William Goldman’s original script title for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. The names were reversed when Paul Newman took on the role of Butch.
Disney turned down the chance to make Back to the Future claiming the mother/son relationship was too risqué.
The idea for the poster for The Usual Suspects came before any script or story.
Paul Schrader wrote Taxi Driver in five days. It is rumoured he had a loaded gun by his desk for “inspiration and motivation”.
Like Facebook, Star Wars was originally prefixed by the definite article ‘The’. Much cleaner without it.
In 1994, during one famous lunch at Pixar, filmmakers John Lasseter, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft came up with ideas that would eventually become A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monster Inc. and Wall-E. We’ll have what they’re having.
Paramount super producer Robert Towne was adamant he wanted Francis Ford Coppola to make The Godfather even though the director was uninterested in the project. Coppola acquiesced when he decided to make it a film about American capitalism and not “the mafia”.
Dan Akroyd’s original script for Ghostbusters was set in a future where Ghostbusters were everyday figures of society like paramedics and firemen.
In the Stephen King novella for The Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman’s Red is described as a white Irishman. The script sees Red sarcastically quip, “Maybe it’s cause I’m Irish” as a nod to the change.
Among Patrick Bateman’s neighbours in the novel of American Psycho is one Tom Cruise
Stanley Kubrick would reportedly call Stephen King at 3am to ask him questions about The Shining. According to King, one famous exchange had the director ask the author, “Do you believe in God?”. When he replied in the affirmative Kubrick yelled “I knew it!” and slammed the phone down.
Francis Ford Coppola would read passages of Heart of Darkness to Marlon Brando on the fractious set of Apocalypse Now after learning the actor had never read the source material.
Fight Club and Choke author Chuck Palahnuik can be glimpsed ever so briefly in the final scene of the latter. He’s sitting next to Sam Rockwell on the plane.
Courtney Love insists that the role of the heroin dealer, Lance, in Pulp Fiction was offered to Kurt Cobain. Tarantino has steadfastly refuted this claim, saying he never even met the late Nirvana singer.
Ronald Reagan was originally announced as the lead for Casablanca. The proclamation turned out to simply be a ruse to keep the actor’s name in the press.
While everyone knows Viggo Mortensen replaced Stuart Townsend at the last minute in The Lord of the Rings for Aragorn, the beardy ranger had no intention of joining Jackson and co until his son begged him to do it. Good son.
There’s a 20 year age gap between Sam Neill and Laura Dern in Jurassic Park, with Laura aged only 26 during filming.
Meanwhile, only 12 years separates father/son duo Sean Connery and Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones franchise.
The many parts turned down by Sean Connery include roles in The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Indy IV and Blade Runner.
Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Cruise? Cusack? Carrey? Depp? All were considered for the part of the hooky playing teen in Ferris Buellers’ Day Off
James Woods fired his agent upon learning – after the movie was shot – that Quentin Tarantino wanted him for a part in Reservoir Dogs.
Bill Murray as Batman? Almost. Until Tim Burton came on board Murray was top of the list. Perhaps when the inevitable re-reboot transpires Bill will get another shot.
Ever the bastard, David Fincher asked a stuntman to fall down the stairs 12 times in Fight Club for the fight between Norton and Pitt. He used the first take.
Speaking of stunts, Alan Rickman was dropped a second early to get his true reaction to falling from the Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard.
James Caan improvised the, now immortal, phrase “Bada-Bing” on the set of The Godfather.
Christian Bale based elements of his performance as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho on Tom Cruise after seeing an interview with the diminutive star. According to director Mary Harron, Bale said he saw “this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”.
Orson Welles directed much of Citizen Kane from a wheelchair, after injuring himself on set.
Shooting for No Country For Old Men was interrupted for a day due to a smoke cloud from the set of There Will Be Blood, which was also filming in the area.
When filming Chinatown Jack Nicholson was dating Anjelica Huston, the daughter of his screen nemesis John Huston. She visited the set on the day that her father’s character asked Nicolson’s Jake Gittes, “Did you sleep with my daughter?”. Awkward.
The sirens heard in the casino scene in Swingers were police on their way to stop the film makers who were shooting without a permit.
Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn called Irreversible director Gasper Noe midshoot for advice on how to successfully shoot a ‘head smashing’ scene.
Executive producer of Toy Story and Chief Pixar shareholder Steve Jobs picked Bob Dylan as his first choice to write and perform the soundtrack to the film over Randy Newman.
Play It, Sam? Dooley Wilson, Sam in Casablanca, was a professional drummer who couldn’t play the piano. He simply mimed along, copying an offscreen pianist.
In order to credibly portray a rock band, the members of Stillwater in Almost Famous rehearsed for four hours a night, five nights a week, for six weeks.
Before Stanley Kubrick came on-board for A Clockwork Orange writer Anthony Burgess considered selling the movie rights to Mick Jagger with the intention of Jagger playing Alex and the rest of the Stones playing the other Droogs. Keef with eyeliner? Don’t be silly.
Pulp members Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway were four of The Weird Sisters in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Jason Buckle (All Seeing I) and Steven Claydon (Add n to (x)) completed the line up.
Franz Ferdinand were the original choice to play the band at the Hogwarts Yule Ball.
Enya was James Cameron’s first choice to compose the music for Titanic.
The name of the band isn’t mentioned once in The Beatles’ first feature, A Hard Day’s Night.