Christmas season is in full swing. You’ve probably done some shopping, maybe on Black Friday, or maybe you haven’t done any shopping, and you’re panicking (relax, you’ve still got tons of time). You might have gotten a tree, and you may have also gotten around to decorating it (gotta find those ornaments!).
So now’s the time to start watching A Christmas Story on repeat. It’s not really Christmas until you’ve seen the kid in the movie get his tongue stuck to the pole. And while you’re at it, why not re-watch some other Christmas classics, like A Charlie Brown Christmas, old standard It’s a Wonderful Life, and perfectly hilarious Elf? Break out the wrapping paper, the eggnog and candy canes, and immerse yourself in Christmas. But first, check out these behind-the-scenes facts about the films and see the movies in a whole different light.
1. The art department of Elf spent weeks making and setting up the holiday decorations in the department store set. So the fight scene between Buddy and the mall Santa had to be done in one take.
Comedian Artie Lange played the mall Santa in Elf. In an interview, he revealed that the director, Jon Favreau, told them to “just go nuts.”
2. The montage in Elf when Buddy explores New York City actually involves Will Ferrell interacting with random people on the street.
The montage was filmed with just director Jon Favreau, one cameraman, and WIll Ferrell in those mustard yellow tights, running around the city.
3. At one point during the making of the timeless classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, a producer who wasn’t too happy with a cut suggested adding a laugh track. Charles M. Schulz responded by walking right out of the room.
According to this article in New York Magazine, the project faced a ton of obstacles right from the start.
4. Donald Trump would only give the production team of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York permission to film inside the Plaza Hotel if they wrote him into the movie.
At the time, Trump was the owner of the Plaza. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Damon explained that Trump requesting to be put in the movies was totally common. He said, “The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part. [Director] Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman—and the whole crew was in on it. You have to waste an hour of your day with a bullshit shot: Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, “Hello, Mr. Trump!”—you had to call him by name—and then he exits. You waste a little time so that you can get the permit, and then you can cut the scene out. But I guess in Home Alone 2 they left it in.”
5. 1996′ Jingle All the Way was inspired by the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of Christmas in 1983.
In 1983, parents desperate to get their kids Cabbage Patch Kids dolls even camped outside toy stores. By the time December was over, more than 3,000,000 dolls had been sold.
6. None of the shots of Buddy the Elf in the North Pole are done with CGI—it’s all just a production trick known as “forced perspective.”
For example, the set of Buddy’s classroom is constructed in such a way that Will Ferrell is actually not sitting next to the kids, but on a platform in front of them, closer to the camera. This naturally makes him look like a giant.
7. Bruce Willis is wearing rubber feet throughout a lot of Die Hard.
First of all, yes, that answers the question of whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie. It’s on this list because it IS, case closed, end of story. Second, John McClane was barefoot in the movie but that doesn’t mean that Bruce Willis was going to do all the crazy stuff he does in the movie, like walking through glass, without anything protecting his feet. And in some of the scenes, you can actually see the fake feet covering Willis’ real ones.
8. The website that Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) use to swap houses in The Holiday is real.
Want to switch homes with somebody and have a holiday (or possible nightmare?) for real? Check out the site here.
9. There’s a scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in which Rusty watches Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. That was particularly fitting since Frank Capra’s real-life grandson was part of Christmas Vacation‘s crew.
Yup, Frank Capra III was Christmas Vacation‘s second assistant director.
10. The Grandhotel Pupp, the swanky hotel that Georgia (Queen Latifah) stays at in Last Holiday is a real hotel in the Czech Republic.
Casino Royale and La Vie En Rose also featured the hotel.