to develop his physique into one that was worthy of the character. Is sure worked! No wonder Lois Lane (Amy Adams) looks so happy.
Moulin Rouge ~ The Stefano Canturi necklace worn by Nicole Kidman was made of real diamonds and platinum and was the most expensive piece of jewelry ever specifically made for a film. The necklace was made with 1,308 diamonds weighing a total of 134 carats, and was worth an estimated U.S. $1 million.
The Joker ~ In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks. During this extended stay of seclusion, Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing The Joker’s every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic-sounding laugh.
The Revanant ~ Leonardo DiCaprio chose to devour a raw slab of bison’s liver, even though he is vegetarian. He also had to learn to shoot a musket, build a fire, speak two Native American languages (Pawnee and Arikara), and study with a doctor who specializes in ancient healing techniques. DiCaprio calls it the hardest performance of his career.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe ~ Georgie Henley’s reaction to Mr. Tumnus at the lamppost was genuine. She had not seen James McAvoy in his costume before the scene was filmed, so her screams and reaction were spontaneous. Georgie’s first reaction to the snowy world of Narnia is also genuine. She was carried into the set blindfolded to make her first entrance, and her wide-eyed, delighted reactions to it, all are entirely her own.
Titanic ~ The scenes set in 1912 (the whole movie except the present-day scenes and the opening and ending credits) have a total length of two hours and forty minutes… the exact time it took for Titanic to sink. The real life collision with the iceberg reportedly lasted 37 seconds, which is how long the collision scene is in the movie.
The Devil Wears Prada ~ On the first day of filming, Meryl Streep told Anne Hathaway, “I think you’re perfect for the role. I’m so happy we’re going to be working together.” Then she paused and followed it up with, “That’s the last nice thing I’ll say to you.” And it was. Many fashion designers allowed their clothes and accessories to be used in the film, making it the most expensively-costumed film in history. Meryl Streep donated her wardrobe to a charity auction.
The Mummy ~ Brendan Fraser nearly died during a scene where his character is hanged. Rachel Weisz has stated that he stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated.
Castaway ~ To make himself look like an average out of shape middle aged man Tom Hanks didn’t exercise and allowed himself to grow pudgy. Production was then halted for a year so he could lose fifty pounds and grow out his hair for his time spent on the deserted island.
Napoleon Dynamite ~ Jon Heder was paid $1,000 to play Napoleon Dynamite. The movie grossed over $40,000,000 in the United States.
My Left Foot ~ Daniel Day-Lewis broke two ribs during filming from assuming the hunched-over position in his wheelchair for weeks of filming. He also would refuse to come out of character. On visits to the set canteen, other people would have to help him with food.