6 Behind-The-Scenes Stories That Prove Hollywood's Crazy AF
Like learning the truth about Santa Claus, or where babies come from (pelican sweatshops, duh), finding out what went on behind the scenes of famous movies can sometimes be gruesome. For instance, it turns out there weren't any giant monsters on the set of Pacific Rim, and Tom Cruise died a total of zero times during the making of Edge Of Tomorrow.
But then, every once in a while, you run across a "making of" document that actually surpasses their subject matter -- in hilarity, if nothing else.
The Phantom Menace's Behind-The-Scenes Documentary Is A Car Crash In Slow Motion
You might think that the Star Wars prequels didn't have anything to offer the world other than a tidal wave of nerd rage and enough crappy plastic merchandise to choke the sarlacc. Well, you'd be wrong. An amazing movie did come out of prequels: the behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of The Phantom Menace called The Beginning (because George Lucas Ejaculates All Over His Own Legacy wouldn't look great on a DVD cover).
The hour-long doc opens with Lucas outlining for his team just how many shots will be "real" and how many "not real" -- i.e., the ugly-ass 1990s CGI that had begun infecting Star Wars like an unconvincing STD. The crew either aren't thrilled with the direction the movie's heading, or they all keep silently farting, hoping no one will notice.
"Our collective dignity ... not so real."
As if Lucas is some kind of hilariously clueless member of Spinal Tap, he then says this:
George Lucas is a grown-up Ralph Wiggum.
A lot of time is dedicated to how crazy it was to cast Anakin's actor, Jake Lloyd. It was down to two kids: one who was more experienced and clearly had a better audition, and Jake Lloyd. Hell, the other kid even looked like a young Mark Hamill.
In retrospect, this probably should have raised some concerns.
Then there's the scene where Lucas describes the epic-ness of the "Gunga" war to Steven Spielberg and the pair try to Jedi Mind Trick themselves into believing it's going to be "great:"
It's just this for 15 minutes.
Most hilariously, in describing his failed American Graffiti sequel, Lucas casually mentions to Frank Oz that "you can destroy" beloved properties ...
"I never knew such power."
Eventually, they screen the first cut of the movie, and everyone has to explain to Lucas how badly he shat the bed. Then comes the best quote, perhaps in any Star Wars movie:
They should have just renamed it Episode I: Bold In Terms Of Jerking People Around.
And while the Skywalker Sound people are clearly great at lightsabers and space battles, they somehow neglected to underscore this moment with a sad trombone:
The Making Of Batman & Robin Is Full Of Greed, Codpiece Rivalries
Generally speaking, most DVD special features aren't filled with the palpable regret of a deathbed confession. Here's one notable exception.
The doc Shadows Of The Bat gives us the inside scoop from those involved in the cinematic guano that was Batman & Robin. It all began with a sense of optimism, because the "sky was the limit" after the success of Batman Forever. They could do anything! So, of course, the studio decided the project's ultimate goal should be selling toys. They stopped just short of casting Mr. Potato Head as Mr. Freeze and re-writing Robin as a wiseacre Etch A Sketch possessed by a soul of the damned.
Above: Commissioner Gordon, after teleporting into the real world and being made an executive producer.
At least director Joel Schumacher had a consistent vision: Before rolling, he would remind everyone that they were making a "cartoon."
You know, because the Batman cartoon on the air at the time was famously goofy and campy.
Of course, this being the story of Batman & Robin, a lengthy portion of the doc is devoted to nipples and dicks. First, there's the whole controversy of the nipples on the batsuits, which took Schumacher entirely by surprise. He even talks about how he thought he had to include them on Batgirl's costume, lest he seem "sexist." In the end, he went in a "subtler" direction -- which may be the only time a black rubber bustier is referred to as subtle.
In the original script, she defeats Mr. Freeze by lactating on him.
Then there was the issue of the codpieces. A lot of movie sets devolve into metaphorical dick-measuring contests, but here things got disquietingly literal. Apparently, there was a whole thing about Chris O'Donnell's "piece" looking bigger than Val Kilmer's in Batman Forever ...
This could have been avoided if they'd just given both floppy rubber dicks.
... Which started a rumor that he bribed the costumer. In an on-set interview with George Clooney, he recounts the rumor after mentioning that he "asked for a bigger package" -- but concedes that he got "a nice ass." Take that, Gotham's seedy underworld!
The technical term is "batt."
O'Donnell recalls watching the movie and seeing scenes he didn't even remember filming. Because it wasn't him, it was one of many stand-ins. In fact, even though he shared many scenes with Mr. Freeze, he never got to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger -- unless Freeze was speaking, Arnold's stand-in was the one forced to dress like a Tron-themed club DJ.
It's like if Michael Bay invented Blue Man Group.
As with the movie's awkward DVD commentary, the documentary ends with the director sincerely begging for our forgiveness. No. Never.
Die Hard 4 Was Just Okay, But Kevin Smith's Blog About Making It Is Amazing
One of the more unusual moments in Live Free Or Die Hard was the presence of Clerks director Kevin Smith. Smith played "Warlock," a basement-dwelling hacker who helps McClane track down a squad of cyber terrorists.
If you pretend that he's the illegitimate son of Ellis, Nakatomi's resident coke-fiend, the whole franchise holds together much better.
And it's actually lucky Smith was there, because his account of what it's like to make a Die Hard movie will likely become an important historical document. On his blog, Smith gives us all an idea of what it's like to work with Bruce Willis -- namely, he strolls on to set and immediately starts talking about Lindsay Lohan's vagina.
Lohan was 21 at the time, but that's 47 in former child star years.
Then, what should have been a simple scene is hopelessly delayed because of Willis' objections. He doesn't think John McClane would walk all the way over to Kevin Smith, who's sitting down -- and to be fair, why would the guy who took down Hans Gruber kowtow to the dude who made Mallrats?
"And how come he doesn't take a bow in my presence? What universe is this?"
Filming resumes, but then Willis stops everything again. He thinks the scene shouldn't be comedic, and instead thinks McClane should threaten to beat Smith to death. Why? To "keep it Die Hard" -- you know, like in all those scenes from the original when John McClane eschewed humor so he could threaten to murder innocent civilians.
"Die Hard's the one where I kill the Gimp, right?"
Smith eventually offers to rewrite his scenes on the set. They tell him to go for it, with one caveat: He can't say "fuck." In a Die Hard movie.
The full title is Live Free (But Don't Say "Fuck") Or Die Hard.
Willis then has to get on the phone with the studio executives and defend the rewrites, which they aren't thrilled about, eventually playing the trump card of "Let me ask you a question: Who's your second choice to play John McClane?" Which might explain why the same director is now trying to find a second choice to play John McClane.
The Predator Cast Were A Bunch Of Testosterone-Filled Maniacs
Predator is pretty much a perfect movie, so no, its behind-the-scenes stories aren't necessarily better than watching an Austrian body-builder fight a dread-locked vagina dentata monster -- but it's damn close.
The making-of Predator video opens with Jesse Ventura talking about how making the movie Predator is like fighting in Vietnam, only this time he can "enjoy" it, because he doesn't have to worry about not dying.
"Plus, all the space aliens I fought in 'Nam were wimps."
We also find out that actor Sonny Landham (who played Billy the knife guy) was so wild, the studio would only cast him if he had his own bodyguard -- to protect other people from Sonny. Just for the record, we should also note that Landham would later try to piggyback on Schwarzenegger and Ventura's political success, only to be dropped by the Libertarian party after he called for a genocide of Arabs.
He would have been, like, the fifth craziest candidate in the 2016 election.
Perhaps not surprisingly, there was a crazy amount of macho competition on-set. Carl Weathers claims he got up at 4 a.m. every morning just to work out, and would then lie about it, so people would think he was just that buff naturally. Lazy old Schwarzenegger only got up at 5:30 to work out. At one point, Arnold even challenged Ventura to a bicep-measuring competition, which he claims the latter lost by three inches.
Thus legally making Schwarzenegger governor of Minnesota.
And, of course, there's a bit about the terrible original costume, worn by a then-unknown Jean-Claude Van Damme. Perhaps this photo of the director trying on the Predator's giant red claw was the exact moment he decided to move in another direction:
Creating the iconic look, but sacrificing any lucrative Red Lobster tie-ins Predator could have cashed in on.
The Emperor's New Groove Made Sting Want "Vengeance" Against Disney
Contrary to the belief that Disney movies are magically conjured into the world via blood sacrifices on Splash Mountain, they actually take a hell of a lot of work. Usually, we don't see all the nitty-gritty details of how the Disney sausage is made -- but now we can, thanks in part to, uh, Sting.
After signing up to be the latest aging rocker to eschew sex and drugs for singing love songs about talking animals, one of Sting's stipulations was that his wife be given unlimited access to make a documentary about the production. To give you an idea of how smoothly the production went, the doc is called The Sweatbox.
The Fart Coffin was already the name of a David Mamet play.
It opens with the Disney team gleefully preparing Kingdom Of The Sun, a re-working of The Prince And The Pauper set in Peru. Presumably because Elton John was in the shower when they called, they got Sting to do the music. Since the documentary was never properly released, the version of the movie that's online is uncensored, meaning we get odd exchanges from Sting and his writing partner such as this:
Sting can always be more obnoxious.
At this point, there was no final script, so Sting's writing songs based only on an outline, making him feel like "a minion." We then meet the executive in charge, who, if his office is any indication, is a ventriloquist dummy who became a real boy.
They should make a Disney movie about that.
The executives watch the movie, roughly animated with dialogue and songs, and eviscerate it -- the whole thing has to be re-written. Sting is so upset he has to go to the Himalayas to unwind. That's right, Sting uses the Himalayas the way most people use wine and Top Chef.
So, Sting and his partner go back to work remarking that they've been working on it for two years, while also remarking that Sting's "turned gay."
These lyrics have more of an off-Broadway vibe.
Disney ends up dropping most of the music, leaving only two Sting songs. After seeing an early cut of the movie that ends with the prince building a palace with a kick-ass waterslide ...
... Sting fired off an angry letter beginning with "Gentlemen, when you have achieved genuine human values, you don't need a theme park or a water slide." But you do need horses, so he goes horseback riding to calm himself.
The Himalayas were closed (they were adding a water slide).
In the end, the whole experience left Sting wanting "vengeance" -- which is a reasonable reaction to witnessing your parents get gunned down in Crime Alley, but probably not a great way to respond to having some songs cut out of a David Spade cartoon.
Roger Moore's 007 Diaries Include Racism, Laxatives, And The Secret Behind The JFK Assassination
The late Roger Moore will be remembered primarily as James Bond. Somewhat regrettably, the James Bond who dressed as a sad clown and invented snowboarding.
Sadly, not at the same time.
Moore is not really known for being a published author, but he totally was. Back when any book with the words "James Bond" on the cover would automatically sell a crap-ton of copies, the world saw the release of Moore's diaries from the set of Live And Let Die. That's like stapling together Daniel Radcliffe's grocery lists and calling it a new Harry Potter book.
Unfortunately, it's impossible to find a copy that isn't cracked.
Recently, someone over at Birth.Movies.Death grabbed a copy of the book from Amazon and proceeded to share its unbridled insanity with the world. For starters, the book is full of details that are decidedly not about what it's like to make a James Bond movie. Like an anecdote about dining with the producer, who spent the evening complaining that there were black people working in a Chinese restaurant:
Plot twist: The owner was actually Sean Connery in disguise.
Still, this was less offensive than the same producer's on-set behavior, which included shouting the n-word:
The Bond from the books would be proud.
We get real glimpses into Moore's acting process; for instance, when his hairdresser can't come to work, he reacts by angrily throwing toast.
The toast struck a hiding KGB spy in the eye, killing him.
Fans who picked up the book because of the trademark 007 logo probably weren't expecting a chapter about how not getting his favorite "laxative cereal" ruined Moore's birthday:
The most tragic part is that he couldn't even punctuate that sentence with a fart.
But don't be misled by all the discussion of racism and pooping -- there's some actual Bond-like intrigue to be had. Moore casually drops the bomb that the New Orleans District Attorney showed him some film revealing the secret behind the Kennedy assassination:
We can only assume that film involved a guy throwing a bowler hat from the grassy knoll.
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