ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Movie-making isn't an exact science. Sure, they're are books and university courses on filmmaking, but in reality many iconic film scenes feature some hilarious improvised moments, strange resourcefulness and odd approaches to capturing a performance.

Let's take a look at 10 examples of famous movie scenes which hide some unusual behind the scenes antics.

Channing Tatum Was Drunk in This Is the End

The inclusion of Channing Tatum playing himself as a submissive post-apocalyptic gimp is one the best moments of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's This Is the End. It's a role the former stripper certainly puts his heart and soul into, as well as it seems, a large amount of Dutch courage.

In between, mostly improvised, takes of the scene with Danny McBride, Tatum would retire to the trailer which actually housed an already drunk Jonah Hill. The two would share a beer while the crew set up the next take. This happened so frequently Tatum ended up quite sloshed.

Ironically, according to an interview with Conan O'Brien, Tatum also accepted the role while a bit drunk.

Meatloaf's Breasts in Fight Club Were Bird Seed

To make sure they hung correctly, the Fight Club costume department created a special fat suit for Bob's 'bitch tits.' Apparently, to get the right consistency and shape, bird seed was the preferred filling of choice.

However, it seems the bird seed was too heavy in at least one scene. When the Project Mayhem gang are leaving the police ball, you can see Meatloaf's pants fall down in the background, revealing the fat suit. The scene was included in the final cut, although it's difficult to spot.

Woody's Horse Sound Effects Are a Cow Licking Peanut Butter off an Intern's Face

The Pixar team spared no expense when it came to getting the right sound for Woody's horse, Bullseye.

In order to grab the sounds they wanted, they covered some poor intern's face with peanut butter and allowed a cow to lick it off. Unfortunately, the sound team needed to get all the sounds just right, and to do that, they needed to record hours of licking.

Sam Raimi Auditioned Spiders for Spider-Man

Unfortunately, the Academy doesn't recognize performances by animals yet, but if it did it might want to consider the radioactive spider from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man.

Originally, Raimi wanted a black widow spider, but it was deemed to dangerous to use on set. Instead, entomologist Steven Kutcher brought in various spiders to 'audition' for the role. To do this, he set up a "Spider Olympics" in which talented arachnids showed off their special skills. In the end, Raimi went for a steatoda grossa, a brown spider with a smooth, swollen body and thin twiggy legs.

However, this wasn't the right color, so Kutcher had to apply makeup to the little critter. He explained:

"I had to find a non-toxic paint, design a little harness to hold the spider as he was painted, and supervise the artist painting Steatoda."

Lando Calrissian's Exotic Helmet Had a Very Un-Exotic Origin

Lando Calrissian is a guy who appreciates style, which is probably why we see him sporting a rather fetching tusky helmet in Star Wars. But, did you know that the sci-fi helmet is in fact not much more than a modified baseball glove?

Legend has it that the Star Wars props department had hit a bit of a slump when it came to constantly designing unique costumes for the characters from a galaxy far, far away. However, the team would get together every Friday for a baseball game, and it was at one such game that a designer named Nilo Rodis-Jamero jokingly put a baseball glove on engineer Wade Childress’ head. Suddenly, Rodis-Jamero realized this was the look he was searching for and pulled Childress back into the studio for reference photos.

"Hey, I'm Walkin' Here!"

The famous line from Midnight Cowboy, "Hey, I'm walkin' here" is often cited as one of cinema's most famous ad libs.

According to most, a taxi cab ignored the "Road Closed for Filming" signs and accidentally drove onto the film set. However, the movie actually had no money left to film the scene properly, and so simply set up a camera van with radio microphones and filmed on a real New York City street.

Hoffman and Jon Voight had planned their walk so as to time it with the green cross signal light, preventing them from having to pause and wait to cross. They nailed the walk just right but as they began to cross a taxi cab ran a red light and almost hit the actors. Hoffman wanted to shout, "Hey, we're making a movie here," but decided to keep it in character instead.

The Return of Barbarossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

The final scene from Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was also improvised, but perhaps not in the usual way. Director Gore Verbinski wanted an authentic reaction from the cast when Geoffrey Rush returns as Barbarossa at the end of the film. To ensure this, he kept Rush's involvement a secret and instead told them Anamaria (Zoe Saldana) from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl would instead be returning.

Due to this, the looks of surprise on their faces on genuine. You even see Orlando Bloom doing a little double-take. Check it out below:

The Zeppelin Scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

Although apparently set during winter, the Indiana Jones zeppelin scenes were actually filmed during the height of summer, creating extremely hot temperatures on set.

To deal with this, Sean Connery took off his pants and did the scene in his underwear. When Harrison Ford saw how well it worked, he followed suit and also lost his pants. Many of the scenes aboard the zeppelin were shot from the waist up to hide this fact.

The Big Lebowski's Pubic Wig Prank

One of the most famous scenes in The Big Lebowski, sees the drugged up Dude traveling through a strange and surreal dream sequence filled with references from earlier in the movie.

One element of the scene involves The Dude floating under the legs of a row of dancers. Unbeknownst to Jeff Bridges, the dancing girls decided to play a prank on the actor by stuffing their underwear with fake pubic hair wigs. Bridges was surprised and a little embarrassed because this was also the day he decided to bring his family on the set.

Aragorn Breaks His Toes

Here is another piece of improvisation in a famous movie, although with hindsight, Viggo Mortensen would probably have preferred to have stayed strictly on script.

After believing the Fellowship has lost Merry and Pippin, Aragorn kicks an orc's helmet in frustration before letting out an emotional bellow and dropping to his knees. It's certainly a powerful moment, but Mortensen isn't really acting in this scene, he actually broke two of his toes when kicking the helmet.

Source: ListVerse


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