15 things you didn't know about your favourite Christmas Movies Esther Kolapo
Sure, you can quote the majority of the lines from Home Alone. Yes, you’ve watched Elf more than a thousand times and probably own a copy of Love Actually. You may have even indulged in a few absolutely retro Christmas classics such as Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life. You know the films that come with the Yuletide season and you know them well. Or do you? I’ve dug up 15 facts about your favourite Christmas films that I bet are not as well-known as the films themselves.
Will Ferrell consumed so much sugar on the set of Elf that he had trouble sleeping, was constantly wired and experienced frequent headaches. And, the “cotton balls” he eats in the doctor’s office were actually undyed balls of candy floss. If this isn’t proof that too much of anything can make you sick, I don’t know what is! Ferrell said he “constantly stayed up”.
According to supervising animator Eric Leighton, in The Nightmare before Christmas, 24 frames were needed per second for the film. This ultimately meant that it took 3 years to shot the entire film.
When the script for Elf initially emerged in the first half of the 90s, Jim Carrey was rumoured to play the lead role. However, by the time the film was being made, Carrey turned it down as by this point he had already played the Grinch in the Dr Seuss: How the Grinch stole Christmas. Maybe this was a good thing, as the two characters could not be more different!
Jim Carrey worked with a Navy SEAL CIA specialist, who trained agents to survive torture, in order to get through the painful makeup process for Dr Seuss: How the Grinch stole Christmas. The costume was made of yak hairs dyed green that were sown onto a spandex suit one by one. Carrey described the process everyday as “being buried alive”.
The gangster film in Home Alone in which one of most arguably iconic Christmas film classics quotes comes from: “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal” isn’t a real film. It’s a parody of a real film from 1938 called “Angels with Dirty faces”, and is called “Angels with Filthy souls”.
Macaulay Culkin’s facial expression as Kevin McAllister will remain with him forever – in the scene where Harry bites Kevin’s finger, Joe Pesci bit harder then he meant to and left Culkin with a scar.
The production of Love Actually did not start out as a Christmas film neither did it begin with Hugh and Grant and Colin Firth both starring in it. Director Richard Curtis loves Christmas films and really wanted to make one of his own, and Love Actually ended up being the amalgamation of two separate films that were written for Grant and Firth respectively.
We could have had an Elf 2 by now, but Will Ferrell turned it down. He was also reportedly offered $29 million dollars. I guess he believed fairly firmly that the sequel wouldn’t be as good as the original as $29 million dollars isn’t a small amount!
The ghost of Christmas present isn’t a force to be reckoned with – in Scrooged, during the scene where the ghost grabs Frank’s lip, she grabbed it with so much gusto that she accidently tore it. It was so bad that filming had to be stopped for a few days so that Bill Murray’s lip could heal properly.
The film It’s a Wonderful Life was briefly considered communist propaganda in the 40s. It was mentioned in an FBI file in 1947, within which an analyst passed along the concern that film was an obvious attempt to discredit bankers, a “common trick used by communists”.
Natalie Wood was eight when she was cast as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street, and genuinely believed that Edmund Gwenn, who played Kris Kringle, really was THE Father Christmas.
Love Actually is the nation’s favourite Christmas film, winning over 1,500 votes in a Radio Times poll, receiving a total 14% of the overall vote.
According to director’s commentary from Chris Columbus, the photo of Buzz’s girlfriend in Home Alone is actually the art director’s son because Columbus thought it would be too mean to make fun of a real girl.
A common misconception is that The Nightmare before Christmas was directed by Tim Burton; however it was directed by Henry Selick and based on a poem that Burton wrote whilst working as an animator for Disney in 1982.
For the famous scene from A Christmas Story, in which Flick’s tongue sticks to the flagpole, a hidden suction tube was used to safely create the illusion that his tongue was stuck to the metal. However, an episode of Mythbusters found that it actually IS possible for your tongue to get stuck to a frozen pole.