Injured Melanie Griffith was replaced by extra in pivotal Cecil B. Demented scene
Director John Waters is still fond of the film even though it "bombed" at the box office.
Melanie Griffith was replaced by a "skinny-boy extra" in a scene for Cecil B. Demented after falling and cutting her face in her dressing room.
The actress suffered a gash to her features and couldn't be filmed from the front for a pivotal theatre scene, leaving director John Waters with a big headache.
He recalls the drama in his new autobiography, Mr. Know-It-All, explaining: "Early in the shoot when we were filming the big opening scene where Melanie (Griffith) is kidnapped by Cecil at a movie premiere, Melanie fell in her dressing room at lunch and cut her face badly. I never asked her how or why but it was a big problem.
"We had completed all the shots of her we needed except the last one where Cecil drags her out of the theater as the extras erupt in panic.
"Since she now had a big gash in her face we couldn't shoot her from the front, so David Davenport from the costume department thought fast, grabbed a skinny-boy extra from the crowd who is roughly Melanie's height, put him in Melanie's costume and we filmed the scene showing 'Melanie' from behind. You can't tell it's not her."
"Always let the talent know that nobody's irreplaceable in independent cinema!" the director adds.
Unfortunately, the 2000 film which also featured Stephen Dorff, Alicia Witt, and Adrian Grenier wasn't a hit, but Waters still gets a lot of satisfaction from fans who whisper the film's catchphrase in his ear.
"The grosses were terrible," John explains in his book. "We bombed big time in both America and France, pulling in only $2 million on a budget of $10 million. God it was awful... I still like Cecil B. Demented a lot. Every once in a while, I'll be walking down the street and a fan will pass me by and whispered to me Cecil's militants call to arms, 'Demented forever', and keep on going. It makes me feel all warm and skuzzy inside."
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