Behind The Scenes Saturday: Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)

Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday!! I’m sorry it took me so long to bring you guys another one, but for my first BTS post of the year, I chose one of my favorite horror musicals, Little Shop Of Horrors! Little Shop Of Horrors is fun, goofy, and filled with amazing, catchy songs. So avoid your local sadistic dentist, don’t feed the bloodthirsty plants, and enjoy these behind the scenes pictures and fun facts!!

(Trivia provided by IMDb.com)

(Pictures provided by IMDb.com, google.com, and facebook.com)

(SPOILER ALERT!!!)

  • For the film’s promotion, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs) the plant frequently did interviews with real press. In one interview, Audrey II “ate” the interviewer.
  • Frank Oz, the film’s director, wanted Crystal (Tichina Arnold), Ronette (Michelle Weeks), and Chiffon (Tisha Campbell) to be in a legit spotlight when they appeared. Unfortunately, the effect wouldn’t work correctly as the light spilled over onto other actors. One effect that did work was making them appear completely dry as they sang in the rain for their first song.
  • For the purpose of obtaining more realism for the film, many bits of wardrobe and props came from New York thrift shops. Some of the most difficult things to find were genuine garbage cans. Tessa Davies, the film’s set decorator drove around in a truck filled with brand new cans and sought out really old ones outside of people’s homes. When she found one, she’d ask the owners if they were willing to trade for a brand new one. She stated that people thought she was crazy for asking for their garbage cans.
  • Audrey II was designed and operated by veterans of the Jim Henson company. One of the operators was Jim Henson’s son, Brian Henson.

  • Orin Scrivello’s (Steve Martin) dental office was originally designed as more grungy and blood-spattered to better reflect his sadism. However, test audiences did NOT like the set-up, so the set was cleaned up, and I honestly it works better as contrast compared to the doctor’s gritty insanity.
  • Bill Murray’s (Arthur Denton) waiting room dialogue was completely scripted. However, other than the cries of pleasure, everything Bill said once he got in the dentist’s chair was ad-libbed.
  • In the original cut, Paul Dooley played the role of Patrick Martin. However, the filmmakers had to shoot a new ending several months later, and Dooley wasn’t available to come back and reprise the role. Because of this, Jim Belushi stepped in as Martin for the new ending.
  • This wasn’t Ellen Greene’s first time playing the role of Audrey. She played Audrey in the Off-Broadway production and she was the only Off-Broadway cast member who joined the film. When she started playing her in 1982, it was her idea to make the character blonde. Before that, Audrey was brunette, based on Jackie Joseph’s look as Audrey in the original 1960 film.

  • When the movie was made in 1986, it ended up having the biggest budget ever in a Warner Brothers production. It even had more than the budget for Aliens, with Aliens having $18 million and Little Shop having $25 million.
  • The singing trio, or “Greek chorus” was named after girl groups from the ‘50s and ‘60s. They were The Ronettes, The Chiffons, and The Crystals.
  • The young girl who leaves the dentist’s office with her jaws wired was played by Jim Henson’s daughter, Heather Henson.
  • It took Steve Martin six weeks to shoot all of his scenes. His character socking the nurse in the face instead of knocking her out with his gas mask was Martin’s idea. He also came up with ripping off the doll’s head.

  • John Candy was originally offered the role of Mr. Mushnik. However, Candy asked for a smaller role and he got radio celebrity Wink Wilkinson and the role of Mushnik went to Vincent Gardenia.
  • During the scene where Orin pushed the doors to Audrey’s apartment complex, the glass actually shattered and Steve Martin ended up cutting his hands. That why in the final cut, Martin kicks the doors open instead of pushing them.
  • For the small version of Audrey II, designer Lyle Conway actually modeled its lips after Ellen Greene.
  • Originally, the filmmakers wanted the role of Audrey to go to Cyndi Lauper. Lauper even expressed great interest in the role, but she couldn’t commit due to her schedule. Madonna was supposedly another candidate for the role.

  • For the scene where Mushnik offers Seymour (Rick Moranis) a way out, Frank Oz initially wanted to use over-the-shoulder shots. However, he had to resort to close-ups because Moranis and Vincent Gardenia kept making each other laugh.
  • Vincent Gardenia was convinced that Frank Oz chose him for Mushnik because he liked Gardenia’s name.
  • This film and Aliens were shot very near to each other in England’s Pinewood Studios. There was an accident involving James Remar, who was originally cast in Aliens. His prop gun was somehow loaded with real bullets and he accidentally shot a hole into the set of Little Shop Of Horrors. Luckily, no one was injured!
  • Eddie Murphy was considered to voice Audrey II. If there was ever a remake, I can definitely picture his voice for the role!

  • There were plans for a sequel, but nothing flourished.
  • Tim Curry and Gene Wilder were both considered for the role of Orin Scrivello.
  • Someone at David Geffen’s company tried to get Rodney Dangerfield any way into the film behind Frank Oz’s back. They even went so far as to try to have Dangerfield record lines for Audrey II. When everyone returned to shoot the film’s new ending, they found the revised script pages that had Dangerfield as Patrick Martin.
  • The original ending had Audrey and Seymour get eaten by Audrey II. Test audiences hated this bleak ending where they died and Audrey II won, so Frank Oz reluctantly changed it. Then people complained that he changed the ending from the original Broadway ending. Oz just couldn’t win either way.

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