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Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC
Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

30 Facts About 2017’s Most Googled Movies

Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC
Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC

From Beauty and the Beast to Baby Driver, 2017 was a big year for movies. And going by Google’s 2017 Year In Search lists, film lovers were hungry for as much information as they could find on killer clowns, superheroes, wonder women, and baby drivers. Here are 30 things you might not have known about the most Googled movies of 2017.

1. FOR DIRECTOR PATTY JENKINS, WONDER WOMAN WAS A DREAM PROJECT.

Director Patty Jenkins has long wanted to make a big-screen version of Wonder Woman. Following the success of her Oscar-winning feature directorial debut, Monster (2003), Jenkins was clear about what she wanted her next project to be: “I want to make Wonder Woman,” she told anyone who asked. “Everybody knew I wanted to make a superhero movie.”

In 2005, she was presented with a script for Wonder Woman and the opportunity to direct, but Jenkins was pregnant with her son at the time and couldn’t fathom leaving a newborn at home to go off to make a movie—even if it was her dream project. “When I’m on a movie, I’m unavailable, everyday for a year and a half,” Jenkins told Entertainment Weekly. “You can’t do that with a little baby. Somebody might be able to do it, but not me.” Fortunately, though it was in development, the project never got off the ground, and it eventually landed back in Jenkins’s lap. “Part of the reason I’m in such a good mood is this is the movie I’ve wanted to make my entire life,” said. “I feel so grateful that I get to be able to do this.”

2. FILMMAKERS HAD TO GET CREATIVE TO HIDE GAL GADOT’S PREGNANCY.

Speaking of pregnancy and superheroes: In November 2016, Gal Gadot had to slip back into her Wonder Woman suit in order to film some reshoots for the movie. There was just one hitch: She was five months pregnant. In order to hide her pregnancy from the cameras, and make sure the new footage matched the original footage, the production team had to get creative. Essentially, they covered her stomach with a piece of bright green cloth that they could use to digitally alter her appearance in post-production. “On close-up I looked very much like Wonder Woman,” Gadot told Entertainment Weekly. “On wide shots I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog.”

3. IT BROKE ALL SORTS OF HORROR BOX OFFICE RECORDS.

Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise in It (2017)
Brooke Palmer - © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Andy Muschietti’s big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It was undoubtedly one of the summer’s most anticipated movies, and the box office numbers proved it. In addition to posting the biggest opening weekend of any horror movie in history (it raked in $123,403,419), it also ousted The Sixth Sense from the top spot as the highest grossing horror/supernatural movie of all time.

4. BILL SKARSGÅRD SCARED THE HELL OUT OF HIS YOUNG CO-STARS.

In order to up the fear factor in the scenes between Bill Skarsgård, who played Pennywise, and the kid members of The Losers Club in It, director Andy Muschetti kept Skarsgård away from his young co-stars until it was time to film. As such, “Pennywise was this looming force they knew was coming but hadn’t seen yet,” Skarsgård told The New York Times. “That built an excitement in the kids you could feel when they saw him for the first time. They were probably a bit scared.”

5. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST AND LA LA LAND COULD HAVE BEEN VERY DIFFERENT MOVIES.

La La Land and Beauty and the Beast were two of the most highly anticipated movies in recent years, but they both could have looked a lot different. Emma Watson was offered the role of Mia in La La Land (the same part that earned Emma Stone her first Oscar), but ultimately passed in order to make Beauty and the Beast. “I knew I had horse training, I knew I had dancing, I knew I had three months of singing ahead of me, and I knew I had to be in London to really do that,” Watson said. “And [Beauty and the Beast] wasn’t a movie I could just kind of parachute into. I knew I had to do the work, and I had to be where I had to be. So scheduling conflict-wise, it just didn’t work out.”

At the same time, La La Land’s Ryan Gosling passed on playing the Beast so that he could make La La Land. (And everyone lived happily ever after.)

6. DAN STEVENS SPENT THE BULK OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST WEARING STILTS.

In order to help Dan Stevens cut an appropriately menacing figure as The Beast, he spent most of the movie walking around on stilts. “I was in a muscle suit on stilts covered in grey Lycra with dots on my face,” Stevens told Metro. “And every couple of weeks I would go into a booth—a kind of cage—they’d spray my face with UV paint, and 27 little cameras with UV light would capture what I was doing with my face in those scenes. And Emma would very graciously sit on the other side of this weird cage and we’d play all of the scenes whether they were arguing scenes, or waltzing scenes, and we’d gaze longingly at each other, just everything I could do with my face I did in that cage.”

7. JAMAL WOOLARD HAD SOME EXPERIENCE PLAYING CHRISTOPHER “BIGGIE SMALLS” WALLACE.

Playing The Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t a big stretch for Jamal Woolard in All Eyez on Me, Benny Boom’s Tupac Shakur biopic. Woolard made his big-screen debut starring as Biggie in 2009’s Notorious.

8. BABY DRIVER’S OPENING CAR CHASE WAS SHOT ON ONE OF ATLANTA’S BUSIEST HIGHWAYS.

The opening scene of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is a stellar piece of vehicular choreography, but it was no easy task to create. “The first chase is on the I-85, which is the main freeway in Atlanta, and you cannot shut down the I-85,” director Edgar Wright told Inverse. “That’s impossible, but what you can do is have a police motorcade, which is miles wide.” Because they couldn’t shut the road—which sees about 200,000 motorists per day—down, they had to plan their shot, and timing, very, very carefully.

“We were given a Sunday that didn’t have any ball games, and they said, ‘we’ve got 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then that’s it’—2 p.m. was a hard kick-off,’” Wright explained. “We had police cars on all lanes of the freeway, 50 stunts cars, actors and the camera cars, all in the middle of what is called The Bubble. This big flotilla of cars is going down the freeway at 70 miles an hour shooting, and sometimes the actors are in the car as well, and it’s insane.”

9. EDGAR WRIGHT HAD TO PERFORM A SCENE OVER THE PHONE TO GET MIKE MYERS’S PERMISSION TO USE THOSE AUSTIN POWERS MASKS.

In a comedic moment of miscommunication, Baby Driver’s gang of bank robbers pull off a job wearing Austin Powers masks when the original instruction to get Michael Myers (as in Halloween’s blank-faced serial killer) causes some confusion. According to the movie’s Blu-ray commentary, in order to receive permission to use those shagadelic disguises, Wright had to ask Mike Myers’s permission directly. He agreed, but asked Wright to perform the scene for him over the phone.

10. THE BIG SICK LANDED A SWEET DISTRIBUTION DEAL AT SUNDANCE.

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017)
Sarah Shatz - © WHILE YOU WERE COMATOSE, LLC

After making its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick—based on a script by (and the real-life relationship of) Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon—became the subject of a major bidding war. Netflix was hot to buy the rights, but Nanjiani wanted the film to have a theatrical release. Eventually, they sold the film to Amazon for $12 million, one of the biggest deals ever brokered at the Park City fest.

11. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN ORIGINALLY PLANNED TO MAKE DUNKIRK AN EXPERIMENT IN IMPROVISATION.

Director Christopher Nolan first conceived of shooting Dunkirk without a script, and just improvising the dialogue as they went along. His wife, Emma Thomas, advised him against this approach. “Emma looked at me like I was a bit crazy and was like, ‘okay, that’s not really gonna work,’” Nolan said. Fortunately, Nolan listened.

12. THE DARK TOWER SPENT A LONG TIME IN DEVELOPMENT.

The Dark Tower, Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series of books, took several years to come together. Both J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard were attached to direct the film at different points during its development.

13. DAVID BOWIE WAS DENIS VILLENEUVE'S FIRST CHOICE FOR THE PART OF NIANDER WALLACE IN BLADE RUNNER 2049.

From the earliest days of his involvement in Blade Runner 2049, director Denis Villeneuve had his eye on David Bowie for the role of Niander Wallace. Unfortunately, the iconic rocker passed away before production began. The part eventually went to Jared Leto.

14. VILLENEUVE KNEW HE HAD BIG SHOES TO FILL, AND HE WAS OK WITH THAT.

The fact that he was rebooting one of the most iconic and inventive sci-fi films of all time was certainly not lost on Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve. "I know that every single fan will walk into the theater with a baseball bat,” he said. “I'm aware of that and I respect that, and it's okay with me because it's art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It's gonna be the biggest risk of my life but I'm okay with that. For me it's very exciting ... It's just so inspiring, I'm so inspired. I've been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said 'no' to a lot of sequels. I couldn't say 'no' to Blade Runner 2049. I love it too much, so I said, 'Alright, I will do it and give everything I have to make it great.'"

15. CRITIC ARMOND WHITE RUINED GET OUT’S PERFECT ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE.

National Review film critic Armond White has developed somewhat of a reputation for his dissenting opinions. This is the man, after all, who gave a poor review to Toy Story 3, writing that: “Toy Story 3 is so besotted with brand names and product-placement that it stops being about the innocent pleasures of imagination—the usefulness of toys—and strictly celebrates consumerism.” So it was hardly surprising when he became the first critic to give a bad review to Jordan Peele’s Get Out, thus knocking its 100 percent fresh rate down to 99 percent. White’s problem with the film, which he called a “horror-comedy for Black History Month”? “In Get Out, just as Obama did, Peele exploits racial discomfort, irresponsibly playing racial grief and racist relief off against each other, subjecting imagination and identification to political sway,” White wrote.

16. A SINGLE CRITIC KILLED LADY BIRD'S PERFECT SCORE, TOO.

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird (2017)
A24

Like Get Out, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird held a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes ... until critic Cole Smithey ruined it all, knocking the film from its perch as the site's best reviewed movie. Following an internet backlash, Smithey took to Twitter to explain himself:

17. THOR: RAGNAROK HAS A CONNECTION TO DEVO.

The music for Thor: Ragnarok was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, who is the lead singer and keyboardist for Devo. Not only did he integrate musical pieces from earlier Marvel films into the movie, but he included the famous “Lonely Man” theme from the ‘70s Incredible Hulk TV show.

18. THE ROOM’S TOMMY WISEAU APPROVES OF "99.9 PERCENT" OF THE DISASTER ARTIST.

James Franco in The Disaster Artist (2017)
Justina Mintz - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

James Franco’s A-list retelling of indie filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s so-bad-it’s-kind-of-good movie The Room has been getting lots of acclaim, including from the original film’s creator. When Franco asked Wiseau what he thought of the film after seeing it at SXSW. “I was like, ‘So, Tommy, what did you think of the movie?’ And he said, ‘I approve 99.9 percent,’” Franco told Entertainment Weekly. “And we were like, ‘What was the 0.1 percent?’ He said, ‘I think the lighting, in the beginning, a little off.’ [Laughs] I told Brandon [Trost, The Disaster Artist‘s cinematographer]. He was like, Yeah, maybe we should watch The Room, get some lighting pointers!”

19. JAMES GUNN HAD TO FIGHT TO KEEP ADAM WARLOCK’S POST-CREDIT CAMEO IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2.

James Gunn had to fight to keep Adam Warlock’s post-credit cameo in the movie, despite the character not showing up in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. To get it cleared by Marvel, he promised the studio that he would confirm on Twitter that the character is not scheduled to appear in the third or fourth Avengers films, “Because I didn't want people to have false expectations of what they thought was going to happen with Adam.”

20. THE THREE MAIN FEMALE CHARACTERS IN HIDDEN FIGURES WORE VINTAGE UNDERGARMENTS, FOR AUTHENTICITY.


Twentieth Century Fox

To add an extra layer of authenticity to the costumes in Hidden Figures, the three main actresses wore vintage undergarments, including corsets and girdles. “That snatches you into a perfect stature,” Taraji P. Henson said. “You have no choice. Women back then carried themselves not as loosely as the women do today because they were strapped down and pinned down.”

21. TREY EDWARD SHULTS WROTE IT COMES AT NIGHT JUST DAYS AFTER HIS FATHER’S DEATH.

In an interview with Den of Geek, Trey Edward Shults talked about how he wrote the script for It Comes at Night in just a couple of days following the death of his father, then revisited it a few years later to tweak it. “I would say that the final film is about 85 percent of what that first three days view was,” he said. “I’m not entirely sure, but it always really important to me, because it was stuff just coming out of me [at the time], stuff I didn’t fully understand even, that I went back and psychoanalyzed. But it was important for me to retain that, to convey the mood and tone and emotion of where I was at.”

22. JUSTICE LEAGUE COULD HAVE BEEN A GEORGE MILLER MOVIE.

In the mid-2000s, Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller had been in production on a Justice League movie, getting so far as to have a completed script, costumes designed, and most of the main cast assembled. A writers strike and the ongoing work of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy delayed and eventually shut down the movie just weeks before it was set to film.

23. DENZEL WASHINGTON AND VIOLA DAVIS WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR ROLES IN FENCES LONG BEFORE THE MOVIE ARRIVED.

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in Fences (2016)
David Lee/Paramount Pictures

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the 2010 Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences, and both won Tony Awards for their roles.

24. SABRETOOTH WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE IN LOGAN.

In one version of the script for Logan, longtime Wolverine foe Sabretooth was set to make an appearance during the casino scene, but his character was removed as the movie went through different drafts.

25. NAOMIE HARRIS HAD TO WORK FAST FOR MOONLIGHT.

Naomie Harris shot all of her scenes for Moonlight in just three days, in the middle of an international publicity tour for Spectre. All that work paid off; she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

26. THE MUMMY'S STUNTS LEFT SEVERAL CREW MEMBERS SICK TO THEIR STOMACHS.

The Mummy's zero gravity plane crash stunt was shot in actual weightless conditions and took 64 takes, leaving many of the crew sick to their stomachs as a result.

27. AUDIENCES SEEMED PRETTY EXCITED FOR THE POWER RANGERS MOVIE.

Executives at Lionsgate had reason to be excited about the potentially huge audience for Power Rangers. The film's teaser trailer generated more than 150 million views within 48 hours of first dropping in October 2016.

28. ALIEN: COVENANT’S NEOMORPH WAS MODELED AFTER THE GOBLIN SHARK.

Even if you don’t know much about the nightmare-inducing goblin shark, its name sort of says it all. The animal is able to extend its teeth forward when attacking its prey in order to allow for a better grip, and to do more damage. It’s this creepy sea dweller that inspired the look of the Neomorph in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. "Some of those nature videos are so stomach-churning that they don't pay me enough to watch them," writer John Logan said. “But Ridley will see something to do with insects swarming, for example, which eventually finds its way into a movie. Usually there's some sort of grotesqueness we find interesting.”

29. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING’S TOM HOLLAND IS VERY, VERY YOUNG.

Want to feel old? New Spider-Man Tom Holland wasn’t even born when Michael Keaton, who plays the movie’s villain The Vulture, was Batman in the early 1990s.

30. KENNETH BRANAGH'S MUSTACHE WAS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Kenneth Branagh in 'Murder on the Orient Express' (2017)
Twentieth Century Fox

Though Kenneth Branagh's remake of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express was met with mixed reviews, viewers and critics agreed that his mustache was spectacular. And it's a good thing—as getting that facial hair right was extremely important to Christie's family, who served as advisers on the film. "The first thing they asked in their creative meeting was, ‘What are you doing about the mustache?'" Branagh said. "There was no twinkle in the eye. I knew it was critical. This mustache is serious business."

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11 Things You Didn't Know About Dolly Parton
Brendon Thorne, Getty Images
Brendon Thorne, Getty Images

Over the past 50-some years, Dolly Parton has gone from a chipper country starlet to a worldwide icon of music and movies whose fans consistently pack a theme park designed (and named) in her honor. Dolly Parton is loved, lauded, and larger than life. But even her most devoted admirers might not know all there is to this Backwoods Barbie.

1. YOU WON'T FIND HER ON A DOLLYWOOD ROLLER COASTER.

Her theme park Dollywood offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages. Though she's owned it for more than 30 years, Parton has declined to partake in any of its rides. "My daddy used to say, 'I could never be a sailor. I could never be a miner. I could never be a pilot,' I am the same way," she once explained. "I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus."

2. SHE ENTERED A DOLLY PARTON LOOK-A-LIKE CONTEST—AND LOST.


Getty Images

Apparently Parton doesn't do drag well. “At a Halloween contest years ago on Santa Monica Boulevard, where all the guys were dressed up like me, I just over-exaggerated my look and went in and just walked up on stage," she told ABC. "I didn’t win. I didn’t even come in close, I don’t think.”

3. SHE SPENT A FORTUNE TO RECREATE HER CHILDHOOD HOME.

Parton and her 11 siblings were raised in a small house in the mountains of Tennessee that lacked electricity and indoor plumbing. When Parton bought the place, she hired her brother Bobby to restore it to the way it looked when they were kids. "But we wanted it to be functional," she recounted on The Nate Berkus Show, "So I spent a couple million dollars making it look like I spent $50 on it! Even like in the bathroom, I made the bathroom so it looked like an outdoor toilet.” You do you, Dolly.

4. SHE WON'T APOLOGIZE FOR RHINESTONE.


Getty Images

Parton is well-known for her hit movies Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5, less so for the 1984 flop Rhinestone. The comedy musical about a country singer and a New York cabbie was critically reviled and fled from theaters in just four weeks. But while her co-star Sylvester Stallone has publicly regretted the vehicle, Parton declared in her autobiography My Life and Other Unfinished Business that she counts Rhinestone's soundtrack as some of her best work, especially "What a Heartache."

5. SHE IS MILEY CYRUS'S GODMOTHER, SORT OF.

"I'm her honorary godmother. I've known her since she was a baby," Parton told ABC of her close relationship with Miley Cyrus. "Her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) is a friend of mine. And when she was born, he said, 'You just have to be her godmother,' and I said, 'I accept.' We never did do a big ceremony, but I'm so proud of her, love her, and she's just like one of my own." Parton also played Aunt Dolly on Cyrus's series Hannah Montana.

6. SHE RECEIVED DEATH THREATS FROM THE KU KLUX KLAN.

A photo of Dolly Parton on stage
Getty Images

In the mid-2000s, Dollywood joined the ranks of family amusement parks participating in "Gay Days," a time when families with LGBT members are encouraged to celebrate together in a welcoming community environment. This riled the KKK, but their threats didn't scare Dolly. "I still get threats," she has admitted, "But like I said, I'm in business. I just don't feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody."

7. TO PROMOTE LITERACY, SHE STARTED HER OWN "LIBRARY."

In 1995, the pop culture icon founded Dolly Parton's Imagination Library with the goal of encouraging literacy in her home state of Tennessee. Over the years, the program—built to mail children age-appropriate books—spread nationwide, as well as to Canada, the UK, and Australia. When word of the Imagination Library hit Reddit, the swarms of parents eager to sign their kids up crashed the Imagination Library site. It is now back on track, accepting new registrations and donations.

8. PARTON'S HOMETOWN HAS A STATUE IN HER HONOR.

A stone's throw from Dollywood, Sevierville, Tennessee is where Parton grew up. Between stimulating tourism and her philanthropy, this proud native has given a lot back to her hometown. And Sevierville residents returned that appreciation with a life-sized bronze Dolly that sits barefoot, beaming, and cradling a guitar, just outside the county courthouse. The sculpture, made by local artist Jim Gray, was dedicated on May 3, 1987. Today it is the most popular stop on Sevierville's walking tour.

9. THE CLONED SHEEP DOLLY WAS NAMED AFTER PARTON.

In 1995 scientists successfully created a clone from an adult mammal's somatic cell. This game-changing breakthrough in biology was named Dolly. But what about Parton inspired this honor? Her own groundbreaking career? Some signature witticism or beloved lyric? Nope. It was her legendary bustline. English embryologist Ian Wilmut revealed, "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's."

10. SHE TURNED DOWN ELVIS.

After Parton made her own hit out of "I Will Always Love You," Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, reached out in hopes of having Presley cover it. But part of the deal demanded Parton surrender half of the publishing rights to the song. "Other people were saying, 'You're nuts. It's Elvis Presley. I'd give him all of it!'" Parton admitted, "But I said, 'I can't do that. Something in my heart says don't do that.' And I didn't do it and they didn't do it." It may have been for the best. Whitney Houston's cover for The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992 was a massive hit that has paid off again and again for Parton.

11. SHE JUST EARNED TWO GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS.

Parton is no stranger to breaking records. And on January 17, 2018 it was announced that she holds not one but two spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition: One for Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the US Hot Country Songs Chart (she beat out George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Elvis Presley for the honor) and the other for Most Hits on US Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist (with a total of 107). Parton said she was "humbled and blessed."

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15 Fascinating Facts About Blood Simple
Janus Films
Janus Films

Ethan and Joel Coen hadn’t made a feature film of their own until they set out to write, direct, produce, and edit Blood Simple, a bloody Texas-set noir about a cuckold husband named Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) who hires a private detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to murder his cheating wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). The filmmakers wanted a small budget like a horror film, but preferred making an entertaining B-film. Before production started, the Coens created a two-minute trailer and showed it to investors, which allowed them to raise an impressive $750,000 (which was half of the final budget).

In January of 1985, the movie was released in theaters and grossed $2,150,000. In its 2000 theatrical re-release, the movie added another $1.7 million to its box office haul. The low-budget film set the standard for the wave of American indie films to come, and it established the Coens as two of the most important voices in cinema. It also launched the careers of Frances McDormand and cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld (who would later turn to directing).

Here are 15 facts about the noir thriller, which arrived in theaters on this day in 1985.

1. ITS TITLE WAS INSPIRED BY DASHIELL HAMMETT’S RED HARVEST.

“It’s an expression he used to describe what happens to somebody psychologically once they’ve committed murder,” Joel Coen told Time Out. “They go ‘blood simple’ in the slang sense of ‘simple,’ meaning crazy. But it’s left up to the audience to ponder the implications; they’re never spelled out in the film itself.”

2. THE COENS SPECIFICALLY WROTE THE PART OF LOREN VISSER FOR M. EMMET WALSH.

Blood Simple started something else that we’ve done pretty much on every subsequent movie, which was that we’ve always written parts for specific actors,” Joel Coen said in the book My First Movie. The brothers knew Walsh from the film Straight Time, in which he played a sleazy character. “Actually, it was a more interesting character than what we came up with in Blood Simple inasmuch as it was more ambiguous,” Joel said. They offered him the part without having him audition, but ran into a dilemma. “All I remember is we didn’t know what the hell to call him,” Ethan said. “I mean, what the hell do you call him when you meet him? M?”

3. THE COENS—AND MANY OF THE CAST AND CREW—HAD NEVER BEEN ON A FILM SET BEFORE.

Joel Coen admitted in My First Movie, “The first day of shooting on Blood Simple was the first time I’d ever been on a feature movie set in any capacity, even as a visitor.” Coen had previously worked as an assistant editor on horror films, including 1981’s The Evil Dead. Coen mentioned how Sonnenfeld would throw up after looking at the dailies, because he was so nervous working on the film. “Everyone was in the same boat,” Joel said. “The gaffer had never gaffered a feature. The sound guy, the mixer on the set, had never mixed a feature.”

4. THE COENS CHOSE TO MAKE A FILM NOIR BECAUSE OF THE GENRE’S PRACTICALITY.

Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh in 'Blood Simple' (1984)
Janus Films

The Coens liked hard-boiled fiction authors James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler, and used them to their advantage in writing the script. “It’s certainly a genre that is entertaining, and we also picked it for very practical reasons,” Ethan said. “We knew we weren’t going to have a big budget. The financing would not allow it. We could build something on the genre and the appeal it has.”

“It’s also a genre that allows you to get by rather modestly in some ways,” Joel added. “You can limit the number of characters, put them into a confined set. There’s no need to go for large-scale effects or scatter them through the film, and those cost a lot of money. So it was a pragmatic decision that determined what film we would make.”

5. BUT THEY DIDN’T WANT TO PARODY FILM NOIR.

In a 1985 interview, featured in the book The Coen Brothers: Interviews, Ethan said, “When people call Blood Simple a film noir, they’re correct to the extent that we like the same kind of stories that the people who made those movies like. We tried to emulate the source that those movies came from rather than the movies themselves.” They didn’t want to make “a venetian blind movie,” but movies like The Conformist and The Third Man inspired the look of Blood Simple.

Because of the comedic elements in the film, some people might think the movie is trying to parody the thriller genre. “On one hand, it is a thriller, and, on the other, it is funny,” Ethan said. “But certainly the film is supposed to work as a thriller and I don’t think it would work as both at once.”

6. THEY BORROWED AN INVESTMENT TACTIC FROM SAM RAIMI.

Their friend Sam Raimi had shot a trailer for his film The Evil Dead and raised $60,000 toward the budget after showing it to investors. “He financed the movie using a common thing that people making exploitation movies had used, which was a limited partnership,” Joel said in My First Movie. “What we also borrowed from Sam and the other models was that I presented more of an action exploitation type movie than it ended up being, and in fact than we knew it would be.”

The Coens didn’t know many people, so they decided to take a projector and the trailer to entrepreneurs’ homes in New York, Texas, and Minnesota. “If you call people up and say, ‘Can you give me 10 minutes so I can present an opportunity to invest in a movie?’ They’re going to say, ‘No, I don’t need this,’ and hang up the phone,” Joel said in My First Movie. “But it’s slightly different if you call and say, ‘Can I come over and take 10 minutes and show you a piece of film?’ All of a sudden that intrigues them and gets your foot in the door.” Eventually, all 65 investors made a profit from their investment.

The investor trailer finally surfaced online and features Bruce Campbell in the Dan Hedaya role.

7. NONE OF THE MAJOR STUDIOS WANTED TO DISTRIBUTE IT.

The Coens took time editing the film, and started shopping the movie around in 1984. Warner Bros. rejected it, but an indie company agreed to distribute it with a slight change. “We took it to Crown International Pictures and the guy would say, ‘If you have some nudity you can put in there maybe we can distribute it,’” Joel said in My First Movie. “We saw everybody from the studios to the lowliest sleaze-bucket distributors in L.A. And they all said no.” Circle Films picked up the movie after seeing a screening of it at the Toronto Film Festival. When the movie came out with good reviews, Warner tried to buy it from Circle to no avail.

8. M. EMMET WALSH COULDN’T BLOW SMOKE RINGS.

At first the actor was skeptical of starring in a movie where he probably wouldn’t make any money, but he gave the Coens a chance. Joel asked Walsh if he could blow a smoke ring from cigarette smoke and he said he would try. “I just couldn’t do it,” Walsh said. “I worked and worked on it, but I started to make myself sick.” The Coens brought in a smoke machine to make the smoke rings but the machine broke during filming. “The script gal says, ‘Give me a damn cigar. I grew up with five brothers smoking behind a barn,’” Walsh said. “So they give her a cigar and she starts making these incredible smoke rings. I said to myself, ‘My God, this is how you make a movie!’ Later on, I went outside and saw her puking her brains out. That was Blood Simple.”

9. THE COENS HAD AN INCIDENT WITH ONE OF THEIR POTENTIAL INVESTORS.

“There was one investor we went to and we hit his car, parking,” Ethan said in My First Movie. “And we had this big debate out on the driveway [about] whether we should tell him we hit his car before the sales pitch or after the sales pitch. We decided that we wouldn’t tell him until we showed him the movie and made the sales pitch.” The investor decided against investing in the film.

10. FRANCES MCDORMAND REFUSED TO BE “THEATRICAL” IN THE MOVIE.

John Getz and Frances McDorman in 'Blood Simple' (1984)
Janus Films

Up until she starred in Blood Simple, the future Oscar-winner had mainly done theater and some TV. In an interview with William Dafoe for Bomb Magazine, she told him her approach to playing Abby Marty. “The only choice I made was not to be theatrical,” she said. “I never moved my face and my mouth’s always open like I’m terrified—I was a lot of the time. I just did whatever they told me to do, which was perfect for the character, but it’s not like I made that decision as a character choice. It was from not knowing what to do.”

11. JOEL COEN WOOED FRANCES MCDORMAND WITH LITERATURE.

Coen and McDormand fell in love while making Blood Simple and got married a couple of years later, after production wrapped. McDormand told The Daily Beast about the moment when she roped him in. “I’d only brought one book to read to Austin, Texas, where we were filming, and I asked him if there was anything he’d recommend,” she said. “He brought me a box of James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler paperbacks, and I said, ‘Which one should I start with?’ And he said, ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice.’ I read it, and it was one of the sexiest f*ckin’ books I’ve ever read. A couple of nights later, I said, ‘Would you like to come over and discuss the book?’ That did it. He seduced me with literature. And then we discussed books and drank hot chocolate for several evenings. It was f*ckin’ hot. Keep it across the room for as long as you can—that’s a very important element.”

12. THE COENS RELEASED A SHORTER VERSION OF THE FILM.

Blood Simple got the Director’s Cut treatment in 2001, but instead of adding material to the re-release of the movie, the Coens removed a few minutes from it. “We always thought it was rather kind of clumsy, the editing,” Joel told Hollywood.com. “It was interesting to go in and try to tighten the movie up.” “Before, the original version was like an old lady with a walker, and now it just has a cane,” Ethan said. The newer version also brought back the Four Tops’ “It’s the Same Old Song,” which had been in the original theatrical release but had been replaced with Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer” in the VHS release.

13. THE COENS THINK THE MOVIE IS “PRETTY DAMN BAD.”

A scene from 'Blood Simple' (1984)
Janus Films

Fifteen years after Blood Simple’s release, the Coens reflected upon their first feature, in the 2000 book My First Movie. “It’s crude, there’s no getting around it,” Ethan said. “On the other hand, it’s all confused with the actual process of making the movie and finishing the movie which, by and large, was a positive experience,” Joel said. “You never get entirely divorced from it that way. So, I don’t know. It’s a movie that I have a certain affection for. But I think it’s pretty damn bad!”

14. ZHANG YIMOU REMADE THE FILM.

Director Zhang Yimou—who directed House of Flying Daggers and Heroremade Blood Simple in 2009 as A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop. The move is set in a Chinese noodle shop in a desert, and in similar fashion, the plot centers on a man trying to kill his wife and her lover.

15. BLOOD SIMPLE BEGAT RAISING ARIZONA AND FARGO.

Two years after Blood Simple was released, the Coens wrote-directed their follow-up, Raising Arizona, which wasn’t anything like Blood Simple. “In essence, after having completed Blood Simple, we wanted to make something completely different,” Ethan said. “We didn’t know what, but we wanted it to be something funny that had a very quick rhythm. We also wanted to use Holly Hunter, who has been a friend of ours for a long time. So it really wasn’t the story that was the origin of the project, but Holly Hunter, her personality and, by extension, the character we had conceived for her to play. In contrast, Blood Simple took shape from an idea for a screenplay.” It should be noted Hunter provided her voice on an answering machine in Blood Simple.

More than a decade after Blood Simple came out, the Coens released Fargo. The Coens’ dealings with investors for Blood Simple inspired the film’s businessmen. “It was raising money for Blood Simple that we met all of these business guys who could wear the suits, get bundled up in the park and slog out in the snow and meet us in these, like, coffee shops,” Joel said in My First Movie. “We came back to that whole thing in Fargo: the car salesman, the guy who owns the bowling alley, you know, whatever.”

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