Whether it’s hiding under the covers while you watch Halloween or swinging a wrapping-paper-tube lightsaber during Return of the Jedi, everyone has memories of movie magic. There’s something so special about settling in to watch a film, especially in the hushed darkness of a theatre, the screen so big that it feels more real than real life.
But, of course, someone has to make the magic happen. And just like magicians don’t like to share the secrets behind their tricks, filmmakers often hide the secrets of their craft. Background actors who get caught spilling the beans on social media can get kicked off of sets, and they’ll often be blacklisted from working in movies again.
We don’t know many of the tricks that go into moviemaking, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know any of them. If you want to see how filmmakers create their own little world for the audience to slip into, read on!
1. Detox: For obvious reasons, the drugs and alcohol on movie sets are rarely the real thing. Powdered milk or vitamins are generally substituted for cocaine, and colored vinegar is used in place of alcohol. Even the ice in a mixed drink is rarely real – set directors prefer to use gelatin or crumpled plastic wrap!
2. Blowing Smoke: Perhaps more surprisingly, the cigarettes that actors smoke are not real, either. It’s partly because of their negative impacts, but also partly because they don’t last long enough to shoot a proper take. Instead, they use herbal cigarettes. Because these cigarettes still have negative health impacts, actors are paid more when they have to use them during shooting.
3. The Clothes Make The Man: Costume designers get very creative, reusing outfits from movies that have already been filmed and even off-the-shelf furniture supplies.
Game of Thrones’ chief costume designer recently mentioned that the Night Watch’s capes are made from affordable Ikea rugs that look like animal fur.
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