Thanks to the internet, there are all sorts of crazy secrets we can find out about our favorite stars and movies, but every once and a while you come across a fact that just sounds too out there to possibly be true. Sometimes they even turn out to actually be fake, but that's not the case for these 15 wild pieces of movie trivia.
1. James Cameron was a truck driver, until he saw Star Wars
James Cameron has given us some of the greatest movies of the modern age. Considering he is the king of the box office, having grossed over $6 billion globally, it's hard to imagine him doing anything but making movies. While he was fascinated by film and its technology, his college years were pretty aimless and after dropping out in 1974 he bounced from job to job before ending up as a truck driver, though he spent his free time writing and studying special effects.
That all changed in 1977 when he saw a little movie called Star Wars. He was so inspired by it, that he finally realized if he wanted to make movies he would have to take it seriously, so he quit his job and started working on what would become his first movie, 1978's Xenogenesis. The rest is history.
2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory used trained squirrels brought from England
Over the last 15 years, CGI has become the go-to means of making movie magic, even when it sometimes shouldn't be (looking at you Green Lantern's costume). But for the scene of Veruca Salt's demise in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton didn't want to take the short cut of using CGI squirrels, because he felt they didn't look real or natural enough.
Instead, the production had to bring in 40 squirrels from the U.K, many of them from rescues. The rest of the squirrels were a combination of animatronics and CGI. The process of training the squirrels was about as chaotic as you'd expect, as you can see in the video below.
3. Lilo from Lilo & Stitch and Samara from The Ring are the same girl
If someone asked you to guess two movies that came out in 2002 and had the same actress, probably the last movies that would come to mind would be Lilo & Stitch and The Ring. While it would make a terrible crossover, the girl who taught us that ohana means family and the girl that taught us not to watch creepy unlabeled VHS tapes are played by the same young actress, Daveigh Chase.
Chase, now 26, has since then appeared in episodes of Cold Case and Without a Trace, and also starred in the Donnie Darko sequel S. Darko, and in the HBO show Big Love. I guess that's one way to avoid getting typecast.
4. The Soviet Union beat Peter Jackson to making a live-action The Hobbit by almost 30 years
While Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Trilogy is widely considered to be nowhere near as good as his original Lord of the Rings trilogy (let alone the 70s animated version of The Hobbit), compared to the Soviet Union's 1985 attempt at adapting the novel his version is downright Oscar-worthy. Shot in 1984, Vladimir Latyshev's version was shot as an episode for the children's TV series Tale After Tale.
The actual full title of the film wasn't even "The Hobbit," but instead, "The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, Across The Wild Land, Through the Dark Forest, Beyond the Misty Mountains, There and Back Again," which is quite the mouthful. The whole thing is pretty wild from start to finish and even better, it's available in its entirety on YouTube, so if you've got an hour to kill it's definitely worth a watch.
5. Pierce Brosnan wasn't allowed to wear a full tuxedo in any non-James Bond movie from 1995-2002.
That's right, for the duration of his stint as the world's most famous spy, Pierce Brosnan was free to act in other non-Bond movies so long as he NOT wear a tuxedo while appearing in them. Considering that tuxedos are an important part of Bond's iconic look, it makes sense that the producers wouldn't want to risk having other films try to sneakily cash in on one of the biggest action franchises in history. Luckily, now that there's a new bond in town, Brosnan can go back to wearing whatever the costume department hands him.
6. Time travel is banned in China
Well banned isn't quite the right word, more like censored to the point that you're better off avoiding it. In 2011, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television released its guidelines on the use of time travel in movies and TV shows, claiming time travel “casually makes up myths, has monstrous and weird plots, uses absurd tactics, and even promotes feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.” The "ban" also helps prevent an outlet for political dissent, as film critic Raymond Zhou Liming points out, since time travel narratives are often used as "an excuse to comment on current affairs."
7. James Cameron felt O.J. Simpson was too nice to be the Terminator
If James Cameron had followed the studio's wishes, The Terminator would have been a completely different movie. Orion Pictures chief Mike Medavoy knew exactly who he wanted, Arnold Schwarzenegger would play the hero, Kyle Reese, and football superstar O.J. Simpson would be the villainous T-800. Cameron wasn't sold on the idea because he felt that Simpson didn't seem enough like a killer, he saw him as "this likable, goofy, kind of innocent guy." Talk about awkward.
And if you think that's crazy, wait 'til you see why Ryan Gosling was cast in The Notebook...
8. The most-thanked person at the Oscars isn't God
In fact, he doesn't even crack the top 5. The honor of getting the most "thank yous" goes to none other than Steven Spielberg. Considering just how influential he's been over the course of his career, it's hardly surprising. Also receiving more "thank yous" than god were Harvey Weinstein, James Cameron, George Lucas, and Peter Jackson.
9. Speaking of Spielberg, Poltergeist and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were originally a single movie
Originally Spielberg had plans for a movie called Night Skies, about a rural family terrorized by an alien invasion. That eventually split off into two separate ideas, which he categorized as "suburban good" (for E.T.) and "suburban evil" (for Poltergeist). It's pretty hard to imagine what a crossover of those two movies would look like.
10. Christian Bale used some real-life inspiration for his Patrick Bateman
Patrick Bateman is easily one of the most unsettling characters to ever appear on screen, but what makes him even more unsettling is that Christian Bale apparently based his portrayal on a real person: Tom Cruise.
In an interview with Black Book Magazine, the director of American Psycho, Mary Harron, revealed how her and Bale developed his character. Apparently inspiration struck after Bale saw Cruise on David Letterman, describing him as having "this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes."
11. A horrifying accident on set left Harry Potter's stunt double paralyzed
The magic of movies is often so powerful that it's easy to forget the risks and dangers involved in making certain scenes possible. Over the years there have been plenty of examples of the terrible things that can happen when something goes wrong on set, but one particularly awful example comes from none other than the beloved Harry Potter franchise. During the first six movies, any time Harry was put into the thick of danger, it was stunt actor David Holmes who stood in for Daniel Radcliffe.
That all came to an end while filming Deathly Hallows Part One, when during a flying stunt, Holmes was thrown into a wall, the force of the impact broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Daniel Radcliffe held a charity fundraiser for him, and they have remained close friends. Holmes is now an Appeal Ambassador for the largest orthopedic hospital in the UK and he founded a production company, Ripple Productions, with two friends who are also in wheelchairs.
12. Tony Todd actually put bees in his mouth for that terrifying scene in Candyman
Candyman is hands down one of the scariest movies to come out in the '90s, in large part thanks to Tony Todd's performance as the titular vengeful spirit. The most disturbing part of the movie, when Helen confronts the Candyman in his lair and he offers her immortality, has a skin-crawl-inducing moment where he opens his mouth, bees pouring out and kisses her. Turns out those bees in his mouth were, well, actual live bees.
Not only did he let them cover him in bees, but he made the ultimate sacrifice for art and stuffed his mouth full of bees. Give that man an Oscar, because there's no way in hell I would be able to do that. He did at least get a pretty sweet payday, since they paid him extra for each time a bee stung him, which only happened a mere 23 times. Yes. Twenty three.
Todd wasn't the only one at risk, however. Helen also gets a face full of bees thanks to a kiss from the Candyman. Problem was that Virginia Madsen, the actress who played Helen, just so happened to have a deadly bee allergy. Because of that they had an EMT on standby just in case. At that point you'd think they'd consider an option that wasn't just "let's fill Tony Todd's mouth full of bees" but what do I know.
13. Couldn't make it to the gym but still need to work off some calories? Just watch a horror movie instead.
A study done by researchers at the University of Westminster found that watching horror movies actually burns calories; and not just a couple of calories either, a 90-minute horror movie could burn off up to 113 calories. That's the same amount as you'd burn during 30 minutes of walking.
Which movie you watch can also affect how many calories get burned. Movies with regular "jump scare" moments tend to burn the most calories since they so frequently get your heart racing. The researchers gave their top ten list for the most calorie-burning scary movies:
- The Shining (184 calories)
- Jaws (161 calories)
- The Exorcist (158 calories)
- Alien (152 calories)
- Saw (133 calories)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (118 calories)
- Paranormal Activity (111 calories)
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (107 calories)
- The Blair Witch Project (105 calories)
- [Rec] (101 calories)
14. Ryan Gosling was cast in The Notebook because he was "not handsome"
Yes, actually. He definitely had a career before The Notebook, he was in the Mickey Mouse Club with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake, he starred in the criminally underrated Breaker High, and he was Young Hercules.
But it was the movie that all women love and all guys pretend not to love was what turned him into a household name and a heart throb basically overnight. But the reason he got the part is a little...unexpected. While Nicholas Sparks - the man who wrote the book The Notebook is based on - claims that Gosling got the part because no one else wanted it, Ryan Gosling himself has a different story.
In a 2012 interview he claimed that director Nick Cassavetes was very open about the reasons for choosing him to play Noah. He says Cassavetes told him "I want you to play this role because you’re not like the other young actors out there in Hollywood. You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts." Ouch. It clearly hasn't affected his career or the millions of people who love him, but still that's gotta sting.
15. Macaulay Culkin was left permanently scarred by Home Alone
Home Alone is one of the best movies to come out of the '90s, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. But to hear Macaulay Culkin tell it, his on-set experience in making the film took a strange and painful turn thanks to Joe Pesci.
While rehearsing the scene where the would-be robbers hang Kevin on a coat hook and Pesci's character tells him "I'm gonna bite off every one of these little fingers one at a time" Pesci actually bit Culkin's finger. Even worse, he bit hard enough to break the skin and leave a scar that Culkin has to this day. In a 2004 interview, Culkin made it clear how he felt about the incident, saying "I got really mad at him. I was like, 'I don't care how many Oscars you have, or whatever - don't go biting a nine-year-old! What the heck's wrong with you?" Good question!