The Making Of The 'Leprechaun' Series

The Leprechaun franchise is a staple for many horror lovers. While the films may not be incredibly terrifying, the visuals are perfectly comedic and over-the-top. In fact, behind-the-scenes stories about the Leprechaun movies prove the franchise knew how to produce entertaining content.

These films made horror funny, and the movies' collaborators knew injecting comedy into slasher films would be unique. Even movies made with low expectations can be profitable when actor Warwick Davis gets involved. He makes the little mythological creature in the Leprechaun movies a hilarious fright.

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  • Lucky Charms Cereal Inspired The Movie

    A trip to the cereal aisle inspired Leprechaun. How else could a movie about a killer leprechaun come to be? Series creator Mark Jones wanted to be a director, so he decided to write something he couldn't mess up: a low-budget horror movie. He explained how an ad inspired him, saying, "The Lucky Charms commercials had the cute little leprechaun advertising cereal. I said, 'We could turn this into something evil.'"

  • Everyone Wanted To Take Credit For Hiring Jennifer Aniston

    The first Leprechaun, released in 1993, stars a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston, and she's fantastic in the film. Both series creator Mark Jones and producer Mark Amin take credit for realizing Aniston would be a great addition to the movie. Jones told Entertainment Weekly he fought to secure Aniston instead of an actress with more credits, but the studio wanted her to be blonde. Amin remembers it differently:

    Jennifer Aniston completely and clearly jumped out. I don't remember there being a conversation. I don't think anybody was thinking she should be blonde or brunette. It was more about, "Can we [get] somebody that's right for the role? That has the right energy?" And she fulfilled both of them. 

  • 'Leprechaun 2' Was Almost A Completely Different Movie

    After the success of the first Leprechaun movie, the production team considered many options for the sequel. Some people wanted Warwick Davis to play the Leprechaun's wife, traveling the country in search of her spouse. Original film director Mark Jones was disappointed that idea never came to fruition. He noted, "I thought it could have been done differently. I was going to have Warwick in drag, and he'd play the Leprechaun's wife coming after him. They wanted to go more traditional horror."

  • The 'Leprechaun 3' Production Team Wasn't Really Allowed To Film In Las Vegas

    According to director Brian Trenchard-Smith, the Leprechaun 3 team never really got the chance to film in Las Vegas, NV. Apparently, multiple casinos barred them. Trenchard-Smith recalled:

    They thought we were making fun of gambling and that's a shocking thing to do. The Golden Nugget particularly said, "You may not shoot outside our premises." So I naturally went to the Golden Nugget and stuck the 14mm lens on the pavement and had the Leprechaun in the foreground, apparently towering over it.

    Aside from a few exterior shots filmed in Vegas sans permit, most of the film was recorded on soundstages in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Warwick Davis Kept The Role Light

    Leprechaun star Warwick Davis realized the series didn't need to be a heady exploration of the subconscious. Instead, he wanted the audience to have fun. He explained to Entertainment Weekly:

    I don't think for a minute we, as filmmakers, pretend [the Leprechaun movies are] anything else other than entertaining popcorn movies... people sit down with a can of beer, put their brain in the fridge, and watch the film. You don't need to think about it; you just need to enjoy it.

  • The Series Was Supposed To Be All Straight-To-Video Releases

    Trimark funded and released the Leprechaun series. The company started out producing straight-to-video movies, but wanted to gain legitimacy by releasing films in theaters. Trimark founder Mark Amin explained:

    You could make movies, and release on video, and make money. But in order to build the company, we had to get into production and the theatrical business... Leprechaun was our first movie that we actually produced in-house that went out theatrically.

    The first Leprechaun film performed so well on its modest budget that the second film in the series also received a wide release.