Obscure Movie Facts for Parties

We movie buffs pride themselves as virtual encyclopedias of movie facts. There are daily discussions on the Geeks floor, debating who, what, where, and when of movies. Debates can get heated when aficionados begin questioning the validity of IMDB. The film industry is riddled with conspiracy theories that have the most research-oriented in the group spending their personal time hunting down the truth behind movie trivia. They dig deep into the history of the production of the particular movie often reaching out to the directors and producers to determine the movie facts you didn’t know.

O.J. Simpson was almost cast as the Terminator but James Cameron thought he wasn’t believable as a killer.

Yeah, that’s right. Before O.J. Simpson became famous for “not” murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman he was a lovable football star and a comedic actor in such films as the Naked Gun series. Today it seems pretty incredible that James Cameron thought that O.J. Simpson wasn’t intimidating enough to play the Terminator, but in 1984 no one would have suspected the future controversy that would surround O.J. Simpson. On the other hand, James Cameron might just have had some pretty bad judgment. He also rejected Arnold Schwarzenegger for the part of Reese in the Terminator and planned to get into a fight with him to avoid casting him in the film at all. Thankfully he changed his mind.

The noises the velociraptors make in Jurassic Park are actually the sounds of tortoises mating.

Remember that squealing, high-pitched, robotic, dolphin-like sound the velociraptors made in Jurassic Park? That’s right, that’s tortoise sex. Sound engineers had to sit through the prolonged mating practices of tortoises at marine world to capture every little sonic detail for your listening pleasure. They combined these sounds with those of a horse breathing and a goose hissing, among other things. You’re never going to be able to watch Jurassic Park without imagining tortoise sex now. You’re welcome. Maybe some of these movie facts you didn’t know are ones you wish you still didn’t know.

Despite having shot earlier films in color, Hitchcock decided to film Psycho in black and white in order to avoid criticism and censorship over the violence of the shower scene.

So the blood is actually chocolate syrup. Have to break that one to you. But the scene was already pushing boundaries in a lot of ways. Hitchcock has a famous actress, Janet Leigh, killed off early in the film. He also films her in the shower covered only by pieces of moleskin. Finally, he has her brutally murdered by a knife. In 1960 Hitchcock probably couldn’t have brought Psycho to screens unless it was shot in black and white. Even if it was a choice to avoid censorship the black and white really seems to add something special to this timeless film.

The scene in Pulp Fiction when Vincent revives Mia by stabbing her in the heart with a needle full of adrenaline was shot in reverse.

When Vincent stabs Mia it’s pretty shocking and looks incredibly violent. That’s because the scene was actually shot in reverse with Vincent pulling the needle out of Mia’s chest. This allowed the reversed shot to look like he was forcefully stabbing her. Tarantino chose to shoot the film in this way in order to increase the realism, instead of using a fake chest he had purchased. This is remarkably similar to the way that Hitchcock shot the shower scene in Psycho. In that scene, the stabbing was shot in reverse and cut together quickly to look terrifyingly realistic. Well, it worked in both films. The scene in Pulp Fiction definitely makes the entire Mia and Vincent arc work and pulls the whole film together. Read on for some more movie facts you didn’t know.

The scene in Gone With the Wind depicting the burning of Atlanta was created by setting old MGM sets on fire.

The burning of Atlanta is a pivotal moment in the film Gone With the Wind, one of the first great American films. Part of what makes this film so incredible is its commitment to its epic scale. This is a story of an America torn apart by the Civil War. Any half measures in this scene would have let the film fall flat. But MGM outdid themselves by burning enormous sets in order to recreate the fires of Atlanta. Since Gone With the Wind was always conceived of as an epic film MGM knew it would need room to film. In order to make this room, before principal photography began, it burned down the old sets on the backlot and filmed it in order to use it in the movie later. This was a pretty impressive way to kill two birds with one stone.

The original Good Will Hunting script included some gay sex scenes, courtesy of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The purpose was to check who was actually reading the scripts.

Good Will Hunting

When Damon and Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting everyone wanted a piece of it. Castle Rock had the first crack at it but Damon and Affleck felt their rewrites weren’t being read. They decided to add gay sex scenes, including the two math professors giving each other blowjobs and other entirely misplaced scenes. No one at Castle Rock seemed to notice that script rewrites weren’t making any sense. However, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax noticed that there was a very unusual gay sex scene in the middle of the film. He asked the writers if they didn’t think it was misplaced since there was no lead-up to it and no suggestion that the professors might be gay. Since Weinstein demonstrated that he was the only person actually reading the script they admitted they had put it in there to see who was actually reading and they immediately gave him the contract. Not a bad idea.

When Leo DiCaprio smashed a glass in Django Unchained, he actually cut himself badly by accident. DiCaprio simply kept going with the scene and Tarantino kept it in the movie.

In his tirade as Calvin Candie in Django Unchained the ever-committed DiCaprio managed to seriously cut his hand on a shattered glass he smashes his fist into. Instead of ending the scene, he goes on to complete the scene with his bloodied hand. Afterward, the entire room broke out in applause. They filmed the rest of the scenes twice, with his hand bloodied and then bandaged, in order to give Tarantino, the option of deleting the gory scene. Ultimately Tarantino decided to keep it, a decision that DiCaprio was incredibly pleased with.

So much commitment and it still took them until The Revenant to give DiCaprio an Oscar!

In the last Harry Potter movie, Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double was paralyzed in an accident. Radcliffe then raised funds to pay for his college education.

David Holmes was Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double for every single Harry Potter film. All of these films went off without incident for Holmes but in filming the final installment of the series Holmes was seriously injured and paralyzed when he was flung against a wall by a wire pull. The accident left him a tetraplegic and put him in an extremely long process of recovery. Radcliffe, who considers Holmes a very good friend, began raising money through fundraisers and donations to pay for Holmes medical bills. Bet you didn’t know this one about Radcliffe.

In A Clockwork Orange, when Alex is being dunked in the water through a malfunction with a breathing tube that almost caused him to drown.

A Clockwork Orange is a pretty brutally violent and visceral film. Its portrayal of sex, rape and violence was extremely controversial, and its message may not have been as clear as the book, but it might be surprising to learn that some of the scenes of violence were actually pretty real. When Alex is being tortured by drowning there was supposed to be an air hose in the trough for him to breathe through. However, the tube became clogged and his struggling and thrashing weren’t acting; he was really drowning. Take a look for yourself some time.

Scream was actually partly based on a real Florida serial killer.

Scream rejuvenated the tired horror genre by playing off its tropes brilliantly. Looking back, it seems a little predictable now, but did you know that it was actually based on a serial killer called the Gainesville Ripper? The Ripper, Danny Rolling, killed 5 students from Santa Fe College and the University of Florida. While Scream was only loosely based on these killings itís still a pretty horrifying revelation. Look back at the film with that in mind and it becomes a lot less campy and a lot more terrifying. Still ready for more movie facts you didn’t know? Good.

In Alien, when the Xenomorph bursts out of Kane’s chest, the horrified reactions of the other actors are actually real.

When Ridley Scott was filming the chest-burster scene he decided to splash real blood and entrails on the actors without warning them. The script was purposely vague and all the actors except John Hurt were kept away from the set as Hurt was setup with an artificial chest filled with blood and the monster. When it exploded out of the chest cavity no one was sure what to expect. The screams and disgusted looks elicited by the actors as the Xenomorph tears through Kane’s chest are totally real. The shocking scene wasn’t appreciated by everyone but it definitely added to the tension of an incredibly good horror movie.

In Elf, Will Ferrell’s shocked reactions to the jack-in-the-box were totally real. Ferrell didn’t actually control the jack in the box, the director used a remote control to control it.

This one’s similar to the last one but it’s nowhere near as terrifying. In order to get real reactions of surprise out of Ferrell, Elf’s director, Jon Favreau, rigged the jack-in-a-box to a remote control so Ferrell would never be quite sure when it would emerge. Favreau notes that Ferrell, consummate comedian that he is, always managed to make the most of any opportunity and so these surprises were still played off hilariously by Ferrell. There’s actually a lot of unusual manipulation that Favreau used to get the most out of the Buddy character. Take a look some time. Unlike some of the other movie facts you didn’t know this one is more humorous than traumatizing.

Jack Nicholson thought it would be a good idea to pull a real gun on Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed in order to increase the drama.

In the scene in The Departed where Nicholson’s character is searching for a rat, Nicholson decided to pull a gun on DiCaprio even though it wasn’t scripted and he hadn’t discussed it with Martin Scorsese. The move shocked everyone and the look of discomfort on DiCaprio’s face is utterly real. “I smell a rat” Nicholson says, and then pulls a gun and points it at DiCaprio. The unorthodox move gave the scene the exact tension it was lacking and brought the film towards its incredibly tense climax perfectly. Just like Tarantino with DiCaprio’s bloody hand Scorsese loved the reaction and decided to keep it in the film.

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