Monty Python Facts - Life of Brian Edition!
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Monty Python
Terry Gilliam's favorite moment is "...when Graham (Chapman) spews every anti-Semitic word he can think of, and is proud of it. It's a great moment to take everything negative and turn it into a positive."
If not for George Harrison (Mr. Papadopolous), Life of Brian wouldn't have been made. The Pythons needed four million dollars and Harrison kept telling Idle he'd get the money for them--he did. He set up a film company (Handmade Films) and paid for it "...just because he wanted to see the movie."
After the first take of the scene where a nude Brian (Graham Chapman) addresses the crowd from his window, Terry Jones pulled Chapman aside and said "I think we can see that you're not Jewish", referring to Chapman being uncircumcised. This was corrected in subsequent takes with the application of a rubber band.
Terry Jones remarked that the opening shots were accidental; "We were shooting a main scene--with Christ doing the sermon on the mount--and a crowd, and suddenly the crowd all disappeared." When the director asked what was going on, he was told the crowd of extras were mainly women, and they all had to go make tea for their husbands. "When they came back, Eric said 'That looks great!' and we put the camera on them."
Gilliam couldn't figure out where to fit animation in, then the spaceship sequence came to him. "Brian is trying to escape an impossible situation--I gave him an impossible solution. It was a great Pythonic thing to do; pretend to be George Lucas for a moment and not do real animation. The sound guys thought I was crazy. We used a motorcycle soundtrack. The explosions were special effects done at the end of film; we used Roman columns and hubcaps for the spaceship. We had run out of money."
For the graffiti scene, fake walls were built in front of the real ones because they couldn't write on the sacred walls. The production left a trail of black smudge that the director was assured would come off, but it didn't. "In the end, we had to come back under cover of night to repaint the stones back to their natural color. I still don't know if anyone knows about that."
Speaking of that scene, when John Cleese finished school, he became a Latin teacher for a couple of years. Gilliam spoke of how while most people go backpacking--traveling after they complete school, Cleese went right back to his and taught. "It affected him greatly. This allows John to write scenes from his emotional life, and which have some significance," as with his teacherly demeanor in the graffiti scene. (as a latin student, I particularly loved this scene and the fact that we once watched it in class!)
When Michael Palin as Pontius Pilate addressed the soldiers daring them to laugh, he was truly daring them. The soldier extras were ordered by the Pythons to stand there and not laugh but not told what Palin was going to do.
In the interview section of Monty Python's Flying Circus: Live at Aspen (1998), John Cleese confides that, since there were massive protests against the movie from all denominations of Christianity, he would joke with Michael Palin: "We've brought them all together for the first time in 2000 years!"
Idle said the English are at their best during war times or when things are miserable and horrible. "Most of us were born during the second World War--we know what it is to be scared-- the British reaction is cheer. I just went off and wrote it, whistling jolly. I once learned some Jazz chords, so I did a riff on the chords...it was so outrageous to have a crucifiction and a song. It is so uplifting it really works--lightens the whole load at the end of the film."
hope y'all enjoyed, here are parts 1 and 2!
**Part 4 on the Meaning of Life http://www.imgur.com/gallery/2JDNP