25 Things You Didn’t Know About The Fly

David Cronenberg’s body-horror classic, The Fly was released thirty years ago today in U.S cinemas. Famously, the movie broke boundaries for practical effects artists, but what are some not so well known facts? Here’s 25 things you never knew about The Fly:

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“Be afraid, be very afraid”

Okay, this MIGHT be the wrong movie, but we couldn't resist.  Okay, this MIGHT be the wrong movie, but we couldn’t resist.

By Jay Hunter David Cronenberg’s body-horror classic, The Fly was released thirty years ago today in U.S cinemas. The movie follows scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) who, whilst working on his teleportation device, decides to test it’s abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a merger of man and insect. Initially, Brundle appears to have undergone a successful teleportation, but the fly’s cells begin to take over his body. As he becomes increasingly fly-like, Brundle’s girlfriend (Geena Davis) is horrified as the person she once loved deteriorates into a monster.

Famously, the movie broke boundaries for practical effects artists, but what are some not so well known facts? Here’s 25 things you never knew about The Fly:

25. In a 1987 interview on Sinister Image (1987) Vincent Price revealed that when this remake was released, star Jeff Goldblum wrote him a letter saying, “I hope you like it as much as I liked yours.” Price was touched by the letter, he composed a reply and went to see the film, which he described as “wonderful right up to a certain point… it went a little too far.”

24. The infamous cat-monkey scene where Brundlefly fuses a cat and the remaining baboon and then beats it to death with a lead pipe was cut following a Toronto screening. According to producer Stuart Cornfeld the audience felt that there was no turning back for Seth and they lost all sympathy for his plight, which caused the rest of the film to not play as well. In Cornfeld’s own words: “If you beat an animal to death, even a monkey-cat, your audience is not gonna be interested in your problems anymore”.

The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon - NBC
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon – NBC

23. After watching some of his early films, director Martin Scorsese asked to meet David Cronenberg. Upon meeting him, Scorsese said he looked like a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. This inspired Cronenberg to give himself a cameo as a doctor.

22. Scripted, but never filmed, was a segment meant to have followed the deleted monkey-cat scene: A homeless lady screams after interrupting Brundlefly as he feeds out of an open dumpster. Brundlefly seizes the bag lady and disintegrates her face with his vomit drop. Before he finishes feeding on the woman’s corpse, Brundlefly’s humanity emerges for a moment; just long enough to contemplate the horror of his sub-human existence.

21. Mel Brooks didn’t want people to know he was a producer for the film because, he thought people wouldn’t take it seriously if they knew he was involved. When people did find out he decided to make the most of it by handing out deely boppers at the premiere.

We couldn't find an appropriate gif, so here's a dog playing the drums.
We couldn’t find an appropriate gif, so here’s a dog playing the drums.

20. The scene where Seth and Ronnie are having coffee at the restaurant and Seth is talking endlessly was only half scripted when production began. The remainder was written the night before the scene was going to be filmed, as Jeff Goldblum felt that he could add more to the character.

uh, urm, improvisation, IMPROVISATION
uh, urm, improvisation, IMPROVISATION

19. Jeff Goldblum was often wearing as much as 5lbs of prosthetic makeup in his more scary scenes.

18. Michael Keaton was offered the role of Seth Brundle, but he declined.

I'm Batman. I’m Batman.

17. Several sequences were filmed but cut from the final release, including: a scene where Brundle climbs the outside of his building as an insect limb emerges from his side; and an alternate ending in which Veronica has another dream of her unborn child, this time as a baby with beautiful butterfly wings.

Disclaimer: Above image may, or may not be related to The Fly (1980) Disclaimer: Above image may, or may not be related to The Fly (1980)

16. It took nearly five hours to apply the most extensive makeup stages to actor Jeff Goldblum.

All so a puppet could steal his thunder in the final act
All so a puppet could steal his thunder in the final act

15. Chris Walas had a meeting with his crew prior to production. He said they could do this film or Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). Working on this film meant that they would have to come up with all of the designs and begin construction in three months. Walas’ crew unanimously agreed that it wasn’t possible in that time frame but decided to do it anyway because it was more of a challenge.

Oh... Oh…

14. This was the first theatrical film to have its broadcast premiere on the Fox television network.

Yeah, that one
Yeah, that one

13. The inspiration for the design of the telepods came from the shape of the cylinder in David Cronenberg’s vintage Ducati motorcycle.

Un....canny? Un….canny?

12. The first bar and the last bar of music on the soundtrack is taken from the last bar of music from Puccini’s tragic opera ‘Madama Butterfly’. Perhaps a reference to the deleted dream sequence of the heroine giving birth to a butterfly.

...here's the dog again
…here’s the dog again

11. Richard Dreyfuss turned down the role of Seth Brundle.

Nope
Nope

10. According to David Cronenberg, the line “Be afraid, be very afraid” was invented by Mel Brooks while discussing how characters should react to the early stages of Seth Brundle’s transformation.

And was subsequently used in every movie, ever, forever, until the end of time
And was subsequently used in every movie, ever, forever, until the end of time

9. After bringing Veronica, a journalist, to his apartment, the first thing Seth does to impress her is play the piano. In real life, David Cronenberg’s mother played the piano, while his father was a journalist.

It's NOT the drum dog, it doesn't count
It’s NOT the drum dog, it doesn’t count

8. John Lithgow auditioned for the lead role.

Last time, I swear
Last time, I swear

7. David Cronenberg was surprised when the film was seen by some critics as a cultural metaphor for AIDS, since he originally intended the film to be a more general analogy for disease itself, terminal conditions like cancer and, more specifically, the aging process.

6. Brundlefly’s “vomit drop” was, in reality, made from honey, eggs, and milk.


“That’s disgusting”

5. One version of the script had Brundle losing his ability to speak while becoming more fly-like, as in The Fly (1958).

Hahaha, what?!
Hahaha, what?!

4. Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.

See what happens when you don't let me use the drumming dog? Let's move on... See what happens when you don’t let me use the drumming dog? Let’s move on…

3. Early designs of the teleportation pods resembled glass showers or phone booths.

Any self-respecting, unhygienic horror fan thinks this when they read 'shower'
Any self-respecting, unhygienic horror fan thinks this when they read ‘shower’

2. This is the first Fly movie to be shot in the 1.85:1 ratio. The three previous films were all shot in 2.35:1.

Screw it, I'm not getting into the semantics of cinematography
Screw it, I’m not getting into the semantics of cinematography

1. Originally a project for Tim Burton to direct.

But then Johnny Depp wouldn't do it. Kidding!....probably
But then Johnny Depp wouldn’t do it. Kidding!….probably

 

Related – 25 things you didn’t know about Psycho

Source – IMDB

Author: Jay Hunter

Owner of Jump Scare UK. Award nominated writer. The Playlist, Fangoria, Rue Morgue, The Guide Liverpool & more. I killed Mufasa #LFC

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