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6 Classic Movies (That Narrowly Avoided Disaster)

Nothing good in life comes easy, not even in Hollywood. The truth is if you go behind the scenes of some of your favorite movies you'll find fuck-ups, failures and bleeding ulcers.

If you needed any further proof that perseverance can lead to great things (or at least, a shitload of money), check out the stories behind...

#6.
Star Wars

Ah, Star Wars (we're talking about the first film - and don't give us any of that "Episode IV" shit, either). It's the age old tale of a boy, his two gay droids and a confusing intergalactic struggle that should have ended after the third movie.

The film served as a coming out party for such stars as bearded, nerdy director George Lucas, ruggedly handsome actor Harrison Ford and... and...


Harrison Ford and...friends.

Well, it worked wonders for Ford and Lucas, anyway. The film became an instant phenomenon, shattering box office records and pretty much inventing the concept of the big-budget special effects blockbuster. For better or worse.

Why We Almost Never Got to See it

This production was pretty much a disaster from the first step. The script was bad, on paper (Ford famously hated the dialogue, saying, "You can type this shit George, but you can't say it."). The crew grumbled, openly unhappy to be working on what they deemed a "kid's film," and a retarded one at that. Kenny Baker, who squeezed into a garbage can to play R2-D2, admitted he thought the movie would be a steaming pile of shit.


We can't imagine why Ford thought this was weird.

Over the course of filming, the budget ballooned from $8 million to $11 million (big money back then, especially for a film the studio didn't think could earn it back). Props malfunctioned, costumes malfunctioned, wardrobe malfunctioned (with those last two words did you just picture C-3PO's chest plate opening and a boob popping out? Because we did).


And just in case you weren't picturing it...

How cursed was this production? At one point a freak rainstorm in Tunisia delayed the filming of the Tatooine scenes, which as you may recall were all in the desert. You read that right: freak rainstorms. In the desert.

As they were finishing filming, Mark Hamill got into a car accident, smashing his face (he was supposedly in surgery for seven hours to put the bones back together).

So it wasn't just the cast and crew, God apparently hated Star Wars too.

#5.
Jaws

In 1975, a 27-year-old director that no one had ever heard of named Steven Spielberg unleashed Jaws on the world, at once creating both the summer blockbuster and shark phobia. The film starred Jonathan Brandis's Seaquest co-star Roy Scheider.

Why We Almost Never Got to See it

Mechanical sharks suck. At least, that's what Spielberg learned while filming Jaws on Martha's Vineyard. Originally, the plan was to feature the shark prominently throughout the film; devouring people, destroying boats and getting jumped by the Fonz. However, to do those things the sharks would have needed to, you know, work.


Not intentional.

The salt water wreaked havoc with the mechamism--the first time one was placed in the water it promptly plummeted to the bottom of the ocean. Even when the mechanical sharks did stay afloat, they were met by mechanical malfunctions that ultimately led to Spielberg's decision to keep the great beast hidden for almost the entire movie, forcing him to do all of this "suspense" and "character reaction" stuff that established the film as a classic and launched his career.


Stupid lucky bastard.

The production stretched from a planned 55 days to a whopping 159, with the budget ballooning to over $12 million (again, a lot of cash in 70s Hollywood). Spielberg wondered if he'd be fired from the project, and a demoralized crew nicknamed the film "Flaws." Really? That's the best they could come up with?

On top of everything else, actor Robert Shaw (the shark hunter Quint) proved to be a bit of a handful on the set, including getting completely shitfaced to film the legendary USS Indianapolis scene. In addition, Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss (the other star of the movie) openly hated one another, bitching and arguing back and forth throughout the production, just as their respective characters Quint and Hooper did in the movie.


"Cut! Robert! We said cut! Noooo!"

#4.
Raiders of the Lost Ark

After they narrowly avoided disaster and achieved stunning successes with Jaws and Star Wars, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas decided to team up to make what would either be the most glorious adventure film of all time or, given their track records, the largest fuck up.

Luckily for us, all the pieces fell into place and Raiders of the Lost Ark was the product, introducing the world to Indiana Jones long before Shia LeBeouf came into the world dead set on destroying him.


Ouch! Right in the childhood.

Why We Almost Never Got to See it

With reputations for going well over budget, it's pretty understandable that studios would be a little hesitant to fund a joint venture between Spielberg and Lucas. So it's of little surprise that when they initially took their idea about professor by day; religious artifact-saving, Nazi-fighting, super-archeologist by night Indiana Jones to studio heads, most balked and told them to piss off. Finally, the duo convinced Paramount to fund their film, though at a potentially tremendous cost. The contract stated that, if they went over budget, Lucas and Spielberg would have to foot the bill themselves.

Casting proved to be a bitch, as Spielberg and Lucas wanted Tom Selleck's mustache in the role, but his conflicting schedule on Magnum P.I. led to Harrison Ford getting his second swashbuckling role under Lucas. And he was totally the shit.


Oh, what might have been...

Then, Spielberg wanted to cast his girlfriend Amy Irving as the female lead, but found that would have been extremely awkward once she dumped his ass. Debra Winger and Barbara Hershey, who have since disappeared from the face of the earth, were next in line before the role went to Karen Allen.

And speaking of shit, John Rhys Davies, who would later go on to play an angry, drunken midget in Lord of the Rings, shit himself in full costume. Sadly, this cannot be found on the DVD's deleted scenes.


"Bad dates. Also, I shit myself."

But as bad as shitting yourself in front of your peers while wearing a costume can be (and we know from experience), Ford may have actually suffered the most throughout the production.

On top of having a giant plane roll over his leg, tearing a ligament in his knee, the crusty star suffered from dysentery for more than a month while filming in the 130 degree heat of Tunisia, a location Spielberg hated so much that he cut the production schedule in the area by more than a week.

Ford's bout with dysentery got so bad that at one point, he begged Spielberg to alter a fight scene for fear that the sight of feces running down Indiana's leg might not strike the right tone. Instead of fighting a swordsman, he suggested that he just pull a gun out and shoot the fucker.

Spielberg agreed, understanding that sometimes just shooting a guy in the face is the best solution. Once again, the threat from a spray of rancid feces makes film history.

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