With movie studios spending millions to bring comic book superheroes to life, and outshine the competition, you would think that almost all of their efforts and energy winds up on the screen. But you’d be surprised to learn that some of the best superhero stories come from behind the camera, before they ever start rolling. Here is another dose of insider trivia in our latest edition of Know Your Movies: 20 Mind-Blowing Facts About Superhero Movies.
Man of Steel
The latest Superman origin story skips over most of Clark discovering his abilities as a kid, but we do get a look at his horrifying X-Ray vision. If the shots seem familiar, they should: the special effects team turned to John Carpenter’s “They Live” for the overall look.
The movie gives only a short look at the planet Krypton before it’s destroyed, but to make it seem real, Snyder hired a linguist to create an entire language, alphabet, and sentence structure for the ancient society. The art team made sure to create, then carve Kryptonian proverbs all over the props and sets – ready to be translated for any fan with some free time.
Batman V Superman
It’s every kid’s dream to be the Batman, so it’s no surprise that during production of Batman V Superman, Ben Affleck asked the studio if he could have the Dark Knight costume when filming wrapped. They told him he could – but would have to cover the $100,000 cost. He decided some photos were a nice compromise.
Dawn of Justice might mark the first time that Batman and Superman share the screen, but that’s not the entire story for the stars who made the heroes movie icons. To get a glimpse of the World’s Finest an entire generation dreamed of, just pick up Speechless, starring Michael Keaton and Christopher Reeve.
Fans don’t know how DC’s movie universe will play out, but history has already been made, thanks to Ben Affleck, after playing former Superman actor George Reeves in Hollywoodland, Ben Affleck is now the first and only man to play both of DC’s biggest heroes on film – and that’s one record that he’ll probably hold for good.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Star-Lord’s ship might seem cutting-edge, but he reveals that his romantic exploits would make it into a Jackson Pollock painting under a black light. The black light was scripted, but Chris Pratt’s censor-tempting punchline wasn’t. Director James Gunn only left it in when the line got the biggest laugh from early test audiences.
The creepy Sakaraan soldiers working for Ronan don’t get much time in the spotlight, but when they do, it’s James Gunn provided their voices, along with his assistant, Simon Hatt. Gunn even makes a cameo of sorts, as the unmasked soldier killed by Yondu.
The Marvel comedy has plenty of pop culture references, but one of its best never made it to screen. Paul Rudd had the idea of Michael Pena’s character greeting him outside the prison blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” as a nod to the teen classic Say Anything. They even filmed the scene… then found out how much the song would cost to license, and cut it.
Iron Man 3
The Miss Chatanooga pageant is played for a single laugh in the movie, but the contestant is anything but random. When casting the part, director Shane Black turned to Yvonne Zima, the seven-year-old star of The Long Kiss Goodnight, one of his earlier screenplays.
Iron Man 2
When Tony starts investigating his new nemesis, Whiplash, an old photo shows that villain was once arrested for selling plutonium. It’s not a case of photoshop, but a real photo of actor Mickey Rourke from a drug arrest in his younger days.
Fans were probably too distracted by the introduction of Rogue in the first X-Men movie to notice the major cameo. The truck driver who drops her off in a northern Canada town is actor George Buza, the unforgettable voice of Beast from the classic X-Men cartoon series.
CG effects have come a long way since the year 2000, but even back then, the crew found a clever way to create the teleporting mutant boy playing basketball all by himself. Just hire triplets, and paint them out one by one, and you’ll have fans wondering just how much special effects makes possible.
It may have all been one big fake-out, but the first version of the immortal Ra’s al Ghul is hard to forget, played by Ken Watanabe (“whah-tonn-AHH-bee”). But don’t bother trying to decipher the language he’s speaking, being translated by Liam Neeson’s secret villain – it’s gibberish, made up by the actor with some Japanese words scattered for flavor.
The first scene that Christian Bale actually filmed with co-stars Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman features him waking from a drug-induced sleep. As incredible as his performance turned out, his co-stars weren’t quite as impressed when Bale actually fell asleep in the Wayne bed, starting the shoot being poked awake by his butler, Alfred. Somehow, it seems like a perfect start.
Some of the best laughs of the movie come from the scenes shared by Deadpool and his favorite cab driver, Dopinder. But fans might not realize that the driver is actually a tribute to a childhood friend of star Ryan Reynolds who passed away when he was, fitting with the movie’s tone, struck by lightning. For real.
Instead of artwork, Wade Wilson decorates his house with paper targets from a gun range he apparently frequents. The paper targets aren’t randomly chosen, but authentic Firearms Qualification Targets used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They wouldn’t be hard to find, since Ryan Reynolds’ father and brother are both Mounties.
The movie confirms that Deadpool lives in the same universe as the X-Men, but the shared universe is just as active behind the scenes. Actress Olivia Munn first tried her hand at a mutant auditioning for the role of Deadpool’s girlfriend. She didn’t land the part, but producer Simon Kinberg decided she was too good to pass up, casting her as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse instead.
With his second solo movie, actor Hugh Jackman finally got into the physical shape he had always envisioned for Wolverine. The results were staggering, but in the actual movie, only a handful of scenes actually showed them. To make the most of Jackman’s work – and the attention it would grab – most of the marketing was tweaked to feature the actor in all his topless glory.
It’s hard to think of another actress who could capture the no-nonsense authority of Amanda Waller like Oscar-nominated Viola Davis. But the studio was apparently eager to land another world-famous actress for the part: Oprah Winfrey. We still can’t decide if that was a terrible idea, or an incredible one.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
It might seem like fantasy, but the shi-based satellite launch platform infiltrated by Cap in the movie;s opening scenes is an actual ship. Apparently, after landing the practical set, the directors decided to find a way to work the satellite technology into the plot of the script – a bit backwards, but it paid off.