Who doesn’t like movie trivia? As one of the founding pieces of this site, we’re going back to our roots to enlighten you once more with some of the best trivia the world of cinema has to offer. Without further ado…
1. The Iron Giant only utters 53 words (see what we did?).
2. David Fincher was originally intended to direct The Black Dahlia (2006), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Spider-Man (2002), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Hannibal (2001), Batman Begins (2005) and 8MM (1999). A prolific rejector.
3. Aldo Signoretti, a key hairstylist on Romeo + Juliet, was kidnapped by gang members for a ransom of $300. Baz Luhrmann paid it.
4. Hugh Jackman was supposed to have a brief cameo as Wolverine in the original Spider-Man. Jackman actually showed up in New York to film the scene, but the entire plan was scrapped when the crew couldn’t get access to the Wolverine costume from 20th Century Fox. Spoilsports.
5. For her role as Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence had to learn how to skin squirrels. Pretty useful for her post-apocalyptic experience in The Hunger Games.
6. Kevin Spacey was expelled from Northridge Military Academy in California for throwing a tyre at a classmate. Impressive for a number of reasons.
7. The equations on the classroom chalkboards in A Beautiful Mind are actual equations created by the real-life John Nash.
8. Kim Basinger’s surname is pronounced as “Bay-sing-ger”. So now you know.
9. Irvin Kershner had been one of George Lucas’ instructors in college. At first, he turned down the opportunity to direct Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, but his agent convinced him to take the job. Good move.
10. In Casino Royale (2006)’s shower scene, Vesper was originally supposed to just be in her underwear. Daniel Craig argued Vesper wouldn’t have stopped to undress and so the scene was altered and became one of the best in the movie. Class.
11. Carrie Fisher has served as an uncredited “script doctor” on the likes of Hook, Sister Act, The River Wild and The Wedding Singer. It’s not all about the Danish pastries.
12. The Jaws shark was never tested prior to filming so when it was first put in water it sank straight to the ocean floor. Blub.
13. Leonardo DiCaprio was named Leonardo because whilst his pregnant mother was looking at a Leonardo da Vinci painting in a museum in Italy, DiCaprio delivered his first kick. Divine intervention at birth yet still no Oscar – you can’t have it all.
14. Which film translates from the Russian title as “My Boyfriend is a Psycho”? You guessed it, it’s Silver Linings Playbook.
15. During Little Miss Sunshine the crew were careful to make sure that Abigail Breslin was actually listening to music with her headphones as Alan Arkin’s expletive-ridden scenes were that rude.
16. In 10 Things I Hate About You, Patrick was originally supposed to serenade Kat with ‘I Think I Love You’ by the Partridge Family, to gain her forgiveness. Not quite the same effect.
17. When homeless, James Cameron sold the rights to The Terminator for $1 on the condition he could direct it. Wise move.
18. James Earl Jones once used the handle “Darth Vader” while travelling across the country and spoke, in character, to truck drivers on the CB radio. Apparently, the drivers would really freak out so he stopped doing it. The force is strong with this soul brother.
19. Oh, the gentle giant. André the Giant received a draft notice for France’s peacetime army, but was unable to join as there were no shoes, bunks or trenches deep enough to accommodate him. What a guy.
20. “Make em laugh, make em laugh, don’tcha know everyone wants to laugh… ”. Well, Donald O’Connor was not laughing during Singin’ in the Rain, especially considering he was a four-packs-of-cigarettes-a-day man. The number was so physically taxing that O’Connor went to bed (or may have been hospitalised, depending on your source) for a week after its completion, suffering from exhaustion and painful carpet burns. Unfortunately, an accident ruined all of the initial footage, so after a brief rest, O’Connor, ever the professional, agreed to do the difficult number all over again. Make ’em laugh!
21. In order for it to sound like Nigel in Finding Nemo had Marlin and Dory in his mouth, Geoffrey Rush held onto his tongue as he said his lines. Acting.
22. Sean Penn was taken hostage in a police department holding cell and dragged outside by gunpoint only to learn the whole thing was an elaborate prank by Woody Harrelson. Oh, to be rich.
23. The film that started it all for Miley Cyrus: Big Fish, her feature film debut.
24. British movie classic Brief Encounter was banned in Ireland as it showed an adulterer in a sympathetic light. Scandal.
25. In A Knight’s Tale when Chaucer first introduces “Sir Ulrich” in a speech, the crowd doesn’t initially cheer as the Czech extras didn’t understand what was said. Mark Addy’s loud prompt was what tipped them off. The awkward moment was left in and makes that scene even better.
26. In Interstellar, Cooper’s first name is never revealed.
27. In the What Women Want scene where Mel Gibson waxes his legs in his bathroom, he actually waxes them. However Mel, forever the modest man, taunted all the women on set, saying “come on, this doesn’t hurt at at all!”
28. Hayao Miyazaki’s supposedly final film The Wind Rises uses mostly human voices for the sound effects, including engine roars and an earthquake sound.
29. John Malkovich’s real middle name is Gavin but in the movie Being John Malkovich, it’s Horatio.
30. Gregory Peck’s nine-minute summation speech of To Kill a Mockingbird was nailed in one take. Iconic, timeless and classy.
31. Cuba Gooding Jr. lobbied for the role of Django in Django Unchained but Quentin Tarantino would not even consider him. According to Gooding, it is the biggest disappointment of his career. Poor Cuba.
32. The late, great Richard Attenborough was the last veteran of World War II to win an Oscar for Best Director (Gandhi).
33. Throughout The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland had to wear a painful corset-style device around her torso so that she would appear younger and flat-chested. It worked wonders for the wizard…
34. Richard Linklater cast his daughter Lorelei as Samantha in Boyhood because she was always singing and dancing around the house and wanted to be in his movies. At about the third or fourth year of filming, she lost interest and asked for her character to be killed off. Linklater refused, saying it was too violent for what he was planning. She regained her enthusiasm soon after, and is now part of something historic.
35. Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the xenomorph’s ferocious jaws in Alien. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.
36. On the set of Gone Girl, Ben Affleck couldn’t resist his directorial tendencies. Betting a crew member that Fincher wouldn’t notice, Affleck fiddled around slightly with the tech: “But goddammit if [Fincher] didn’t say, ‘Why does the camera look a little dim?'” Precision.
37. In the first screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, 241 people walked out. To which Arthur C. Clarke retorted, “If you understand ‘2001’ completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered.”
38. During the Nazi rally of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Steven Spielberg had all the extras who did the ‘Sieg Heil’ arm salute also put their other arms behind their backs and cross their fingers. Nice.
39. Trading Places’ original title: “Black and White”. We can see what they were going for.
40. While writing Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson couldn’t locate the script file after her computer developed a complication. Naturally, she took the computer to Stephen Fry who managed to retrieve it just several hours later.
41. The story of how Keanu Reeves got that scar: Being the daredevil he is, it came via “demon ride” (no headlights at night) when he crashed his motorbike into the side of a mountain. He was hospitalised for a week with broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. When the paramedics came to get him, an emergency medical technician trainee picked up one end of the stretcher… then dropped him.
42. Guillermo del Toro repeatedly said “no” to Hollywood producers, in spite of being offered double the budget provided Pan’s Labyrinth was made in English. Del Toro refused as he didn’t want any compromise in the storyline to suit the “market needs”.
43. Pocahontas is the first animated Disney movie with an interracial romance.
44. Did you know that Mission: Impossible was the last major studio movie to be released on Betamax? You do now.
45. In Rush, shockingly, Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth were not allowed to drive Formula 1 cars. They had to use Formula 3 cards with fake F1 bodywork.
46. Kill Bill was the first feature-length Tarantino film to have fewer than 100 uses of the word ‘fuck’ (used a sparing 17 times).
47. Anthony Hopkins’ Academy Award for Best Actor earned by his 24 minutes and 52 seconds onscreen during The Silence of the Lambs is not the shortest ever to win the Oscar. It was David Niven in Separate Tables (1958), trumping him by 1 minute.
48. The elk Thranduil (Legolas’ dad) rides on for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is played by a horse named Moose.
49. Spider-Man was the first Marvel movie to showcase the flipping-pages Marvel logo.
50. The carabao that was slaughtered in Apocalypse Now was real.
51. Wilson! Wilson! Well, he technically could have replied. In the original script for Cast Away, there were actual lines of dialogue written for Wilson to help Tom Hanks develop affection for the iconic volleyball.
52. In The LEGO Movie, there was originally going to be a shot of the diver-cops making out with mermaids while looking for the remains of the submarine. Racy.
53. Last but not least: In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy and Red’s opening chat in the prison yard – in which Red is pitching a baseball – took 9 hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball all day long without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
Many thanks to and in collaboration with Dani Davenport.