10 Things You Didn’t Know About Apocalypse Now
The behind the scenes footage shot by director Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, Eleanor Coppola, is a stark reminder to anyone who has ever sat through every single version of Apocalypse Now only to wish that we had even more footage. The behind the scenes stuff can sometimes be even crazier than the film itself. By now, there are dozens of articles and several videos bouncing around the internet talking about some of the difficulties that were ultimately overcome by the cast and crew in order to make this legendary film and if you have an interest in seeing just how bizarre the making of this movie was then I suggest you watch Hearts of Darkness. Remind me never to star in a Francis Ford Coppola film. Shit is crazy, for real…
1. Actual quote from Francis Ford Coppola: “This film is a 20 million dollar disaster! Why would anybody believe me? I’m thinking of shooting myself.”
2. Apocalypse Now is based loosely on a Joseph Conrad novel called Heart of Darkness.
3. Orson Wells was going to adapt the novel in 1939 but made Citizen Kane instead after the production company thought it was too risky.
4. George Lucas was planning on directing with a script from John Milius.
5. Marlon Brando was paid a $1 million advance, and $1 million additional for each of the three weeks he was supposed to be on set. Brando would later threaten to quit before they started and keep his advance.
6. During the beach scene, some of the helicopters, which were rented from the Filipino military, were called away to fight against rebels in the area.
7. The opening scene of Martin Sheen in the hotel room was a real “shit show”. Sheen was legitimately drunk and had a breakdown while the cameras continued to roll. He sliced his hand pretty badly on the mirror and eventually needed medical attention.
8. Later in the shoot, Martin Sheen had a serious heart attack. He almost died on set and was actually read his last rites by a priest. He would miss 5 weeks of filming before he returned to finish the film.
9. Coppola and Brando would sit and talk about his character for days at a time while the crew waited for them to film a scene.
10. Coppola filmed Brando improvising whatever came into his head for three weeks. Some of the stuff that he says on screen was completely made up by Brando in the moment while some of the lines that were not kept for the movie were batshit crazy and made no sense.