For her role in 2012’s Les Miserables, actress Anne Hathaway underwent a dramatic weight loss for her role as the emaciated Fantine. Hathaway refused to disclose details of how she lost the weight as she did not want to encourage such drastic measures in the public, but recently the actress has been heard to say that costar Amanda Seyfried performed several “dark rituals” designed to sap Hathaway’s essence and hold it temporarily in her own body. Seyfried demurred when asked about these rituals, but did comment that since working with Hathaway, her eyes have never been brighter, her hair fuller, or her breasts more sensitive to light.
Actress Liza Minnelli, seen here in her Oscar award winning performance in 1972’s Cabaret is said that working with director Bob Fosse was among “the greatest trials of [her] career.”
When pressed for details, the actress quipped “What they won’t tell you is that the beauty mark I wore for the film wasn’t a beauty mark at all. It was a bug. A pill bug, for god’s sake!”
Fosse confirms the story, saying that he doesn’t like his actresses to feel “like they’re not covered in bugs.” Critics remain mystified by the comment.
In 1976, when the film Taxi Driver was released, many moviegoers were shocked by actor Robert DeNiro’s performance, citing his intense level of dedication to the part. In particular, critics praised the scene in which Deniro’s Travis Bickle held his hand above a hot plate, commending the actor for his commitment to realism. Of course, it later became widely known that George Lucas and his Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) team used CGI and blue screens to simulate the flames, and indeed, DeNiro himself.
Much ado has been made of Jodi Foster’s performance as a prostitute in 1976’s Taxi Driver, mostly because Foster was a scant 13 years of age when she filmed the part. In accordance with film industry standards, Foster’s parents were required to be on set during filming, a request they happily complied with. One provision of the edict proved difficult for Foster’s father to follow through on, however. Director Martin Scorsese insisted that Mr. Foster put both him and Foster’s co-star, Robert DeNiro, in daily headlocks, shouting threats against the director & actor, as well as against their families in order to “keep them in line.” Mr. Foster, a mild-mannered man, said that he felt a bit silly, as he knew full well that DeNiro and Scorsese could have overpowered him at any time.
Actor Chris Hemsworth’s size is often commented on, and with good reason! Contrary to anecdotal reports, the actor is not “9 feet tall,” but rather stands at 11’4” tall. In this still from 2012’s The Cabin In The Woods, Hemsworth can be seen working on a “forced perspective” set, in which the smaller (or “more normally sized” actors) are placed closer to the camera in order to compensate visually for the massive hulk that is the Australian actor. In keeping with this perspective, objects in the background had to be made to scale as well. The RV, for example, is over 700 feet tall.
The producers of 2012’s The Cabin In The Woods were at first apprehensive about hiring actor Fran Kranz to portray the college student Marty because he is actually 45 years old, and in fact, director Spike Jonze.
While it’s well documented that during the filming of 1980’s horror classic The Shining director Stanley Kubrick discouraged the cast and crew from sympathizing with actress Shelley Duvall, what is less well known is that Kubrick also prohibited actor Jack Nicholson from blinking while on set. Kubrick was heard to say “If you want to blink, Jack, you’ll have to do it outdoors. I won’t allow it. I won’t permit it, and it won’t be tolerated.” Nicholson has since referred to it as a brilliant tactic, though he did not mean in the realm of acting.
While filming the robbery scene in 2011 The Town, director Ben Affleck recruited the services of a set of rare identical quadruplets, all of whom were actual Catholic nuns. The actors that you see robbing the armoured car are not Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner and co, but the sisters. Affleck made the unusual choice so that he could better observe how the action was developing on screen, and only intended to have the sisters stand in and plan out the shots. “What can I say?” quipped Affleck in his traditional Boston accent. “Those nuns were balls-out ass-kickas.” Sister Mary-Louise Alcott reported that the sisters were glad to take part, saying that it brought them a better understanding of crime and sin, something they will use in the future of their parish.
Actress Mary ElIzabeth Winstead, seen here in her role as “Science Girl” in 2011’s The Thing, recently came out with criticism of director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr, saying “I don’t think he knows what a scientist does… or even is.” The actress went on to say that van Heijningen Jr’s direction to her mainly consisted of phrases like “Science that microscope,” and “Be a scientist at it.” Winstead recalls that these directions even occurred during scenes when she was exclusively torching CGI aliens with a flamethrower. “I don’t know how a scientist uses a flamethrower differently than, say, a pilot,” she mused. “But apparently there’s a big difference, because Matthijs kept saying that it needed to be more science-y.”
The producers of 2011’s We Need To Talk About Kevin assumed from the outset that they would not be able to secure corporate sponsorship due to the film’s complex and violent subject matter. As a result, production designer Judy Becker put together generic brand labels (such as “L. Ramsey Brand Tomato Soup” - a play on director Lynne Ramsey’s name). After the film debuted, the producers were approached by Heinz for a tie-in product line; “Kevin Ketchupdourian.” The product was eventually scrapped, some say in light of the disturbing tagline, “Killer taste!”
Director Stuart Rosenberg included a prolonged shot of this child’s doll in 1979’s The Amityville Horror. When asked why the camera lingered on this shot for so long, Rosenberg replied that “racism is the scariest demon of all.”
It has been confirmed that three of the main characters in 1979’s The Amityville Horror were in fact modelled after characters from The Muppet Show. When asked to clarify who was based on who, director Stuart Rosenberg replied that it “should be pretty obvious.”
Actors Kevin Spacey and Henry Ward formed a bitter rivalry during their down time of shooting 1990’s Henry & June. Each scene that the pair shared became a competition, with topics ranging from “who can act the most wooden” to “who can make the most obscene gestures.” The scene above had the contest “who can cough the most in a single take.” Co-stars later confirmed that the contests were “not in good fun.”
The creation of the NC-17 rating (meaning that no person under the age of 18 is permitted in the theatre) which replaced the former rating - X - is largely attributed to 1990’s Henry & June, based on the erotic-leaning memoirs of Anais Nin. In the opening credits, Nin (played by Maria de Medeiros, perhaps best known for her work in Pulp FIction) finds a series of erotic postcards which includes a rather startling image of a cartoon cephalopod performing sexual congress with a human woman.
While MPAA censors deemed the remainder of the film “tantalizing,” “sexually laced,” and - according to one member - “not so offensive,” they were unable to overlook what they called “promotion of bestiality.” MPAA president Herman Falsifer said that they would have allowed the film to be rated “R” if the character had become “utterly mentally disrupted” by the image, but de Medeiros’ character did not, and the NC-17 rating remained.
Director Philip Kaufman thought the decision to be “hilarious” and personally attended as many screenings as he could, bursting in after the aforementioned scene was displayed and shouting “OOO YEAH! DID YOU SEE THAT SHIT?! I MADE YOU LOOK AT THAT! CAN YOU HANDLE IT? CAN YOU HANDLE WHAT PHILIP KAUFMAN JUST THREW AT YOU?!”
Actress Hailey Atwell requested several takes of this scene from 2011’s Captain America, in which her character, Peggy Carter, is nearly run down by a car while attempting to fire upon the driver, only to be pushed out of the way by co-star Chris Evans. Long after director Joe Johnston declared the scene captured perfectly, Atwell remained obstinate, insisting that the musclebound Evans “tackle [her] again!”
Atwell was later charged with several counts of sexual harassment.