The final product presented in a dark movie theater boasts hundreds of hours of work and craftsmanship that audiences never really witness. With the release of DVDs and blu rays, however, there are often special features that reveal the wizardry and fun that go on behind-the-scenes.
Sometimes, a simple well-timed picture taken during the movie-making process is worth a lot more than anything a video can relate. It’s poignant. It catches the attention like no other and puts a smile on the face of a movie fanatic.
Filming secrets are uncovered. The movie magicians reveal their tricks. Horror movie icons are reduced to mere mortals taking a break. Staff, cast and crew have a little fun as they drink some tea and eat a couple of fries.
Peak behind the movie curtain and see the masters at work – and at rest – in these twelve incredible photos from behind-the-scenes of Hollywood classics.
12. Ape Makeup
Get your stinking hands off of me, you damned dirty human!
Alright, so it’s doubtful that the chimpanzee pictured in the photo is actually thinking that. Nevertheless, Kelly the chimp is having his makeup done in preparation for his big role in Escape from the Planet of the Apes.
It’s great to see the role reversal here as actors Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowell look on, knowing all too well the feeling of having makeup applied for hours on end. Funnily enough, Kelly is getting a human-style prosthetic nose put on in order to better match the actors in ape makeup.
11. Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
The most harmless thing anyone can think of is a dessert mascot.
Following their epic battle with Gozer in the form of an androgynous woman, the Sumerian deity tells the Ghostbusters that the next thing they think of will be the form it will take to destroy their world. While all the others keep their mind blank, Ray thinks of something completely harmless that couldn’t possibly do any damage: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
The colossal paranormal monster smashes through New York City, bringing forth chaos and destruction. Except, he wasn’t massive at all. As this awesome behind-the-scenes picture shows, the character was simply a man in a latex costume who had the added benefit of optical illusions and miniatures to create the monster’s massive presence.
10. Even Monsters Need a Break
Frankenstein’s Monster is a misunderstood creature whose only goal is to share his life with another living being. That includes tea time.
Boris Karloff played the horror movie icon in the 1931 adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel. Apparently, when not running away from pitchfork-wielding angry mobs, the gentle monster enjoys a soothing cup of tea along with a cigarette – so much for that fear of fire.
While it’s always fun to see how scary monsters look while off duty behind the scenes, it’s not too surprising that the gentle, emotional creature (and the actor who portrays it) likes to sip on tea in between takes.
9. Godzilla Taking Acting Advice
Much like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Godzilla was just a man in a costume.
The mutated lizard that tore apart Tokyo in the ‘50s was portrayed by different actors in a rubber suit. Most notably, Japanese actor Haruo Nakajima was known for his rousing performance as a 164-foot tall radioactive monster.
In this photo, we can see Godzilla with a staff member being given some acting advice in order to be more believable as the fire-breathing, monster butt-kicking creature he is.
Even though he’s not really as tall in real life as he is in the movies, he still looks fairly intimidating – for a man in a rubber costume, that is.
8. Eating His Liver with Some Fava Beans and a Side of French Fries
Who knew that one of the greatest and most sadistic movie villains of all time had a penchant for human flesh as well as French fries?
In this photo, Jonathan Demme, the director of Silence of the Lambs, is seen feeding actor Anthony Hopkins a French fry. Villains get hungry too, and when they’re not wreaking havoc assisting detectives in solving cases, they enjoy a fry or two in their straight jacket.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s notorious cannibalism makes this picture all the more bewildering and amusing, as the muzzle is meant to prevent him from biting people – but a thin fry can certainly fit in one of the openings to satisfy his hunger!
7. R2-D2 Sandwich
Beeping and bopping his way into the audience’s hearts, R2-D2 is a beloved Star Wars character who has made an appearance in each installment of the series.
In this great behind-the-scenes photo, actor Kenny Baker is seen eating a sandwich while still inside his R2-D2 costume. While other crew members can be seen taking a break from filming on the set, the highlight and focus of this pic is the disembodied head of the droid hanging by a few wires as the actor enjoys a snack.
Kenny Baker will be reprising his role in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Hopefully there will be some more memorable behind-the-scenes pics for that film too!
6. Chillin’ Like a Villain
There’s something disturbingly splendid about this rare on-set shot.
When not killing people in their dreams, Freddie Krueger enjoys sitting in a convertible listening to his Walkman while chilling with his victims.
With creepy makeup still on, actor Robert Englund takes a break from shooting his Nightmare on Elm Street to relax with his co-stars. Arch rival Nancy Thompson, portrayed by actress Heather Langenkamp, can be seen leaning on the serial killer while Johnny Depp looks on in the back, wondering if he’ll become a bloody geyser again.
This picture oozes 80s’ greatness as Freddie stares deep into your soul.
5. Psycho Shower
This is the reason legions of movie fans in the ‘60s developed a phobia of taking a shower.
There is no greater sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful career than the shower scene in Psycho. After embezzling a large sum of money from her boss, Marion Crane retreats to the Bates Motel. In one of the most terrifying scenes in film history, Marion is stabbed to death by who appears to be an old woman in a dress.
Spoiler alert: the “old woman” was in fact the psychotic innkeeper, Norman Bates, dressed as his mother. Filmgoers couldn’t tell who the person was, as the face was kept hidden in the shadows. Seeing this picture surely draws chills, as the actor with a blacked-out face holds the knife that would be plunged inside the not-so-naked body of actress Janet Leigh.
4. Into the Jaws of Death
Legendary director? Check. Iconic movie creature? Check. Cheeky yet awesome pose? Check.
In the 70s, Steven Spielberg brought audiences one of the greatest summer blockbusters that scared the bejesus out of anybody who saw the film. People love beaches and swimming. People hate dangers lurking in the deep unknown. But mostly sharks. People are deathly afraid of sharks.
Not this director, apparently! Alright, so it’s not a real shark. Pictured here is Spielberg in the mouth of a mechanical shark named Bruce who was used as a prop to bring the dangerous Jaws to life.
Funny little tidbit: because Bruce broke down for the majority of the filming, Spielberg nicknamed this mechanical shark “The Great White Turd”.
3. Gandalf & MacBook
You shall not pass…word? Even great wizards need to check their emails.
In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, actor Ian McKellen portrays the great wizard Gandalf the Grey. Wise, charismatic and powerful, he chews up every scene he’s in. That’s what makes this photo a classic: a wizard from Middle-Earth using a MacBook is all kinds of awesome.
One can only imagine what a powerful wizard would be doing on a laptop: chatting with some Hobbits? Looking up ways to destroy the One Ring? Or is he checking out some pretty Elves?
This classic picture went viral when a meme was built around it: Tech Support Gandalf.
2. The Star Wars Crawl
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… There was a picture that demystified one of the greatest opening credits in film history.
Static blue text. The infamous logo. Blaring soundtrack conducted by John Williams. Crawling yellow text. This is the formula for the iconic Star Wars opening crawl, which is a series mainstay that has graced movie screens for over 35 years. It’s not a Star Wars movie until the letters slowly drift across the screen relating the events that led to the film.
While it wasn’t the most technically advanced way of going about it, seeing the cameraman film a monitor laid out on the floor is magical. No computer generated images are needed, as the cameraman moves ever so carefully along the length of the monitor to capture that smooth scrolling effect.
1. The MGM Lion
The most majestic behind-the-scenes photo in movie history tops this list.
Every movie fan, young or old, is certain to have seen a movie produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The glamorous film studio needed a logo that everyone would remember: and what could be more memorable than a roaring lion surrounded by a ring of film?
In this picture taken in the early 1920s, viewers can see a crew filming the first of the seven lions used in the MGM logo. It’s surreal to see all the old set pieces as well as a trained king of the jungle standing calmly while he’s being filmed. An old-school microphone is ready to capture that iconic roar while the camera rolls.
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