KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS takes a fun look at some strange facts from the classic The Wicker Man
Ah, The Wicker Man. What a weird, sort-of-musical, cult classic. I am, of course, referring to Robin Hardy’s 1973 original, starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee. We’ll just pretend that the Nicolas Cage remake doesn’t exist. Here are 10 fun facts that you might not know about this creep-fest:
- Apparently, Christopher Lee agreed to perform his role as Lord Summerisle for free. He must have really taken to the material! We also know that this was Lee’s favourite role of his career because he believed it was his best performance.
- There is a credit on the movie that thanks Lord Summerisle and the ‘people of his island’ for their cooperation in the making of the film. This is bizarre because the movie, including the island and the Lord, is entirely fictional… or so they told us.
- Rod Stewart actually attempted to have The Wicker Man banned before its release because Britt Ekland appears naked in it, and she was his girlfriend at the time.
- Britt Ekland, who plays Willow, had most of her dialogue dubbed over, but it isn’t her voice we hear. The vast majority of her dialogue and singing was dubbed over by Annie Ross (the Scottish singer and actress).
- The movie was largely filmed in Galloway, in Scotland. There was some offence and controversy caused after Britt Ekland called Galloway ‘the bleakest place on earth’, and the producers had to formally apologise to the locals.
- The director insists that no animals were harmed in the making, but apparently a goat inside the wicker man at the end was scared, because it did a wee on Woodward’s head. At least the ‘mishap’ added some authenticity to the scene…
- There are multiple versions of the movie, with longer and shorter versions of it all over the place. The original movie negative went missing, and may even be lying under the M3 motorway because over 300 canisters of film were used as filler in the construction of the road. To this day, despite a ‘Director’s Cut’ being available, the movie is still considered by most involved in its production as unfinished.
- The movie is set in May, but was actually filmed during October and November, which were very cold months in Scotland in 1972! Due to this, during outdoor scenes, the actors had to suck ice cubes between takes to ensure that their breath didn’t freeze and wasn’t visible during filming. Additionally, some of the overhead scenic shots had to be filmed in Africa, because the movie didn’t have enough money to give Scotland’s trees their ‘May blossoms’, which would have required the prop department sticking fake blossoms to all the branches.
- This film was the inspiration behind the annual Scottish ‘Wickerman’ festival, which has been running since 2004. It’s an arts festival, which includes the burning of a giant wicker man at the end.
- I’ve a theory that every actor on the planet can be traced back to a vampire movie, and in this case, it couldn’t have been easier. Christopher Lee, who gave arguably the most iconic portrayal of Dracula, the ultimate vampire, stars in this film. By proxy, every actor in this movie is connected to our favourite fanged fiends!
So there you have it, 10 fun facts about the amazing cult horror classic, The Wicker Man.