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10 Cool Facts About Body Heat

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After penning The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Lawrence Kasdan took advantage of his newfound fame by asking for—and receiving—the opportunity to make his directorial debut with Body Heat. The 1981 neo-noir classic that's celebrating its 35th anniversary starred Kathleen Turner in her feature film debut as Matty Walker, a woman who has an affair with weak-willed lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt). In true femme fatale tradition, she convinces Ned to murder her husband, Edmund, and make him think it was his idea.

1. GEORGE LUCAS HELPED GET IT MADE.

Though Lawrence Kasdan had made a name for himself as a writer, he was an untested director. So George Lucas agreed to sponsor Kasdan, but he wouldn't put the Lucasfilm name on Kasdan's movie because it was too dirty. Lucas gave Alan Ladd, Jr.—whose The Ladd Company was producing the film—$250,000 to use if Kasdan went over budget. Lucas also helped Kasdan by spending one day in the editing room and giving him "the most useful" pep talk.

"Making movies has nothing to do with the technical stuff," Lucas told Kasdan. "It has everything to do with what kind of person you are." Kasdan said it was the most important thing anyone ever told him about directing.

2. CHRISTOPHER REEVE TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF NED.

"I put myself down too much," Reeve told The Washington Post of the missed opportunity. "I didn't think I'd be convincing as a seedy lawyer." Reeve later regretted the decision, but was happy that his friend, William Hurt, was cast in the role instead.

3. INITIALLY, KATHLEEN TURNER WAS NOT ALLOWED TO AUDITION FOR IT.

As Turner remembered it later to Playboy, the filmmakers refused to let her audition for the role of Matty. "I happened to be in L.A. to read for some female mud-wrestling film—thank God I was not right for that part at all—and there was a woman casting Body Heat there," Turner explained. "I was able to see her and read for her and she got quite excited."

When Turner came back the next day to read a new scene, Kasdan admitted to her that he never thought he would ever hear the scene as he heard it in his head until just then.

After 20th Century Fox gave up on Kasdan and dropped the project because he wouldn't cast known stars, The Ladd Company wasn't convinced that Turner could handle the "lightness" of the movie. So she had to audition for them, too.

"I went into this room at The Ladd Company," Turner recalled. "It was all white on white on white—white sofa, white rug, blonde wood—and there was this huge ashtray in the middle of the table that was filled with cigarette butts—it was as if they had been sitting there all day, smoking and talking about [macho voice] the girl. I was standing there with the script and one of the vice-presidents said, 'Do drunk.' So I was doing drunk and I threw the script onto the table and it knocked into the ashtray and I watched it fly across the room. The butts went all over this white rug, scattered. I got down on my hands and knees and started picking them up—'This is the most embarrassed I’ve ever been in my life.' And they laughed. I swear to God that turned them around."

4. ALAN LADD DEMANDED THAT WILLIAM HURT SHAVE HIS MUSTACHE.

Kasdan once again showed gumption and stood up to an executive, despite his greenness in the industry. Hurt kept the caterpillar.

5. IT WAS SHOT IN FLORIDA—AND IT WAS VERY, VERY COLD.

The film was shot during a cold Florida winter. Turner and Hurt had to put ice cubes in their mouths before each take so their breath wouldn't show. Their sweat was sprayed on. When the two shot their sex scene, the crew was dressed in duffel coats and scarves.

6. THEY TRIED TO BREAK THE TENSION ON SET, BUT IT WAS SOMETIMES TOO MUCH.

When the tension got to be too much, Turner said that she and Hurt would have races up and down the lawn and/or jump into the water. But she also admitted that she would shake and cry in her dressing room after shooting almost every "heavy" scene. "It was just powerful stuff," she said.

7. RUMORS FLEW ABOUT TURNER, HURT, AND KASDAN.

One day while shooting, Turner was told by her agent that he heard she was having an affair with both Hurt and Kasdan. "I thought, Jesus Christ, this is what people are saying?" she said. "And it ruined something for me. It really hurt, because every time the three of us went off to talk and to rehearse, I’d be thinking, Who’s seeing this? You know—what are they thinking? It was rotten. I’ll never forgive this person for breaking my bubble. But I realized, this is the real world. So I’m much more careful not to allow myself to be in that kind of position anymore. But it hurt a lot then."

8. IT WAS MICKEY ROURKE'S BIG BREAK.

Mickey Rourke had already appeared in 1941 (1979) and Heaven's Gate (1980), but told Larry King that his breakthrough came from playing Teddy Lewis in Body Heat. When Rourke got the one-day gig, he was able to quit his job as a bouncer at a transvestite nightclub.

9. KASDAN HIRED EDITOR CAROL LITTLETON BECAUSE HE WANTED A STRONG FEMALE PERSPECTIVE.

Out of all of the editors Kasdan met for Body Heat, Littleton was the only one who used the term "film noir" in their discussion. That and the fact that Kasdan specifically felt he needed a female editor began a long professional relationship between the two. "The sexual nature of the screenplay convinced me I should have a strong female perspective throughout the process," Kasdan wrote in a tribute to Littleton for Editors Guild Magazine. "As a bluffing novice, I was making up ideas like that as I went along. I didn’t know any better. I wildly underestimated the influence Carol would have on me from that day forward. In the course of doing eight films together, she has been my teacher, moral touchstone, slave driver, confidante and friend."

10. TED DANSON'S ROLE IN THE FILM GOT A SLY NOD ON CHEERS.

Ted Danson, who played the dancing lawyer Peter Lowenstein, started his career-defining run as Sam Malone on Cheers one year after the release of Body Heat. In the series premiere, some of the bar patrons began debating what the sweatiest movie of all time was. Cliff Clavin offered Body Heat as his guess, to the knowing smile of Sam.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The 10 Wildest Movie Plot Twists
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

An ending often makes or breaks a movie. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having the rug pulled out from under you, particularly in a thriller. But too many flicks that try to shock can’t stick the landing—they’re outlandish and illogical, or signal where the plot is headed. Not all of these films are entirely successful, but they have one important attribute in common: From the classic to the cultishly beloved, they involve hard-to-predict twists that really do blow viewers’ minds, then linger there for days, if not life. (Warning: Massive spoilers below.)

1. PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock often constructed his movies like neat games that manipulated the audience. The Master of Suspense delved headfirst into horror with Psycho, which follows a secretary (Janet Leigh) who sneaks off with $40,000 and hides in a motel. The ensuing jolt depends on Leigh’s fame at the time: No one expected the ostensible star and protagonist to die in a gory (for the time) shower butchering only a third of the way into the running time. Hitchcock outdid that feat with the last-act revelation that Anthony Perkins’s supremely creepy Norman Bates is embodying his dead mother.

2. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

No, not the botched Tim Burton remake that tweaked the original movie’s famous reveal in a way that left everyone scratching their heads. The Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi gem continues to stupefy anyone who comes into its orbit. Heston, of course, plays an astronaut who travels to a strange land where advanced apes lord over human slaves. It becomes clear once he finds the decrepit remains of the Statue of Liberty that he’s in fact on a future Earth. The anti-violence message, especially during the political tumult of 1968, shook people up as much as the time warp.

3. DEEP RED (1975)

It’s not rare for a horror movie to flip the script when it comes to unmasking its killer, but it’s much rarer that such a film causes a viewer to question their own perception of the world around them. Such is the case for Deep Red, Italian director Dario Argento’s (Suspiria) slasher masterpiece. A pianist living in Rome (David Hemmings) comes upon the murder of a woman in her apartment and teams up with a female reporter to find the person responsible. Argento’s whodunit is filled to the brim with gorgeous photography, ghastly sights, and delirious twists. But best of all is the final sequence, in which the pianist retraces his steps to discover that the killer had been hiding in plain sight all along. Rewind to the beginning and you’ll discover that you caught an unknowing glimpse, too.

4. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

Sleepaway Camp is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons: the bizarre, stilted acting and dialogue; hilariously amateurish special effects; and ‘80s-to-their-core fashions. But it’s best known for the mind-bending ending, which—full disclosure—reads as possibly transphobic today, though it’s really hard to say what writer-director Robert Hiltzik had in mind. Years after a boating accident that leaves one of two siblings dead, Angela is raised by her aunt and sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a killer wreaks havoc. In the lurid climax, we see that moody Angela is not only the murderer—she’s actually a boy. Her aunt, who always wanted a daughter, raised her as if she were her late brother. The final animalistic shot prompts as many gasps as cackles.

5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)

The Usual Suspects has left everyone who watches it breathless by the time they get to the fakeout conclusion. Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a criminal with cerebral palsy, regales an interrogator in the stories of his exploits with a band of fellow crooks, seen in flashback. Hovering over this is the mysterious villainous figure Keyser Söze. It’s not until Verbal leaves and jumps into a car that customs agent David Kujan realizes that the man fabricated details, tricking the law and the viewer into his fake reality, and is in fact the fabled Söze.

6. PRIMAL FEAR (1996)

No courtroom movie can surpass Primal Fear’s discombobulating effect. Richard Gere’s defense attorney becomes strongly convinced that his altar boy client Aaron (Edward Norton) didn’t commit the murder of an archbishop with which he’s charged. The meek, stuttering Aaron has sudden violent outbursts in which he becomes "Roy" and is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, leading to a not guilty ruling. Gere’s lawyer visits Aaron about the news, and as he’s leaving, a wonderfully maniacal Norton reveals that he faked the multiple personalities.

7. FIGHT CLUB (1999)

Edward Norton is no stranger to taking on extremely disparate personalities in his roles, from Primal Fear to American History X. The unassuming actor can quickly turn vicious, which led to ideal casting for Fight Club, director David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fincher cleverly keeps the audience in the dark about the connections between Norton’s timid, unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt’s hunky, aggressive Tyler Durden. After the two start the titular bruising group, the plot significantly increases the stakes, with the club turning into a sort of anarchist terrorist organization. The narrator eventually comes to grips with the fact that he is Tyler and has caused all the destruction around him.

8. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Early in his career, M. Night Shyamalan was frequently (perhaps a little too frequently) compared to Hitchcock for his ability to ratchet up tension while misdirecting his audience. He hasn’t always earned stellar reviews since, but The Sixth Sense remains deservedly legendary for its final twist. At the end of the ghost story, in which little Haley Joel Osment can see dead people, it turns out that the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who’s been working with the boy is no longer living himself, the result of a gunshot wound witnessed in the opening sequence.

9. THE OTHERS (2001)

The Sixth Sense’s climax was spooky, but not nearly as unnerving as Nicole Kidman’s similarly themed ghost movie The Others, released just a couple years later. Kidman gives a superb performance in the elegantly styled film from the Spanish writer-director Alejandro Amenábar, playing a mother in a country house after World War II protecting her photosensitive children from light and, eventually, dead spirits occupying the place. Only by the end does it become clear that she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a ghost, having killed her children in a psychotic break before committing suicide. It’s a bleak capper to a genuinely haunting yarn.

10. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

David Lynch’s surrealist movies may follow dream logic, but that doesn’t mean their plots can’t be readily discerned. Mulholland Drive is his most striking work precisely because, in spite of its more wacko moments, it adds up to a coherent, tragic story. The mystery starts innocently enough with the dark-haired Rita (Laura Elena Harring) waking up with amnesia from a car accident in Los Angeles and piecing together her identity alongside the plucky aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts). It takes a blue box to unlock the secret that Betty is in fact Diane, who is in love with and envious of Camilla (also played by Harring) and has concocted a fantasy version of their lives. The real Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed, leading to her intense guilt and suicide. Only Lynch can go from Nancy Drew to nihilism so swiftly and deftly.

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Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC

At its best, San Diego Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’s Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY


John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of 2016 and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Just a few months later, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE


Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

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