Making a movie is not for the faint of heart. These things you didn’t know about famous movie scenes according to their directors may change the way you see these beloved classics.
Think Jack could have fit on the floating door with Rose in Titanic? Think again. James Cameron made sure of that himself. Which male movie director had to show their female star how to fake an orgasm? Which actor almost lost his nipples in the name of comedy?
Find out the answers to those questions and more. Then, make your voice heard.
- 152 VOTESPhoto: Paramount Pictures
James Cameron has a reputation for being a perfectionist. The Titanic director, writer, co-producer, and co-editor refused to cut a single corner when making his 1997 epic, which includes constructing a 90% scale replica of the RMS Titanic. Cameron's demand for detail set the then-record for a production budget at $210 million.
According to Cameron, what made the disaster romance a record-breaking $2 billion at the worldwide box office had a lot to do with its tragic ending. The film's conclusion was not devastating just because the Titanic sank and took the lives of 1,500 passengers. It was because the star of the movie and matinee idol-in-waiting Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson freezes to death before he can be rescued.
Jack sacrifices himself so his young love Rose (Kate Winslet) can survive. His demise was paramount to the story. "The film is about death and separation; he had to die," said Cameron. "So whether it was that, or whether a smoke-stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons."
Still doubt Cameron's exhausting attention to detail? The Academy Award-winning director knows the lifesaving piece of wood better than anyone could ever imagine. He explained:
I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days, getting it exactly buoyant enough so that it would support one person with full free-board, meaning that she wasn’t immersed at all in the 28 degree water so that she could survive the three hours it took until the rescue ship got there. [Jack] didn’t know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway. And we very, very finely tuned it to be exactly what you see in the movie because I believed at the time, and still do, that that’s what it would have taken for one person to survive.
- 242 VOTESPhoto: Universal Pictures
Steve Carell decided to go method for the famous hairy chest-waxing scene in the 2005 hit cringe comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Everything is real, including Carell's crying, screaming, and even his blood.
The "professional" chest waxer in the scene may have fibbed a bit to get in the movie. She reportedly missed an important step that almost cost Carell his nipples. Writer-director Judd Apatow decided to shoot the scene like a documentary in order to get Carell's natural reaction to the pain. And oh, "Kelly Clarkson," was the man in big-time pain.
The woman who waxed Steve - she may not have been that good at it. I think you’re supposed to put Vaseline over the nipples, so you don’t accidentally rip them off. And apparently that was a step she forgot about. He was definitely bleeding for real. In fact, we had to CGI out the fact that there was a lot more blood than you see in the movie.
- 340 VOTESPhoto: Columbia Pictures
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) spent 20 years in prison for a transgression he did not commit in 1994's The Shawshank Redemption. During that time, Andy slowly works out a way to make a daring prison escape in the middle of the night. However, before he leaves the prison grounds, he must crawl his way through 500 yards of pipe and then crash headfirst into a creek.
The creek turned out to be toxic. Robbins talked about the irony of his character's escape. "It was pretty toxic. It was funny because when I was [in] the pipe itself, that was super taken care of and healthy. The prop dirt they use, it's sanitary, actually. The muck I was traveling through was sanitary, but when I got the freedom, it was toxic. So, go figure."
First-time director and the movie's screenwriter Frank Darabont discussed Robbins's selflessness and mettle:
It was a real creek... My art department dammed it up to make it deeper, and they chlorinated the living daylights out of it. But still, to go diving head-first into, that was an act of courage that I can never thank Tim [Robbins] enough for, because that wasn't the stunt guy. That was him, man.
- Photo: Paramount Pictures
Sometimes the best movie moments aren't even in the original script. The film industry was in complete shock when the fantasy romance Ghost went on to rake in over $500 million at the box office and became the highest-grossing movie of 1990. Much of the film's success stems from the undeniable chemistry between its two lead actors, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.
The most memorable (and also the most parodied) scene in the weepy love story is when Sam and Molly are making pottery together. It turns out Molly was actually a sculptor in the original script. However, director Jerry Zucker, who was most known at the time for his spoof comedy movies like The Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane!, thought pottery would serve Molly's character better.
“On the cover was this tall, colorful structure. I asked her what it was, so she showed me, and I had a look through it," said Zucker. "I’m seeing people at potter’s wheels, making things with their hands, and it just hit me. I showed it to Bruce Joel Rubin, who wrote the screenplay, and I just said we should think of making Molly a potter, so we did.”
Molly became a potter, and the rest is movie history. The cast and crew got lucky when the pottery piece Sam and Molly are crafting completely collapses and leads to a moment of laughter. It also turns out to be the perfect aphrodisiac. Zucker explains:
The moment where the piece kind of falls over was a total accident. Their reactions are real and entirely natural, so I left it in. It was kind of interesting, but I wasn’t sure at the time whether we’d end up using it or not. It’s now a moment that people remember. Even when we were just practicing that day, they were aware of how sexy it was. I don’t know what I would call it, but it affected them, I thought, the connection was there on set.