American Beauty is considered one of the most iconic films of our time. This funny and oh-so-clever story about life in the suburbs won the hearts of millions of fans, not to mention winning numerous awards, including Best Picture at the Oscars. But most of the fans are still clueless about certain bizarre behind-the-scenes details, so prepare to get your mind blown!
1. The Original Ending
Lester and Angela in the original script did end up in bed together, but the filmmakers changed that by having Lester stop himself before things got too hot and bothered. The original ending was straight and to the point, while the new one was more ambiguous. And all this was the result of test screenings where audiences hated the ending.
2. Carolyn’s Famous Meltdown Scene
Right at the start of the movie, when Carolyn’s potential house buyer bails, she is left alone and quickly breaks down, realizing how much of a failure she is. Such dramatic scenes usually take hours or even days to get right, but the actress, Annette Bening, nailed it in a single take! She later commented that the inspiration for Carolyn’s character came from a woman Bening saw at church. She was very composed on the outside but, on the inside – a complete mess.
3. Turning Night Into Day
When Lester quits his boring office job, he drives down to Mr. Smiley’s to apply for a drive-thru position. This scene looks like it’s set in the afternoon, but in reality, they filmed it at night. The team adjusted the lighting during post-production. But if you have a keen eye, you can tell the weird inconsistency with the shadows.
4. They Used WHAT As Prop Weed?
So, you know how in the movie Lester buys some Zaza from Ricky, and they become Kush buddies? The prop team used honey tobacco instead of real weed.
5. Sam Mendes Knew From the Start Who Was Going To Play Lester And Carolyn
If there was one thing Sam Mendes was sold on, it was casting Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening to play the main characters of Lester and Carolyn, respectively. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it on a whim and had to wait for the studio’s approval. Studio execs actually proposed the parts to Tom Hanks and Chevy Chase, but they turned it down. And as we know now, it was for the better because Spacey and Bening were perfect for this movie.
6. Identity of The Mysterious Hand Model
Most people had no idea that Christina Hendricks was the hand model for the American Beauty poster before she revealed it on Instagram. What’s weird is that only the hand belonged to her, but the belly in the background was Chloe Hunter’s. Strange choice, but it worked.