The movie industry is known just as much for its mistakes as it is for its successes. Slip-ups, disasters, and misunderstandings generate just as many headlines as box-office hits and perfectly executed filmmaking. Yet, while plenty of mistakes make it into the final cuts of films, sometimes directors catch errors beforehand. Usually, the solution is simply to erase the mistake and film something again, but that's not always an option.
Sometimes, filmmakers just have to grit their teeth and figure out a more roundabout solution to their problems. When this occurs, they have a variety of ways to cover up these mistakes. And, you'll never believe it, but some of them are pretty weird. From the CGI upper lip of Superman to dialogue that's been obviously dubbed over, directors, editors, costume departments, and visual effects teams have used a variety of odd methods to fix mistakes.
The fixes are occasionally just as obvious as the mistakes, but the mistakes are what usually grab our eye. Maybe you missed these cover-ups the first time you watched these films, or maybe your jaw dropped as you realized just how silly the solution was.
Either way, this list has compiled the greatest hits of obvious mistakes covered up in weird ways. We've got mistakes from some of the greatest directors on here, and from some of the worst. No artist is immune to goofing something up, they can only hope to be successful in fixing them after the fact.
This is 20 Weird Ways Movies Tried To Cover Up Obvious Mistakes.
20 Morpheus and the doorknob (The Matrix)
1999's The Matrix is known for a lot of things, but some of its most iconic moments came from its embrace of computer-generated special effects. However, this means that there is a partially false perception that every moment in the film has some kind of CGI trickery, when that's more the case for the later two films in the trilogy.
The first film had to occasionally rely on practical solutions to filmmaking problems, like the time the Wachowskis were filming a shot in the reflection of a doorknob.
They couldn't figure out a way to hide the camera, and instead of using CGI, simply draped a coat over it and hoped nobody would notice.
As you can see in the left part of the knob, it's not like it's invisible.
19 Superman's non-moustache (Justice League)
You've probably already heard of this one, thanks to the relentless press coverage (not to mention ridicule) about it. Henry Cavill infamously signed on to film Justice League and Mission Impossible: Fallout at the same time, and he had a moustache in one film (Fallout) and no mustache in the other. The problem was, he couldn't shave it off and regrow it as needed.
Instead, Fallout's contract stipulated that nothing could be done to remove the moustache, so Cavill had to keep it while filming Justice League, which forced Warner Bros.' editors to use CGI to remove the offending facial hair.
Critics were quick to notice just how odd Superman looked in the film, as the CGI had clearly been applied very hastily. This cover-up was just as obvious as the mistake itself.
18 Kate Mara’s reshoots wig (Fant4stic)
If you know anything about 2015's Fantastic Four reboot, you know it went through a long reshoot process and put out a product that was hated by critics and audiences alike. One of the most laughable parts of the reshoots, however, is quietly sitting on the lead actress' head. Kate Mara's wig is a sight to behold.
Mara played Sue Storm, and got her hair cut between the principal photography and the reshoots.
This would be unremarkable if the wig she wore to cover up her shorn head wasn't so hilariously, stupidly obvious. Any time she comes on screen with her fake hair is a painful part of an already painful movie-- and with the amount of budget and resources the film had, this might actually qualify for the lowest effort cover-up on this list.
17 James Franco's headband (Pineapple Express)
There were several injuries on the set of Pineapple Express, but the one that made the biggest change to the film was the one that happened to James Franco's head. Franco had a scene where his character Saul Silver ran through a forest, and he managed to run into a tree - which you can see in the film.
HIs injury required stitches on his forehead, which were fairly obvious.
Enter a magical clothing accessory known as a headband, which the film's costume department gave Franco to wear over his forehead for every subsequent scene.
Fans may have noticed that the addition of the headband seemed kind of arbitrary in terms of the story, but it was actually so they didn't have to look at Franco's head injury!
16 The disappearing pole (The Incredibles)
Computer animation was still an extremely young field when The Incredibles came out, so it's not a surprise that there are plenty of technical glitches that made it into the film. While most of the hands clipping into cups or other subtle mistakes were certainly unintentional, there's one mistake that they pretty obviously covered up.
When Mrs. Incredible infiltrates Syndrome's island, she hitches a ride on the monorail. To do this, she latches on to a car with her elastic arms, hanging on underneath. This would take her right smack into a giant structural pole that had been under the rail in the previous shot, but fortunately for the supermom, the animators removed the pole.
It's like a magic trick: one second, the pole exists to hold up the rail, the next, it's disappeared out of Mrs. Incredible's way.
15 Harrison Ford's illness (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
Here's another famous instance of a film covering for its lead actor. Harrison Ford showed up to the set of the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, in the midst of an unpleasant illness. In the script, he was supposed to have a drawn-out fight with a guy wielding a sword, using his famous bull whip. Ford didn't feel up to the task.
They filmed a now-iconic replacement to the fight scene: Indy just shot the guy.
It ends up being a defining character moment for the famous character. He's not here to have a flashy unrealistic fight; he's here to shoot the bad guys and move on. If only every movie cover-up was as memorable as this one!
14 Kevin Spacey (All The Money In The World)
Yes, we know the guy in this movie isn't Kevin Spacey. That's Christopher Plummer, and the reason he's there is that casting Kevin Spacey was a mistake, and Plummer was the solution.
Spacey had filmed the role of J. Paul Getty in the film All the Money in the World, but word got out that he had a history of misconduct and harassment, so director Ridley Scott replaced him.
In stepped Christopher Plummer, who had barely any time to prepare for the role, but gave a good enough performance that he ended up nominated for an Oscar. After a hectic re-shoot process, Spacey was erased from the film entirely, completely replaced by Plummer. This may be a strange way cover up a poor casting choice, but it ended up working out very well.
13 WHAMMY! (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)
As anyone familiar with the film will tell you, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a heavily improvised movie. The most memorable jokes in the film came from the actors trying different jokes over and over in each scene, and David Koechner's was no exception as he portrayed the sports anchor Champ Kind.
Editors were faced with a dilemma when viewing Koechner's improvised takes. They wanted to use lines from different takes, but the shots were just different enough that a normal jump cut would be too noticeable. The solution? Hide the cuts with the "Whammy!" graphic (Champ's catchprase), which would distract the viewer from the jarring changes in the background.
It's clever fix, but not one that a sharp-eyed audience won't see.
12 The epilogue reshoots (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
Sometimes you just can't win. Every Potter fan remembers when behind-the-scenes pictures leaked from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and they got their first glimpse at the aged versions of the main cast from the end of the story.
The originals aged versions of the cast looked way too old and gross, and a major fan outcry ensued.
Hastily covering for the aging mistake, filmmakers quickly went into reshoots and tried that scene again. This time, Harry, Ron, and Hermione look much younger, and then the fans complained about that, too. Now, the cast looked like they had barely aged at all in nearly two decades. Oh, well, at least they tried.
11 The morph cut (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
While the Star Wars prequels are nowadays pretty much universally reviled, the film industry is only now catching up to some of their technological breakthroughs. Case in point: the morph cu, which only recently became available in normal editing software.
It was actually invented by George Lucas' editing team, as a way of combining two takes into one.
Through computer wizardry, the Star Wars team was able to take elements that they liked from two different takes and mash them into one, with almost no hints that they did so. The biggest giveaway as to when a morph cut was used? Watch Hayden Christensen's hair.
Editors would patch together the best parts of his performance, but you can see his hairline blend together in certain shots.
10 Jeremy Renner's arms (TAG)
Injuries are everywhere in Hollywood, especially on films that involve stunt work. As it turns out, the recent film TAG is something of an action comedy, as it involves Jeremy Renner in several stunts. Renner's character is the "king" of the game, having never been tagged, as he exercises Jason Bourne-like levels of smarts and athletic ability to avoid his friends.
However, this meant he was supposed to do a complicated stunt involving falling off a stack of chairs, and when it went wrong, Renner somehow broke both his arms. This meant that in all the future scenes, the director had to either film around Renner's arms or get him new ones via CGI.
Luckily for the filmmakers, however, their CGI team did a good job, so that even critics looking for it had a hard time noticing the false limbs.
9 Bad dubbing (Galaxy Quest)
Long revered as the first true meta comedic parody of the modern world of nerds and fandom, Galaxy Quest holds up today thanks to its solid story, incredible cast, and great sense of humor. It might not have become so well known if it hadn't stopped just shy of an R rating. To appeal to younger audiences and their parents, the studio made sure their language wasn't too foul.
Unfortunately, they didn't get that memo during filming, as during one scene where Sigourney Weaver encounters a frightening obstacle, her audio says, "Well, screw that!" Only, as anybody paying attention can tell, Weaver definitely did not say "screw" - that word was edited over what she really said.
This cover-up occurred in the edit, as Weaver clearly added the cleaner version of the line in post-production.
8 Aragorn's black eye (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
There's a whole litany of injuries from the set of The Lord of the Rings franchise we could put here, but this one might be the funniest.
Viggo Mortensen's character Aragorn had to be filmed from a specific angle for an entire month because of surfing.
Mortensen learned how to surf from costars Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan and managed to give himself a black eye.
There's no way to know exactly which shots were affected, but apparently a lot of them are in the Mines of Moria sequence in The Fellowship of the Ring. Director Peter Jackson had to film Aragorn from his good side to avoid the gigantic black eye Mortensen got when his surfboard hit him in the face. We imagine he would have looked slightly less heroic if Jackson hadn't done so.
7 White Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
The recent whitewashing debate in Hollywood found critics, fans, and Asian artists taking the industry to task for giving Asian roles to white actors, and 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ran afoul of this. Instead of sticking to the main villain Shredder's canonical Japanese incarnation, they cast white actor William Fichtner.
Fichtner played Eric Sacks in the film, and thanks to hastily shot reshoots, Sacks is a kind of secondary villain to Shredder, who ended up played by Tohoru Masamune. Fichtner, to his credit, supported the move, but the film still feels awkwardly structured thanks to the initial miscasting.
We're glad Masamune eventually got the role (though he was replaced by Brian Tee in the sequel), but really this is a mistake the studio shouldn't have made in the first place.
6 Porgs (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
What do you do if you've got an animal infestation you can't get rid of? Put them in the movie, obviously!
Love them or hate them, porgs are an indelible part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as the adorable alien birds are in a number of shots.
T hey're only in the movie because director Rian Johnson had to adapt to unique working conditions.
The island they filmed on, Skellig Michael, had a native population of puffins, that filmmakers couldn't remove because the island is a wildlife preserve. While this may seem like a mistake on the part of the location scout, the filmmakers turned it into an opportunity to create a lovable new alien animal, and thus porgs were born to cover up the puffins.
5 The Wicked Witch of the West's third degree burns (The Wizard of Oz)
Despite being a notoriously unpleasant working environment for the actors, The Wizard of Oz still managed to become a classic for decades to come. Actress Margaret Hamilton would likely rather forget the whole thing, as it was a nightmare for her from start to finish. Aside from her makeup being literally poisonous, her first big exit in the film ended up in a traumatic injury for her.
In the Wicked Witch of the West's exit from Munchkinland, filmmakers had rigged up an elevator to make Hamilton disappear while flames covered the mistake. The first take went fine, but the smoke was visible too early, and when they tried it again, the flames didn't go out, horribly burning Hamilton. Naturally, they didn't try it again, so the imperfect take made it into the final cut of the film.
4 Covered windows (The Evil Dead)
Sometimes shooting schedules can be tough, or just downright inconvenient. This was definitely the case for Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, a horror film set entirely at night. The problem was, the production shot mostly during the day for indoor scenes.
They had to make it look dark outside, and they didn't have the budget (or production experience) for any fancy solution.
Raimia and his team decided to just cover the windows. Attentive viewers will notice that the windows in several indoor scenes look boarded up, not like it's actually dark outside. Occasionally, you can even spot slivers of light creeping in from the bright sunny day outside.
The movie manages to keep the dark, scary tone, but only barely-- it's a real giveaway that the filmmakers didn't have a lot of time or money to work with.
3 Jackie Chan vs. hot coals (Legend of Drunken Master)
Jackie Chan's action movie legacy is built off his obsession with doing stunts for real-- and occasionally he took that mantra beyond any reason. There are any number of unreal stunts to choose from, but one that really sticks out is his dance across live hot coals in Legend of the Drunken Master.
In the film, Jackie's character is knocked onto the coals by a baddie, and there's a jarring cut to a slow-mo shot of Jackie (suddenly wearing protective mitts) desperately crawling across the real coals. The other actor tries to act like a bad guy, but he's awkward and clearly worried about Jackie. They sort of manage to cover up the fact that they were very worried about Jackie's health, but not especially well.
2 The stormtrooper that bumped his head (Star Wars: A New Hope)
Star Wars fans remember the nameless Imperial stormtrooper that bumped his head in Episode IV: A New Hope. Leaping into hearts across the globe when he smashed his helmet into a rising door in the background of a shot. His slapstick moment will be remembered forever.
This moment may count as a "mistake" but it's clear everyone is happy that it stayed in-- so much so that on the 2004 DVD release, a sound effect was added that drew even more attention to the unidentified stormtrooper.
Sometimes the best way to cover up a mistake is to just lean into it and make sure everyone notices.
That way some younger viewers may even think it was intentional.
1 Dented cars (La La Land)
La La Land's opening scene ("Another Day of Sun") is famous for making one of the most dismal places on Earth-- the LA freeway-- into the set for a joyous musical number. To accomplish this, director Damien Chazelle closed a section of the highway for two full days and choreographer Mandy Moore rehearsed with her dancers for months.
When the time came, however, filmmakers noticed that just the rehearsals had ruined the roofs of the cars they were using. To cover up the obviously scuffed and dented roofs, the camera shots focused on their dancers' bright clothing and movement.
On top of that, for the big wide shots where they couldn't avoid showing the roofs, they slapped the film's title in gigantic letters over top so it was hard to see the marks clearly.
Are there any other obvious movie mistake cover-ups we missed? Let us know in the comments!