Enjoy 30 stories of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of some of the most beloved films of all time, from Singing In The Rain and The Wizard Of Oz all the way to Fight Club, Star Wars and more!
"Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman from the film the Marathon Man. Hoffman is a famous "method actor" and supposedly stayed up for a few nights in a row to look really bedraggled when they shot the scene. Anyway, he apparently looked like s--- and Olivier asked him about it. Hoffman explains the Lee Strassberg method to Sir Olivier. Olivier looks Hoffman up and down and said, "Next time, Try acting, dear boy"" Source
"One of my favorites is related to The Blues Brothers. One night, while filming out in the countryside, John Belushi went missing. Dan Aykroyd went out to look for him. Aykroyd walked to a nearby house and knocked on the door. A man opened the door and before Aykroyd could say anything, the man smiled and said "You're looking for John Belushi, aren't you?" Aykroyd walked into the house to see Belushi sleeping on a couch. The man explained that Belushi had invited himself in, asked for a sandwich and a glass of milk, then crashed on the couch. After that Aykroyd dubbed Belushi as "America's guest"" Source
"When filming 'Singing in the Rain', Gene Kelly would yell and curse at Debbie Reynolds, because she would mess up the dance scenes and cause filming to go longer (It was one of her first movies and she was very young). One day, he got so frustrated, he insulted her dancing, and she ran off set, hid under a piano and cried. Someone roaming around MGM found her, and when she told him that she was having trouble with her dance steps, he helped her out with them. The guy who helped her was Fred Astaire" Source
"The actors of Saving Private Ryan were put through basic training before filming, EXCEPT Matt Damon so that the other actors would build some sort of unconscious resentment towards his character. The military guy training them really got into it. He nicknamed them all 'maggot,' ran them for several miles a day, fed them food that looked like dog s---, had them sleep outside in freezing weather, etc. - it really was a condensed version of boot camp. After a couple of days of absolute hell, the cast was saying 'OK, we get it' and they talked about bailing, but Tom Hanks convinced everyone to see it through to the end. For that Hanks was promoted to 'Maggot #1.'"Source
"Sean Connery beat up a gangster on the set of one of his films...
In 1958 he had a major role in the melodrama Another Time, Another Place (1958) as a British reporter named Mark Trevor, caught in a love affair opposite Lana Turner and Barry Sullivan. During filming, star Lana Turner's possessive gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, who was visiting from Los Angeles, believed she was having an affair with Connery. He stormed onto the set and pointed a gun at Connery, only to have Connery disarm him and knock him flat on his back. Stompanato was banned from the set. Connery later recounted that he had to lie low for a while after receiving threats from men linked to Stompanato's boss, Mickey Cohen" Source
"When writing To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee based Atticus off her father. When the movie was being filmed, she was invited on set. During a scene with Gregory Peck playing Atticus, she broke down in tears. When Gregory asked why, it was because he reminded her so much of her father. She then gave him a pocket watch that had belonged to her father. He wore that pocket watch to the oscars that year" Source
"While looking for a tattered coat for the character playing The Wizard in the Wizard of Oz, a costume assistant bought one from a second hand store. When the actor put the coat on he turned the pocket inside out - written in the pocket was the name L.Frank Baum who is the author of The Wizard of Oz books. Baum's widow later identified the coat as actually having belonged to her husband" Source
"Mark Hamill was incredibly lonely during the filming of The Empire Strikes back. He has just a handful of mostly brief scenes with other actual human actors. In fact, I think you can count them pretty easily:
Recovering from the Wampa attack on Hoth
The attack on the AT-AT walkers (barely counts; he had a gunner behind him, briefly)
The fight with Vader on Bespin
Recovering post-fight on the rebel ship with Leia and the droids
Virtually every other scene he has in that movie he was interacting with either puppets (Yoda, R2D2), people in full body suits (Wampa), or special effects (spirit of Ben Kenobi).
He related that during the Dagobah scenes, he would be on the large swamp set and Frank Oz was obviously below him controlling Yoda. Whenever they took a break, Frank would remove himself from Yoda and the puppet would unceremoniously slump over, dead looking. The crew also somehow seemed to vanish almost immediately, so he was left in the middle of this huge swamp set all by himself, feeling forgotten" Source
"During the filming of Rocky IV Sylvester Stallone was having trouble believing that the boxing looked real. He asked Dolph Lundgren (Ivan) to actually hit him during one of the takes. Dolph was reluctant but Stallone kept insisting. Stallone got hit and immediately crumpled to floor and had to rushed to a hospital were he stayed in intensive care for four days due to swelling around his heart. Upon examining him at the hospital the doctors thought Sylvester Stallone had been hit by a car" Source
"During the filming of the Outsiders, (Director, Francis Ford) Coppolla gave all of the "Soc" actors really nice bound scripts, a nice hotel, etc, and all of the "Greaser" actors got crappy, old looking scripts, a bad hotel, gross food, etc. There were also organized football games with the soc actors on one team and the greasers on the other" Source
"In Fight Club, Edward Norton was supposed to throw a stage punch in the first fight outside the bar. The director (David Fincher) pulled Norton aside and told him to actually hit Brad Pitt. The reaction from Pitt of getting hit is real and if you look closely Norton almost starts laughing from what he did" Source
"From Fight Club, regarding their beating the crap out of the VW Beetle:
During rehearsals, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton found out that they both hated the new Volkswagen Beetle with a passion, and for the scene where Tyler and The Narrator are hitting cars with baseball bats, Pitt and Norton insisted that one of the cars be a Beetle. As Norton explains on the DVD commentary, he hates the car because the Beetle was one of the primary symbols of 60s youth culture and freedom. However, the youth of the 60s had become the corporate bosses of the 90s, and had repackaged the symbol of their own youth, selling it to the youth of another generation as if it didn't mean anything. Both Norton and Pitt felt that this kind of corporate selling out was exactly what the film was railing against, hence the inclusion of the car; "It's a perfect example of the Baby Boomer generation marketing its youth culture to us. As if our happiness is going to come by buying the symbol of their youth movement, even with the little flower holder in the plastic molding. It's appalling to me. I hate it." However, Pitt is quoted on the DVD commentary as saying he has since had a change of heart about the new Beetle" Source
"Throughout the entire Harry Potter movie series, J.K. Rowling had confided in Alan Rickman that Snape was madly in love with Lily Potter. Alan Rickman was the ONLY person she revealed this information to, in order for Alan Rickman to portray Snape's treatment of Harry genuinely" Source
"Not really mind-blowing, but I thought it was funny. When they filmed parts of The Dark Knight in the neighborhood where I was living in Chicago at the time, they put fliers up on all the nearby buildings to announce that they would be filming on certain dates.
They used an alias for the name of the movie so they wouldn't attract unwanted attention. The alias was Rory's First Kiss" Source
"The bank heist and subsequent escape scene from Heat is so good and realistic, that it is used as a training video for armed forces as a how-to withdraw under enemy fire. Michael Mann goes to great lengths to show proper gun usage and handling in movies. Trigger discipline, proper loading" Source
"David Prowes, who was physically Darth Vader but not his voice, only found out that he was playing Luke's father after the release of Empire Strikes Back. He had been given the line was 'No, Obi-Wan killed your father'. Even Mark Hamill only found out a few minutes before shooting to try and keep the spoiler as secret as possible" Source
"The scene in Tropic Thunder where Danny McBride set off the big explosion without the cameras running was inspired by a similar incident that occurred during the filming of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The bridge scene, where Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach have to blow up a bridge in order to send the Civil War battle elsewhere, was filmed using a bridge that was built and rigged with dynamite by the Spanish Army. The captain in charge of these men was given the honor of pushing the button, and while he was waiting for his signal, he saw Sergio Leone waving and shouting at one of his cameramen, and misinterpreted that as his cue. Fortunately no one was injured by the premature explosion, and the Army captain felt so bad that they rebuilt the bridge free of charge" Source
""I remember hearing Dustin Hoffman talking on Inside the Actors Studio about how the infamous line "I'm walkin' here!" from Midnight Cowboy came about. He said that they were filming on a normal street (rather than a set) and had to walk across the road at the traffic lights at the exact right time so they didn't have to stop walking.. when they finally got the timing right the taxi came round the corner. Dustin wanted to shout "We're filming here!" but didn't want to ruin the take so the next best thing he could think to say in the blur of it all was.. "I'm walkin' here". And now it's infamous"" Source
"In Shaun of the Dead, when Ed attempts to cheer Shaun up at the Winchester with plans of binge drinking, he is actually summarizing the events of the next day (Z-day) entirely in drinking references.
A Bloody Mary first thing, a bite at the King's Head, couple at The Little Princess, stagger back here and bang...back at the bar for shots.
"Bloody Mary" - Checkout Girl, "Bite at the king's head" - Phillip, "Couple" - David and Di, "Little Princess" - Liz, "Stagger back" - impersonate zombies, "Bar For Shots" - firing rifle" Source