Interesting Movie Facts – Christmas Edition

Friday, December 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

Merry Christmas! As my gift to you, here’s a special Christmas-themed version of Interesting Movie Facts. From Joe Pesci injuring Macaulay Culkin to Jim Carrey learning torture resistance techniques, we’ve got plenty of oddball facts to lift your holiday spirits.

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Home Alone – Adorable little Macaulay Culkin ended up with a scar on his finger following a scene with Joe Pesci. The star of Goodfellas was called upon to bite the finger of his younger co-star, and he did so with too much force. I guess Pesci has a problem with “yewts.”

Die Hard – Bruce Willis wasn’t the first choice for the role of John McClane. It was offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds and Richard Gere before the star of Moonlighting was brought aboard. The mind boggles at the thought of Alan Rickman vs. Burt Reynolds.

Die Hard 2 – The sequel to Die Hard went way over budget. At one point, the film was costing the studio over $20,000 per minute.

The Santa Clause – Prior to hiring Tim Allen, Disney had a strict policy about hiring felons. They made an exception for the Home Improvement star, who was arrested in 1978 for possession of over 1 pound of cocaine. I wonder if they would’ve made the same exception for a key grip or gaffer?


Lethal Weapon – Thanks to the scene where Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) struggles with whether or not to eat a bullet, director Franco Zeffirelli decided to cast him in the role of Hamlet.

The Polar Express – This was the first film to be done in “all-digital capture,” and it’s even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Scrooged – At one point in the film, crabby television executive Frank Cross (Bill Murray) insults a group of street carolers. This group is comprised of Paul Shaffer, David Sanborn, Miles Davis and Larry Carlton.

Miracle on 34th Street – For the 1994 remake, Macy’s department store refused to let their name be used in the film.

Ernest Saves Christmas – During filming, the reindeer on the set began to shed their antlers. To fix the problem, the reindeer were fitted with replacement antlers.

It’s a Wonderful Life – In the old days of Hollywood filmmaking, falling snow was simulated by using cornflakes that had been painted white. Because they made a noticeable sound when stepped on, audio had to be dubbed in later. During this film, director Frank Capra wanted to record live sound, so he needed to find an alternative to the cornflakes. A fire-fighting substance called foamite was mixed with soap and water and distributed via a wind machine. For this new innovation, the special effects department of RKO Pictures received special recognition from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – The house belonging to the yuppie neighbors was the same one used for the Murtaugh family in the Lethal Weapon series. It resides on the back lot of Warner Brothers Studios.

Elf – The costumes for the elves were modeled after those used in the 1964 television special Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Fred Claus – The filmmakers contacted Levi’s and had 501 jeans made especially to fit star Vince Vaughn.

Black Christmas (1974) – Star Olivia Hussey was originally considered for the lead role in 1987’s Roxanne. When she met Steve Martin, he said, “Oh, my God, Olivia, you were in one of my all-time favorite films.” Hussey thought he was talking about Romeo and Juliet, but Martin meant Black Christmas, which he claimed to have seen over 20 times.

Jack Frost (1996) – This horror movie about a serial killer snowman featured actress Shannon Elizabeth in her first movie role.

The Preacher’s Wife – Star Whitney Houston admitted years later that she was on drugs (marijuana and cocaine) throughout every single day of filming.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – Val Kilmer had to quickly lose the 50 pounds he’d gained to play his role in 2004’s Alexander.

Reindeer Games – While shooting a scene where former NFL player Dana Stubblefield is supposed to stab Ben Affleck, Stubblefield accidentally knocked Affleck down and caused him to suffer a concussion. Production was delayed while the star recovered from his injury.

Batman Returns – During the six months it took to shoot the film, star Michelle Pfeiffer (Catwoman) went through 60 catsuits, each at a cost of $1,000.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Jim Carrey felt so confined in his latex skin that he consulted a Navy SEAL and learned techniques for resisting torture.

Gremlins – One of the two films (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) that caused the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating.

Trading Places – This film was originally intended for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. When Pryor dropped out of the project, Eddie Murphy came aboard and got Wilder replaced. It’s said that this was done to keep people from thinking of Murphy as just a Pryor knock-off.

Eight Crazy Nights – The original title of the film was Whitey & Davey, but this was deemed too politically incorrect and changed.

Bad Santa – Holds the record for the most cursing in a holiday-themed film. The word “fuck” (and its variations) appear 147 times, and a total of 243 curse words are used. 286 naughty words appear in the unrated DVD version.

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