Everybody has a secret, including some of the biggest filmmakers in Hollywood. Even as millions of moviegoers enjoy their latest projects in theaters, there are some things the film doesn’t reveal on the surface. Stories of what took place behind-the-scenes can arguably be just as interesting as the narrative that unfolds, if not more. And more often than not, viewers will never stop to think about some crazy revelations about the movie they’re watching.
Until now, that is. With 2015 offering its fair share of acclaimed blockbuster hits, we lifted the curtain on some of our favorites to get a greater idea of what really happened. Next time you watch one of these films, your perception of it may change for the better. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 amazing secrets about popular films.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
A major complaint about action movies today is that they’re sensory overload. CGI and special effects flood the screen, and when that’s combined with shaky cam and quick edits, things can be difficult to keep track of. Some moviegoers even aren’t sure what exactly they’re supposed to be paying attention to. It’s an issue Matthew Vaughn looked to amend when he directed his gleeful take on the spy genre.
When constructing the action sequences for Kingsman, Vaughn framed it so that all of the action takes place centrally, meaning that the viewer’s eyes never have to leave the middle of the screen. What they need to see is right there, allowing the audience to follow everything seamlessly. It’s a nice touch that made the film a lot easier to watch than most action flicks, even if our brains never realized why that was. Hopefully the sequel maintains this technique.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Whenever a franchise gets the reboot treatment and an iconic role like Mad Max is recast, there’s bound to be some audience skepticism – even when the filmmakers land a talent like Tom Hardy. As it turns out, Hardy had some reservations about taking the part as well. Before he signed on, he had lunch with the original Max, Mel Gibson, to discuss the possibility.
During their time together, Gibson assured Hardy he was fine with someone else playing the Road Warrior and gave Hardy his blessing. That was enough to convince Hardy it was the right move, and he proved to be a strong enough choice to headline the series for years to come. His contract reportedly runs for multiple sequels, and if they’re anything like Fury Road, fans will certainly be in for a treat.
The Fast and Furious series is known for featuring cars – lots and lots of cars. Dominic Toretto and his crew are always shifting gears and driving fast to get where they need to go, often completing jaw-dropping death defying stunts in the process. Judging by their exploits, it’s also safe to say the cause a fair amount of property damage while on their missions, but the extent of the destruction they cause may surprise you.
In Furious Seven alone, more than 230 cars were destroyed during production, creating plenty of nightmares for the in-universe insurance companies that have to deal with the claims. It’s great that the film industry is in the middle of a practical effects renaissance, with directors doing as much as they can for real, but this is an instance where some CGI may have been better. This seems like a ton of vehicular carnage for a single film, regardless of how popular it is.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Fans enjoy watching the enormous green rage monster known as the Hulk smash everything on screen, but did you know he was supposed to be a different color? When he was first introduced in the comics, Hulk was meant to be grey, but Marvel’s printers couldn’t get the color right, and the character appeared green on certain pages. The company eventually settled on making Hulk green for his primary color, imagining as if the mistake never happened.
When Marvel’s printing capabilities improved, a grey version of the Hulk was created as a separate persona that Bruce Banner could transform into, one that has yet to make its way to the big screen. It should be noted, however, that Joss Whedon toyed with the idea of using Grey Hulk in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, so perhaps viewers will see him in the MCU one day – considering there’s room for him as the roster of characters continues to expand.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Daisy Ridley’s Rey is now one of the most popular faces in the entire franchise and a hero fans can’t wait to see on the big screen again in Star Wars: Episode VIII. A newcomer just like original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher were in 1977, Ridley impressed many who saw the film. Fans probably have her director, J.J. Abrams, to thank for how it all turned out.
During her first day of filming (which was also her first day on a film set), Ridley was told by Abrams that her performance came across as wooden, a critique that nearly caused the young actress to have a panic attack. But whatever coaching Abrams provided was effective. Ridley proved to be a revelation in the final film, earning much praise for her turn as the Jakku scavenger and immediately became a household name. If Abrams never stepped in, the entire sequel trilogy could have been derailed before it even kicked off.
Usually when a major studio tentpole embraces product placement, it’s at the order of the studio looking for a little help in covering the expensive costs of putting a massive blockbuster together. But things were handled differently in Jurassic World. Director Colin Trevorrow was the one who pushed heavily for the licensing on display in the film, seeing it as a way to satirize the corporatization of popular culture.
The effectiveness of this strategy will always be a subject of debate, since many were not pleased with the blatant commercialization and found it distracting from the overall story. However, it can be argued that the decision grounded the film in a world audiences are very familiar with. Everything has a sponsor these days, so it would make sense that a giant dinosaur amusement park would as well. And it gave Jurassic World some laughs. We doubt Verizon Wireless wants any part of the Indominus Rex now.
Whenever a new James Bond film is coming through the pipeline, one question everyone wants answered is the name of the artist providing the opening credits song. For Spectre, the producers brought in Sam Smith to record “Writing’s on the Wall,” but they could have gone in a different direction. Grammy winning alternative band Radiohead made their own title song, aptly titled “Spectre,” to give the filmmakers some options. Radiohead’s tune was released online shortly after the film came out.
Both have their fans, but it’s hard to rule against EON Productions. Though many fans saw “Writing’s on the Wall” as a step down from Adele’s rousing “Skyfall” and an inferior 007 song, Smith took home the Best Original Song Oscar in a surprise upset. It probably won’t end up on many’s “best of Bond” playlists, but Smith’s work has now been added to the long-running legacy of opening Bond numbers.
One of the most famous sequences in the Rocky spinoff is Adonis Johnson’s first professional fight, which was seemingly shot as one continuous take. Directors are known for using some digital trickery to hide edited cuts and create the illusion of a single take, but Creed actually did it for real. According to the film’s cinematographer, there was no post-production stitching involved and it actually is one, unbroken shot that runs for the length of the sequence.
During principal photography, director Ryan Coogler shot 13 takes of the fight, eventually settling on the 11th to use in the final film. It’s impressive to know that the filmmaker didn’t cheat and went the extra mile to create another famous moment in the Rocky franchise. An unforgettable accomplishment, the single take fight raised the bar for what’s possible in the series, and now expectations are going to be even higher for Creed 2. It may be impossible to top.
A big part of this film’s story is astronaut Mark Watney coping with isolation while stranded on Mars, waiting for someone to come rescue him. Director Ridley Scott incorporated that aspect into how he filmed the movie and hammer the point home. Scott said that star Matt Damon’s solo scenes were shot for five straight weeks, and then the actor was relieved from the production schedule.
As a result of this, Damon did not meet most of his co-stars until the cast reunited to promote the film prior to its theatrical release. Yes, he does have scenes with some of them in the beginning and end of the movie, but for the most part, Damon was on his own – just like his character. It seems like an odd tactic, but it fit the nature of the narrative and The Martian became one of Scott’s most acclaimed works in years. He probably handled the material the best way he could.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
By now, everyone knows that Tom Cruise enjoys doing his own stunts. That he did Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation‘s daring plane sequence for real was well-documented before the movie came out, but the actor didn’t stop there. Cruise also showed off his driving abilities, doing all of his own car stunts as well. The most prominent example is perhaps the Morocco chase sequence. His daredevil nature even inspired one of his co-stars during production.
Simon Pegg isn’t the first name that comes to mind when recalling actors who don’t use stunt doubles, but the M:I veteran was up for the task on Rogue Nation. The fan-favorite Brit said that being around Cruise made him feel “obliged” to do fully commit to his role and do the stunts himself. It’s hard to argue with the results, which many moviegoers were pleased with. Who knows what the two will come up with for the sequel?
Those are our picks for amazing secrets in popular films. Are there any we missed? Which ones are your favorites? Sound off in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more fun videos like this one!