Movies have histories, and movies have secrets. And thanks to Netflix's "The Movies That Made Us," now available for its second season, fans can finally learn the things they never knew about four classic films!
After all, do you know who was supposed to play Marty McFly in "Back to the Future"? Or that "Pretty Woman" was originally a much darker picture? That multiple real-life animals went into the T. rex roar in "Jurassic Park" or that Tom Hanks' brother appeared in some scenes as "Forrest Gump"?
Well, sit back and let TODAY and Netflix teach you a few things. The streaming channel has sent us a series of clips from the show featuring producers (Neil Canton), historians (Jody Duncan), actors (Sam Neill), and casting directors (Dori Zuckerman), screenwriters (Eric Roth) and more, with a special exclusive memory from Jason Alexander, who co-starred in "Pretty Woman."
And here's just a few of the other little-known facts you'll find out from watching the series, and the video:
'Back to the Future'
- Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly after Michael J. Fox proved unavailable thanks to his shooting the sitcom "Family Ties." The problem was ... Stoltz wasn't as funny as the producers wanted him to be. So it was back to Fox — who ended up pulling double duty doing "Ties" during the day and "Future" at night.
- Sid Sheinberg, who headed up the film's studio, Universal (now owned by Comcast, the parent company of TODAY), sent the production a memo asking to change the title to "Spaceman from Pluto." Executive producer Steven Spielberg had a way to make them happy, though, and responded as if it was a joke: "Dear Sid, thank you for your most hilarious memo." The subject was dropped.
- "Pretty Woman" wasn't initially seen as being romantic or charming; the screenwriter's original idea was a gritty, cautionary tale in which Vivian was addicted to cocaine and dealt with the darker side of being a prostitute. Clearly, that changed: The film today is like a modern-day fairy tale.
- While casting the role of Edward, director Gary Marshall sent star Julia Roberts to future co-star Richard Gere's house to try and persuade him not to pass up the role, as he'd already done once. Marshall phoned to see how things were going, and Robert wrote him a note that said, "Please say yes." So Gere agreed.
- Director Steven Spielberg came up with the idea for the rippling glass of water sequence (which signals the oncoming dinosaur's approach) while in his car listening to the band Earth, Wind & Fire with the bass turned way up. He called his effects supervisor to explain, while still in the car.
- The Tyrannosaurus rex's enormous roar was created by sound designers, using calls from a tiger, alligator and baby elephant.
- Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) wasn't originally a heroic fellow, but Goldblum came up with the idea that Ian could distract the T. rex so that Alan Grant (Sam Neill) could rescue the children.
- Neill's accent was a little inconsistent during the movie; he's from New Zealand and so has a Kiwi accent. Spielberg kept going back and forth as to whether Grant should have an American accent, or if Neill could use his usual voice. Eventually, he asked him to speak with this blend of American and Kiwi accents.
- There were no dinosaurs to react to on set (not even animatronic ones). As Neill says in the episode, a lot of the times they were reacting to "nothing at all." How to solve this conundrum? He and the other cast members suggested to Spielberg that someone should make appropriate noises on the set so they could react to them. In the end, it was Spielberg who mostly got up to make the noises and provide the cues.
- Tom Hanks as Gump was not an issue, but casting Bubba (Mykelti Williamson) was a challenge. Ice Cube, David Alan Grier and Dave Chappelle all turned down the part, and Tupac Shakur briefly read for the role, too.
- The actor who played young Forrest (Michael Conner Humphreys) was originally set to meet with Hanks to try and replicate his manner of speaking. (Be sure to check him out in the video above!) But Hanks loved Humphreys' thick Mississippi accent and began to speak like him, which led to the character's unique style of speech.
- Originally Forrest was meant to look like the character in Winston Groom's 1986 book: standing 6 feet, 6 inches in height and weighing 242 pounds.
- The film was considered too expensive to make, and had its $55 million budget slashed by $10 million before production got underway. Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis contributed part of their fees so that scenes on Forrest's shrimp boat and during the Vietnam War did not get cut.
- Forrest's running sequence was also suggested as something that should be cut as the film reached its deadline, but Zemeckis hired Hanks' brother Jim to be his double in all the running scenes, so they could shoot in more locations at once.
Season two of "The Movies That Made Us" is now available on Netflix.