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6 Tiny Movie Moments That Took Insane Amounts Of Work

Charmaine Blake



Movies are hard to make. Directors have to deal with a million different things, from a diva starlet’s demand that she only be lit by organic free-range lights, to trying to wrangle a thousand extras in full medieval gear who want, more than anything else in this world, to pee. But it’s all worth it when that big action sequence dampens the seats of theaters across the globe, right? Well, what about the smaller stuff? The times movies put insane work into little things that nobody ever noticed? Who will cry for them? Will you?


Everything In Who Framed Roger Rabbit Was Laborious And Amazing

There is more great art hidden in Who Framed Roger Rabbit than an Argentine Nazi safehouse. Almost every frame incorporates hours of labor, all to make the cartoons interact with the real world as believably as possible. Most of which goes completely unnoticed by the casual viewer. For example, take a look at the scene in which Roger is dancing, gets stuck with the skipping record player, and starts breaking dishes over his head:

Did you ever wonder how they managed to get a cartoon to break real dishes over its head? No? You’re not some weirdo, you say? Well, they did it by building a dish-smashing machine that fit the beat of the song, and painting Roger over it:

Walt Disney PicturesPrecisely as Asimov predicted.

Then there’s the cigar-smoking Baby Herman:


That’s a real cigar he’s “smoking.” There was yet another custom-made machine for this, fully articulated, which could perform six different gestures. It’s not clear exactly which gestures, but knowing Baby Herman, we have a pretty good idea.

Walt Disney PicturesWe don’t know why it was necessary for the robot to be able to poop itself, but maybe that’s why we’re not in the movie business.

How about when Roger’s hiding from gun-toting cartoon villains in the sink?

The guns were real, and needed puppeteers to operate every single one. Then, when Roger comes up for air and spits water, that’s real water. Of course it was pumped through a machine they built solely for that scene.

Walt Disney PicturesSometimes you get to be Yoda, sometimes you get to do this.

This is all because of one subtle thing you may have overlooked: Roger may be a cartoon, but in his world, there are rules. If he swallows real water from the sink Eddie has his hands in, then it has to be real water that he spits out. If a cartoon puts a gun in Eddie’s face and it really might kill him, it has to be a real gun. They called it “bumping the lamp,” after the scene in which Eddie saws through the handcuffs binding him to Roger, and this became the whole philosophy for the making of the movie.


Look at the layers of work that went into that. By having Roger bump into everything, he feels like a real presence in the room, but that means everything has to be set up to fall over or shake when he does so — boxes, lamps, people. It all has to be timed perfectly. Having Roger bump the lamp was a particularly weighty decision, because the animators had to adjust Roger’s shadows accordingly. And it was all done so well that none of us even batted an eyelid.

But the real genius is the scene wherein Eddie and Roger arrive at Maroon Studios.

While shooting this scene, Bob Hoskins made a rare slip. He accidentally looked at where a normal-sized person would be standing in front of him, not where the head of a vertically-challenged cartoon bunny would be. Zemeckis didn’t notice at the time, so when the film was handed over to the animators, they didn’t know what to do. After some head-scratching, director of animation Richard Williams worked it out: They had Roger stand on his tiptoes, bringing his head to a level with Eddie’s gaze.

They knew that getting the live-action actors to look at the exact spot where the nonexistent character’s eyes would be was essential to suspending the viewers’ disbelief, even if they weren’t totally conscious of it. That’s why the cartoon scenes in Mary Poppins feel so fake. It doesn’t look like those humans are actually interacting with those cartoon characters. But Who Framed Roger Rabbit nailed it time and time again, scene after scene. That’s one potential downside of being an animation genius: By doing their job so well, they made it so none of us noticed what they did.


Shell Cottage In Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Was Ridiculously Overbuilt

At the end of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows — Part 1 (Of 72), the gang escapes the wizard-Nazis by teleporting to a relative’s beach house, Shell Cottage. There, Dobby the house-elf promptly dies from the revelation that airborne knives can teleport too. It’s a moment so devastating that you were reasonably distracted from everything else going on in the scene, which was arguably also devastating for a few key people. Almost everything in the background of that scene had to be created from scratch, including Shell Cottage itself, the outside of which we only see in two brief glimpses in Part 1. See it? No, all the way back there.

The cottage was mostly constructed at Leavesden Studios, carted to Wales, then dragged by tractor up the coast, along with a trail of confused Welsh motorists. Once there, the setmakers then individually glued 4,500 scallop shells to the roof.

Like Batman’s pecs, that’s a lot of work for not much screen time. But hey, since they split the story into two parts, we get to see all the production designers’ hard work up close in the next film, right? Not really. We only see the cottage from the outside again very briefly (three seconds) in Part 2, when Harry goes to pay his respects at Dobby’s grave.


And you can’t even see the damned shells.

That shot took even more work. To stop the whole thing from being shattered by the strong Welsh winds, they had to weigh it down with nearly 11 tons of water. And that was only the beginning. Take a look at all that beautifully snarled grass. Every tuft of it was individually dressed into the sand to make it look like the Cornish coast. Because the most important thing about making a movie based on a children’s book in which kids carry magical guns and play soccer on broomsticks is staying true to Cornwall.


It Took Six Years Of Research To Make Pompeii

Pompeii is the story of gladiator/slave Milo (Kit Harrington) falling in love with aristocrat Cassia (Emily Browning) right before Mount Vesuvius destroys the titular city. It’s the worst-timed love story since Titanic. There are big explosions, a tsunami, and lots and lots of volcano-related death. You probably don’t remember that, because if you’re reading this, that means you’re human, and almost no humans watched Pompeii.

If you happen to be one of the outliers, there were still some quieter moments that you may not recall, like when Cassia and her friend Ariadne arrive in Pompeii and get out of the cart to walk through the crowded market streets.

That innocuous scene required as much work as anything else in the movie. Director Paul W. S. Anderson wanted complete authenticity, so he hired craftspeople to recreate all of Pompeii digitally — and for some scenes, physically. Right down to the exact type of bread that people ate back then.

She’s thinking what we all are: “Why did they even bother?”

Even the cobbles were handmade to be as accurate as possible, based on information gleaned from years of onsite digging, all in order to create the most realistic setting for the stupidest story. We only see those laboriously handcrafted cobblestones in the background, and only for a second or two at a time.

And the actors just walked all over them, the goddamned thespians. The whole process took six excruciating years. All for a movie two people saw.


Children Of Men Is Full Of Subtle Futuristic Quirks

Children Of Men is a 2006 film set in a dystopian world in which humans can no longer reproduce, which is either bleak as hell or ideal, depending on your faith in humanity today. We meet the main character, Theo, in London in 2027. He grabs a coffee, pushes his way past the crowd (including two policemen), then stops outside to booze up his drink, like we all do every single morning, even though we’re not supposed to mention it. He only narrowly misses being blown up by his ex-wife and her militant friends. Like we all do every single morning, even though we’re not supposed to mention it.

But while we’re following Theo in the foreground, we’re ignoring all the fun the filmmakers had with the background. There are tons of details to assure you that this is in fact the future, predicted as accurately as possible from the vantage point of the Bush administration. Let’s return to that opening shot.

See the pointy buildings in the distance? The one on the left is St. Paul’s Cathedral, the other is the Shard, modern London’s tallest building, and one of its most iconic. Here’s a real photo from roughly the same spot:


Except that the movie was filmed, shot, and released before construction even began on the Shard. All they knew was that it was going to be part of the London skyline eventually, so they did the best they could, using architect Renzo Piano’s early architectural drawings as a reference. If you see it at all, it’s only for a few seconds in the background of the opening scene, when the audience is still trying to open their M&M’s.

When Theo is pushing his way out of the crowded cafe, he passes two policemen. Can you spot the futuristic detail?

Give up? Look at the police helmet. The “Bobby on the Beat” currently wears this:

The “E II R” up there stands for “Elizabeth II Regina” — Queen Elizabeth II. Now go back and look at the helmets worn in the movie again. You can barely make it out, but it says “CR” on the badge, which means “Charles Rex,” or King Charles. By 2027, Queen Elizabeth has died, and Charles has ascended to the throne (probably the least realistic aspect of the whole movie).

They even made some trashy tabloid headlines for his reign:

It’s almost impossible to read, but it says “CHARLES SHOULD BE THRONE OUT.” That one shitty pun on a blurry newspaper in the background of a single throwaway scene lets you know, without question, that much like the cockroaches they are, The Daily Mail is still going strong even while the rest of society crumbles.


Blade Runner Financially Crippled Itself With Background Details

One of the many reasons Blade Runner is considered a classic is the level of detail you’ll never catch unless you watch the whole thing in slow motion (almost certainly while high, trying and failing to sync it to Pink Floyd). Those details overrun your brain the first time you see it — the neon umbrellas, the Gaudi-inspired Aztec architecture, the Millennium Falcon building …

That copious background hides all kinds of amazing details, which required hours upon hours of hard work to create. Like when Roy Batty is walking down the street with fellow replicant Leon Kowalski on their way to kill Lo Pan.

Check out those futuristic parking meters.

When constructing that set on a backlot street, the contemporary parking meters looked out of place. But instead of adding a Jetsons-style fin and calling it a day, the setbuilders made entirely new ones. Their meter has an electronic card register, since physical money is no longer a thing (remember, this was made in the quaint days of 1982, when credit cards were still for hipsters and communists alone). It also has a “post-mechanical case, which can be electrified” if someone tries to attack it, as well as lighting that directs traffic. If you zoom in, you see that it even has instructions/warnings for citizens parking there.


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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For more, check out 6 Scenes In Famous Movies That Were Insanely Hard To Film and 5 Simple Movie Scenes That Were An Insane Pain To Shoot.

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New Movie News

Harvey Weinstein surrenders to police in New York

Charmaine Blake



Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein surrendered himself to police in New York City on the morning of 25 May, months after dozens of women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.

According to CNN, Weinstein will face charges that “he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex on him.”

CNN’s source said Weinstein will be charged will “first- and third-degree rape in one case and a first-degree sex act in a second case.”

Weinstein handed himself in to New York Police Department’s First Precinct after he was served with criminal charges by the Manhattan District Attorney.

According to BBC News, Weinstein arrived at around 7 a.m. local time “carrying a book about director Elia Kazan.”

It’s expected that Weinstein’s bond will be set at $2 million, CNN reports.

Per a statement from the New York Police Department, Weinstein was “arrested, processed and charged with Rape Criminal Sex Act, Sex Abuse and Sexual Misconduct” for incidents which involved two different women.

“The NYPD thanks these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice. The arrest and ensuing charges are the result of a joint investigation between the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office,” the statement continues.

Just before 9 a.m. ET Weinstein was photographed leaving the NYPD precinct in handcuffs.

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James Bond: Danny Boyle and Daniel Craig confirmed for 007’s 25th outing



“Producers confirm Trainspotting director to take the reins on 25th James Bond film and Craigs fifth with Universal replacing Sony as co-distributors

After years of rumour and speculation, Daniel Craigs return to the role of James Bond and Danny Boyles appointment as director of the new 007 movie have been confirmed.

Production will begin at the start of December 2018, with the film released in the UK on 25 October 2019 and in the US a fortnight later.

We are delighted to announce that the exceptionally talented Danny Boyle will be directing Daniel Craig in his fifth outing as James Bond in the 25th instalment of the franchise, said EON Productions Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the custodians of the Bond movies, in a statement on Friday.

We will begin shooting Bond 25 at Pinewood Studios in December with our partners at MGM and are thrilled that Universal will be our international distributor.

Universals involvement marks a change: in the UK, Sony Pictures have previously handled distribution. MGM will still release in the US, in partnership with Annapurna Pictures, the highly-respected outfit owned by Megan Ellison, which has bankrolled films by the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze and David O Russell.

Danny Boyle promoting T2, the Trainspotting sequel, in 2017. Photograph: Epsilon/Getty Images

In March, Boyle who is currently shooting a Richard Curtis comedy in the UK said he was working on a Bond script, with a view to filming at the end of the year. The writer of…”

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‘Logan’ director James Mangold said to take on Boba Fett spinoff



Image: Lucasfilm

Fan favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett may finally be getting his own movie, if a new report is to be believed.

James Mangold has just been set to write and direct a spinoff about the Star Wars bounty hunter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mangold’s recent credits include Logan and The Wolverine.

The news comes just as another character-centric Star Wars spinoff, Solo: A Star Wars Story, hits theaters.

Han Solo and Boba Fett aren’t the only Star Wars characters embarking on standalone adventures. Lucasfilm allegedly has a number of unofficial spinoff projects in development, including a movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi that reportedly has Stephen Daldry in talks to direct.

The possibility of a Boba Fett movie has been swirling for some time now. A number of reports have said the bounty hunter was the subject of the film that director Josh Trank was working on — until Lucasfilm fired him after his antics on the set of Fantastic Four.

More recently, Simon Kinberg was rumored to be producing a Boba Fett project. It’s unclear if he’s involved with Mangold’s film.

No official confirmation or release date has been announced for the Boba Fett film, and no plot details were revealed in the report.

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