Precisely none of which we see in the movie. Hell, the streets are so thick with rain and smoke that we can barely see the characters. Production designer Syd Mead had “only been originally hired for a few days at $1,500 a day,” producer Michael Deeley later explained. “Suddenly he was on the thing for weeks. It was one factor in going over budget.” Blade Runner‘s infamous budgetary problems were one reason the theatrical cut was edited to be more appealing to mainstream audiences, which inexplicably entailed cinema’s worst voiceover, as well as some bullshit “happy ending” that utterly disfigured the film.
But damn, look at those parking meters!
Everything You See In Signs Was Built (Or Grown!) For The Movie
M. Night Shyamalan’s flawless tale of hydrophobic aliens intentionally visiting the Solar System’s wettest planet is set almost entirely at Mel Gibson’s farmhouse and the surrounding cornfields. So the crew probably spent a few weeks scouting for the perfect farmhouse/cornfield combo, offered the folks living there some cash to film, then went and added some CGI for the crop circles, right? Naive fools. Nothing is ever that simple when Shyamalan is involved.
Everything we see in the movie was built entirely from scratch. The only thing on the set put there by God was the dirt, and the producers presumably had to explain to Shyamalan that they couldn’t make it themselves. This is what the set looked like months before shooting started:
Not only did they grow the corn themselves, but they also built the house, the barn, the backyard, and probably Abigail Breslin. (Seriously, this was her first movie. You prove she existed before 2002.) Supposedly, all of this was necessary because they couldn’t find an existing Midwest farmhouse that the set designers were allowed to paint red, white, and blue. That was symbolically important to the story, for reasons, surely.
Then there are the crop circles. We all thought those were CGI, didn’t we? Hell, in the film, Gibson himself says, “It can’t be by hand, it’s too perfect.” But it was, because Shyamalan demanded it. Production designer Larry Fulton wanted to CG most of it, “but Night doesn’t like CGI, he wants everything practical.” That meant his team had to spend weeks making real crop circles by hand — and not just the one on the farm set. In the movie, the family watches a news report showing other crop circles popping up around the world.
Sure, they could have used stock footage, but that wouldn’t be insane, would it? Instead, the production team created two more crop circles — which, by the way, was “as tough as chopping down trees.”
All for a few shots, spanning a few seconds.
In a movie.
Which turned out to be Signs.
Matt Cowan makes geeky T-shirts you didn’t notice (which took a lot of work) when he’s not writing for Cracked or watching Disney movies with his daughter.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday gift that requires very little work, check out the Miracle-Gro Aerogarden.
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