Tag Archives: behind the scenes

Butch and Sundance

butch cassidy and the sundance kid, movie posterOne thing that defines scripts and films in general is the tittle. Some titles are so iconic that once you mention them you pretty much have a full on breakdown of the story.

One funny thing about titles is that they don’t always start out the way they end up. A classic example of title changes was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Originally the title was Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. The title was switched when Paul Newman took over the lead role. The film wouldn’t have been any less successful, or less classic had the title not changed, just really odd to pronounce.

Munchkin Chaos

When the Wizard of OZ went into production, over 124 actors ere hired to play the munchkins. A little known story is that one of the actors experienced a little known toilet near catastrophe.

An undersized actor fell into a toilet, that’s right he fell in. The actor was trapped in said toilet until someone from the studio found him and helped him out.

Munchkin Chaos

While this is a more humorous and lighter story about the Munchkins, there is no doubt that the tale speaks to a lot of unfortunate happenings that plagued the filming of this tremendous classic.

 

The Empire Struck Hard

The Empire Strikes Back, posterThe Star Wars saga is largely considered when thinking up all time great films. While the Star Wars Universe is massive, it’s no doubt centered on the six films that have come out over the last near four decades. The Empire Strikes Back is often referred to as the great piece of the original and later films. In order to get there though, Empire Strikes Back had to navigate some rough waters.

The making of Empire Strikes Back was complicated as expenditures caused the film to go over the original budget. The scenes taking place in Degobah were mostly just Mark Hamill in a swamp set, with a green screen and a puppet. The filming of Empire was so cumbersome that it caused a lot of discomfort for the actors and crew.

I guess Luke’s paternity really was a big deal.

Talk About Staying in Character

An actor’s biggest test comes with a complex role. What often determines how legitimate the actor’s performance will be is whether or not he or she really knows and understands that particular character. Staying in character is a stern test that can turn into an overly emotional exercise. Some of the best examples of staying in character have some seriously detrimental consequences. Some examples include Heath Ledger as Joker, Steve Carrell as John du Pont, and Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove. These performances have the common denominator of heavy emotional involvement.

 

jokerAs the Joker Heath Ledger rarely slept, was hard to be around, and found himself at odds with the character while filming The Dark Knight. The emotional toll of the roll is largely credited with Ledger’s downward spiral into an eventual accidental death. The Peter Sellers role as Dr. Strangelove in Dr. Strangelove was equally as difficult.

 

peter-sellers-dr-strangeloveIn the film, Peter Sellers had to play three roles simultaneously for director Stanley Kubrick. Sellers was so intensely involved in all the roles that it almost seemed like he couldn’t have a minute to be himself. Some people claim that when Peter’s mother visited him onset he addressed her as Dr. Strangelove. Lastly come Steve Carell and his role in Foxcatcher.

 

foxcatcherCarell plays the part of John du Pont, an eccentric and insane millionaire that went to prison for the murder of Olympic wrestling champ Alexander Schultz.  Carell stated that he was so deep into his role that he was often reclusive and incredibly difficult to talk to.

 

These roles are considered sensational and that’s a direct result of the actor’s strong emotional commitment.

 

Why so serious? It’s only a film.

Brando had Sparrow’s back

BrandoWhen you think of all time great actors, Marlon Brando’s name usually comes to mind. Brando’s style drew audiences in to a point where it didn’t matter what he was doing, the audience would hang on his every last word. Years past his prime Brando made a comeback and cranked out a couple of films. One of Brando’s later roles was as the portly psychologist in Don Juan DeMarco. As always Brando put together the kind of performance that people still talk about today.

Don Juan De Marco

In one particular scene Johnny Depp was having trouble remembering his lines. Brando taped a paper with the lines to a coffee cup in the scene and guided Depp through his lines. Depp completed the scene without issue.

Depp became a contender, a somebody! 

Talk About an All Time Great

Some performances in film are simply unforgettable. When you see a specific scene or shot you can almost tell what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen. The magic of  a film is at times placed on the shoulders of a single performance.

singin-in-the-rainWhether or not this practice is engage upon intentionally really only depends on the director and performer dynamic. The way to know if it was the performance is being able to understand the story behind the performer. A great example, an all time great example is Gene Kelly.

Everyone thinks of Gene Kelly’s performance in Singing in the Rain. The iconic sequence in Singing in the Rain where Gene Kelly is climbing all over light posts, dancing and singing while in the middle of a downpour is an all time great moment. What makes that moment even greater is the fact that Gene Kelly was suffering from a fever of 103.

 All time great indeed!

The Grinch Really was Difficult

You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch! At least we can assume Jim Carrey must have been thinking that when he was filming How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This particular film was not just a box office smash but also a defining moment in the funnyman’s career. What a lot of people don’t know is that the film was serious torture for Jim Carrey.

GrinchThe makeup was extremely constricting so Carrey was having a really hard time putting forward a good performance.  There was a great deal of concern so the producers enlisted the help of the Seals, Navy Seals. The producers actually hired a US Navy Seal to counsel Carrey on torture resistance techniques.

Talk about striking out in Whoville.