12 Solid Facts About “Pumping Iron”

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present 12 Solid Facts About Pumping Iron.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. THE MOVIE ORIGINALLY CO-STARRED A WIMP.
When photographer George Butler was dispatched by both Life magazine and The Village Voice to cover the burgeoning bodybuilding scene in the early 1970s, he was fascinated with its abundance of charismatic participants. Feeling one of the sport’s star attractions, Arnold Schwarzenegger, could carry a full-length film, Butler decided to pursue a feature-length project with collaborator Robert Fiore that he began shooting in 1975. The problem was that Butler was focused on the mass monsters of the Mr. Olympia scene; to balance it out and offer audiences a more relatable subject, he enlisted slightly-built actor Bud Cort (Harold and Maude) and shot a lot of footage of him working out and marveling at the well-developed bodies all around him. The footage wound up being cut from the finished film.

2. NO ONE BELIEVED ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER COULD CARRY THE MOVIE.
While Butler was trying to raise funds, he shot a 10-minute test sequence of Schwarzenegger making a guest posing appearance in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Screening the footage for investors in New York, Butler was dismayed to see that they seemed more horrified than intrigued by the sight of the massive Austrian flexing his deltoids. After the footage ended, playwright Romulus Linney stood, turned to Butler, and said, “I think I speak for all of us when I say that if you make a movie about this Arnold person, we will laugh you off 42nd Street.” (Butler turned to another approach, piecemealing his budget together by petitioning more than 3000 separate financiers until he got the money he needed.)

5. LOU FERRIGNO PREDICTED HIS OWN FUTURE.
The nature of raw footage means that hundreds of hours of film were left on the cutting room floor, but according to Butler, one sequence in particular has never left his memory. Talking to Ferrigno about his future hopes, the actor told the director that “all I want to be is the Hulk.” He got his wish just two years later, starring for five seasons on CBS’s The Incredible Hulk.

18 Things We Learned from John Carpenter’s “Rio Bravo” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 18 Things We Learned from John Carpenter’s Rio Bravo Commentary.  Here are my three favorites…

2. Hawks is Carpenter’s favorite director, and this is one of his favorite films ever made. He’s long credited it with being the inspiration for his own Assault on Precinct 13.

8. Robert Mitchum’s brother, John, plays the bartender in the scene where Chance and Dude enter the bar in search of the wounded bad guy.

9. The belt buckle Wayne wears during the film was a gift from Hawks upon the completion of their first film together, Red River. It features the brand from the ranch his character owned in the film.

 

15 Fun Facts About “Crocodile Dundee”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Fun Facts About Crocodile Dundee.  Here are three of my favorites…

4. ONE OF THE WRITERS DIDN’T THINK THE “KNIFE” LINE WAS VERY FUNNY.
“It wasn’t funny on paper,” Shadie admitted about the line “That’s not a knife.” The quote was a collaboration between the three writers, and it became one of the movie’s most memorable scenes.

11. 20TH CENTURY FOX (RUDELY) SAID “NO” TO ACQUIRING THE AMERICAN RIGHTS.
John Cornell showed the movie to a 20th Century Fox executive while he was in Hollywood trying to sell it. ”There was some idiot who sat with his feet on the desk and watched it for about 20 minutes, looked at this watch about eight times and told me that it wouldn’t work,” Cornell remembered. ”He was extremely rude. I sometimes get pleasure from thinking about what the look is like on his face at a time like this.” Paramount ended up acquiring the rights.

15. HOGAN AND KOZLOWSKI GOT MARRIED IN REAL LIFE.
They wed in 1990 and had a son, Chance. Kozlowski filed for divorce in 2013.

39 Things We Learned from Bill Paxton’s “Frailty” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 39 Things We Learned from Bill Paxton’s Frailty Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

8. He made the film for multiple viewings. “The first time you sit through Frailty you get pulled into the story kind of subjectively, and there’s this whole kind of creep factor. But on your second viewing there’s a lot of satisfaction as there are a lot of clues laid out in front of the viewer.”

35. The script originally showed the visions — each demons sins — at the time of their abduction/murder, but James Cameron watched an early cut and suggested they shift them all to the end. “He said ‘You gotta remember film is so literal that you’re going to split the audience, and a lot of them are gonna believe that dad really is seeing all this stuff, and you don’t want that to happen because you want them to go with Fenton.’”

36. Why is the ax called Otis? One, he wanted audiences to know that the ax adult Adam uses in the end is the same one his dad used, “so I wanted to mark it some way.” And two, giving it a name anthropomorphizes it and makes it a character of sorts.

11 Nifty Little Visual Details You Never Notices in “Star Trek”

Me-TV presents 11 Nifty Little Visual Details You Never Notices in Star Trek.  Here are three of my favorites…

THE KLINGON’S BELT BUCKLES ARE BUBBLE WRAP.
Yep, that’s just gold-painted bubble wrap. That’s not so strange. Batman’s utility belt was once made out of sponges.

D-DAY HERO JAMES DOOHAN WAS MISSING HIS RIGHT MIDDLE FINGER.

Doohan served in the Canadian Infantry in World War II, landing at Juno Beach on D-Day. After taking down two snipers and holding position on higher ground for the evening, he was hit by six rounds of friendly fire, including one in his right hand. His finger was amputated. As an actor, he tried to conceal this, but you can spot his war wound here and there, like when Scotty carries a platter of Tribbles.

KIRK AND SPOCK VISITED MAYBERRY A COUPLE TIMES.

As it was a Desilu production, Star Trek often shot outdoors on the studio’s Forty Acres backlot, also home of The Andy Griffith Show. Thus, you can spot the familiar landmarks of Mayberry in “Miri,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “The Return of the Archons” and “A Piece of the Action” — but Mayberry can best be seen in the first two.

 

12 Things You Might Not Know About “Big Trouble in Little China”

Cheryl Eddy and io9.com present 12 Things You Might Not Know About Big Trouble in Little China.  Here are three of my favorites…

3) Jack Burton’s Insane Boots Were Kurt Russell’s Idea
Though the Big Trouble book showers rightful praise on costume designer April Ferry, Russell says he had a hand in selecting his character’s distinctive footwear. He had Jack Burton’s “funky, high-top moccasins” specially made in Aspen at a shop he happened to know about.

5) The Actor Playing Rain Had No Idea He Was in a Comedy
Peter Kwong tells the authors that his scenes as Rain, one of the villainous Lo Pan’s well-armed lieutenants, were so intense that he was under the impression that Big Trouble was merely “an action-adventure with a mysterious ghost story.”

It wasn’t until he filmed his last-act fight—and noted Dennis Dun’s over-the-top eyebrow raise at a key moment during their battle—that he realized the movie was actually a comedy that also happened to have action-adventure and mystical elements. Later in the book, Kwong reveals that his luxurious long wig, which was specifically designed to look like those traditionally worn in Chinese martial arts movies, cost $3,000.

11) Making Lo Pan’s Glowing Skull Was Weirdly Easy
Actor James Hong plays two versions of iconic bad guy David Lo Pan: the ancient old man, and the younger sorcerer. His on-screen transformation comes courtesy of both a bust of Hong that was covered in clear, flexible skin, carefully painted to look like Hong in his old-man make-up, and by fading the lights off outside the bust while fading the lights inside the bust on. According to Johnson, the scene was completed in just one take.

15 Facts About “Scent of a Woman”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Facts About Scent of a Woman.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. MATT DAMON, BEN AFFLECK, BRENDAN FRASER, AND O’DONNELL’S CASTMATES IN SCHOOL TIES ALL AUDITIONED FOR CHARLIE.
“The whole cast went down to audition for it,” Matt Damon remembered in a 1997 Vanity Fair profile. “So the way I found out about the part is, I’m checking in with my agent, to see if anything good has come in, and my agent says, ‘Here’s one with a young role, and . . . Oh my God, it’s got Al Pacino in it!’ So I go up to Chris and say, ‘Have you heard about this movie?’ and he says [curtly] ‘Yeah.’ So I say, ‘Do you have the script?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Can I see it?’ ‘No—I kinda need it.’ Chris wouldn’t give it to anybody.” Stephen Dorff also auditioned.

7. ‘HOO-AH’ CAME FROM PACINO’S GUN EXPERT.

“I was working with a lieutenant colonel who was teaching me the ways [of the Army],” Pacino recalled. “We worked every day, and he’d teach me how to load and unload a .45 and all this stuff. Every time I did something right, he’d go, ‘Hoo-ah!’ Finally, I asked, ‘Where did you get that from?’ And he said, ‘When we were on the line, and you turned and snapped the rifle in the right way, [you’d say,] ‘Hoo-ah!’ So I just started doing it. It’s funny where things come from.”

12. O’DONNELL’S BEST TAKE WAS A CAMERA OPERATOR’S WORST.
“The one scene where Chris O’Donnell cries, the focus puller missed and it was soft,” editor Michael Tronick revealed. “Normally, Marty [Brest] wouldn’t consider looking at something that’s imperfect that’s flatly out of focus. But it was the best take and we knew it. It had to be in the movie.”

10 Facts About “Night of the Living Dead”

Matthew Jackson and Mental_Floss present 10 Facts About Night of the Living Dead.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. GEORGE ROMERO WAS HEAVILY INSPIRED BY I AM LEGEND.

Armed with Russo’s flesh-eating concept, Romero went to work, pairing it with a story he’d been working on that “basically ripped off” Richard Matheson’s apocalyptic horror novel I Am Legend. Russo later recalled that Romero returned with “about 40 really excellent pages,” including the opening in the cemetery and the arrival at the farmhouse. Russo set to work on the rest, and Night of the Living Dead began to come to life.

8. JONES FOUGHT AGAINST AN ALTERNATE ENDING THAT WOULD HAVE SAVED BEN.

One of the film’s most famous elements is its grim ending, in which Ben, having survived the night, is shot by the sheriff’s zombie-hunting posse and thrown on the fire. At one point, a happier ending for the film was considered, but Jones fought it and won.

“I convinced George that the black community would rather see me dead than saved, after all that had gone on, in a corny and symbolically confusing way,” Jones said. “The heroes never die in American movies. The jolt of that, and the double jolt of the hero being black seemed like a double-barreled whammy.”

9. IT’S IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN BECAUSE OF A CREDITS ERROR.

Night of the Living Dead might be the most famous public domain movie of all time, but it was never intended to be. The Walter Reade Organization, which distributed the film, wanted to release it under the title Night of the Flesh Eaters, but lawyers representing the makers of 1964’s The Flesh Eaters threatened a lawsuit, so the title was changed to Night of the Living Dead. When the title changed, though, copyright notices were not added to the opening titles or to the end credits. Though the filmmakers have fought it in federal court, the film is still in the public domain.

15 Things You Never Knew About the “Hellboy” Movies

Tom Baker and CBR.com present 15 Things You Never Knew About the Hellboy Movies.  Here are three of my favorites…

10. THE SET DESIGN IS FULL OF EASTER EGGS
Never one to let a good prop to go to waste, del Toro opted to populate the B.P.R.D.’s hall of antiquities with nods to his previous films, including an encore for the creepy jar babies from “The Devil’s Backbone.” Mike Mignola’s art, meanwhile, is so evocative that it was hard not to try and get in some of his designs into the film’s set decoration, including an original illustration for the gag in-universe “Hellboy” comic seen in the first film.

Perhaps most enticing of all for fans of the “Hellboy” comics is a fleeting appearance by Roger the Homunculus, a major member of the B.P.R.D. team in the source material. Complete with large ring around his groin, Roger appears as a hulking gray statue on a plinth in a hallway. This is seen when John Hurt’s Professor Broom is showing new recruit Agent Myers around the B.P.R.D. headquarters in the first film. In the same scene, the “Iron Shoes” from the short comic story of the same name can also be glimpsed in a display case.

8. RON PERLMAN WAS DEL TORO AND MIGNOLA’S FIRST CHOICE

Revolution Studios were thinking big when they first got the ball rolling on a “Hellboy” film. Preceding the coming comic book movie boom, and perhaps working from the template of Sony’s “Spider-Man” success, they wanted big name stars to headline their somewhat more offbeat superhero story. Some of the Hollywood stars being bandied about during early discussions about who should play Hellboy himself included Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and, of course, Nicolas Cage.

What would have likely been a very different, perhaps more manic version of “Hellboy” was avoided when Guillermo del Toro came aboard the project. A fan of the comics from way back, he worked closely with creator Mike Mignola to make sure his big screen version of Hellboy was authentic and respectful to the source material. As such, he discussed the lead actor with Mignola personally. They agreed to a meeting where both would say their first choice for the part in unison. To their surprise and relief, both of them said Ron Perlman.

6. HELLBOY VERY NEARLY HAD A LEFT HAND OF DOOM

The Right Hand of Doom is one of the core, unshakable icons of the “Hellboy” mythology. Both a Biblical reference and an excuse to put a cover of that one Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song on the first film’s soundtrack, that huge stone first Hellboy wields is important in-universe (as an impossible-to-escape sign of his destructive destiny) and metatextually (it provided the title for a short story collection of the same name). And yet, all of that very nearly changed.

When the idea of a “Hellboy” movie first began to pick up steam, one of the major mooted changes from the source material was to swap sides and make it the Left Hand of Doom. After all, it’s somewhat impractical to expect an actor to perform whilst retaining zero use of their dominant hand. All the early costume design and concept art for the “Hellboy” film depict the character with the Red Left hand, until the casting of Ron Perlman proved particularly fortuitous: not only did he have the requisite frame and gravelly voice, he was also a southpaw!

11 Things You Never Knew About Khan, the Greatest Star Trek Villain

MeTV presents 11 Things You Never Knew About Khan, the Greatest Star Trek Villain.  Here are three of my favorites…

HE WAS ORIGINALLY AN ANCIENT GREEK, THEN A VIKING SPACE PIRATE.

So, yeah, the “Khan” character was originally a Greek, and obviously not named “Khan.” When Wilber pitched his old idea for Star Trek, he changed the antagonist to a Nordic named Harold or John Ericssen, who is later revealed to be a vicious Viking space pirate named Ragnar Thorwald. Roddenberry was apprehensive about using such outward criminals. Oddly, Lost in Space would air its episode “Space Vikings” (seen here) a week before “Space Seed.”

AFTER CASTING RICARDO MONTALBÁN, THE CHARACTER WAS NAMED SIBAHL AND GOVIN.

Mexican actor Montalbán was hardly a good fit to play a Scandinavian, so the villain was tweaked. However, this being Hollywood in the 1960s, producers figured he could play a Sikh. (That being said, he must not be observant, as he does not wear a Dastar.) Roddenberry and writer Gene Coon changed the name to Sibahl Khan Noonien… until a fact-checking research company noted that “Singh” is a much more appropriate Sikh surname. They suggested the name “Govin Bahadur Singh.” Coon and Roddenberry met them halfway and settled on the canonical Khan Noonien Singh.

CHEKOV IS NOT IN THIS EPISODE — DESPITE THE FACT THAT KHAN RECOGNIZES HIM IN ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN.’

At the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Chekov encounters a vengeful Khan, who puts that creepy bug in the Starfleet Commander’s ear. Khan immediately recognizes Chekov from the events of “Space Seed.” There is just one major problem: Chekov was not aboard the Enterprise for that first-season episode. In fact, Walter Koenig did not join the cast until season two. Tie-in novels have since tried to explain this plot hole, while Koenig jokes they met in the restroom. Sulu is also not in “Space Seed.”

7 of the Creepiest Coincidences in Movie History

Hollywood.com presents 7 of the Creepiest Coincidences in Movie History.  Here are three of my favorites…

3. Poltergeist
In the classic horror film, Poltergeist, there’s a poster hanging above Robbie’s bed that reads “1988 Superbowl XXII”:

You’d expect a little kid to a have a football poster up in his room, but what makes this weird is the fact Poltergeist was released in 1982, but Superbowl XXII wouldn’t be played for another six years.
So why did they use a poster from a future game? Well, no one really knows, but on January 31, 1988, the day Superbowl XXII was held, Heather O’Rourke (the actress who played Robbie’s younger sister) became violently ill. She passed away the next day at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, less than five miles away from Jack Murphy Stadium where Super Bowl XXII was played.

 

6. The Girl from Petrovka
In the early 1970s, Anthony Hopkins agreed to star in the film adaptation of George Feifer‘s novel The Girl from Petrovka. After searching several London bookstores, Hopkins wasn’t able to find a copy of the book anywhere and just as he had given up his search, he spotted an abandoned copy on a bench and decided to swiped it.

That’s weird enough by itself, but two years later, Hopkins met with Feifer who admitted that he’d lost his own copy of his book (complete with his personal notes) after he lent it to a friend who left it somewhere in London. It turns out the copy of the book that Hopkins found belonged to Feifer.

 

7. Code of the Secret Service
In the late 1930s, after a series of successful gangster films, Warner Brothers was pressured by FDR’s Attorney General Homer Cummings to make a series of films that glorified law enforcement agents rather than criminals. So Warners Bros decided to make a series of Secret Service films starring then actor Ronald Reagan.

Code of the Secret Service, Rosella Towne, Ronald Reagan, Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers via Everett
Reagan once called one of the movies, Code of the Secret Service, “the worst picture I ever made,” but the movie actually saved his life. Over 40 years later, President Reagan was the target of an assassination attempt, but his life was spared thanks to quick thinking by Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr. The weird part? Parr was inspired to join the Secret Service after watching Ronald Reagan in Code of the Secret Service.

“Reservoir Dogs” Trivia from Quentin Tarantino

Matt Hoffman and Film School Rejects present What We Learned While Revisiting Reservoir Dogs with Quentin Tarantino.  Here are two of my favorite things…

Tarantino learned a lot about his characters when a producer gave him the advice to search for the subtext.
“Just writing down the obvious opened up different avenues, different thoughts, and so you think you’re writing one line and you write three, or four, and all of a sudden I started realizing, ‘Oh wow, this is kind of a father-son story.’ “Isn’t it interesting that throughout the whole piece Mr. White keeps telling Mr. Orange ‘Wait for Joe, wait for Joe and when Joe gets here he’s going to take care of everything.” Well when Joe gets there he’s come to kill Mr. Orange. And the whole interesting thing at the end, which I hadn’t thought about frankly, which is that Mr. White is kind of almost a de facto son character for Joe, and Mr. Orange has become a de facto son character for Mr. White. At the end, Mr. White has to choose between his father and his son and he chooses his son but he’s wrong, but he’s wrong for all the right reasons. All that kind of started coming to me. So I finished it and I go, ‘Oh wow, that was a really interesting exercise…I never want to do this ever again.’

Working with Lawrence Tierney (Joe) was a nightmare.
“The worst moment on set was the last ten minutes of the last day of the first week we were shooting. Me and Larry got into a fist fight. It was more of a shoving match frankly. Harvey Keitel and Lawrence [Bender] broke it up. I fired Larry in front of everybody, the crew applauded because they’d hated him. Harvey told us to settle down and then he ran out and then Larry ran out. I took a walk around the trucks. I’d done nothing but shoot Lawrence Tierney all week long, so if I wanted to get fired, I’m going to get fired because they’re going to keep Larry. We have a week’s worth of footage. But I wasn’t going to put up with his ****. So I’m literally walking around the trailers thinking, “Well okay, you wanted to know how it’s going to end well it’s going to end this way. I guess it was nice while it lasted but I guess you’re not going to put up with ****, you’re going to go back to the video store but you’re not going to put up with ****. Aren’t you the smart guy?”

Neil deGrasse Tyson: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Tess Kornfeld and US Magazine.com present Neil deGrasse Tyson: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. I have an asteroid named after me called 13123 Tyson. It orbits between Mars and Jupiter.

6. I was captain of my high school wrestling team, and undefeated.

23. When I tweet my observations on science in films, my goal is to enhance enjoyment. Given how many people react negatively, I’m clearly failing in this goal.

1 2 3 51