6 Times Audiences (Successfully) Pushed Hollywood Around
No matter how many revisions we give our spec script for Transformers: The Eroticons, we probably won't ever be real Hollywood big shots. But that doesn't mean us fart-sucking philistines (that's industry slang for "the audience") can't influence how major motion pictures turn out. At the end of the day, movies need to make money, and Hollywood execs aren't above bowing to the whims of the masses. Look at how ...
Test Audiences Thought Kevin Costner's Penis Was Hilarious
Have you ever wanted to see Kevin Costner's penis? If so, you were probably a mom in 1993. And you're not alone. Costner also wants you to see his Untouchables. During the filming of 1999's For Love Of The Game, Costner shot a scene wherein he showered with his dick out. Which, to be fair, is the best way to shower.
From the beginning, producers were wary of including the scene, as it automatically gave the film a hard R rating and Costner's contract specified a clean PG-13. Still, like a frat boy with an iPhone, the producers agreed to go ahead and stick that dong out there and see what the response was. Like most dick pics, the reactions were humiliating. Test audiences "giggled" at the non-comedic scene, and one viewer asked the question we all ask every morning when we wake up: "Do we really need to see Kevin Costner's penis?"
The scene was ultimately cut due to studio concerns about length, content, and basic human decency. Of course, that pissed Costner right the the hell off. He accused the producers of lacking "real courage," and insisted that he refused to collaborate with people who make decisions "based not on taste, but on some kind of instinct about an audience. It just flies in the face of who I am." That's easy for him to say. That was the only thing flying in his face.
Related: Kevin Costner Was Right
Sylvester Stallone Can Only Jump But So Far
The trailer for Cliffhanger prominently featured a scene wherein Sylvester Stallone leapt some 40 feet between two cliffs, and for once, audiences the world over collectively thought, "Nah, that's some bullshit."
To appease them, producers tried to edit the scene into something more believable. Because this was 1993, the team had originally hurled Stallone's burly ass from cliff to cliff using old-fashioned stunt techniques like God intended, so short of flying Stallone back to the Rockies, the only available option was employing rudimentary CGI to make the leap look more realistic. It's probably the only time in history that CGI was expressly used to make something less awesome than real life.
A Samuel L. Jackson Impersonator Is Responsible For Those Motherfucking Snakes On That Motherfucking Plane
Snakes On A Plane was probably never going to win Best Picture, but during the early stages, the film's producers still wanted to keep the appeal as broad as possible. At one point, they even briefly changed the name to Pacific Flight 121 in an attempt to trick your grandpa into watching it (and exactly nobody else). Samuel L. Jackson forced them to change the name back -- because the man understands god damn movies -- but the plan was still to play it safe and release this stupid film about flight attendants battling loose vipers as a fun-for-most-of-the-family PG-13 flick.
But a few fans had other ideas. Specifically, they wanted Samuel L. Jackson to swear more. Also, boobs.
The film's most famous line ("I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane") was never in the original script. That bit of cinematic magic originates from two friends, Chris Rohan and Nathaniel Perry, who worked together at a Maryland audio company. The two of them got so excited about Snakes On A Plane that they made a fake audio-only trailer for the film featuring a Samuel L. Jackson impersonator. The reaction to the trailer was overwhelmingly positive, particularly to the now-infamous line.
Producers, eager to capitalize on the film's sudden R-rated attention, went ahead and ordered five days of reshoots to add additional gore, nudity, and of course, F-bombs. The reshoots paid off, as the film grossed almost twice its budget. So there you go, Hollywood: Whatever you're doing, you always need to add 30 percent more tits, 60 percent more swears, and 120 percent more Samuel L. Jackson.
What About Those Freaky Toys In Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer?
The stop-motion Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is one of those Christmas specials that will air every single year until the planet explodes, or until they remake it with CGI and ruin it for everybody. A big reason for the film's enduring popularity is the heartwarming way it resolves its myriad subplots. Rudolph becomes an important addition to the sleigh team, Hermey becomes the world's sexiest elf dentist, and the Misfit Toys are rescued from their island of eternal loneliness and shame. Except the film wasn't always that happy. Initially, it was a little grim.
See, when the film first aired back in 1964, the makers of Rudolph didn't give two shits about those Misfit Toys. The original cut basically saw Rudolph arrive on the island, take note of those crappy toys, and then wander away. The Misfit Toys were just a strange, entirely forgettable pit stop on Rudolph's quest for purpose. Audiences, however, had something resembling a soul. Many viewers wrote in to NBC demanding to know what happened to the silly King Moonracer and the psychologically broken Dolly.
NBC executives were surprised, because they, like Rudolph, couldn't imagine why anybody would care about something not popular or profitable. But they capitulated to the angry masses and ordered additional material. Every broadcast since has included the new scene in which Santa saves the toys. So only one year's worth of kids spent Christmas Eve fretfully wondering if they too would one day be unloved and forgotten.
Nobody Believed Bill Murray Could Kick De Niro's Ass
Mad Dog And Glory is a little-known comedy/drama from 1993 that's built around how hilarious it is that Robert De Niro and Bill Murray can play against type. De Niro portrays a weak-willed police photographer sarcastically nicknamed "Mad Dog," while Bill Murray plays a tough-talking gangster named Milo. Glory is someone else entirely. Maybe the dog?
When the film was originally screen tested, it included a scene in which Murray beats the everloving shit out of De Niro's character. In the universe of the movie, this makes sense, but not a single person in the audience believed it. De Niro is a fine actor, but no amount of stage crying could convince audiences that Bill Murray could beat him up.
Ultimately, the producers agreed to do reshoots so De Niro could pound Murray's ass in a way that better reflects what we all imagine would happen if those two ever actually threw down. He also wins the girl, because that's what happens when you dominate another man in a show of physical strength.
Denzel Washington Won't Kiss A White Woman Because Of Test Audiences
Over the years, Denzel Washington has taken on many powerful roles that force audiences to confront the nature of racism. He's been slurred at more times than anybody could reasonably count, and even whipped onscreen. But there's still one racially challenging thing he rarely gets to do: kiss a white lady. Despite starring in some 30-plus movies, he's only ever kissed a white woman in two of them: Malcolm X and Flight. That's a pretty low count for one of the most kissable actors of all time in an industry populated by mostly white actresses. So what's the deal? Is it because the White Man won't risk letting his women kiss the Sexiest Man Alive? We can see why you'd think that, but no.
Back in 1989, when Denzel screen-tested his sixth film, The Mighty Quinn, audiences straight-up booed a love scene he shared with Mimi Rogers. Not because Rogers and Denzel weren't naked enough; they were displeased to see Washington mashing faces with a white woman. It wasn't who you think, either. According to Washington, it was black women.
It's also possible they were upset to see one of America's best living actors reduced to a schlocky '80s action hero.
Washington asked producers to cut the scene, and from that moment on, he took it upon himself to kiss as few white lips as possible. As you might expect, this was tragic news for his co-stars. "The sisters will never forgive me," he explained when the team floated the idea of him kissing Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief (much to a very thirsty Roberts' dismay). The same thing happened when Kelly Lynch pleaded for a smooch in 1995's Virtuosity. There were also rumors that Washington demanded that a love scene between himself and Radha Mitchell be cut from Man On Fire.
Hollywood, we beg you: Let more black actresses into the party. You need more diversity for a number of reasons, but mostly we need to see Denzel get nasty more often.
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