15 Fun Facts About Time Bandits

YouTube
YouTube

Starring Sean Connery, and co-written and directed by the one and only Terry Gilliam, Time Bandits told the story of a young boy named Kevin, who goes on an adventure through space and time with six little people determined to rob from history’s greats, while on the run from The Supreme Being, whose map of “time holes” they have stolen, and Evil himself. Here are some facts about the movie that aren’t evil, so you can touch them.

1. TERRY GILLIAM FIRST CAME UP WITH THE IDEA IN 1979.

Gilliam wanted to do an entire film from a kid’s point of view. The only problem was he felt he needed to give the protagonist child a group of people of similar height to surround him, because a kid couldn’t carry an entire movie. He combined those thoughts with the concept of committing crimes while time traveling, making it possible to get away with the thievery because it had not happened yet.

2. GILLIAM WANTED TO MAKE BRAZIL FIRST, BUT WASN’T ALLOWED TO.

Gilliam and the other members of Monty Python, along with former Beatle George Harrison, created a production company called HandMade Films, and installed their manager Denis O’Brien as the head of the company. O’Brien never understood Brazil, so "out of frustration" Gilliam came up with a family-friendly idea O’Brien couldn’t pass up. During his successful pitch of Time Bandits to O’Brien, Gilliam acted out the entire outline.

3. GEORGE HARRISON MORTGAGED HIS OFFICE BUILDING TO FINANCE THE FILM.

No studio wanted to make Time Bandits, so Harrison and O’Brien funded the filming for the necessary $5 million. Even though the film ended up being a financial and commercial success, Harrison was frustrated with Gilliam’s stubbornness, as evident by the lyrics to Harrison’s song “Dream Away,” which the musician wrote for Time Bandits and plays at the end of the movie. Harrison even once told Gilliam he reminded him of John Lennon—because he was so difficult and “bolshie.”

4. GILLIAM AND MICHAEL PALIN WROTE FOR AGAMEMNON TO BE "SEAN CONNERY OR AN ACTOR OF EQUAL BUT CHEAPER STATURE" IN THEIR SCRIPT, NEVER BELIEVING THEY WOULD ACTUALLY GET SEAN CONNERY.

In the early 1980s, Connery’s career was, as Gilliam described it, “at its nadir,” and Denis O’Brien was a golf partner of the former James Bond. Even more fortunately, Connery was a fan of the Pythons and signed up.

5. CRAIG WARNOCK WAS CAST AFTER GOING WITH HIS BROTHER TO HIS AUDITION.

Craig Warnock's brother Grant auditioned to play Kevin, but Gilliam was more interested in the quiet Craig. Gilliam has said he finds kid actors “too cute.”

6. MICHAEL PALIN WANTED TO PLAY ROBIN HOOD.

O’Brien wanted a bigger star for the most potential financial success, so John Cleese was called in instead. Palin wrote himself in as Vincent as a consolation.

7. CONNERY TOOK CONTROL ON THE FIRST DAY OF SHOOTING.

Gilliam hadn’t directed in years, and his first day back behind the camera took place on top of a mountain .. in Morocco ... in 130-degree heat. After struggling to get things right, Connery helped by strongly suggesting to his director that he shoot his parts first and let him leave before working with Warnock, who was living through his first day ever on a movie set. Connery also informed Gilliam they would deal with the star actually getting on the horse during post-production.

8. RALPH RICHARDSON TOOK PLAYING "SUPREME BEING" VERY SERIOUSLY.

He changed a bunch of his lines. When crossing out what Gilliam and Palin had written for him in red ink, he would sometimes say “God wouldn’t say that” while doing so.

9. THE LITTLE PEOPLE WERE WRITTEN BASED ON THE PERSONALITIES OF THE ACTORS.

For example, the character of Randall saw himself as the leader, as did David Rappaport, the actor who played him. Unfortunately for Rappaport, he also was gradually disliked by some of the other actors—among them Kenny Baker (Fidgit), better known as the man inside R2-D2 in the Star Wars movies—for not associating with them off-camera. Gilliam and Palin noticed this, and when they needed a new scene, it inspired them to write the part where the others turn on Randall

10. GILLIAM ACCIDENTALLY JUMPED AND LANDED ON SHELLEY DUVALL.

The director was demonstrating how safe it was to jump off a scaffold by jumping off of it himself. Gilliam meant to land around Palin and Duvall (she played Pansy in her first role after shooting The Shining), but instead landed on Duvall’s head.  She recalled the experience to Roger Ebert in December of 1980, telling the famed film critic, "I could have been paralyzed. As it is, there's just a pain that comes through my ears to my eye, and then goes away." The pain recurred about twice a week, for two minutes.

11. FIDGIT DIED SO CONNERY COULD LIVE.

Agamemnon was supposed to lead the group of archers and be crushed by the falling column. Connery could only film for 14 days though, so it was rewritten for Fidgit to take the fall.

12. CONNERY ENDED UP FIGURING OUT A WAY TO RETURN AGAIN.

Back at their first meeting, Connery told Gilliam he thought it would be great if he played the firefighter at the end. When the initial ending for Time Bandits wasn’t satisfactory enough for Gilliam, he remembered what his star said. And managed to convince Connery, who happened to be back in London to see his accountant that day, to go into the studio for two quick shots in a firefighter’s outfit. The scene wasn’t even written until a month later.

13. GILLIAM HAD TO FIGHT TO BLOW UP THE PARENTS.

O’Brien was only convinced that the violent ending could stay after an advance screening of the movie was held for an audience full of children. The first child who was asked what his favorite moment of the film was excitedly proclaimed, “The parents being blown up!”

14. A SCENE WHERE THE BANDITS TRY TO ROB A BANK IN 22ND-CENTURY LONDON WAS CUT.

In a scene that didn’t make it into the final film, Og (Mike Edmonds) got entangled by a tendril that dragged him into a cave. The tendril turned out to be yarn from two eight-footed old women who are knitting spider webs to capture knights. The scene was supposed to take place before the Bandits enter the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness. The footage has supposedly since been destroyed.

15. THERE HAS BEEN TALK OF A SEQUEL SINCE 1996.

Two drafts of a script for Time Bandits II were written. Then, in 2001, the Hallmark Channel announced it was bringing the movie back as a four-hour miniseries, but nothing ever came of it. In 2006, there was talk of the story continuing in comic book form, on the same day that the proposed comic book publisher’s dissolution was announced. Most recently, in April, Gilliam again mentioned that he was involved in a TV series based on the movie.

Amazon Customers Are Swearing by a $102 Mattress

Linenspa
Linenspa

Before you go out and spend hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars on a new mattress, you may want to turn to Amazon. According to Esquire, one of the most comfortable mattresses on the market isn’t from Tempur-Pedic, Casper, or IKEA. It’s a budget mattress you can buy on Amazon for as little as $102.

Linenspa's 8-inch memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress has more than 24,000 customer reviews on Amazon, and 72 percent of those buyers gave it five stars. The springs are topped by memory foam and a quilted top layer that make it, according to one customer, a “happy medium of both firm and plush.”

Linenspa

Perhaps because of its cheap price point, many people write that they first purchased it for their children or their guest room, only to find that it far exceeded their comfort expectations. One reviewer who bought it for a guest room wrote that “it is honestly more comfortable than the expensive mattress we bought for our room.” Pretty impressive for a bed that costs less than some sheet sets.

Getting a good night's sleep is vital for your health and happiness, so do yourself a favor and make sure your snooze is as comfortable as possible.

The mattress starts at $102 for a twin and goes up to $200 for a king. Check it out on Amazon.

[h/t Esquire]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

20 Eye-Opening Facts About Eyes Wide Shut

Warner Bros./Liaison via Getty Images Plus
Warner Bros./Liaison via Getty Images Plus

In the late 1990s, stories about what was happening on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s already-secretive film Eyes Wide Shut constantly made headlines. Everyone wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes with real-life celebrity couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and the 15-month shoot only intrigued people more. Finally, the film was released on July 16, 1999—more than four months after Kubrick had passed away. While there is still a lot we don’t know about the movie, here are 20 things we do.

1. Eyes Wide Shut is based on a 1926 novella.

Eyes Wide Shut is loosely is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s novella Traumnovelle (Dream Story), which was published in 1926. Considering that the movie takes place in 1990s New York, it is obviously not a direct adaptation, but it overlaps in its plot and themes. “[The book] explores the sexual ambivalence of a happy marriage and tries to equate the importance of sexual dreams and might-have-beens with reality,” Kubrick said. “The book opposes the real adventures of a husband and the fantasy adventures of his wife, and asks the question: is there a serious difference between dreaming a sexual adventure, and actually having one?”

2. Production on Eyes Wide Shut began in 1996.

By then, Kubrick had been holding onto the rights to Traumnovelle—which screenwriter Jay Cocks purchased on his behalf, in order to keep the project under wraps—for nearly 30 years. Kubrick had planned to begin working on the film after making 2001: A Space Odyssey, but then got the opportunity to adapt A Clockwork Orange.

3. The studio pushed Stanley Kubrick to cast A-list names.

Terry Semel, then-head of Warner Bros., told Kubrick, “What I would really love you to consider is a movie star in the lead role; you haven't done that since Jack Nicholson [in The Shining].”

4. Stanley Kubrick wanted to cast Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.

Kubrick liked the idea of casting a real-life married couple in the film, and originally considered Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. (He also liked the idea of Steve Martin.) Eventually, he went with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who were married from 1990 to 2001.

5. London stood in for New York City.

Though the film is set in New York, it was filmed in London. In order to construct the most accurate sets possible, Vanity Fair reported that Kubrick “sent a designer to New York to measure the exact width of the streets and the distance between newspaper vending machines.”

6. Some of the shots in Eyes Wide Shut required no set at all.

In order to give the movie a dream-like quality, the filmmakers used an old-school method of shooting—and a treadmill. “In some of the scenes, the backgrounds were rear-projection plates,” cinematographer Larry Smith explained. “Generally, when Tom’s facing the camera, the backgrounds are rear-projected; anything that shows him from a side view was done on the streets of London. We had the plates shot in New York by a second unit [that included cinematographers Patrick Turley, Malik Sayeed and Arthur Jafa]. Once the plates were sent to us, we had them force-developed and balanced to the necessary levels. We’d then go onto our street sets and shoot Tom walking on a treadmill. After setting the treadmill to a certain speed, we’d put some lighting effects on him to simulate the glow from the various storefronts that were passing by in the plates. We spent a few weeks on those shots.”

7. Eyes Wide Shut holds a Guinness World Record.

The film has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest constant movie shoot, with a total of 400 days, which was a surprise to the cast and crew. Cruise and Kidman had only committed to six months of filming. The extended shoot was a lot to ask of Cruise in particular, who was at the height of his career. He even had to delay work on Mission: Impossible II to finish Eyes Wide Shut. He didn’t seem to mind though. “We knew from the beginning the level of commitment needed,” Cruise told TIME. “We were going to do what it took to do this picture.”

8. The script for Eyes Wide Shut kept changing.

Warner Bros. via Getty Images Plus

According to Todd Field, who portrayed piano player Nick Nightingale (and is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker in his own right), “We’d rehearse and rehearse a scene, and it would change from hour to hour. We’d keep giving the script supervisor notes all the time, so by the end of the day the scene might be completely different. It wasn’t really improvisation, it was more like writing.”

9. Tom Cruise developed ulcers while shooting Eyes Wide Shut.

“I didn't want to tell Stanley," Cruise told TIME. “He panicked. I wanted this to work, but you're playing with dynamite when you act. Emotions kick up. You try not to kick things up, but you go through things you can't help.”

10. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman slept in their characters' bedroom.

In order to reflect their real-life relationship, Cruise and Kidman were asked to choose the color for the curtains in their on-screen bedroom, where they also slept.

11. The apartment featured in the movie was a re-creation of Stanley Kubrick's.

According to Cruise, “The apartment in the movie was the New York apartment [Stanley] and his wife Christianne lived in. He recreated it. The furniture in the house was furniture from their own home. Of course the paintings were Christianne's paintings. It was as personal a story as he's ever done.”

12. Stanley Kubrick temporarily banned Tom Cruise from the set.

Warner Bros. via Getty Images Plus

Given his penchant for accuracy, it’s quite possible that Kubrick wanted to stir up some real-life jealousy between his stars in order to help them embody their characters. In a fantasy sequence, Kidman’s character has sex with another man, which motivates the rest of the film’s plot. Kubrick banned Cruise from the set on the days that Kidman shot the scene with a male model. They spent six days filming the one-minute scene. Kubrick also forbid Kidman from telling Cruise any details about it.

13. It took 95 takes for Tom Cruise to walk through a doorway.

Six days for a one-minute scene is nothing compared to the time Kubrick had Cruise do 95 takes of one simple action: walking through a doorway. After watching the playback, he apparently told Cruise, “Hey, Tom, stick with me, I’ll make you a star.”

14. Security on the set was tight.

Aside from Kubrick, Kidman, Cruise, and their tiny crew, no one was allowed on the set, which was heavily guarded. In May 1997, one photographer managed to capture a picture of Cruise standing next to a man that the photographer thought was just an “old guy, scruffy with an anorak and a beard.” That man was Kubrick, who hadn’t been photographed in 17 years. After the incident, security on the set was tripled.

15. Paul Thomas Anderson spent some time on the set.

One person Cruise did manage to sneak onto the set was his future Magnolia director, Paul Thomas Anderson. While there, Anderson asked Kubrick, “Do you always work with so few people?” Kubrick responded, “Why? How many people do you need?” Anderson then recalled feeling “like such a Hollywood a**hole.”

16. Stanley Kubrick makes a cameo in the movie.

Warner Bros.

He’s not credited, but the film’s director can be seen sitting in a booth at the Sonata Café.

17. Stanley Kubrick died less than a week after showing the studio his final cut of Eyes Wide Shut.

Kubrick died less than a week after showing what would be his final cut of the film to Warner Bros. No one can say how much he would have kept editing the film. One thing that was changed after his death: bodies in the orgy scene were digitally altered so that the movie could be released with an R (rather than an NC-17) rating. Although many claim that Kubrick intended to do this, too. "I think Stanley would have been tinkering with it for the next 20 years," Kidman said. "He was still tinkering with movies he made decades ago. He was never finished. It was never perfect enough.”

18. By the time Eyes Wide Shut was released, a dozen years had passed since Stanley Kubrick's last directorial effort.

Eyes Wide Shut came out a full 12 years after Kubrick’s previous film, 1987's Full Metal Jacket.

19. Eyes Wide Shut topped the box office during its opening week.

The film earned $30,196,742 during its first week in release, which was enough to take the box office’s number one spot—making it Kubrick’s only film to do so.

20. Tom Cruise didn't like Dr. Harford.

One year after the film’s release, Cruise admitted that he “didn’t like playing Dr. Bill. I didn’t like him. It was unpleasant. But I would have absolutely kicked myself if I hadn’t done this.”

An earlier version of this article ran in 2015.