|Posted by: Naomi on 2008-06-27
I love the music to this film, but like you, I think it's freaky, strange and one of the most disturbing films ever made.
How about some trivia?
- To save costs and add to the realism, local residents were cast in the roles of the hill people. (now this is scary!)
- Burt Reynolds broke his coccyx while going down the rapids when the canoe capsizes. Originally, a cloth dummy was used, but it looked too much 'like a dummy going over a waterfall'. After Reynolds was injured and recuperating, he asked, 'How did it look?' The director replied, 'Like a dummy going over a waterfall.'
- John Boorman wanted Lee Marvin and Marlon Brando to play Ed and Lewis, respectively. After reading the script, Marvin suggested that he and Brando were too old, and that Boorman should use younger actors instead. Boorman agreed, and cast Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds.
- Billy Redden, the boy with the banjo, liked Ronny Cox, and disliked Ned Beatty. When at the end of the dueling banjos scene, the script called for Billy to harden his expression towards Drew Ballinger, Cox's character, he was unable to fake dislike for Cox. To solve the problem, they got Beatty to step towards Billy at the close of the shot. As Beatty approached, Billy hardened his expression and looked away - exactly as intended.
- This was Ned Beatty's first film.
- John Boorman was looking for an actor to play the toothless one of the pair of murderous hillbillies. Burt Reynolds suggested Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward, who had no front teeth, stuttered and was illiterate. Reynolds had worked with Coward in a Wild West show in Maggie Valley, NC.
- Unlike Ronny Cox with his guitar, actor Billy Redden did not know how to play banjo for the famous 'Duelling Banjos' scene. To simulate the realistic chord playing on the banjo, another boy, who was a skilled banjo-player, played the chords with his arm reaching around at Redden's side while Redden picked. On the soundtrack, musicians Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel are actually playing.