Nerdy Movie Trivia
Whenever I see a movie, I have just as much fun trying to figure out what’s going on behind the scenes as I do actually watching the movie. Ok, maybe I’m weird but there is definitely some interesting stuff out there! Stay tuned for fun trivia about some awesome films!
Don’t Eat the Snow in Wizard of Oz: It’s Asbestos!
In the poppy field scene in Wizard of Oz, the snow is actually made of asbestos! At the time, it was used as a common Christmas decoration in the United States and Europe.
Harry Potter actors were perfect picks for their roles!
Before filming “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” director Alfonso Cuarón gave his cast a writing assignment. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson each were asked to write an essay about their character- Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, respectively, of course. So what kind of essays did they write? Watson turned in 16 pages, which would have made Hermione proud. Radcliffe turned in a solid one-page paper. And Grint- just like Ron would have- didn’t do his. When asked about it, Grint confirmed the story!
Harry Potter Has Brit Rock Cameos
JK Rowling insisted that the Harry Potter cast be British (Robin Williams wanted to play Hagrid, but his offer was declined!) But did you know there are several British rock stars in the films as well? In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Weird Sisters include Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey from Pulp, as well as Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway from Radiohead.
The Mythbusters all worked together before Mythbusters- on the Star Wars prequels!
Did you know Mythbuster’s Grant Imahara built the R2-D2 in Star Wars Ep.1&2? He was an engineer at Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects company for the prequels.
Adam Savage and Tory Belleci also worked on models and sound effects at the same company. And Jaime Hyneman worked in the special effects department. Layoffs before Episode III due to the advancement of CGI prompted the gang to form Mythbusters.
Movie prop or military vehicle?
While Lucas was filming the original Star Wars near the city of Tataouine in Tunisia, the Libyan government became worried about a military vehicle parked near the border. The Tunisian government, receiving threats of military mobilization, politely asked Lucas to move his Sandcrawler away from the border.
Lightsabers in space!
In October 2007, the lightsaber wielded by Mark Hamill as Luke in Return of the Jedi went into space! It was packed onboard space shuttle Discovery in recognition of the 30 year anniversary of the Star Wars film franchise. Chewbacca, along with Boba Fett, handed the lightsaber over to officials at Houston Space Center for display before Mission STS-120 launched to deliver a module to the International Space Station. That lightsaber has a pretty awesome life- it had a prominent role in a huge movie, was featured in tons of action figures and toys that earned millions of dollars, and got to go to space! Now, the lightsaber has returned to earth and lives in the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.
The Matrix is actually made of sushi
“I like to tell everybody that The Matrix’s code is made out of Japanese sushi recipes,” explains Simon Whitely, a production designer responsible for creating the Matrix code. He scanned portions of his Japanese wife’s cookbooks, and then manipulated them to create the iconic green symbols of the Matrix.
Star Trek toilets
The sound effect of automatic doors opening on the U.S.S. Enterprise is actually a Russian train’s toilet flushing.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Director Stanley Kubrick destroyed almost all of his props and sets from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Why? He didn’t want them to be used in any lesser science fiction films.
Armageddon is a NASA training film
NASA shows the film Armageddon during their management training program. New managers must try to spot as many errors as possible. At least one hundred sixty-eight have been found so far!
And The Martian used real data from NASA
To make both the book and movie accurate, NASA was consulted! Both the author and the film’s producers wanted to make aspects of space and space travel as realistic as possible. NASA is federally funded and does not charge anyone for accessing their archives, or for consulting work!
How nerdy can a movie get?
In The Martian, the “cloak-and-dagger” meeting to propose the Rich Purnell Maneuver is dubbed Project Elrond. Of course, it’s named after the Council of Elrond in the “Lord of the Rings” series. When the name is questioned, the first character to explain it is Henderson, played by Sean Bean. Bean played Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and was actually present during said council.
Speaking of Lord of the Rings
Director Peter Jackson’s team used a computer program called MASSIVE for simulating armies of CGI orcs, elves and humans in Lord of the Rings. Each digital version could battle independently, tell friends from foes, and had its own field of vision. In a scene with twenty thousand creatures, the team working on the film could click on an individual and see through their eyes!
Staying true to the source material
When actors were being selected for The Hobbit” An Unexpected Journey, Viggo Mortensen declined to reprise his role as Aragorn. He said no because Aragorn wasn’t in the book. However, Aragorn is briefly alluded to in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Poisoned by a giant spider? Try Alka Seltzer!
For Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Elijah Wood had Alka Seltzer tablets in his mouth so he’d drool foam when Shelob stabbed him! That’s way simpler than CGI!
Many directors use working titles to keep their movies a secret. Could you imagine if you were trying to film Star Wars: Episode 5 on location and fans knew about it? Other times directors do this because they haven’t decided on the final title yet. A few fun working titles from some of my favorite movies:
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Blue Harvest
The Avengers: Group Hug
The Matrix: Reloaded: The Burly Man
Alien: Star Beast
Back to the Future: Spaceman from Pluto
Back to the Future II: Paradox
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring: Changing Seasons
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets: Incident On 57th Street
Star Trek (2009): Corporate Headquarters
Thanks for joining me for some nerdy movie facts! I hope they come in handy at trivia night!
Related: Want more fun Harry Potter trivia? Check out A Wizard’s Guide to Pregnancy!