BEETLEJUICE 25TH ANNIVERSARY
“Beetlejuice” is a 1988 American comedy horror fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, produced by The Geffen Film Company and distributed by Warner Bros. The movie opened theatrically in the United States on April 1, 1988, earning $8,030,897 in its opening weekend. The plot revolves around a recently deceased young couple who become ghosts haunting their former home and an obnoxious, devious “bio-exorcist” named Betelgeuse from the underworld who tries to scare away the new inhabitants permanently.
The film stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton as the eponymous Betelgeuse (the film’s title being a phonetic spelling of the character’s name).
BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE!
13 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Beetlejuice…
1. Tim Burton originally wanted Sammy Davis Jr., a favorite star of his since childhood, to play the role of Betelgeuse but studio executives didn’t like that idea at all. David Geffen suggested Michael Keaton. Burton was unfamiliar with Keaton’s work, but was quickly convinced.
3. The title character of “Beetlejuice” is named for a bright red star in the constellation of Orion, Betelgeuse. The studio disliked the title and wanted to call the film “House Ghosts”. As a joke, Tim Burton suggested the name “Scared Sheetless” and was horrified when the studio actually considered using it.
4. The original script was a horror film, and featured Beetlejuice as a winged, reptilian demon who transformed into a small Middle Eastern man to interact with the Maitlands and the Deetzes. Lydia was a minor character, with her six year old sister Cathy being the Deetz child able to see the Maitlands. Beetlejuice’s goal was to kill the Deetzs, rather than frighten them away, and included sequences where he mauled Cathy in the form of a rabid squirrel and tried to rape Lydia. Subsequent script rewrites turned the film into a comedy and toned down Beetlejuice’s character into the ghost of an wise cracking con-artist rather than a demon.
5. Catherine O’Hara was a replacement for an ill Anjelica Huston as Delia. On the set she met her future husband, production designer Bo Welch.
6. The original plan for the dinner party was to have the guests dance to “a song by The Ink Spots”, but Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara suggested the music be calypso. Danny Elfman suggested “Day-0 (Banana Boat Song)”, by Harry Belafonte. Another Belafonte’s song is listened during the end credits, “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)”.
7. The snake scene had been filmed before Michael Keaton was cast as Betelgeuse, and the animatronic snake used bore no resemblance to the actor. After Keaton had been cast, some additional film was shot for the scene, using a stop-motion snake that looked more like Betelgeuse. This was suggested by the studio to make sure the audience knows the the snake is actually Betelgeuse and not some random monster from the afterlife.
8. During the sequence where Adam and Barbara enter Juno’s office and see her speaking to a recently deceased football team, a movie theater full of ghosts can be seen through Juno’s office window. When the film was first released in theaters, the scene created the illusion that the audience were themselves being watched by the ghosts. Among the ghosts in the audience are a red skeleton and a green skeleton (identical to the ones seen in Tim Burton’s later movie, Mars Attack!), a woman with red hair, and two men in suits and Ray-Ban style sunglasses.
9. Betelgeuse reveals a hideous (albeit unseen) face to Adam and Barbara. Originally, Betelgeuse’s “scary face” was going to be seen, and an elaborate makeup effect was created to that end, but ultimately went unused.
10. Juliette Lewis auditioned for the role of Lydia. Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Justine Bateman, Molly Ringwald and Jennifer Connelly all turned down the same role. Burton cast Winona Ryder upon seeing her in “Lucas”.
11. Beetlejuice’s budget was $15 million, with just $1 million given over to visual effects work. Considering the scale and scope of the effects, which included stop motion, replacement animation, prosthetic makeup, puppetry and blue screen, it was always Burton’s intention to make the style similar to the B movies he grew up with as a child.
12. All the people in the waiting room and in the office are in the same condition as when they died and the way they died is shown clearly. However, the Maitlands, who were drowned, are not wet. This was done deliberately since the director felt that keeping the actors wet all the time would be too uncomfortable.
13. Not surprisingly, the movie’s impressive box-office success created plans for a sequel: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. A script was commissioned and Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder both signed on to reprise their respective roles, but Tim Burton lost interest in the project and went on to direct “Batman”. In September 2011, Warner Bros. hired Seth Grahame-Smith, who collaborated with Burton on “Dark Shadows” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, to write and produce a sequel to “Beetlejuice”. Burton and Keaton have not officially signed on but will return if the script is good enough.
Source: Wikipedia and IMDb.
BEETLEJUICE’S CALYPSO DANCE SCENE “DAY-O (BANANA BOAT SONG)”: