A movie character can become a timeless fan favourite with just a single memorable scene or line of dialogue. But even the most well-known movie heroes and villains still have some secrets to tell, proving they’re one of a kind – for better or worse.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Secret Details Behind Popular Movie Characters.
James Hook & Smee – Hook
The modern reimagining of Peter Pan made a ton of changed to the classic story, but the movie’s version of Captain Hook was unforgettable. Dustin Hoffman can take the credit for showing the evil pirate to be seriously insecure, leaning on his trusty first mate Smee for support. More support than fans realized, it turns out. When Hoffman and Bob Hoskins were trying to figure out how to approach the Smee/Hook dynamic, it finally clicked: the two weren’t friends, but lovers. It wasn’t what the director intended, and is never explicitly explored in the movie, but for the actors on screen, they were playing partners in more ways than one.
The Doof Warrior – Mad Max: Fury Road
You may not know his name, but everyone who saw Mad Max: Fury Road knows Coma, The Doof Warrior, the pale-skinned guitar player leading Immortan Joe’s war boys into battle. His origin isn’t explained in the movie, but director George Miller and Australian guitarist iOTA came up with one anyway. Apparently, the child music prodigy had to watch his mother killed by bandits in front of him. Joe found him sometime after, and recruited him into his army. Coma wears his mother’s face over his own, which means a lack of real close ups is actually a good thing for the squeamish.
In the decades since Batman’s arch enemy first appeared, his origin story has remained a mystery, with most agreeing that a villain like The Joker is scarier without one – even the more colourful version seen on the 1960s TV show. Alan Moore’s “Killing Joke” made the popular case that The Joker was born from “one bad day.” That idea didn’t fly when Batman star Adam West was asked his thoughts on Joker, claiming nobody can go that crazy without prolonged abuse. In his mind, The Joker was abducted as a child and kept prisoner for years by an abusive clown, resulting in the grinning killer fans know and love. Jerry Robinson, who co-created Joker was on hand to agree, simply stating that “that would do it.” If that’s the origin for the campy version, who KNOWS what caused the darker takes on the clown prince of crime.
She may have been Disney’s very first princess, but the voice of Snow White was harder to pin down than even her famous costume or songs. Walt Disney and his casting department heard over 150 young women with none fitting the bill. When a casting director was complaining about the lack of talented young singers to their music teacher consultant, fate took over. The teacher’s 20 year old daughter overheard the complaints, and started singing in the background to grab some attention. It worked, too: once Walt Disney heard her voice, he cast her as Snow White immediately, guaranteeing that the movie would revolutionize Hollywood, and make Disney a household name.
For entire generations, the wealth of actors who’ve played 007 can’t change the fact that Sean Connery did it first – and did it best. He’s remembered for embodying the sexy charm of the ultimate alpha male, but Connery didn’t quite live up to that standard off screen. Aside from the rumors that Connery would “tighten up” his pecs by holding bags of ice water to his chest before shirtless scenes, the thick hair on the actor’s chest was sold short by his scalp. Connery wore a hairpiece on every single one of his Bond adventures. We wonder what Bond would have to say about the studio’s first choice to play him?
Noah – The Notebook
Since movies began, there’s been a place for sappy romances. But The Notebook changed Hollywood love stories forever, pairing the beautiful Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as two young lovers, skyrocketing them to super stardom virtually overnight. Gosling’s role as the lovesick Noah made him an A-list heart throb, but that wasn’t the director’s plan. According to Gosling, he got the part because he wasn’t a leading man, with the director saying “You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts.” We’ll let his fans decide how accurate that turned out to be.
Private Ryan – Saving Private Ryan
Director Steven Spielberg knew that the main Squad of American soldiers in his World War II epic Saving Private Ryan needed to be convincing, so he sent the core cast on a week-long boot camp so intense, almost all of them wanted to quit before it was over. The resulting camaraderie showed it was worth it, but the boot camp served another purpose: since Matt Damon didn’t have to endure the training, he was as much an outsider on set as Private Ryan was in the movie. Ryan still won over the soldiers and audiences, but the resentment and insecurity on screen isn’t faked, proving tough love can help create a more sympathetic young soldier.
Biff Tannen – Back to the Future
Every fan of time travelling teens knows Back to the Future‘s Biff Tannen, the high school bully who made life a nightmare for both George McFly and his son Marty – in multiple timelines. But did you know the meathead is actually taking a very real shot at a Hollywood executive? It started when director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale pitched their first film, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, to Universal executive Ned Tanen. The meeting ended with Tanen screaming at the pair, accusing them of antisemitism, among other things. They got the last laugh though, burying a stand-in Tannen in manure – multiple times.
Letty Ortiz – The Fast & The Furious
The entire cast of the Fast & Furious series has become more famous than anyone could have guessed, but it didn’t happen by accident. When Michelle Rodriguez was first brought in to bring Leticia ‘Letty’ Ortiz to life, she had a problem with her character’s journey – specifically, that Letty would wind up cheating on Dom with Brian, the undercover cop. It was just another way The Fast & The Furious took cues from the original Point Break, but Rodriguez refused, offering to quit if the script wasn’t changed. But she made a good argument, and the love affair between her and Toretto wound up as the backbone of the entire movie franchise.
The Batvoice – The Dark Knight Trilogy
There’s no denying what Christopher Nolan’s Batman did for comic book movies everywhere, but there’s one part of Christian Bale’s take on the Dark Knight that draws more criticism and mockery than any other: the Batvoice. But Bale’s Bruce Wayne isn’t really the problem, since his raspy growl actually seemed an inspired choice in the first movie, Batman Begins. But in The Dark Knight, Nolan decided to add some new effects in post-production to make the rasp a bit… stranger. Fans still have every right to mock the insane Batvoice, but few realize that it wasn’t the actor to blame for it.
Those are the awesome secret details behind some of our favorite movie characters, but which ones do you think we missed? Name them in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one!