Five Funny Scenes That Were Ridiculously Hard to Film
Many Hollywood comedies can seem like they take little to no effort to make and that all you need is a camera, a microphone and enough donuts to keep Rob Schneider alive for three weeks. But the comedic filmmaking process can be much more demanding than you might expect, with even some of the goofiest movie scenes occasionally requiring a staggering amount of behind-the-scenes efforts, like how…
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ Had to Sneak a Float into a Real Parade (and Scrap Months of Prep Work)
We all love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the classic story of a wealthy teenage sociopath who decides to take an impromptu holiday from his carefree life of privilege (come on, the guy’s bedroom was basically a NASA Mission Control Center with a synthesizer). One of the most memorable scenes is when Ferris hops on a parade float and lip-syncs several popular songs while somehow not being tackled to the ground and severely beaten by security guards.
Crafting this scene was a major undertaking. For starters, some of the scene was shot during a real “German Day” parade. According to director John Hughes, the production put a fake float in the parade “unbeknownst to really anybody.” Even the governor of Illinois was in attendance that day, and “he didn’t know what we were doing.”
As for Ferris’ dance moves, after months of rehearsals, most of the choreography had to be completely scrapped at the last minute because Matthew Broderick “destroyed” his knee while filming the scene where Ferris runs through his neighbor’s yards to beat his parents home. Presumably, we didn’t hear the sound of his bones crunching over that “Bow Bow, Oh yeah” song.
‘Austin Powers’ Nude Scene Was Nearly Impossible to Get Right
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery famously ends with Austin and his new girlfriend Vanessa lounging around their hotel room in their birthday suits, maintaining the film’s PG-13 status with conspicuously placed, highly suggestive objects. Kind of like that one scene in Eyes Wide Shut, but with less Illuminati vibes and way more chest hair.
According to Mike Myers, nailing the scene required “a lot of rehearsal,” and while he was able to position himself by following “a pattern on a rug,” Elizabeth Hurley had to watch “a reverse-polarity screen camera” to get it right. They shot 25 takes, which was, understandably, extremely “stressful.” Also, it turns out that this scene was all shot inside the L.A. Scientology Celebrity Center — so maybe they have a sprinkling of Xenu magic to thank for pulling it off. Speaking of Mike Myers…
‘Wayne’s World’s Headbanging Moment Took So Many Takes the Cast Got Injured
When you think of Wayne’s World, you’re probably picturing the iconic scene in which Wayne, Garth and their pals headbang to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is arguably the high point of the series (the low point being those Uber commercials in which Wayne is still hanging out in his parent’s basement, despite the fact that they’re surely long dead).
Filming this scene was a big pain — literally. After hours of headbanging, the actors were in quite a bit of discomfort. Despite playing a dude in his early 20s, Dana Carvey was 36 at the time and called the neck pain “brutal.” One actor later said, “I probably have that football player thing, traumatic brain injury.”
When they were only halfway through filming the scene, Myers suggested that they probably had enough footage to work with, but director Penelope Spheeris insisted on getting more coverage, so Myers popped some Advil and kept on going. If only these injuries had prevented him from making The Love Guru.
Filming the ‘Biggus Dickus’ Scene in ‘The Life of Brian’ Was Uniquely Tricky
Monty Python’s Life of Brian has a lot of complicated moments on screen, from gladiator fights to aliens to musical crucifixions (sorry, Norwegians). But apparently, the toughest scene to capture on film was the moment when Pontius Pilate asks the Roman Centurions about his friend “Biggus Dickus,” and they desperately try to keep from laughing.
Per Michael Palin, this scene was uniquely hard to perform because it “had to be structured around continuous suppressed laughter,” while his character was supposed to stay totally “straight-faced.” Not laughing was, therefore, very “hard work.” Even in the finished film, you can see in one close-up that Palin is clearly on the verge of busting a gut.
The Liquified Marshmallow Man ‘Flattened’ a Stuntman in ‘Ghostbusters’
The climax of the original Ghostbusters finds our heroes blowing up an interdimensional demon and torching the ginormous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, whose melted guts rain down upon the streets of New York like a tsunami of sticky deliciousness. One guy, in particular, gets absolutely drenched by the liquified monster: Walter Peck, the EPA worker who had the nerve to suggest that the disgraced scientists using unlicensed nuclear tech in a major urban center should be subject to some kind of regulation. What a monster.
Filming Peck’s hilarious comeuppance was accomplished through trial and error. When actor/professional 1980s dickhead William Atherton questioned how much “marshmallow” (shaving cream) would be dumped on him, the answer came back as 75 pounds. According to Atherton, after he complained about the excessive volume of goo, the crew “put some poor stunt guy underneath to show the sissy actor ‘Okay, nothing’s going to happen.’” And it “flattened” him, leading the crew members to reduce the amount of shaving cream by half.
Marshmallow isn’t the only viscous substance that wreaked havoc on the set of a Ghostbusters movie. The scenes in Ghostbusters 2 that featured pink slime were a major pain in the butt behind the scenes, creating a “sticky mess.” Per the film’s assistant cameraman: “The slime was everywhere, stuck to cases, cables, shoes — everything.”
Which sounds just terrible and also makes us feel extra bad for the janitorial staff of the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.
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