Fantasy films are perfect to escape our sometimes boring, stupid and horrible world. They bring us into other worlds and other thoughts. And that’s why we love this genre so much. When it comes to the creation of well-known fantasy films, there is always exciting background knowledge. Discover here interesting facts about Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Pan’s Labyrinth. Enjoy, you might be surprised!
1/ Can a book be too much fantasy for a film?
C. S. Lewis thought his Chronicles of Narnia books, particularly the creature characters, were too fantastic to be portrayed on film… He was against a movie adaptation. But when C. S. Lewis died, he left behind the film rights and his stepson sold them to Walden Media – fortunately for the fans! The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) then demonstrated that it was possible to represent the creatures more than accurately. CGI is way better now than in 1963 when Lewis passed by!
2/ Pan’s Labyrinth survived because of a taxi driver
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is known for writing notes and drawing sketches about his ideas for years before filming. He left his important notes for Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) in the back of a cab. When he realized they were missing, he thought it was the end of this fantasy film project… However, the cab driver found them and, realizing their importance, tracked him down and returned them at great personal difficulty. Del Toro was convinced that this was a miracle and it made him ever more determined to complete the film.
3/ Serkis had to play King Kong twice for the same movie
For Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005) Andy Serkis had to play King Kong twice. First, he had to play the giant ape alongside Naomi Watts (Ann Darrow) in a rough-and-ready gorilla outfit, so his co-star had something to react to. Then, after principal photography was finally completed, he had to perform again, this time in a motion capture suit. Andy, awesome double performance!
4/ An abundance of costumes
Of course there are a lot of weapons in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but there are at least as many costumes. Over 20,000 costumes were made for the three films. All of them were sized and aged properly! To make the hobbits as real as possible, the actors wore prosthetic feet (about 1,800 pairs total) and also fake ears, noses, and heads.
5/ A computer program for Middle-Earth
Battles are a key element of the Lord of the Rings films. For the Tolkien trilogy a computer program called MASSIVE created armies of CGI orcs, elves, and humans. These digital characters could “reflect” and battle independently, identifying friend or enemy, thanks to personal fields of vision. Peter Jackson’s art direction team could click on one warrior, in a crowd scene of many thousands, and see through his “eyes”. Different species even had a unique fighting styles. Very innovative!
6/ Why do it three times when you can do it once?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Hobbit trilogy were each shot all at once. The filming of the first trilogy lasted two hundred seventy-four days in sixteen months and the one of The Hobbit trilogy two hundred sixty-six days. Record filming time!
7/ Rowling as Harry’s mom?
The producers of the Harry Potter films offered J.K. Rowling the role of Lily Potter, Harry’s mother. She would have played her in the Mirror of Erised scene in the first movie. But she declined the role and was replaced by Geraldine Somerville. How cool would that have been to see Rowling as Harry’s mom!?
8/ Handling seven Harrys is not easy
Apparently, filming the scene with seven Harrys in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was very complicated. Daniel Radcliffe needed to do more than 90 takes just for this single shot in the movie. A complex matter!
9/ So many glasses…
For his role as Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe had to use over 160 pairs of prop glasses. That’s huge! And he used 60-70 wands throughout the shooting of all Harry Potter films…
10/ Being Conan the Barbarian made Schwarzenegger win the Mr. Olympia contest of 1980
Arnold Schwarzenegger retired from professional bodybuilding after wining the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest. But for his role as Conan Arnold Schwarzenegger had to train very hard again: weapons training, martial arts training, and horse riding lessons. For three months he trained with an 11-pound broadsword and learned how to handle it. Schwarzenegger also learned climbing techniques, and how to fall and roll and jump from 15-feet in the air. According to Schwarzenegger, all the training sessions were just as intense as training for bodybuilding competitions. With this hard training he got back into such a good shape that he decided to enter the 1980 Mr. Olympia contest – and he won. Thank you Canon the Barbarian!
See you soon for more awesome facts!
Sources: imdb.com, seventeen.com, factinate.com