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15 Shocking Facts You Didn’t Know About Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice

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There has been a lot of speculation on whether Tim Burton is going to release a sequel to the original classic, Beetlejuice. It seemed to be an odd choice for a sequel considering it’s been twenty years since the original was released, however, Tim Burton has given the go-ahead for a script to be penned for his approval. Fans are excited by the news that they could actually get a sequel for the beloved movie. Is it possible that Tim Burton will like the script so much he will give it a go? We could only hope.

As of now Tim Burton is still thinking about whether or not he even wants to do a sequel. “This is the thing, it’s something that I’m interested in, but there’s so many stories [online], dumping Michael Keaton for Johnny Depp and this or that, and I’ve talked to these people and they didn’t wanna hear this so they just made up a story. But the fact of it is I have talked to Michael and I have talked to Winona, I’ve talked to a few people. It’s something that I really would like to do in the right circumstances, but it’s one of those films where it has to be right. It’s not a kind of a movie that cries out [for a sequel], it’s not the Beetlejuice trilogy. So it’s something that if the elements are right—because I do love the character and Michael’s amazing as that character, so yeah we’ll see. But there’s nothing concrete yet.”

So it’s up in the air as to whether we are going to get a sequel, but there’s nothing like looking back and remembering what we loved about the movie. Check out these shocking facts about Beetlejuice.

15. The Movie Was Supposed to Be Darker

There were certainly some dark areas to Beetlejuice, some plot points that made us question what Tim Burton was thinking, but the original script was supposed to be a lot darker than that. Michel McDowell wrote the original screenplay, and he had a vision of Beetlejuice to be a winged demon who came in the form of a Middle Eastern human. He had some sick ideas for the Deetz’s that probably would have changed the way we viewed the movie entirely. What was once a whimsical tale would have been turned into one that included rape and murder. Yes, I said rape and murder, when all we ended up with was some mischief within a marriage. Even the car crash scene in the movie was meant to be a gruesome scene unlike any we have seen before. It’s probably a good thing that they changed screenwriters because the tale of Beetlejuice is a beloved one now for a reason.

14. Michael Keaton Wasn’t the Original Choice

It’s hard to believe that anyone else could have done a better job at Beetlejuice than Michael Keaton, but like most movies, there is often someone else considered for the role. In the case of Beetlejuice, they originally wanted Sammy Davis Jr. to play the famous role. Tim Burton wanted him for the role even though at the time he was well into his 60’s. David Geffen was the producer of the movie at the time, and he was the one that suggested that Keaton was a great choice. He was cast of course, and the rest is history. Keaton also went on to act in two other films by Tim Burton, the famous Batman movie as well as Batman Returns. We can all attest to how well he did in Batman, a movie that probably shaped his entire career. We are sure glad that Burton went ahead with Keaton.

13. The Original Script Had Lydia Raised by the Maitlands

When the original script was presented, it showed Beetlejuice going through an exorcism; he was a demon after all. He was eventually destroyed, and the Maitland’s house got shrunk down to the size of one of Adam’s model homes. They could have gone on to share the home of the Deetz family, but that wasn’t in the cards for them. Instead, they decided to move into the model home and decorate it just like their original home. As far as the Deetz family goes, they decided they were going to move back to New York. Lydia doesn’t want to go with them however, so she gets to stay behind. The Maitlands take her in and raise her in Connecticut. So the family is separated, and Beetlejuice is dead. Not as much of a happy ending compared to the film that we saw.

12. The Tone Was Darker

As I said before, the original script was meant to turn out a much darker film than the one that we saw. During Beetlejuice, the character often dealt with ghosts and the fact that he was dead, but it was all done in jest, a comedy so to speak. But the comedy that we love so much wasn’t the original intent of the film. They wanted the film to be violent, and probably with that tone, it would have ended up in the horror genre. We loved the fact that Beetlejuice was enamored with Lydia and wanted to marry her. The two would certainly make a comical couple, but the original screenplay had a darker tone, as Beetlejuice tried to rape Lydia instead. Can ghosts have sex? Well, I suppose he was going to give it an honest effort. Whether or not we would have considered the film to be the classic it is today is hard to say.

11. Anjelica Huston Was Supposed to be Part of the Cast

We loved the fact that Catherine O’Hara played the part of Delia Deetz, but she wasn’t originally the woman that Burton wanted. He was looking more towards casting Anjelica Huston, and we can certainly see why. She has that dark aura about her and considering the roles she played in The Addams Family and Ever After, she probably would have made a good addition to the cast. She had to turn the part down, however, because she became ill and Burton went after O’Hara. Even she didn’t want the role originally until Burton flew out to meet with her personally, pleading with her to take the role. It was a good thing she did because she met her husband Bo Welch while she was working on the set; he was the production designer. In the end, the pairing worked out well, and we got the Beetlejuice just the way it was meant to be.

10. The Role of Lydia Was Coveted

When great roles come around, actors and actresses will line up to get a chance to play the role. It’s always hard to say who will eventually get the part. James Cameron was leaning more towards Gwyneth Paltrow for the lead in Titanic until Kate Winslet sent him a card thanking him for her audition and she signed it “Love Rose.” It was easy to see how she won him over. When it came time to cast for Beetlejuice, there was a long list of ladies that Burton wanted for the role. The actresses that he had lined up to audition were Sarah Jessica Parker (who would have been an interesting addition), Diane Lane, Jennifer Connelly, Lori Loughlin, Brooke Shields (seriously Brooke?), Justine Bateman and Molly Ringwald. All these ladies turned down the epic role, however, and in the end Juliette Lewis came in to audition but Burton fell in love with the quirkiness of Winona Ryder after he saw her performance in the movie Lucas.

9. A Different Title for the Movie

How could this be? We couldn’t imagine any other title for the movie Beetlejuice. It is the perfect movie title. Often when it comes to naming movies or even books, there’s always another idea in there that is almost inconceivable. The names that come up for things to be titled are almost always bizarre. Could you imagine The Great Gatsby ever being titled anything but that and yet it was almost titled Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires. Would we have loved the classic just as much with that different title? In the case of Beetlejuice, the original name they were going for was Scared Sheetless. Although it’s a creative title, it’s kind of silly. Though I’m not sure they would have been able to pull off that title with the original screenplay. Burton was joking when he offered up that title and was genuinely appalled when Warner Bros. wanted to use it.

8. Beetlejuice Was Named After a Constellation

Where does a name come from? We often wonder where our favorite characters’ names come from. Who thinks them up and why do they choose that particular name? There are many classic names in movies that have occurred over time and some of those names have gone down in history as epic names to remember. I’m not sure if Beetlejuice is one of them, but he’s certainly a classic. When it came time to choosing a character name, Burton took it to the stars. You may be surprised to find out that the name Beetlejuice originated from the stars. The main character was named after a star in the constellation of Orion called Betelgeuse. I kind of like the fact that his ghost is up amongst the stars. Now that’s pretty creative if you ask me.

7. The Song Day-O Lived On

We all remember Glenn Shadix who played Otho in the film; he was one of the more memorable characters to be sure. He died tragically in 2010 from blunt force trauma to the head. It was September when the incident happened, and Susan Gagne, Shadix’s sister, claimed that he fell while in his kitchen at home and died due to the trauma to his head. At the time of his death he was dealing with a lot of mobility issues and had trouble getting around. He was often forced to use a wheelchair. During his funeral, one of the last songs played was Harry Belafonte’s song “Day-O” which was a classic song from the movie Beetlejuice. It was a great way to remember the actor and pay tribute to his role in the film as it was a popular song that the characters danced to in the movie.

6. The Number 3 Held a Lot of Significance

There are often moments in a film that we don’t get until the end and sometimes not at all unless we have watched the film more than once. A film becomes great if it makes you think or tricks you into believing something that turns into a twist later on. It’s one of the reasons why I love movies so much. It isn’t just a story but a puzzle that you can figure out within a span of a few hours. We all know the relevance of repeating Beetlejuice three times – he appears! That’s what we love because usually we are used to repeating Bloody Mary three times and getting something we don’t like visiting our homes. But the number 3 was prevalent a few more times in the film. When the Maitlands wanted to escape Beetlejuice, they repeated the word “home” three times, and they were able to get away from him. Another case was when the characters wanted to get to the Afterlife; they had to knock on the door three times as well.

5. Test Audiences Had the Power to Change Beetlejuice

Test audiences are used all the time to gauge how well a movie will do at the box office. More often than not films have to go back to the drawing board after test audiences have had their say. Sometimes a test audience will find the movie too traumatic or hate the characters entirely. If that’s the case, it’s best to re-work the movie instead of sending it out and hoping for the best. When the original movie was shown to a test audience, they voted for a happier ending for Beetlejuice. Producers didn’t expect them to fall in love with the character of the crazy-haired Beetlejuice, but they did. So the team decided they were going to make the ending a little more upbeat. Audiences didn’t like that, so they changed it to him hassling a woman whose body is sawed in half and being hexed by that creepy witch doctor.

4. It Inspired a Cartoon

I’ve actually tuned into the comical cartoon from time to time though I don’t believe it can hold a candle to the movie at all. Beetlejuice was so popular, and the fans were so crazed by the movie that it went on to inspire a cartoon version of Beetlejuice that stayed on the air for 94 episodes. The relationship between Lydia and Beetlejuice is completely different than it is in the movie. The whole point of the cartoon is for Lydia to live a life of adventure and Beetlejuice is the one to take her on as many adventures as possible. He takes her on many wondrous and wild adventures in the Netherworld. You don’t see many of the other characters in the cartoon; the Maitlands are gone, but in return, Lydia gets to hang out with a tap-dancing spider and a skeleton bodybuilder. What better friends could a girl ask for?

3. You Can Hang Out with Beetlejuice

Universal Studios went nuts after the release of Beetlejuice, and in 1992 they created Beetlejuice’s Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue, and it is still going today. If you want to see him for yourself, you can either go to the theme park in Japan or Orlando, Florida. There you will find Beetlejuice rocking away to his favorite beats. It’s a fun place to go to see your favorite characters in many different movies, but we are happy to hear that Beetlejuice still lives on twenty years later doing what he loves. There was also another venue in Hollywood, but unfortunately, that one had been replaced by Spider-Man Rocks in 2002. Apparently Hollywood doesn’t have the same love as we do for the beloved character. It’s possible he will have a comeback if they decide to go ahead with the sequel.

2. Geena Davis Was a Shoe In

Some people just know a good thing when they see it. A script comes their way, and they immediately know it’s going to be a hit and so they grab on with both hands. That was the case when it came to Geena Davis and Michael Keaton. Considering how many actresses turned down the role for Lydia you would think to cast someone in the lead roles would be a little difficult but it wasn’t. When Geena Davis and Michael Keaton were offered the roles, they did not need any convincing to sign up. There was no need for Burton to fly and talk to them personally, they wanted in right away. It’s surprising considering the afterlife detective played by Sylvia Sidney practically had to be begged to take her role. She must have loved the experience however because she went on to act in Mars Attacks in 1996, another Tim Burton movie.

1. Beetlejuice in Hawaii Was Almost Made

As I said before, people are just dying for a sequel to the Beetlejuice movie and they are starting to get desperate. It was a successful movie, and Warner Bros. has been pushing for a remake for many years. At one point they brought in Jonathan Gems to write a new script for the sequel, and it was to be set in a tropical climate instead of the original New England one. It was also supposed to be called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. It’s a good thing the film wasn’t made because it sounds like it would have been a straight to video film. Here is a synopsis of the script: “Meanwhile, the now college-aged Lydia is visiting a Hawaiian tropical island, Kanooka, where her eternally obnoxious parents are planning to open a fancy hotel, “The Deetz Paradise.” A group of local beatniks are upset that the hotel will ruin the island’s environment but their complaints to the Deetz fall on deaf ears. In addition to the beatniks, a band of ancient Hawaiian ghosts are none too pleased about the hotel; they try to recruit Beetlejuice to frighten away Deetz and his developers, but he declines because his license to scare has been revoked.”

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