If we have already told you about filming secrets improbable, there are so many funny anecdotes from the world of the 7th art to know that it would take us a whole week to tell you everything. By diving more precisely into certain aspects, we can stop for a minute on the films which have exceeded the limits of the law to come true, at the cost of morality, fines or quite simply their notoriety, and that is what we suggest you see now.
Michael Curtiz – Caused the death of three people on the set of “Noah’s Ark”
Before making casablancaMichael Curtiz had brought the film to life Noah’s ark back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. To film the flood scene, he thought it was a good idea to surprise the extras by swinging lots of floats, which one of the technicians advised him against because it’s not done too much. But he did not listen and inevitably three people died, others had broken ribs and there were several injuries, but Curtiz was never legally worried. What a beautiful time when workers’ rights were constantly violated.
Melvin Van Peebles – Playing his underage son in a sex scene on the set of “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”
If some remember this film as one of films that launched a genre (the blaxploitation in this case), others remember it for the sex scene (simulated) where a kid (the director’s son) sleeps with a much older woman. The thing is, well, that’s totally illegal, done without permission and completely disturbing.
Dennis Hopper – Drug use on the set of “Easy Rider”
If the film became cult afterwards, we had absolutely no idea during its filming, which clearly did not prevent the actors and the team from using real drugs throughout this crazy adventure. You should know that weed was illegal in the 70s in the United States and punishable by prison (we don’t mess around) and I’m not even talking about other drugs (and there were some), but Hopper wanted to keep a more realistic approach. and probably get high for free.
George Miller – Stealing props and closing roads on the set of ‘Mad Max’
This low-budget film that launched a franchise was one hell of an adventure to shoot. Already the extras were mostly real members of local biker gangs, and with the very small budget, it was difficult to obtain legal authorizations to block certain roads or turn in certain places. That’s why Miller just decided to do it completely illegally by blocking roads to do the chase scenes without telling the police, but also by stealing some props because there weren’t enough dough.
FW Murnau – Adapt Dracula without the rights just by changing the name on the set of “Nosferatu”
When Murnau directed the cult film Nosferatu, he had no permission to blithely copy the story from the novel. Dracula by Bram Stocker. Instead, he just changed the names of the characters and that was about it. Inevitably, it didn’t take long for the rights holders of the original work to feel a bit robbed and a lawsuit was held to give them compensation (normal, it’s theft and plagiarism, like using this replica).
Randy Moore – Filming at DisneyWorld without any authorization for “Escape from tomorrow”
The shooting of this film is a total lack of authorizations since it includes several scenes shot in an amusement park disney without any form of agreement from the park. The actors pretended to be tourists, the cameras were boarded secretly and the editing was done in South Korea. disney got wind of the affair, but rather than giving it more visibility by attacking it head-on, the firm only forced the production to release the film on VOD platforms.
Cameron Crowe – pretending to be a student at a university to write “It’s hot at Ridgemont High”
In order to write as realistically as possible his book It’s hot at Ridgemont High School, Cameron Crowe decided to return to university seven years after the end of his studies for the duration of a school year. After dealing his cover with the school principal, he went to class, made friends with students and literally lied to everyone for a year. The book he wrote was then adapted into a film and inevitably, it was quite faithful to what we could see in these universities, but it was still a big breach of trust with everyone. .
Jonathan Glazer – Filming people on hidden camera to have scenes in “Under the skin”
The film where Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who attracts men for a totally badass project (generally kills them) has a lot of scenes where we see the actress driving her car glancing at men she meets in the street (it hunts its prey what). Most of these scenes were shot without authorization with hidden cameras and the men in question were simple passers-by who exchanged glances with the actress without knowing that it was going to end up in a film. Well, right after each scene, we would warn people to ask them if they objected to appearing in the film, so it became a little more legal.
John McTiernan – Talking to an FBI agent and making his producer listen on the set of “Rollerball”
Probably one of the most incredible points of this top: the film roller ball is not only one of those films that ended their director’s career (John McTiernan in this case) but also drove said director, McTiernan, to prison for over a year. The director of Die Hard 1 and 3of Last Action Hero or even of Hunting for Red October has delivered with this film a bastard product torn between its vision and that of its producer, who obviously has a different opinion.
The rivalry between the two men led McTiernan to hire a private detective to wiretap the producer and a little later to lie to an FBI agent for ordering the illegal tapping, which earned him the famous passage in prison. And if the film was such a big failure, it’s because these two visions doomed the work which could have been a huge criticism against the pro-war American government (all that is explained much better in this great episode of Chroma).
Jafar Panahi – Hide his film in a cake to get it out of Iran with “This is not a film”
The documentary by director Jafar Panahi (which earned him six years in prison in Iran), where he shows a day in his life as a political activist in a country that looks a lot like a dictatorship, could not leave the country without having been shown to the authorities. Panahi therefore decided to shoot and edit it alone before storing it on a USB key that he hid in a birthday cake to take the plane. He then arrived in Cannes where the film was screened and for illegally transporting his work, Panahi was eventually imprisoned.
Terry Gilliam – Editing a fake version of the film and showing it clandestinely for “Brazil”
When Terry Gilliam made his futuristic neo-noir masterpiece Brazil, the producers put it upside down and completely sabotaged the edit. So he stole the footage, edited the film he wanted to make, and organized clandestine press screenings because he was convinced his film was worth it. And since that was the case, the specialized spectators being unanimous, he passed on these opinions to the studio, saying generally “people like my film like that, it’s this version that you have to keep”. Sacred big pair of balls the Terry.
James Cameron – Impersonating a student film crew on the set of ‘Terminator’
James Cameron shot most of the film’s scenes at night because permits were cheaper, but that didn’t stop several parts of the film from being shot illegally. The police therefore logically intervened during the making of the last scene and the producer made them believe that it was a student film so that they were allowed to shoot and the agents were more lax. Dared, but well done.
Besides that, there are also plenty of films whose script should be illegal, like Taxi 4, don’t film that.
Sources: what culture, Ranker, MovieWeb.
Top 12 shoots that broke the law, do you have the permissions sir?