4 Movie Props You Never Noticed Popped Up Everywhere
Making a movie is an expensive endeavor. Crews need to get paid, equipment needs to be bought, and Leonardo DiCaprio needs more yachts. That's why movie sets try to cut corners wherever they can. Sometimes that involves pretending the tax-friendly streets of Toronto are New York City. Other times, this means scrounging around old prop rooms and turning a chamber pot into the fabled war helm of Gorgoplex, Lord of Slaughter. In fact, people don't often realize how often old movie props get recycled. So here's a list of some inanimate objects with IMDb pages longer than those of most actors.
Everyone In Star Wars Wears The Same Damn Shirt
It must've been the challenge of a lifetime making the costumes for the first Star Wars trilogy. After all, how do you make clothes look like they're from a galaxy far far away? The answer, of course, is to look at older science fiction movies and blatantly steal from them. And you didn't even have to feel guilty ripping them off, because chances were good they nicked it from somewhere else in the first place.
This is BoShek, smuggler extraordinaire and the man who introduced the greatest Star Wars couple: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Chewbacca. As a keen eye for fashion might note, he is appropriately dressed in some sort of spacesuit, making him look like a much more competent spacefarer than Han Solo and his always-billowing shirt. One movie later, we meet Bossk, a ruthless bounty hunter in the employ of Lord Vader. Opting for the more daring mustard yellow version, he is sporting the same casual-but-cool short-sleeved space suit as BoShek.
As it turns out, both dastardly criminals stole their fashion sense from the rebel's A-Wing pilots, who wear this snazzy getup as their official uniform.
But who wore it best? Turns out that honor has to go to a completely different bit of nerdery: Dr. Who.
That's right, the weirdly ubiquitous Star Wars pilot suit was previously created for a low-fi space traveler in the early Who series The Tenth Planet. And despite the set looking like it was borrowed from a shoddily produced third-grade play, the suit itself looks surprisingly detailed and realistic -- kind of like it could be a real spacesuit, even. Well, that's because it was!
Close to space, at least, as the Who suit was based on the "High Altitude Windak Pressure Suit" used by the Royal Air Force in the 1960s. It was one of the earliest G-suits, used by pilots to be able to fly sound-barrier-breaking fighter jets without passing out and peeing their pants. In the early '60s, when Dr. Who was on the air, this was the most futuristic-looking suit ever seen by British eyes.
Star Trek Uses the Same Space Station Over and Over Again
Star Trek is the kind of rare series that has made outer space feel both very big and very small all at the same time. There is endless space out there for the crew to experience. Endless stars. Endless worlds.
Just the one space station, though.
This is the Orbital Office Complex from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Pretty neat design, right? The prop people thought so too:
That's Regula 1 from Wrath Of Khan, clearly the same model cleverly turned upside-down. Sure, it got a new coat of paint and a few interior differences (like the changes between a Honda Civic and a Honda Accord), but there's no fooling us. Why would the Federation build two identical space stations? Maybe the props department spent months figuring out the most efficient space station design, and were then forced by hard Vulcan logic to use it over and over again. Or maybe they got a bit lazy and didn't think Star Trek nerds would notice, the fools.
In total, this model was reused to serve as nine different space stations. And it didn't stay a Starfleet building, either. When this design appeared on Voyager, it was an alien station in the Delta Quadrant, so apparently the entire galaxy is getting their space stations from the same wholesaler.
Julia Roberts Wore Her Wig From Notting Hill In Mother's Day
Many female artists are not just famous for their talent, but also their signature hair. Go to any hairdresser and they'll know how to give you the Jennifer Aniston, the Farrah Fawcett, or the Sinead O'Connor (it's just the 2 on the trimmer setting). Julia Roberts has more or less looked the same in most of her movies too, but nobody paid much attention to her hair. That was, at least, until 2016's Mother's Day, when suddenly no one could shut up about it.
In Mother's Day, definitely Roberts' second-best mom movie, she plays a hotshot writer who had given up her child years ago. However, when the movie came out, audiences couldn't focus long enough to even learn her character's name, because they were so distracted by the phenomenon of Julia Roberts Wearing A Bad Wig.
Why was the wig so terribly jarring? Sure, it made Roberts look like Captain Kangaroo's long-lost love child, but there was something else nagging at her fans. Eventually, particularly smart and/or obsessive viewers recognized that it wasn't merely a wig; it was a deja vu. Roberts had worn the wig before in a movie that came out the previous century: Notting Hill. In it, she played an actress (who we're pretty sure was just called "Julia Roberts") doing a astronaut movie called Helix. In this fake sci-fi film, Roberts' character is wearing the redhead wig, which does look like hair that had been cut by putting on a space helmet and moving the scissors around the rim.
So how did the wig get another big part on top of Roberts head? It wasn't just serendipity. Roberts had liked that hairpiece so much that she kept it after Notting Hill wrapped. Then, for reasons forever unknowable, she decided to wear it again for her character on Mother's Day. The freedom of wig choices at least partially explains why she decided to do a crappy movie like Mother's Day.
The Starship Troopers Armor Reappeared All Over The Place
Military armor, if nothing else, has to look cool. Sure, in the real world, it's supposed to save a life, but in Hollywood, soldiers have a little thing called plot to serve as their armor. With that in mind, here are the guys in Starship Troopers looking like stone-cold badasses.
That's some good-looking gear, if a little light on arm protection for fighting against bugs with machetes for legs. It's sad to know that while the future world coalition can't spring for some armored sleeves, when the armor got reused for Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, a bunch of buff teenagers could spare the allowance.
It seems that after Starship Troopers wrapped up, its hundreds of outfits found their way onto the racks of half of all Hollywood sets. Since then, it has unofficially become "Generic Future Armor A," used whenever an uninspired or underfunded costume department needs something vaguely futuristic and mildly fascistic for their soldiers to wear. Here it is again in Firefly:
It doesn't stop there. People have actually been scouring their old favorite shows and movies looking for this armor, and the count is getting pretty impressive. They've found it everywhere from Babylon 5 to Minority Report. Heck, it has popped up in so many futuristic movies that it probably qualifies for the Star Trek effect. So future disenfranchised people of the world, look forward getting crushed under the heels of soldiers in real Starship Troopers armor around 2040.
Isaac loves movies and recycling. Follow him on Twitter.
There are better redhead wigs out there. We're big fans of the Princess Merida.
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For more tales from the Hollywood prop room, check out 7 Famous Movie Props You'll Never Believe Were Abandoned and 8 Horrifying Movie Props You Won't Believe You Could Buy.
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