As with all our favourite films, we're only getting the finished product.
More often than not, there can be some behind-the-scenes extras that can change how you look at an actor, film or a particular scene. We've teamed up with Meteor, who have just launched Meteor Extras, extra little gifts to say thanks, to compile eight of the best behind-the-scenes extras that you might not have known.
8. THREE KINGS - George Clooney and the director actually had a bust up on set
George Clooney seems like a nice sort, right? You couldn't imagine him coming to blows with anyone, right? Not so. Clooney had a scuffle with director David O. Russell on the set of Gulf War heist caper Three Kings when the director screamed obscenities at a little kid - that's right, a CHILD. For Clooney, it was the last straw in a string of David O. Russell losing the run of himself on set. As Clooney tells it, Russell squared up to him and told him to hit him - which Clooney duly did. Clooney said that he was prepared to actually kill him. That's not the only time Russell has had bust-ups on set. He famously clashed with Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees, which was unfortunately caught on camera.
7. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - Everyone in the cast received intense military training except one
Steven Spielberg is known for his sheer and unflinching commitment to authenticity in his films, deliberately making life difficult for his actors so that they can get into the headspace of their characters. With Saving Private Ryan, he took it one step further. The acclaimed director put everyone in the cast through a tough, physically-challenging regimen of military training that would push each and every one of them to their limits. All except one - Matt Damon. Spielberg's thinking was that if he could separate Damon from the rest of the cast, they'd unknowingly resent him for not having to go through the training. Plus, the truly difficult training regime would bind the cast together.
6. STAR WARS - The actors behind C3P0 and R2D2 didn't get on
This one shocked us to the core. R2D2 and C3PO, it's understood, HATED one another. Madness. It's liking saying Starsky & Hutch hated each other or that Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey didn't get on, either. Kenny Baker, who played R2D2, attempted to get Anthony Daniels, who played C3PO, to come onboard with him for personal appearances in their characters. Daniels, who is a classically-trained actor, is notoriously rude to fans and fellow actors alike. No doubt Daniels felt that C3PO was an albatross around his neck. Baker, on the other hand, was a cabaret actor who got little money from being in one of the most iconic films of all time. So when Baker attempted to bridge the gap with Daniels, the thespian refused. "He looked down his nose at me like I was a piece of ****," says Baker.
5. HARRY POTTER SERIES - Alan Rickman knew about Snape and Lily Potter all along
Yes, this one utterly shocked us. When Alan Rickman signed on to play Severus Snape and began his preparation for his role, author JK Rowling let him on a little secret that would become the defining arc of the entire series - Snape was in love with Lily Potter. Rowling hadn't even completed the novel in question or discussed it with anyone else, however she pulled Rickman aside, told him the big secret and swore him to secrecy. Rickman kept his word, never revealing the secret until the novel was released and it was out in the open. As Rowling said, it was essential to understand Snape's thinking and motivations - which obviously helped Rickman.
4. DUMB AND DUMBER - The 'Big Gulp' scene wasn't supposed to happen
Jim Carrey is a noted improviser on set, but in Dumb And Dumber, he went right off the wall. One particular scene was supposed to pass off without dialogue, however Carrey wanted to have a little fun. Extras are hired and paid based on what they're supposed to do on set. For example, an extra that has a line is paid more than one that doesn't. It's considered extremely unprofessional to utter a line if you don't have one, especially amongst extras. Carrey knew this and, in the scene below, he was messing with the extras to see if they'd talk.
3. FIGHT CLUB - Brad Pitt and Ed Norton specifically requested a new VW Beetle to smash up
Fight Club's main themes were about the perils of capitalism and how it infected daily life. As it turns out, Pitt and Norton had similar feelings on the subject as well. In conversation on set, both discussed the then-new Volkswagen Beetle and how they both hated it. As described on Fight Club's DVD commentary, Pitt felt it was a symbol of everything they were railing against on the film - a symbol of '60s youth culture being repackaged as the same for the current generation without any of the meaning. As for the drinking, Pitt and Norton regularly drank on set and shot the golf scene pretty much drunk.
2. THE SHINING - Shelley Duvall was pretty much ostracised and picked upon by order of Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick was known for creating an environment on set that was often gruelling and demanding - but with The Shining, he kicked it up a notch. Whatever about the endless conspiracy theories and stories about The Shining (see the documentary Room 237), this one was actually true. Kubrick specifically ordered his crew - and Jack Nicholson - to be particularly harsh and cruel to Shelley Duvall, the actress who played Wendy Torrance. Kubrick wanted Duvall to feel completely hopeless during the shoot so as to get a more authentic performance from her. Scatman Crothers, who played the chef, even broke down in tears in front of Kubrick. Not only that, Nicholson was going full-tilt in the bathroom scene which genuinely frightened an already-exasperated Duvall.
1. GROUNDHOG DAY - Bill Murray hired a deaf assistant who only knew Native American sign language
During the production of Groundhog Day - arguably his greatest work after Stripes - Bill Murray, also known on-set as 'The Murricane', was going through a particularly difficult divorce. As such, Murray's mind wasn't on filming or, indeed, dealing with studio executives who regularly visited the set. Murray deliberately hired an assistant who was deaf and only knew Native American sign language to act as buffer between himself and the studio. You've got to marvel at that kind of thinking.
We know that nobody really gets excited about extras - unless they're Meteor Extras, extra little gifts to say thanks for choosing Meteor. As a way of saying thanks to their customers, all Meteor customers can go free to the cinema every month and enjoy 2 for 1 dining at selected restaurants. Visit www.meteor.ie/extras to find out more!