10 Fascinating Backstories Behind Famous Movies

Little-known tales about the making of classic films...

Lethal Weapon 4 Die Hard 3
20th Century Fox

It goes without saying that there are two sides to every film: the final film that's been nicely edited and stitched together, and then the making of that film - everything behind-the-scenes that combines to make that polished product. It's rare that you consider both while watching, but both are just as important.

Great films often have compelling backstories, after all; everybody knows that Jaws and Blade Runner and Apocalypse Now had nightmarish production processes, but in the end all the pain and frustration resulted in far better films. 

The making of every movie is a journey, and that often means that the final product ends up resembles the first draft in few ways. But every brush stroke along the way, including those that reflect on-set turmoil or insanity matters as much as the final canvas. 

And it's incredibly valuable to go back and sift through what made those strokes happen. Because peeling back those layers can reveal some bizarre production stories...

To demonstrate that notion, take the following interesting tales relating to the early development stages of a bunch of famous films. Perhaps the movies in question had trouble getting made, or they started out as totally different films entirely, or were written under - or inspired by - a rather bizarre or disturbing set of circumstances.

You might be surprised to learn how lots of these very famous flicks started out...

10. The Hateful Eight Originally Started Out As A Sequel To Django Unchained

Lethal Weapon 4 Die Hard 3
The Weinstein Company

Given its limited location and small cast, The Hateful Eight doesn't have the feel of a sequel. And yet Quentin Tarantino's latest western originally started life as a follow-up to Django Unchained, titled "Django in White Hell."

It would have had Django in the Major Warren Marquis role, before the writer/director decided that something about the film's premise didn't sit naturally with Django.

You can imagine that Tarantino had envisioned this as the second film in his Django-centered "Dollars" trilogy, à la Sergio Leone, before he ultimately decided to remove the character to make way for another.

So why did Tarantino remove Django from this tale? Well, the film pits a bunch of unsavoury individuals against one another in a very tight space, none of whom have anything even close to resembling a "moral compass." It's hard to imagine Django as one of the titular eight, because he's more of a good guy and this is a story that only really works with a cast of mostly terrible people.

In homage to his original title for the film, though, Tarantino named one of the chapters in the film "Black Man, White Hell."


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.