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12 Proposed Sequels That Thankfully Never Happened

While unoriginal sequels have become commonplace, there are still some films that remain sacred, despite the sometimes decades of persistent rumors that a sequel is in the works. (We’re looking at you, Goonies.) Here are 12 proposed movie sequels that fortunately never happened.

1. E.T. II: NOCTURNAL FEARS

Call it a case of ’80s greed. Just over a month after E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial opened and stirred up an unexpected box office bonanza, Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison came up with a concept for a follow-up film. Their idea? A ship full of evil, carnivorous aliens (their words) kidnap Elliott and his friends, and it’s up to E.T. to save them. (You can read Spielberg and Mathison’s full treatment here.)

Spielberg realized rather quickly that taking his iconic alien into darker territory was a bad idea. “Sequels can be very dangerous because they compromise your truth as an artist,” he recently said. “I think a sequel to E.T. would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity. People only remember the latest episode, while the pilot tarnishes.”

2. RETURN TO CASABLANCA

Rick’s final line in Casablanca—“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”— left the door open for a continuation of Rick and Ilsa’s love story (or at least more of Rick). Shortly after the film’s release, Warner Bros. began work on a sequel, Brazzaville, which only ever made it to the treatment phase. Small-screen versions in 1955 and 1983 were short-lived. And a few of the original film’s screenwriters (there were a handful of them) have tried their hardest to keep the story going, too. In 1980, Howard Koch wrote a treatment for Return to Casablanca, in which Ilsa’s young son searches for his father (spoiler alert: it’s not Victor)! In early 2013, another sequel treatment—this one by Murray Burnett, who wrote the play upon which the film is based—was discovered. This one reunites Rick and Ilsa just three years after the original film ends. Warner Bros. passed on the idea years ago, but the pages were intriguing enough to memorabilia collector Albert Tapper that he purchased them from Burnett’s widow. “It's a great collectible,” Tapper noted, “a typewritten original with a coffee cup stain on the cover.” Collectible? Yes. But a viable idea that will ever make its way to the silver screen? Probably not.

3. FORREST GUMP 2: GUMP & CO.

Six months after Tom Hanks took home a Best Actor Oscar for Forrest Gump, author Winston Groom released Gump & Co., a sequel to the novel upon which the film was based. Meta in a way that the original book had no right to be (the follow-up book starts out with Forrest telling the reader, “Don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story”), Gump & Co. offers more of the same guy-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time shenanigans that the first book (and movie) did: Forrest invents New Coke, crashes the Exxon Valdez, and knocks down the Berlin Wall. Which, of course, set the Hollywood Hills alive with the sound of “sequel.” Eric Roth returned to pen the script, which he turned in the night before 9/11. “We sat down—Tom [Hanks] and Bob [Zemeckis] and I—looked at each other and said, we don’t think this is relevant anymore. The world had changed,” Roth told /Film in 2008. “Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are.”

4. THE BREAKFAST CLUB: 10 YEARS LATER

Though no sequel was ever made from a Brat Pack film, it wasn’t for lack of ideas or wanting. John Hughes expressed a strong desire to revisit several of his iconic characters, including the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal that made up The Breakfast Club. Hughes’ original idea was to catch up with the gang a decade after the original film, but he ended up losing interest in the project over time, telling the Hartford Courant in 1999, “There's no excuse that could ever put them in the same room ever again. There isn't anything in their lives after high school relevant to that day.”

5. FERRIS BUELLER 2: ANOTHER DAY OFF

As if a failed television series weren’t enough, revisiting Ferris Bueller on his 40th birthday was yet another thing on John Hughes’ to-do list. And there’s even a script, penned by Rick Rapier, which sees Ferris (now a motivational speaker) facing a midlife crisis as he approaches the big 4-0. So he enlists Cameron, now his business manager, to play hooky for a day and party like it’s 1986. Considering that it would be difficult to make a Ferris Bueller sequel without Matthew Broderick—who is now in his early 50s—and that it has been four years since Hughes’ untimely passing, seeing this long-gestating project come to fruition seems unlikely.

6. GLADIATOR 2: Christ Killer

We’re not sure which part is stranger: that when talks of a Gladiator sequel came about, studio executives approached musician Nick Cave to write it. That John Logan wrote a version of the script, too. Or that it never got made it all.

In July, the rocker finally set the record straight on WTF with Marc Maron. Basically, it was all true!

Cave explained that it was his good friend Russell Crowe who approached him about the project. Cave had one question: “‘Hey Russell, didn't you die in Gladiator 1?’ ‘Yeah, you sort that out,’” Cave recalled of their original conversation. So he came up with an idea for Maximum: “He goes down to purgatory and is sent down by the gods, who are dying in heaven because there’s this one god, there’s this Christ character, down on Earth who is gaining popularity and so the many gods are dying so they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and his followers… I wanted to call it Christ Killer and in the end you find out that the main guy was his son so he has to kill his son and he was tricked by the gods. He becomes this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20-minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff and it was wild. It was a stone cold masterpiece.”

Cave also recalled Crowe’s reaction: “Don’t like it, mate.”

“I enjoyed writing it very much because I knew on every level that it was never going to get made,” Cave said. “Let’s call it a popcorn dropper.”

7. ELF 2

In 2005, Will Ferrell nabbed the number 18 spot on Forbes’ Top 100 Celebrities list after banking $40 million in one year alone. But Ferrell made it clear that he wasn’t in Hollywood simply for the hefty paychecks when he turned down $29 million to make Elf 2. “Twenty-nine million [dollars] does seem [like] a lot of money for a guy to wear tights, but it's what the marketplace will bear,” Ferrell told The Guardian in 2006. He went on to note the decision to say no to a sequel—or such a massive payday—“wasn't difficult at all. I remember asking myself: Could I withstand the criticism when it’s bad and they say, ‘He did the sequel for the money'? I decided I wouldn't be able to. I didn't want to wander into an area that could erase all the good work I've done.” He also said no to Old School Dos. “But you watch,” Ferrell noted. “I'll do some sequel in the future that’s crap.”

8. EI8HT

David Fincher made his feelings on a sequel to Se7en clear when asked whether he would be involved in Ei8ht by an audience member at an event for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at New York City’s Lincoln Center. “I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes,” he stated. “I keep trying to get out from under my own shadow… I don’t want to do the same shit over and over.” Neither Brad Pitt nor Morgan Freeman were interested either. But the studio already had a script, about a psychic working with the FBI to help track a serial killer, and they weren’t ready to drop it into the shredder just yet. So they did a little tinkering and turned the film into Solace, which bears the same premise but nothing to do with Se7en. It will arrive in theaters next year with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell.

9. THE MATRIX 4

Anything is possible in The Matrix—numbers four and five. On January 24, 2011, entertainment writers went wild after learning that Keanu Reeves had confirmed that there would be at least two more entries in The Matrix franchise during a speech he was giving at the London International School of Performing Arts. There was just one problem: Keanu Reeves was never at the London International School of Performing Arts. The whole sequel excitement—which many publications around the globe picked up and ran with—was just a hoax. Reeves’ reps told The Playlist that “none of it is true… he did not speak nor get an award from the London International School of Performing Arts.” Oops.

10. THE GODFATHER 4

You can’t blame Paramount executives from toying with the idea of adding yet another Godfather film to the franchise, if only to make up for the bad taste left in audiences' mouths following the third installment. But it’s also not possible without Francis Ford Coppola. When asked about a long-rumored sequel in 2012, Andy Garcia agreed that “It’s in Francis’ hands.” And Francis made his feelings about the mythical project clear when he told TMZ, the media’s favorite arbiter of truth, that when it comes to The Godfather films, “There should have only been one.” You don’t have to agree with Coppola, but the man has spoken.

11. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2

It’s safe to say that Disney executives would be thrilled if Tim Burton ever decided to follow through on his original plans to produce a sequel to his dual-holiday, stop-motion classic. But Burton has stated his reconsideration of this plan on numerous occasions, after the studio proposed the idea for a CGI continuation in 2001. “I was always very protective of [Nightmare], not to do sequels or things of that kind,” Burton told MTV in 2006. “You know, 'Jack visits Thanksgiving world' or other kinds of things, just because I felt the movie had a purity to it and the people that like it. Because it’s not a mass-market kind of thing, it was important to kind of keep that purity of it. I try to respect people and keep the purity of the project as much as possible.”

12.OFFICE SPACE 2: STILL RENTING

Mike Judge has a habit of making movies that flop at the box office but find new—and profitable—life on home video. He did it with Extract in 2009, Idiocracy in 2006 and, of course, Office Space in 1999. But Judge has been very vocal about the challenges which working with a studio created on Office Space, recalling to the A.V. Club in 2009 that “It was very satisfying to make, but I had to fight for every decision: [the studio] didn’t like the music, they didn’t like the cast, or much of anything. So when it didn’t do well at the box office, it was kind of like, ‘Well, you know, they were right.’ So to have it become more and more popular and make more and more money over these years has been really vindicating.” It must have been particularly vindicating when the studio later approached him with the idea of making a sequel, which he promptly turned down.

Bonus: It's a Wonderful Life

Some movies can benefit from a sequel. It’s a Wonderful Life is not one of them. Still, that tiny fact didn’t stop producers Allen J. Schwalb and Bob Farnsworth from telling Variety in 2013 that a sequel—It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, focused on George Bailey’s not-so-wonderful grandson—was in the works for the 2015 holiday season. Paramount’s reaction to the news was swift and clear: “No project relating to It's A Wonderful Life can proceed without a license from Paramount,” the company said in a statement. “To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights.”

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25 Wonderful Facts About It’s a Wonderful Life
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Paramount Pictures

Mary Owen wasn’t welcomed into the world until more than a decade after Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life made its premiere in 1946. But she grew up cherishing the film and getting the inside scoop on its making from its star, Donna Reed—who just so happens to be her mom. Though Reed passed away in 1986, Owen has stood as one of the film’s most dedicated historians, regularly introducing screenings of the ultimate holiday classic, including during its annual run at New York City’s IFC Center. She shared some of her mom’s memories with us to help reveal 25 things you might not have known about It’s a Wonderful Life.

1. IT ALL BEGAN WITH A CHRISTMAS CARD.

After years of unsuccessfully trying to shop his short story, The Greatest Gift, to publishers, Philip Van Doren Stern decided to give the gift of words to his closest friends for the holidays when he printed up 200 copies of the story and sent them out as a 21-page Christmas card. David Hempstead, a producer at RKO Pictures, ended up getting a hold of it, and purchased the movie rights for $10,000.

2. CARY GRANT WAS SET TO STAR IN THE ADAPTATION.

When RKO purchased the rights, they did so with the plan of having Cary Grant in the lead. But, as happens so often in Hollywood, the project went through some ups and downs in the development process. In 1945, after a number of rewrites, RKO sold the movie rights to Frank Capra, who quickly recruited Jimmy Stewart to play George Bailey.

3. DOROTHY PARKER WORKED ON THE SCRIPT.


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By the time It’s a Wonderful Life made it into theaters, the story was much different from Stern’s original tale. That’s because more than a half-dozen people contributed to the screenplay, including some of the most acclaimed writers of the time—Dorothy Parker, Dalton Trumbo, Marc Connelly, and Clifford Odets among them.

4. SCREENWRITERS FRANCES GOODRICH AND ALBERT HACKETT WALKED OUT.

Though they’re credited as the film’s screenwriters with Capra, the husband and wife writing duo were not pleased with the treatment they received from Capra. “Frank Capra could be condescending,” Hackett said in an interview, “and you just didn't address Frances as ‘my dear woman.’ When we were pretty far along in the script but not done, our agent called and said, ‘Capra wants to know how soon you'll be finished.’ Frances said, ‘We're finished right now.’ We put our pens down and never went back to it.”

5. CAPRA DIDN’T DO THE BEST JOB OF SELLING THE FILM TO STEWART.

After laying out the plot line of the film for Stewart in a meeting, Capra realized that, “This really doesn’t sound so good, does it?” Stewart recalled in an interview. Stewart’s reply? “Frank: If you want me to be in a picture about a guy that wants to kill himself and an angel comes down named Clarence who can’t swim and I save him, when do we start?”

6. IT WAS DONNA REED’S FIRST STARRING ROLE.


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Though Donna Reed was hardly a newcomer when It’s a Wonderful Life rolled around, having appeared in nearly 20 projects previously, the film did mark her first starring role. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else in the role today, but Reed had some serious competition from Jean Arthur. “[Frank Capra] had seen mom in They Were Expendable and liked her,” Mary Owen told Mental Floss. “When Capra met my mother at MGM, he knew she'd be just right for Mary Bailey.”

7. MARY OWEN IS NOT NAMED AFTER MARY BAILEY.

Before you ask whether Owen was named after her mom’s much beloved It’s a Wonderful Life character, “The answer is no,” says Owen. “I was named after my great grandmother, Mary Mullenger.”

8. BEULAH BONDI WAS A PRO AT PLAYING STEWART’S MOM.

Beulah Bondi, who plays Mrs. Bailey, didn’t need a lot of rehearsal to play Jimmy Stewart’s mom. She had done it three times previously—in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Human Hearts, and Vivacious Lady—and once later on The Jimmy Stewart Show: The Identity Crisis.

9. CAPRA, REED, AND STEWART HAVE ALL CALLED IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE THEIR FAVORITE MOVIE.


Liberty Films

Though their collective filmographies consist of a couple hundred movies, Capra, Reed, and Stewart have all cited It’s a Wonderful Life as their favorite movie. In his autobiography, The Name Above the Title, Capra took that praise even one step further, writing: “I thought it was the greatest film I ever made. Better yet, I thought it was the greatest film anybody ever made.”

10. THE MOVIE BOMBED AT THE BOX OFFICE.

Though it has become a quintessential American classic, It’s a Wonderful Life was not an immediate hit with audiences. In fact, it put Capra $525,000 in the hole, which left him scrambling to finance his production company’s next picture, State of the Union.

11. A COPYRIGHT LAPSE AIDED THE FILM’S POPULARITY.

Though it didn’t make much of a dent at the box office, It’s a Wonderful Life found a whole new life on television—particularly when its copyright lapsed in 1974, making it available royalty-free to anyone who wanted to show it for the next 20 years. (Which would explain why it was on television all the time during the holiday season.) The free-for-all ended in 1994.

12. THE ROCK THAT BROKE THE WINDOW OF THE GRANVILLE HOUSE WAS ALL REAL.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain 

Though Capra had a stuntman at the ready in order to shoot out the window of the Granville House in a scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock through it, it was all a waste of money. “Mom threw the rock herself that broke the window in the Granville House,” Owen says. “On the first try.”

13. IT TOOK TWO MONTHS TO BUILD BEDFORD FALLS.

Shot on a budget of $3.7 million (which was a lot by mid-1940s standards), Bedford Falls—which covered a full four acres of RKO’s Encino Ranch—was one of the most elaborate movie sets ever built up to that time, with 75 stores and buildings, 20 fully-grown oak trees, factories, residential areas, and a 300-yard-long Main Street.

14. SENECA FALLS, NEW YORK IS “THE REAL BEDFORD FALLS.”

Though Bedford Falls is a fictitious place, the town of Seneca Falls, New York swears that it's the real-life inspiration for George Bailey’s charming hometown. And each year they program a full lineup of holiday-themed events to put locals (and yuletide visitors) into the holiday spirit.

15. THE GYM FLOOR-TURNED-SWIMMING POOL WAS REAL.

Though the bulk of the film was filmed on pre-built sets, the dance at the gym was filmed on location at Beverly Hills High School. And the retractable floor was no set piece. Better known as the Swim Gym, the school is currently in the process of restoring the landmark filming location.

16. ALFALFA IS THE TEENAGER BEHIND THAT SWIMMING POOL PRANK.

Though he’s uncredited in the part, if Freddie Othello—the little prankster who pushes the button that opens the pool that swallows George and Mary up—looks familiar, that’s because he is played by Carl Switzer, a.k.a. Alfalfa of The Little Rascals.

17. DONNA REED WON $50 FROM LIONEL BARRYMORE ... FOR MILKING A COW.

Though she was a Hollywood icon, Donna Reed—born Donnabelle Mullenger—was a farm girl at heart who came to Los Angeles by way of Denison, Iowa. Lionel Barrymore (a.k.a. Mr. Potter) didn’t believe it. “So he bet $50 that she couldn't milk a cow,” recalls Owen. “She said it was the easiest $50 she ever made.”

18. THE FILM WAS SHOT DURING A HEAT WAVE.

It may be an iconic Christmas movie, but It’s a Wonderful Life was actually shot in the summer of 1946—in the midst of a heat wave, no less. At one point, Capra had to shut filming down for a day because of the sky-high temperatures—which also explains why Stewart is clearly sweating in key moments of the film.

19. CAPRA ENGINEERED A NEW KIND OF MOVIE SNOW.

Capra—who trained as an engineer—and special effects supervisor Russell Shearman engineered a new type of artificial snow for the film. At the time, painted cornflakes were the most common form of fake snow, but they posed a bit of an audio problem for Capra. So he and Shearman opted to mix foamite (the stuff you find in fire extinguishers) with sugar and water to create a less noisy option.

20. THE MOVIE WASN’T REQUIRED VIEWING IN REED’S HOUSEHOLD.

Though It’s a Wonderful Life is a staple of many family holiday movie marathons, that wasn’t the case in Reed’s home. In fact, Owen herself didn’t see the film until three decades after its release. “I saw it in the late 1970s at the Nuart Theatre in L.A. and loved it,” she says.

21. ZUZU DIDN’T SEE THE FILM UNTIL 1980.

Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu in the film, didn’t see the film until 1980. “I never took the time to see the movie,” she told Detroit’s WWJ in 2013. “I never just sat down and watched the film.”

22. THE FBI SAW THE FILM. THEY DIDN’T LIKE IT.

In 1947, the FBI issued a memo noting the film as a potential “Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry,” citing its “rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘Scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.”

23. THE MOVIE’S BERT AND ERNIE HAVE NO RELATION TO SESAME STREET.

Yes, the cop and cab driver in It’s a Wonderful Life are named Bert and Ernie, respectively. But Jim Henson’s longtime writing partner, Jerry Juhl, insists that it’s by coincidence only that they share their names with Sesame Street’s stripe-shirted buds. “I was the head writer for the Muppets for 36 years and one of the original writers on Sesame Street,” Juhl told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000. “The rumor about It's a Wonderful Life has persisted over the years. I was not present at the naming, but I was always positive [the rumor] was incorrect. Despite his many talents, Jim had no memory for details like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not have remembered the cop and the cab driver. I was not able to confirm this with Jim before he died, but shortly thereafter I spoke to Jon Stone, Sesame Street's first producer and head writer and a man largely responsible for the show's format … He assured me that Ernie and Bert were named one day when he and Jim were studying the prototype puppets. They decided that one of them looked like an Ernie, and the other one looked like a Bert. The movie character names are purely coincidental.”

24. SOME PEOPLE ARE ANXIOUS FOR A SEQUEL.

Well, two people: Producers Allen J. Schwalb and Bob Farnsworth, who announced in 2013 that they would be continuing the story with a sequel, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, which they planned for a 2015 release. It didn’t take long for Paramount, which owns the copyright, to step in and assure furious fans of the original film that “No project relating to It’s a Wonderful Life can proceed without a license from Paramount. To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights.”

25. THE FILM’S ENDURING LEGACY WAS SURPRISING TO CAPRA.

“It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen," Capra said of the film’s classic status. "The film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I’m like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I’m proud… but it’s the kid who did the work. I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.”

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13 Enchanting Facts About Moonstruck
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Cher’s career made her more famous for singing than acting, but 30 years ago—on December 16, 1987—Moonstruck arrived in theaters and transformed her into a full-fledged movie star. (She even won the Best Actress Oscar for her spellbinding performance a few months later.) Cher plays Loretta Castorini, a widow living with her Sicilian family in Brooklyn. Despite being superstitious about love, she agrees to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), that is until she meets his jaded brother (Nic Cage), goes to see La bohème with him, and realizes “I love him awful.”

Director Norman Jewison referred to the movie as “an operatic multi-generational romantic comedy,” which is one reason the movie grossed an impressive $91,640,528 and won three Oscars, including ones for Olympia Dukakis and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley. Here are 13 moony facts about the movie.

1. THE ORIGINAL TITLE WAS THE BRIDE AND THE WOLF.

An earlier draft of Shanley’s script had it named The Bride and the Wolf, but the title perplexed Jewison. “I said, ‘The Bride and the Wolf? It sounds like a horror film,’” he revealed to the DGA. “So we had a big battle about that and it ended up being called Moonstruck because I convinced [Shanley] it’s about the moon. Everybody’s talking about the moon. The father’s talking about the moon, the full moon. We keep shooting the moon. It should be called something. What is it? She’s moonstruck. That’s a good title. So we called it Moonstruck.”

It should be noted the definition of moonstruck means “mentally deranged, supposedly by the influence of the moon; crazed dreamily romantic or bemused.”

2. JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY BASED THE STYLIZED DIALOGUE ON REAL PEOPLE.

Shanley admitted to Bomb Magazine that Moonstruck’s language has a certain affectation and poetry to it. “I remember somebody saying, ‘People don’t talk that way, but if he talks that way in the movie you buy it,’” the playwright said. “There’s truth and not truth in that. I said, ‘Well, it’s not the way all people talk, but I was on the train and I heard two women talking and they were talking in the exact style of Moonstruck.’ I said, ‘Well, you know, I chose that.’ And that’s what style is all about. It’s just making a choice about which of the many things, many aspects, you’re going to choose to go with for a whole picture or play.”

3. NICOLAS CAGE WANTED TO MAKE PUNK FILMS, NOT MOVIES LIKE MOONSTRUCK.

Nicolas Cage in 'Moonstruck' (1987)
MGM

When Cage was in his early 20s, he “wanted to make the kind of movies that are essentially punk gestures,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “I read the screenplay to Moonstruck and thought, ‘I would never pay money to see this film!’ But my agent insisted I do it, practically forced me to do it. When I saw the finished film I didn’t know what in the world to make of it. That was my era of wanting to make new-wave, alternative films.”

His follow-up film, Vampire’s Kiss, was completely different from Moonstruck (for instance, Cage eats a live cockroach). “I was in such a state of shock that I had made a sweet, romantic movie I had to go and do Vampire's Kiss right after,” he told The New York Times.

4. CHER WAS AFRAID TO TAKE ON LORETTA.

In 1987, Cher wasn’t new to the acting world—she had been nominated for an Oscar in 1984, for Silkwood—but she was worried fans still wouldn’t take her seriously as an actress. A few months before Moonstruck was released, The Witches of Eastwick and Suspect came out, so she was in demand. “It wasn’t like Mask, which I felt I just had to do,” she told the Los Angeles Times. "I was a little frightened because there seemed to be all kinds of possibilities and all kinds of risks here. I wondered if, at this point in my career when there might be some people out there interested in seeing my movies, they would accept me in this role.”

5. DUKAKIS AND CHER DIDN’T THINK THE MOVIE WOULD BE SUCCESSFUL.

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Dukakis confessed she didn’t think the movie would be a hit. “As a matter of fact, one day we were sitting around talking, and somebody asked Cher what she thought was going to happen, and she gave it the thumbs-down,” the actress said. “Nobody really expected too much out of it. And then look what happened. And that’s because we were all stupid and didn’t understand what Norman Jewison was really doing. The guy’s incredible, you know?”

6. NORMAN JEWISON KNEW THE MOVIE WOULD WIN OSCARS.

In the same interview with The A.V. Club, Dukakis said she knew the movie was a big deal when she went with Jewison to a benefit in Canada where he screened the film. “And he said, ‘You know, you’re gonna get an Academy Award for this.’ I looked at him like he was stark-raving mad. I thought, ‘This little movie and that little Italian lady are gonna get an award?’ I said, ‘You really think so?’ He said, ‘Yeah!’ I thought, ‘He’s just being nice because I came up here to do the benefit for him. He thinks he has to say something nice to me.’ And then all that happened. It was just amazing. The writer got it, I got it, and then Jewison didn’t get it. Can you imagine?”

7. MOONSTRUCK CHANGED OLYMPIA DUKAKIS’S LIFE FOR THE BETTER.

By the time Moonstruck came around for her, the then 55-year-old had mostly made a name for herself in theater. But when she landed the role as Cher’s mother, Rose Castorini, and ended up winning Best Supporting Actress (and saying the line, “your life is going down the toilet,” something her mother said to her once), she became famous.

“It’s like somebody said ‘Look, she waited all these years, let’s give her something good,’” she said on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. “And it was incredible. And that changed my whole life. My daughter was going to college on credit cards when I did that movie. After that, we were able to send our children to college with no problems.”

8. CHER ENJOYED PLAYING THE "BEFORE" LORETTA MORE THAN THE "AFTER" LORETTA.

The “before” Loretta entails the gray-haired widow and the “after” is when she falls for Ronny. “But I much prefer playing her ‘before’ than ‘after,’” Cher told the Los Angeles Times. “The freedom is not interesting to me because that’s something I know, usually. Yet I don’t think of her as being constrained, exactly. My idea was to play her more as bossy and controlled.”

9. THE GRANDFATHER RELEASED TENSION FROM A SCENE.

During shooting of the climax, cast members lost their cool because they couldn’t get the timing right. According to The New York Times, Jewison said Cage threw a chair at another actor, and Cher was threatening to report Jewison to the Screen Actors Guild for keeping them through lunch. Feodor Chaliapin Jr., who played Cher’s grandfather, walked into the room and told them to “calma, calma, calma” and, “This is a Feydeau farce, and in a Feydeau farce we pull everything together in the last scene.” After he said that the rest of the cast behaved themselves and finished the scene.

10. CHER USED SONNY BONO’S FAMILY AS A REFERENCE POINT.

A still from Moonstruck (1987)
MGM

Cher, who is part Armenian and part Cherokee, didn’t know how Italian families worked. “I didn’t come from that kind of family. I really didn’t relate exactly to it, but I had a sense of it, like a distant sense of it,” she told Good Morning America. “Not like something that you can relate to first hand. I’ve known some families like that and I got feelings of it. After a while I thought I might be able to do this.”

But her Moonstruck family reminded her of her ex-husband’s family. “It kind of reminded me of Sonny’s family,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Everybody eating and talking and shouting—but you have such good times.”

11. CAGE WASN’T ALLOWED TO SPEAK LIKE A WOLF.

Going along with the wolf theme, Cage said he desired to speak like Jean Marais in Beauty and the Beast. “He had that accent and his voice was very gravelly—and I thought of my character in Moonstruck like a wolf who spoke with a growl,” Cage said. “And so I was talking like that in the movie and I got a call from the director, Norman Jewison, and he said, ‘Nicolas, the dailies aren’t working.’ And then I started hearing names of other actors and I thought I was going to get fired. I had to quickly drop the Jean Marais.”

12. DANNY AIELLO HATED THE MOVIE.

On the Diane Rehm radio show, Aiello, who played Loretta’s fiancé and Ronny’s brother, told the host he “couldn’t stand the character I played.” He continued, “Norman Jewison, the director, when I told him, he said, ‘Are you crazy? You’re wonderful.’ But in my neighborhood you can’t play a wimp on the screen. You know, people didn’t even know me as an actor, but to see me as they didn’t know me, was troubling in the area where I live. So it did adversely affect me at first. All I know is that I was stupid looking on the screen.”

Aiello also felt Cher should’ve picked him over Cage. “I said, ‘Do you think Nicky Cage is going to get a woman what I have?’ I said, ‘That's not going to happen.’ I said, ‘Cher would be with me from the beginning.’” Despite not liking the role, it earned him more money and “it elevated a lot of other parts for me in comedic situations and so forth,” he said.

13. THE MOVIE MADE CAMMARERI BROS. BAKERY WORLD FAMOUS.

Ronny works at the Brooklyn bakery, and even though the bakery is only featured in a couple of scenes, it caused tourists to flock to the place after the movie was released. One of the owners, Gilberto Godoy, used to sign his autograph on bread bags, as he played a baker in the film. Jewison told The New York Times, “Whenever I can, I like to cast people who do the same job in real life,” and he picked that particular bakery because “It has one of the few coal-fired ovens left in the city,” he said. “Heat and humidity are always there. And bread is always rising, and there is an incredible smell. It helps the actors to be in a real environment.”

Godoy refused to close the bakery for the filming—he had a quota of 5,000 loaves a day to meet—so for three days he worked around the cast and crew. “It was hysterical,” Jewison said. “We had trucks, lights, cameras, Cher—and the poor guy was still baking.” The cast and crew did benefit from complimentary breads, though.

The tourists kept the bakery afloat until 1998, when the bakery briefly closed. It eventually moved into a different location and reopened. But in 2013 the 92-year-old bakery filed for bankruptcy.

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