It takes an awful lot of trickery to make a movie look good. Whether it's battalions of CGI animators, trick camera angles, or an extremely sweaty guy inside a puppet, there's always an unglamorous something lurking behind the scenes. And while learning the truth behind movie effects can sometimes spoil the magic, it can also be hilarious. Like the time ...
James Bond has a few different jobs. He has to kill people. He has to look good doing it. And ... hmm. So it's really just the two. But you need both, is the main point, and it's fair to say that everyone involved in the franchise goes to great lengths to make sure Bond, James Bond is always looking his best. Including the actor portraying him.
According to film critic Charlie Lyne, while filming Skyfall, Daniel Craig decided to take a little ownership over Bond's wardrobe. After going on a shopping trip, he came away with a nice pair of leather gloves which he wanted to wear while filming some scenes. The director, Sam Mendes, said sure, whatever, because that's evidently how decisions sometimes get made on hundred-million-dollar productions.
So they shoot the scene, Bond's hands look amazing, and months later, they're editing it and suddenly realize what a colossal mistake they've made. Earlier in the film, they'd gone to great lengths to establish that Bond had a gun with sensors that read his fingerprints so that it wouldn't work if anyone else tried to fire it. There was a whole big scene with Q when they introduced it, and the gun not firing for some thug in Macau is a key plot point. But if that's the case, then how the hell would the gun work when Bond was wearing gloves?
We should point out that this anecdote hasn't been confirmed by anyone official. But the evidence for it is substantial. Check out this production shot distributed before the movie was released to see Bond during the Shanghai sequence with both the gun and the stupid frigging gloves:
Yeah, that's not going to work. As the story goes, when they realized the problem in post-production, they knew that none of the solutions would be easy. Most of them would have required re-shooting hefty chunks of the film. What they eventually came up with (throwing computers at it) more or less solved the problem, but it's hardly perfect. They CGI'd Bond's hands back into all the scenes in which he was wearing gloves, which means that if you pause during the right scenes, you can see Bond sporting some damned puffy-looking hands.
Putting on the massively detailed rubber costumes required by modern blockbusters is a notorious ordeal. They almost all require the actor to sit in the makeup chair for hours before and after every shoot. But it's quite a bit worse for female actors, who are wearing nothing but this makeup and latex.
Olivia Munn discovered this while filming X-Men: Apocalypse. Like most female X-Men characters, Psylocke wears a very tight costume, and oh boy, "tight" doesn't really feel like a strong enough word to describe what's happening with it.
20th Century Fox
Getting into this thing required an exceptional amount of lubrication, both on the costume and Munn herself. Even once inside it, she was hardly safe from humiliation. At one point, she (in her own words) "popped the crotch," bursting the latex around a delicate area while on set. We will not be illustrating that.
Rebecca Romijn had an even worse experience while portraying Mystique, whose costume consisted of little more than "Rebecca Romijn" and "paint." She was basically naked the entire time, and the crew classily wasn't shy about telling her that. Worse, for those who don't know, the human butt famously has a crack in it. Right up the middle. Check your own if you're uncertain. Anyway, you can't really show that in a movie (of this type, at least), so they had to paint over it and otherwise maintain it. Well, it was during one of these routine bouts of crack maintenance that director Bryan Singer walked in and found Romijn "literally bent over a chair getting [her] crack touched up." He thought she needed some white wine. She concurred.
20th Century Fox
On a stickier note, both Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence (who played Mystique starting with X-Men: First Class) evidently had a lot in common with another famous supervillain: Tobias from Arrested Development. If you've seen that show and recall his role as an understudy for the Blue Man Group, you can guess where this is going: They left blue paint everywhere. Everyone knew when Romijn was using the bathroom on set thanks to the blue toilet seats she left behind, and Lawrence had trouble getting the security deposit back on her apartment after turning the bathtub blue.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark is a masterpiece, an almost perfect blend of action and adventure. A big part of this is the relatively lighthearted tone the movie maintains, which was a somewhat tricky feat considering the amount of violence in it. Spielberg had to employ a gentle hand with the killing, and one of the hardest shots to do that with was one you might not even remember. About midway through the airplane fight, wherein Jones is fist-fighting that huge shirtless Nazi, another truckload of Nazis shows up. And Marion shoots them all with a machine gun.
This obviously had the potential to be a rather gory moment -- something Spielberg was eager to avoid. He didn't want any blood splashing around, so the night before the shoot, he went to his stunt coordinator, Kit West, and asked for some other kind of visual effect. A red dust or mist, maybe. West was on the case, and the next day, when all the squibs went off, they released a nice, visually pleasing cloud of red dust. It looked great.
It did not, however, feel great. There were not a lot of options when it came to procuring red dust on short notice in a small town in Tunisia. Certainly no OSHA-approved suppliers with full sets of MSDS, anyway. So West used the only red dust he could find at the local stores: cayenne pepper. Within seconds, everyone on the set was coughing and sneezing and had all of the fluids pouring from their eyes and noses.
The production of Jaws was notoriously troublesome. Anything filmed at sea has a tendency for being problematic, and on top of that, there were all the problems they had getting the animatronics used to move Richard Dreyfuss around. Oh, and the mechanical shark had issues too.
Along with looking like one of the fakest things ever, the mechanical sharks (there were four of them) almost never worked properly. Hydraulically operated by teams of up to 16 people, there were so many moving parts that it was almost a guarantee that they would never all be working at the same time. But! They were badass robot sharks, and if you've got the keys to a badass robot shark, yeah, you're going to show it off to your buddies. Which is how on one day in 1974, Steven Spielberg ended up taking some of his filmmaker buddies -- Martin Scorsese and George Lucas, to name a couple -- around to the hangar to play with his new toy.
While they were clowning around with the robot shark, as any of us would do, at one point Lucas stuck his head in its jaws. Operating the controls, Spielberg shut the shark's mouth ... and the shark chose this moment to break. Decades later, we can only reel at the potential implications of George Lucas dying in this moment.
Luckily, the shark didn't crush Lucas' valuable melon, only trapping it for a time. Eventually, the team of movie-makers managed to free their buddy before sprinting out of the hangar like a bunch of teenagers. Jaws overcame this setback to become the first summer blockbuster, and we didn't have to grow up in a world without a sequel to American Graffiti.
Wait, Lucas didn't direct the sequel to American Graffiti? Oh, so there would have been no difference at all in the timeline if he had died, then. Phew.
Burt Reynolds is a man's man, and a woman's man, and probably several other types of people's man. And like all the big burly, hairy men of his era, he insisted on doing most of his stunts himself. Which became an issue when it came to filming Deliverance.
The movie called for Reynolds' character to ride a canoe over a 25-foot waterfall, which if you know anything about "waterfalls," or even "25 feet," you'll realize is quite risky. A normal production would have handled this with a stuntman, or simply by sending a dummy over the edge.
Warner Bros. Pictures
But this would not do for the Bandit. Reynolds insisted on doing the stunt himself, and possibly because they were trying to get rid of him, they let him. In Reynolds' own words, here's what happened next:
"I went over the falls and the first thing that happened I hit a rock and cracked my tailbone, and to this day it hurts. Then I went down to the water below and it was a whirlpool. I couldn't get out and guy there said if you get caught, just go to the bottom. You can get out but you can't swim against it. So I went down to the bottom. What he didn't tell me was it was going to shoot me up like a torpedo. So I went out."
Badass, Burt. But it gets better! Because while the whirlpool released him from its clutches, it did not grant the same courtesy to his clothes. That's right, the whirlpool stripped him, boots and all, and fired a naked Burt Reynolds back into the land of the living. Think about that for a moment. Take your time.
And was it worth it? Well, while recovering in the hospital from waterfall-related injuries, Reynolds asked director John Boorman how the shot looked. Boorman's response: "It looked like a dummy falling over a waterfall."
Warner Bros. Pictures
Sam Raimi has a bit of a reputation when it comes to how he treats actors. He hits them, is the main thing. It's for the purposes of the movies, so, you know, it's moral, don't call the police, but he loves having shit thrown at his actors, and sometimes does it personally, just to make sure their terror-filled reactions are real.
Which brings us to Spider-Man -- the Tobey Maguire one from 2002, to be clear. Possibly the most iconic moment from that film was Maguire's famous upside-down kiss with Kirsten Dunst. It's famous for a reason. You'd never seen anything like it, gravity and tongue geometry being what it is. In fact, the more you think about the details, the more you'll realize how awkward of a move it is.
But this kiss was more than awkward to film. It was close to torture. And all for one very simple reason: The scene was set in the rain.
Unless Spider-Man has the nostrils of a spider, which the canon isn't clear on, this meant vast amounts of water were pouring into Maguire's nose as they filmed the scene. He was waterboarded, essentially, and was apparently gasping for breath out of the corner of Dunst's mouth the whole time. He claims that he did manage to "sneak some pleasure" out of it, though. Which seems plausible. Dunst is quite pretty, and everyone's got to discover their affinity for erotic asphyxiation at some point.
Still, it seems risky. Something to keep in mind the next time you and your partner are having a romantic moment while fighting crime in New York or fixing a shower or whatever.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and your best friend. As the author of the amazing novels Freeze/Thaw and Severance, he thinks you should definitely go buy both of those now. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
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