6 Movies' Behind-The-Scenes Absurd Drama
Sometimes making movies is a breeze. Other times it goes about as smoothly as a Tom Waits song about sandpaper. Either because of clashing egos, sticky legal issues, or simply because the Universe wants to punish Hollywood for its wickedness, certain productions are full of problems most of us are unaware of. Even some of this year's movies have hilariously uncomfortable behind-the-scenes stories. Such as how ...
The Director Of The New Star Wars Was Allegedly Fired For Conceiving One Of The Worst Movies Of All Time
One of the most anticipated movies of the year is obviously Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, in which we'll finally find out what happens to Rey, Kylo Ren, and apparently the elderly wizard we all safely assumed was dead after he plummeted thousands of feet ... in a soon-to-be-exploded space station ... 30 years ago. J.J. Abrams has returned to direct, but he wasn't originally doing so.
The first person hired to direct Episode IX was Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow. Bizarrely, in an early public appearance, Trevorrow claimed that he wanted to shoot the movie "on location" with IMAX cameras literally "in space." Because if the Star Wars series has one nagging flaw, it's the sheer phoniness of the black abyss of space, and not, say, the giant laser-blasting ships manned by gruff squid-men in said space.
Reportedly, Lucasfilm wasn't happy with the script Trevorrow wrote with partner Derek Connolly (of Monster Trucks infamy), so they brought in the guy who penned that nonsensical Harry Potter play. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the man who introduced Voldemort's sex life into the Wizarding World also didn't cut it. And according to one anonymous source, Trevorrow was also kind of a jerk about the whole thing.
It likely didn't help matters that during this time, Trevorrow's passion project, The Book Of Henry, was universally panned, and then flopped at the box office. If you need further evidence that Star Wars really dodged a bullet, Trevorrow claimed that Book Of Henry (a dramedy about a dead child convincing his mother to murder their abusive neighbor) was a "carbon copy" of A New Hope. So Trevorrow was canned, and J.J. Abrams took the gig. Thick glasses frames and plaid shirts don't grow on trees, after all.
Sonic The Hedgehog Ignored Criticism Until The Last Minute
OK, so technically Sonic The Hedgehog is no longer a 2019 movie. As most of you are probably aware, the film was delayed after fan backlash prompted the producers to rethink the title character's design. In case you missed the first trailer, Sonic looked pretty darn creepy. And bizarrely, it also featured Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise," presumably because the film sees Sonic teaching poetry to inner-city high-schoolers.
"Our first priority with this new design is to finally put a stop to the erotic fan art. Any movie that may result is purely incidental."
So how did we get here? Well, the movie has been in development for a while, first at Sony, which wanted a "dark, edgy version" for "older audiences." Because who among us wouldn't want to see Sonic go on an obscenity-laced tirade while curb-stomping Dr. Robotnik? Perhaps because it was a terrible idea, Sony abandoned the project and Paramount scooped it up. Then in 2018, we got our first evidence that this movie was a real thing: a teaser poster featuring an uncomfortably muscular Sonic. The internet ridiculed this, but Paramount got defensive. They released another poster in which Sonic holds up a sign reading: "CAN'T A GUY WORK OUT?" And this time he has even more muscular legs.
Why did they take Sonic in this direction? It seems the filmmakers took inspiration from Ted. They wanted Sonic to be realistic and furry -- though keep in mind that Ted doesn't look like he's been shotgunning Creatine. The new Sonic was also to have naturalistic eyes, which the folks at Sega weren't "entirely happy" with. Fans weren't happy either. After the backlash, director Jeff Fowler randomly Tweeted that they were going to completely change the design of the character, which is kind of nuts. Now the movie has been delayed until 2020 to give the team time to either overhaul their movie or douse their offices in gasoline before escaping to South America under assumed names.
We're Getting Two Child's Play Series Because Of An Australian Criminal
The original Child's Play introduced us to Chucky, the second-creepiest '80s toy, after Teddy Ruxpin. Since '80s nostalgia is the lasagna to the moviegoing world's Garfield, naturally Child's Play was remade this year, featuring Aubrey Plaza and the voice of Mark Hamill (who knows a thing or two about being a plastic toy). But we're not only getting a cinematic remake; we're also getting a TV show, and potentially more movies set in the original continuity. Why? Well, it's a long story.
Unlike the movie itself, whose plot could fit on a fortune cookie slip.
After 1988's Child's Play proved a surprise box office hit, there was immediately talk of a sequel. But the film was produced by United Artists, which was owned by MGM, which were about to be sold to an Australian company called Quintex. It turned out that the head of Qintex, Christopher Skase, straight-up didn't like horror movies. So in a move that UA admitted was "insane," they gave the rights away to the producers "free and clear," allowing them to produce the sequel at Universal after being courted by Steven Spielberg.
Eventually, though, MGM's deal fell through, because it turned out that the Australian buyers were as sketchy as their Bond-villain-like corporate name indicated. Skase became a fugitive and fled to Spain to evade criminal charges. So while the original movie's writer Don Mancini (who became the custodian of the franchise) owns the rights to all the sequels, MGM maintains the rights to the first movie, hence the remake (which Mancini isn't happy about).
So thanks to this weird legal loophole, we're getting more Chucky-related content than ever. (Thankfully, we seem to be safe from any further adventures of the dead-eyed abomination that is Teddy Ruxpin.)
The John Wick 3 Set Was Invaded By Cats
You have to imagine there are a lot of chaotic elements to keep track of on the set of a John Wick movie, whether it's choreographing stunts, managing prop guns, or ensuring that Keanu Reeves has access to all the hair care products an elite professional assassin would. One thing you might not expect would be a mass invasion of kitty cats. But that's exactly what happened on the set of John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum.
And if those movies have taught us anything, it's to not mess with potential pets.
The movie shot scenes in Morocco, which is lousy with cats. When the filmmakers scouted locations in the wintertime, there were only a "few cats" hanging around, but by the time they returned to shoot, there were "literally a thousand cats." Since they wanted to make a John Wick movie and not a thousand adorable YouTube videos, this posed a problem. What made matters worse was the fact that Halle Berry's character has two German shepherds, who were understandably distracted by hordes of their natural enemies lurking off-camera.
According to director Chad Stahelski, things "got a little crazy between cat-wrangling, and dog-wrangling, and people-wrangling." Berry called the cat-filled shoot "chaotic." The crew ended up having to build cages to house the trespassing felines, meaning they'll be the villains in a Disney movie someday.
The Heated Hellboy Argument Over A Tree
This year's Hellboy reboot didn't do so well at the box office, probably because a segment of fans remained loyal to Guillermo Del Toro's previous series, and because those wanting to see Nazis conjuring hideous monsters can simply watch the news at home for free. Perhaps not surprisingly, the movie was a mess behind the scenes. For example, as soon the film got underway, two of the producers (allegedly) randomly fired the cinematographer solely to show the director that he "was not in charge." Nothing more badass than proving that you have firing power over those tasked with filming a dude in a rubber devil costume.
According to reports, the producers would also interrupt the director (Neil Marshall of The Descent fame) to give the actors conflicting feedback during rehearsal. Things got so heated that Hellboy himself (Stranger Things' David Harbour) walked off the set. The screenplay was constantly being rewritten, at one point by Harbour and his co-star Ian McShane.
Then, in an incident that makes the filmmakers sound like warring Keebler elves, there was a big fight over a certain tree which is a focal point of the plot. It seems Marshall wanted it to be a "realistic-looking, asymmetrical tree," while the producers insisted on a perfectly symmetrical tree -- a detail that ultimately would have been more important if anyone had gone to see the movie.
Dark Phoenix's Budget Ballooned After Test Audiences Laughed At A Huge Death Scene
Fox's X-Men film series has been around for almost two decades, and seemingly wrapped up with Dark Phoenix -- not a documentary about Arizona's seedy underbelly, but an adaptation of the classic comic in which Jean Grey goes cosmically bananas. The movie tanked, and was generally disliked by critics. What was going on there, you ask?
Beyond the general "Why bother?" attitude of a Wolverine-free X-Men movie, of course.
For one thing, the people behind X-Men have been trying to do this story for years. Original director and real-life supervillain Bryan Singer wanted X2 to adapt the Dark Phoenix arc, but the screenwriter convinced him not to rush things, stating that he should "establish more before you go into Phoenix.'"
Then Simon Kinberg (the same guy who would end up writing and directing the 2019 movie) was hired to pen X-Men: The Last Stand, which was going to tackle Dark Phoenix. But the studio insisted on a mutant "cure" storyline. So the filmmakers tried to squeeze in both ideas, sidelining the plot they actually wanted to focus on, leading to a mess of a movie in which Jean Grey's transformation plays like a half-baked afterthought.
For some reason, the same dude who bungled that attempt got a second chance with the latest movie, starring X-Men who bizarrely have barely aged between the 1960s and '90s. When it came time to screen for test audiences, things didn't go well. Not only did the movie feel uncomfortably similar to The Last Stand, but reportedly, the dramatic death of (SPOILER) Mystique at the hands of Jean Grey was so abrupt that it elicited laughter from the crowd.
The movie was delayed in order to film reshoots, which isn't uncommon. But this meant inflating the budget of the film to the "range of $200 million." There have also been conflicting reports that the original ending, which had the X-Men battling Skrulls in front of the UN, was scrapped after they were out-Skrulled by Captain Marvel. Regardless of the reasons, it didn't exactly work out.
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