6 Movies & Shows That Went Through Insane Hoops To Remake Props
We get it -- the world's crappy, so it totally makes sense that nostalgia has become the pepperoni pizza to the Ninja Turtle that is America. The warm, comforting glow one gets from revisiting characters of yesteryear is like a drug, if drugs were sold on Netflix. And it's easy to write off the entertainment industry's current dependence on the past as quick and easy cash grabs, but consider this: Sometimes it takes a lot of work to make something look like it used to decades ago (unless it's Keanu Reeves). So let's all take a moment to appreciate how ...
Recreating Roseanne's Sofa Was An Insane Ordeal
If you grew up watching Roseanne, you know that the living room couch was almost a beloved character unto itself, on par with Dan, Roseanne, Darlene, or Steven Seagal that one time. So when the show was resurrected -- albeit in a Byzantine alternate universe -- they needed that couch back. To do otherwise would be wrong, like rebooting The X-Files without Mulder, or bringing back Home Improvement but making it watchable.
Unfortunately for the producers of the reboot, the original couch was sold to James Comisar, a TV memorabilia hound whose enormous collection also includes the Cheers bar, Batman and Robin's tights, and the guy who played Todd in Scrubs, probably. Comisar was willing to lend them the couch, but his demands included a "temperature-controlled environment" and a "full-time security guard."
With hiring the Secret Service to protect a darn sofa out of the question, the producer and set decorator scoured the Crappy Old Furniture section of Craigslist. Since they couldn't get an exact match for the original living room set, they ended up buying two worn-out couches for 400 bucks, sawed one in half, and then rebuilt the frame, customizing it into a matching easy chair. This resulted in some authentically gnarly furniture, but the upholstery wasn't close enough, dammit. LA stores were much too hip for what they were looking for, so the crew turned to a Midwest RV manager who had tons of 1970s brown plaid fabric. Even when the items were reupholstered, they still weren't authentic enough, so the set decorator hand-painted red stripes on the plaid to make it "rustier," and hired a guy with a power sander to wear it down. At this point, inventing a time machine would have entailed less effort.
The end result was quite convincing, and totally worth it, since this would definitely be a show that would stick around for a long, long time!
The Last Jedi Dug Out The Original Yoda Puppet Mold
Pretty much every one of the Disney Star Wars movies has tried to scratch your nostalgia itch with a surprise cameo from the previous movies. Solo had that big spoilery scene, The Force Awakens had the beloved Admiral Ackbar, and Rogue One had the much less beloved Pig Nose Guy and Mr. Butt-Chin.
The Last Jedi also had an iconic character pop on by. Since they're likely saving the cantina wolfman for Episode IX, Yoda's blue ghost shows up to hang out with Luke Skywalker and blow up the Keebler Elf Tree like a vengeful Pepperidge Farm employee.
Given how endearingly crappy he looks, you've probably guessed that they didn't use CGI for this one. Because there were no scenes calling for Yoda to jump around like Super Mario on bath salts this time around, they decided to go with the puppet version. This meant delving into the Lucasfilm archives to get the original molds.
To add to the authenticity, they even tracked down the woman who originally painted Yoda's eyes for The Empire Strikes Back and had her work her magic again. A good call, because Star Wars fans will absolutely notice and whine if someone's eyes aren't exactly right.
Unlike the prequels, in which he literally phoned in his performance, Frank Oz schlepped down to the set to perform Yoda's voice in person. All of this leading to a tender scene between Yoda, Luke, and Yoda's godlike powers of arboreal vandalism.
Ready Player One Created A Full Digital Version Of The Shining's Hotel
Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One finds a gang of pop-culture-obsessed gamers living out their wildest fantasies in a virtual playspace, such as driving the Back To The Future DeLorean while dressed like an anime Jared Leto.
In their quest to find an Easter egg that will give them control over this virtual world, the gang has to travel inside a VR recreation of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining -- and it looks exactly like it does in the film. Which is kind of weird, because this is basically a kid's movie marketed using Voltron and the Iron Giant, not the fursuit blowjob monster.
This undertaking first required scanning a "high-quality telecine transfer" of The Shining and creating a digital version of the Overlook Hotel sets, presumably overwriting a file containing a virtual native burial ground. These digital sets were then combined with shots from the movie itself to make it seem like the Ready Player One gang was interacting with that world. But any time there was a human being in the shot and they weren't able to use the angle from the movie, they had to cast a double, do some set decoration, and try to match the exact lighting of a 40-year-old movie.
Then, all of the new footage was rendered using a grainier lens to better match the vintage film stock. Overall, it was a crapload of work that makes you wonder why they didn't just have them play Pac-Man or something for 20 minutes.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Recreated The 1960s Set By Getting A Fan To Work For Free
One of the most memorable episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation found original Enterprise crew member Scotty popping by to remind people he wasn't dead. In a particularly moving scene, Scotty recreates the bridge of the original Enterprise and shares a bottle of bright green hooch left over from Space St. Patrick's Day.
Unfortunately, the original bridge set had been thrown out out long ago, which meant that building a new one would be a rather costly job. Initially, they thought of simply using the set from Star Trek VI which was still lying around, but scrapped that idea because Scotty had "no sentimental attachment" to it. Yeah, not even he remembered that one.
Instead, the producers used a bunch of tricks to get around shelling out the dough for a full bridge. That moment when Scotty enters the Holodeck? They green-screened him into a shot from the original series episode "This Side Of Paradise," in which the bridge is empty after space spores cause everyone to trip balls. For the rest of the scene, they merely built a portion of the bridge -- the parts they needed for the shots of Scotty and Captain Picard getting sloshed, and nothing more. The only problem was that they still needed a Captain's chair and console. Which they couldn't afford to pay for.
So they didn't. Well, sort of. At the last moment, one of the producers reached out to a Trekkie who built prop replicas, and he only charged them for the materials.
Feeling bad, the producers agreed to the deal, but added that the fan could have the props back after the shoot -- with the bonus that they'd been touched by two legendary Trek actors' butts.
Twin Peaks Had To Completely De-Renovate A Real Diner
To the delight of the red drape industry, David Lynch and Mark Frost's cult mystery show Twin Peaks returned in 2017 for a season jam-packed with murder, intrigue, and ... extended scenes of janitorial work set to classic R&B. Anyone who's seen the original series knows that one of the most iconic locations in Twin Peaks is the Double R Diner, where coffee and pie provide a brief respite from all the woods-dwelling demons.
The diner had to come back for Twin Peaks: The Return -- but unfortunately, by the time they got around to making the new show, the real place looked less like the aesthetic of Twin Peaks and more like where Zack Morris and his pals would hang out after school.
The reason? The real diner, Twede's Cafe, was burglarized and set on fire during the intervening 25 years. So the owners were forced to renovate, and for some reason decided to try to make the diner look nice, removing the brown walls that weren't so much brown as they were colored from "60 years" of cigarette smoke. Unfortunately, this is Twin Peaks we're talking about, so this clearly wouldn't do. Rather than build a set or relocate the show in Bayside, the production went in and essentially un-renovated the restaurant back to the way it was, complete with tobacco-stained walls.
Some Doomed Soul Had To Watch Hundreds Of Hours Of Full House To Recreate The Tanner Family Home
Ever since Full House ended, a lot of you have probably been wondering what happened to D.J., or how Uncle Jesse's music career went, or whether Joey was living under an overpass trading puns for canned beans. Thanks to Netflix's new series Fuller House, you don't have to wonder anymore, because at this point, Netflix is essentially a parent replacing dead guinea pigs with live ones, hoping we won't notice.
Who was charged with remaking the titular crammed domicile? Production designer Jerry Dunn, who took the gig after being told that it would be the "easiest job you're ever going to have." Why? All Dunn had to do was recreate the set based off of the original blueprints, which were safely tucked away in the Warner Bros. archives.
But after taking the job, Dunn discovered that the plans were in fact missing -- or possibly stolen by someone trying to make sure that the world would never have to endure more Full House. So instead of a "slam dunk" job, Dunn had to recreate the set from scratch. Which meant going "frame by frame" through "over 100 hours of Full House," and somehow emerging on the other side with his sanity and will to live intact.
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