January 20, 2022

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11 Movie Facts That Are Real And 7 That Are False

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Lindsay Lohan was so close to playing Regina George in Mean Girls, but Lorne Michaels realized she’d be better playing the character who becomes Regina.

True: Before its release in 1997, many critics and Hollywood insiders predicated that Titanic would be a box office bomb.


20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Now before you Titanic fans jump down my throat, there were several reasons why it was predicated to be failure. It was at the time the most expensive movie ever made and was getting compared to the costly Waterworld  — which had been released a couple of years before and had not managed to be a huge success because it, like Titanic, was the then-most expensive movie ever made. Even though Waterworld grossed over $200 million at the box office, it was deemed a failure/moderate success ’cause it barely made a profit. 

Aside from the filming of Titanic being expensive, it also took a long time to film. Going way over schedule also delayed the release of the film, as it was originally meant to be released during the summer (the blockbuster movie season). Its release date being moved to December set off red flags. 

Lastly, many on-set stories about everything from the difficulty of working with James Cameron to the PCP poisoning of the crew members had been reported throughout the film’s production, which only added to the “doomed film” narrative. 

True: Fans were not happy that Heath Ledger had been cast as The Joker in The Dark Knight:


Warner Bros / ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker is iconic, considered his best, and even earned him a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor — today it’s hard to even imagine anyone else in the role. However, when it was first announced that he would be playing the role in 2006, people online lost their collective shit, thinking he was too much of a “pretty boy” for the role, wouldn’t have the chops to do it, and overall just a really bad choice. Some even campaigned for him to be removed from the role.

Similarly, fans protested when it was announced that Michael Keaton had landed the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the late ’80s. Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, received 50,000 angry letters.

True: Dorothy’s slippers in The Wizard of Oz were changed from silver to ruby because they would look better in Technicolor.


MGM / Everett Collection / Everett Collection

It’s safe to say that the ruby slippers are one of the things we most associate with The Wizard of Oz (if not the most). However, in L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the slippers were silver, and reportedly in the original draft for the movie they were as well. This was later changed due to the fact that the red ruby slippers would not only pop against the yellow brick road, but also that they would truly stand out in Technicolor. 

True: Lindsay Lohan wanted to play Regina George in Mean Girls, while Rachel McAdams originally auditioned for Cady.


Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

The casting in Mean Girls is perfect, but had Lindsay Lohan gotten her way she would’ve played Regina. In a 2014 interview with EW, Lohan revealed that she wanted to play the “cool girl” because she had just played the “not cool girl” in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Freaky Friday

Even Tina Fey considered casting Lohan as Regina; however, when she spoke with Lorne Michaels and the film’s director, Mark Waters, about it, they both thought that she should would be best to play Cady — who was the character that eventually becomes Regina. 

True: Miranda Priestly’s office in The Devil Wears Prada was modeled after Anna Wintour’s office at Vogue.


20thcentfox / ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Though The Devil Wears Prada is considered to be a roman à clef novel about its author’s (Lauren Weisberger) time at Vogue as Wintour’s assistant, the movie itself made several changes to the character of Miranda Priestly — making her less like Wintour. 

But there was one thing that was directly inspired by Wintour: Miranda’s office design. According to the film’s director, David Frankel, the production designer got a glimpse at her office and recreated it. And reportedly it was so spot-on that Wintour quickly redecorated her office after the movie came out.

True: Members of NSYNC played Jedi in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.


Jim Spellman / WireImage, Lucasfilm Ltd. / ©Lucasfilm Ltd./Courtesy Everett Collection

Joey Fatone, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick filmed two scenes for the movie where they played Jedi extras. According to Fatone, the band was asked to do the cameo because the daughters of George Lucas and the film’s producer, Rick McCallum, were fans of the band.

However, their scenes were ultimately cut from the movie, probably likely due to the backlash it got online when the rumor leaked that they were doing cameos.


True: Christian Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho was modeled after Tom Cruise.


Lions Gate / ©Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection, Ethan Miller / Getty Images for CinemaCon

According to the film’s director, Mary Harron, she and Bale would talk on the phone often while trying to develop the character. One day he called her after watching Cruise do an interview on David Letterman, and Bale told her that there was “a very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes” to Cruise and that “he was really taken with this energy.”


True: “Part of Your World” was almost cut from The Little Mermaid.


Disney

Then-Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg almost cut the song after kids did not respond to it well during an early rough-cut test screening of the movie — which, FTR, had the scene as only a black-and-white penciled sequence. He figured the kids would find the number boring. Luckily everyone involved with the film argued that it should remain at least until the next test screening, and when the movie was re-screened, the now fully colored scene tested well, and the song remained.

Katzenberg would later say had he cut that scene it would’ve been the gravest mistake of his career. 

True: Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix.


Gregg Deguire / WireImage / Getty Images, / ©Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Back in 2019, Smith put up a YouTube video were he confirmed that the rumors of him turning down the movie were true and that it isn’t something he is proud of. However, he explained that he really didn’t understand the pitch The Wachowskis gave him. So instead of doing The Matrix he made, Wild, Wild West (which he also isn’t proud of).

While he isn’t proud of turning down the role of Neo, he thinks it all worked out for the best as he says Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne were both perfect in it.


True: Spider-Man 3‘s Sam Raimi (who wrote and directed the entire trilogy) was very unhappy with how the film turned out and wanted to make another Spider-Man movie to make up for it.


Sony Pictures / ©Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Raimi planned on making a fourth film to not just make up for Spider-Man 3, but to also end the franchise on a high note. Unfortunately, he could not get the script together in time, and Sony decided to just reboot the franchise instead (which would be the movies with Andrew Garfield as the lead).

True: Kevin Costner wrote a sequel to The Bodyguard that would have starred Princess Diana.


Tim Graham / Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

According to Costner, he spoke to Diana about the film, and that it would have been about his Bodyguard character, Frank Farmer, protecting Diana (who would’ve played herself) from paparazzi and stalkers. And, like in the original movie, the two would have fallen in love. Diana died in the car accident right as he had finished the script.

False: Cleopatra was a box office bomb.


Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, Cleopatra was NOT a box office bomb; in fact, it was the highest-grossing film of 1963. The issue was that the film was so expensive to make, it really didn’t turn a profit.

False: Janet Jackson demanded that Tupac Shakur get an HIV test before he kissed her for their film Poetic Justice.


Columbia Pictures / ©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

This NEVER happened. But it does have an origin; according to the film’s writer-director, the late John Singleton, it was actually a joke (not the most tasteful joke, I know) he started when they were filming. The backstory is that both he and Tupac had HUGE crushes on Jackson (who was not interested in either of them, ’cause she was secretly married at the time), and he would jokingly say, “We’re gonna have to get you an AIDS test for you to kiss my actress!” as a way to one-up Tupac. The joke became a rumor even before the movie was released.

Also, it’s important to note that HIV/AIDS had been a known disease for over a decade-plus when the movie was filmed — it was already a known fact that you could not transmit the disease through kissing, so it doesn’t even make sense.

False: Mad Max: Fury Road had no script, and director George Miller used only storyboards to make the film.


Warner Bros / ©Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Obviously, this is not true, because it would be impossible to make a movie like Fury Road without a script. In an Oct. 2020 email to IndieWire, George Miller shut down the rumor once and for all, saying, “I’m not sure how the notion that Fury Road had no script came about. I suppose it’s because of the [photo of the] room lined with storyboards. Of course, there was a script! How else could we have presented the project to a studio, cast, and crew to elicit their interest?”

False: The producer of Gone With the Wind, David O. Selznick, was fined $5,000 for including the word “damn” at the end of the movie because it violated a Motion Picture Association Production Code.


Warner Bros.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” is one of the most iconic lines in cinematic history. However, Selznick didn’t have to pay a fine because he didn’t violate anything. He wanted to stick to the book as much as possible, so he got special permission from the Motion Picture Association to use the words “damn” and “hell” in specific situations in the film. 

But, just in case he didn’t get the permission, Selznick and story editor Val Lewton came up with a list of alternate lines that Rhett could say to Scarlett at the end of the movie. 

False: Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the role of Max in Hocus Pocus.


Barry King / WireImage / Getty Images, Buena Vista Pictures / ©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

DiCaprio did NOT turn down the role because he couldn’t even accept it in the first place. It’s a bit convoluted, but he was asked to come in to read for it, but with director Kenny Ortega being fully aware that he was unavailable to do the movie because he was already committed to filming What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and This Boy’s Life.

According to Ortega, DiCaprio was brought in to read for the role because the casting people knew he would be very good and that it would inspire Ortega to find the right guy to play Max.


False: In The Wizard of Oz, one of the actors who played a munchkin hanged himself on camera at the end of the scene where Dorothy and the Scarecrow discover the Tin Man.


Warner Bros.

According to Snopes, this urban legend dates back to 1989, when the film was re-released on VHS for its 50th anniversary. OK, now, if you were watching this on video in 1989, the resolution would have been, well, shit, so it would be easy to not be able to make out shadows in the background and interpret them as something else. In the 30-plus years since then, the movie has been remastered and cleaned up several times, and if you watch it today you can clearly make out that it’s just an exotic bird walking in the background.

False: Three Men and a Baby was filmed in a haunted New York apartment, and in one scene the ghost of a boy can be seen in the background.


Disney

Just like The Wizard of Oz munchkin one, this urban legend started after the film was released onto home video. The story went that a 9-year-old boy had killed himself in the apartment where the movie was filmed and that he can be seen hiding behind the curtains as the camera quickly pans across the room. But the “ghost” is actually a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson’s character (which can be seen earlier in the film). Also, the apartment was a set built on a soundstage.

There are a few theories as to how this rumor started — like how it was the studio trying to drive up VHS rentals. It could just be that, again, just like in the case of The Wizard of Oz, the low resolution of VHS tapes, and the fact that TVs were smaller in the ’80s and ’90s, made it hard to determine what the figure was.