Director Frank Oz & Composer Alan Menken Reveal Five Little Known Facts About LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
Published: October 8, 2012 - 8:49pm
Little Shop of Horrors, nominated for two Academy Awards in 1986, including Best Music, Original Song and Best Effects, Visual Effects, debuts on Blu-ray Disc October 9th, 2012 from Warner Home Video.
In this cult classic, a nerdish florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed. Little Shop of Horrors stars Rick Moranis (Little Giants, The Flintstones, Parenthood, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids), Ellen Greene (The Cooler, TV series The Young and the Restless, Heroes, Pushing Daisies), Vincent Gardenia (Moonstruck), with a special appearance by Steve Martin (It’s Complicated, The Pink Panther, Cheaper by the Dozen), and more.
The Blu-ray debut of the film, directed by the inimitable Frank Oz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Dark Crystal, The Muppets Take Manhattan), includes two hi-def versions of the cult classic: the one shown in theaters and The Director’s Cut, featuring a newly restored 20-minute ending from the director’s first cut, now in color, that fans have been waiting to see. The footage of the original ending was previously available only in black & white in the extra content of a limited number of copies of a DVD edition released in 1998. Now, with the help of production notes from Frank Oz and others on the film’s creative team, WHV has meticulously restored and digitally remastered the ending, in full color, with the elaborate special effects in tact. Sound has also been rebuilt and mixed in Dolby 5.1. The theatrical version has also been re-mastered.
Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut is loaded with extras, including commentary by director Frank Oz (on the theatrical version), introduction by Oz with Richard Conway, outtakes, deleted scenes, and a behind-the-scenes documentary –all presented in a commemorative Blu-ray Book boasting 40 pages of behind-the-scenes insight, including film trivia, actor and director bios and more.
Last week, Frank Oz joined composer Alan Menken and Director's Cut restoration consultant Kurt Galvao to promote the upcoming Blu-ray release. During the course of their interviews and discussions they revealed a slew interesting facts about the film and its original cut:
#5 - Bill Murray, the New Jack Nicholson
The original black-and-white film The Little Shop of Horrors written and directed by Roger Corman featured Nicholson in a small role as dental patient Wilbur Force. The part was cut from the stage version but added back into the musical film, and whoever landed it would have to spar with Steve Martin's sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello. Enter Bill Murray. The two improvised their memorable scene which was infused with so much strange and hilarious sexual tension the entire part has once again been cut from locally reenacted stage productions.
#4 - Disastrous Test Screenings Aren't Always Bad
During the first test screening Frank Oz and his producers noticed the audience loving the dark, tongue-in-cheek humor and charming music. But after playing the final 20 minutes, which is featured in the newly released Director's Cut showing the deaths of Audrey and Seymour and destruction of New York City by "Mean Green Mother" Audrey II's alien spawn, the negative response was overwhelming. Though none of the creative team were overly fond of it they immediately began working on a new, "happy" ending that went on to please the movie going masses.
#3 - Restorations are Love Letters to Filmmakers & Fans
Technical adviser Kurt Galvao is the man responsible for finalizing director Oz's vision of Little Shop of Horrors for this Blu-ray release. After previously working on the director's cut of Blade Runner, a project that took over five years, Galvao spent the better part of last year hunting down and piecing together bits of footage to recreate the film's original cut. The footage featured close to 10 solid minutes of B-movie styled sci-fi mayhem courtesy of model maker and effects supervisor Richard Conway, all of which was removed from the theatrical version. It was scattered across various archives around the US and England in negative format and was not recolored or modernized during the reedit.
#2 - Suddenly
Seymour Someone Could've Been a Hit
Prior to it's theatrical release, composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman were asked if the film's signature ballad 'Suddenly Seymour' could be modified into a general use single. They even had a title: 'Suddenly Someone.' Though the idea was appealing -- Menken jokingly says it would have been "the hit love ballad of the 80's" -- and they had already tinkered with restructuring the lyrics, the duo eventually passed on releasing it.
#1 - Nathan Lane Almost Played Seymour Krelborn
Before Rick Moranis, who had a breakout role in the hit sci-fi comedy Ghostbusters, landed the memorable role Nathan Lane was one of the top contenders to star in Little Shop of Horrors as its whitful protagonist. Director Frank Oz really wanted Moranis for the part and successfully lobbied for him. Tony award winning theater actress Faith Price was also lined up for the role of Audrey after Cyndi Lauper and Barbra Streisand turned the part down, but Oz once again got his way by signing his first choice Ellen Greene to reprise her Off-Broadway performance