Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Our Favorite Movies Of 2022

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Vote up the behind-the-scenes stories that are worth a rewatch.

2022 turned out to be a pretty good year for movie lovers, with plenty of cheer-worthy moments that we’ll be talking about for years to come. The year gave us instant classics like Nope and Everything Everywhere All at Once, some welcome franchise additions like Wakanda Forever and Prey, some great new biopics like Elvis and whatever the heck that was that Weird Al made; and old pros proving they still got it with Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick and James Cameron’s blockbuster return to Avatar.  

The year also brought us a bevy of behind-the-scenes stories for the ages (just like we’re still telling these tales from ’90s movies). Knowing some trivia about how your favorite movies came to life enriches future viewings. So settle in for some serendipitous casting, genius special effects, incredible feats by actors, and some triumph over tragedy for good measure.

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    21 VOTES

    Santa’s First Fight Scene In ‘Violent Night’ Was Done In One Long Take

    If you’ve only seen the commercials for Violent Night, you might be wondering: does David Harbour play the real Santa Claus, or is this some kind of mall Santa gone rogue? He’s the real deal, but this Santa is sad, drunk version who's lost his Christmas spirit - that is, until he delivers presents in a mansion and interrupts a terrorist kidnapping plot, Die Hard-style.

    Director Tommy Wirkola decided to film Santa’s first fight scene in one long take, so we can see in real-time as the tired old man gradually awakens the elite fighter that “he used to be,” Wirkola told the New York Times. But to pull off this two-and-a-half-minute take with the stunt performer, Wirkola did what’s called in the biz a “Texas switch.” It happens after Santa cools his hands; he steps out of the shot for a second and then rush-tackles the bad guy into the Christmas tree before crawling away toward the camera. That’s Harbour cooling his hands, then the stunt performer doing the tackling, and then Harbour crawling toward the camera.

    21 votes
  • Turning Red made news in 2022 as the first Pixar feature with an all-female leadership team. Set in Toronto 20 years ago, the movie follows 13-year-old Mei (Rosalie Chiang), who’s your typical teen - like, she obsesses over a boy band called 4*Town - with one exception: Mei turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets excited. 

    At the start of production in 2018, Turning Red producer Lindsay Collins’s kids were having a similar obsession with Billie Eilish. “So when we started to think about songwriters who could kind of capture the early-2000s sound and bring something fresh to it,” said Collins, “Billie’s name came up.”

    But knowing it would be a “weird ask” to Eilish and her songwriter brother Finneas O’Connell, Turning Red director Domee Shi sent the siblings an elaborate scrapbook - just like one that Mei herself might make - of a cartoon band with the heads of Eilish and O’Connell pasted on. That did the trick. The siblings wrote three songs for the movie, including the Grammy-nominated “Nobody Like U,” and O’Connell even voiced one of the boy band members. Pixar later proclaimed that the female-led production was “the most efficient film we’ve ever made.”

    21 votes

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  • It should come as no surprise that Robert Eggers’s epic actioner The Northman is the most historically accurate depiction of Vikings to ever grace the big screen, considering the layers of detail he weaved into The VVitch and The Lighthouse. Set in Iceland in 914 A.D., The Northman follows Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) as he avenges the murder of his father by his uncle. (Sound familiar? This is the same Norse tale that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet.)

    To ensure historical accuracy, Eggers co-wrote The Northman with famed Icelandic poet and novelist, Sjón, and consulted with archeologist Neil Price and literary scholar Johanna Katrin Fridriksdottir, two of the foremost Viking experts in the world. (He even cast Icelandic singer Bjork in a role, which isn't necessarily accurate, just really cool.) 

    Every detail, from the Viking longships to the reindeer leather boots that Skarsgård wore throughout the production, were true to Northern Europe from more than a millennium ago. Ethan Hawke, who played Amleth’s father, said in press junkets that the intricate production values inspired the cast to really bring their A-game: “[Eggers has] the b*lls, and the hubris and the arrogance to say, ‘I want to make a masterpiece.’ […] Just seeing somebody take a swing like that, you know, it’s like a jump off a high dive.”

    30 votes
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    42 VOTES

    The Dog Performer From ‘Prey’ Is A Rescue Dog Who Had No Training Before Production

    The Dog Performer From ‘Prey’ Is A Rescue Dog Who Had No Training Before Production
    Photo: Hulu

    Over the course of seven feature films, the trophy-hunting, extra-terrestrial Predators (or Yautja, as they call themselves) have faced many a formidable foe - from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Alien Xenomorphs to a Comanche girl and her dog in Prey, the best-reviewed film of the franchise. 

    To keep the science fiction grounded in reality, director Dan Trachtenberg and producer Jhane Myers, a member of the Comanche Nation, cast the 1719-set movie with Native Americans, including Amber Midthunder as Naru. (Sadly, the alien was played by a human.) Even the dog, Sarii, is historically accurate. The filmmakers wanted a breed that hasn’t changed for centuries, so they adopted a Carolina dog named Coco from a shelter in Georgia. Despite no formal training, Coco was so excited to be in the woods with the film crew that she ended up in a lot more scenes than intended - not only helping Naru fight off the Predator but a bear and mountain lion as well. The role turned Coco into a star, or, as her fans call her, the “Meryl Streep of dogs.” Midthunder called her rambunctious co-star “a bit of a hot mess.”

    42 votes
  • Daniel Craig Had To Re-Learn His Southern Accent To Play Benoit Blanc Again In ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’
    Photo: Netflix

    One thing that non-actors can’t identify with: how hard it can be to pretend to be another person for an extended period of time. It takes practice to maintain consistency from one scene to the next, or from a film to its sequel. Even for a seasoned pro like Daniel Craig.

    Sandwiched around his final Bond film were Rian Johnson’s hit murder mysteries, 2019’s Knives Out and 2022’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. So after three years of all things Bond, when Craig returned to the role of quirky private investigator Benoit Blanc, he’d completely forgotten how to talk like Benoit Blanc. The last thing that Craig wanted was for Glass Onion to become “a pastiche of itself.” So, prior to filming, the British actor spent nearly four months with a dialogue coach to relearn his Kentucky accent. Once again, Craig could effortlessly deliver Blanc’s best barbs - like when he expressed his disdain for the board game Clue: “I’m very bad at dumb things.” 

    39 votes
  • ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Was Intended To Be A Jackie Chan Movie
    Photo: A24

    Who would have thought a multiverse movie sans superheroes or big names would become one of the most talked about movies of 2022? Not only did Everything Everywhere All at Once come in at number one on numerous critics’ top-ten lists, but the $25 million movie made an impressive $100 million in theaters. 

    That success might make more sense had Everything starred international action superstar Jackie Chan, instead of Michelle Yeoh. Of course, Yeoh is a respected actress with just as many classic performances under her belt as Jackie Chan, but her career has often been overshadowed by her Supercop costar. Yet that’s who writers-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert originally intended for the starring role. 

    When Chan became unavailable, instead of recasting him, Kwan and Sceheinert decided to expand Yeoh’s supporting part into the main protagonist. That decision, said Kwan, made all the difference: “Swapping the characters made it more personal, which gave us a wealth of experience to imbue into the story. Suddenly it became a lot easier to write and imagine.”

    41 votes

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