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The original scene of the transformation from legs to fish-tail was much longer and far more graphic and because it was a Disney film a lot of it had to be cut so Ron Howard (the director) thought the simplicity of the single shot of the scales emerging (via an air-pocket) and her caudal fin unrolling over the end of the bath would be enough for the scene.
In the shot where Daryl/Madison throws herself from the bath-tub as Tom/Allen is knocking on the door she actually bruised both her knees badly as she hit the floor.
One of the most memorable leitmotifs of Splash, and on whose design was crucial to retain any semblance of realism within the movie, was of course the mermaid costume.
Robert Short who had worked on the ‘80s blockbuster E.T. was brought on board.
He was not only to be involved in the complete design and implementation of the tail, but also to create a realistic (but grizzly) human-to-mermaid transformation scene which was eventually dropped amongst fears that it would ultimately lead the audience to lose any empathy with Madison .
Early designs made included a tail featuring bra-like scales, but this costume was scrapped. The obvious route would have been to create a green mermaid tail, as featured in most childhood fairytales, myths and legends. However, green fish are not found in the ocean . Making the tail an exotic mixture of orange, red and yellow, was a stroke of genius on the part of Howard whose idea it was for the tail to resemble a goldfish’s. He wanted it to look tropical and different. According to Short, he “would have done a dolphinesque mermaid, with a smooth gray skin that would be biologically real and make zoological sense. ” However, Short eventually came round to Howard’s view.
Short modelled the tail and fins (including pelvic, dorsal and heel fins which have been traditionally ignored in most incarnations of mermaids but were added to ensure the realism of the movie costume) on Japanese Koi fish. Great lengths were taken to ensure the translucent appearance of all the fins.
Yellow and golden highlights were added to the tail to aid realism and to give the illusion of length. A special orange paint was used to colour the tail; originally Short used a paint mixed with ground-up fish scales but this appeared dull when shown underwater.
To guarantee the film’s PG rating Hannah’s nipples were covered with make-up and her wig was glued down to her chest.
Although the creation and design of the tail proved to be long and arduous there is no doubt that if Splash was filmed today the costume would have suffered from some CGI effects.
Underwater, the tail looked so believable that ‘pilot fish, which swim alongside big fish, cruised alongside Hannah’ .
The costume took five hours for Hannah to get into, and Hannah had to be literally glued into the tail with Krazyglue as zippers proved to be cumbersome. As a result Hannah was denied food and drink whilst in the tail, in case the call of nature came knocking which may have resulted in a delay of film-making. One of the costumes worn by Hannah now hangs in Planet Hollywood, Florida.
Hannah, undoubtedly had the toughest job here, as the role required her to swim underwater in cold 35 foot depths, at times without a mask, whilst wearing a specially made underwater wig and of course the 35 pound mermaid tail. This all had to be achieved whilst looking graceful and natural under the ocean. Hannah, who had to breathe underwater unaided for two minutes at a time, did the majority of her own stunts, as she used to swim with her legs tied together as a child, when she re-enacted the Anderson fairytale.
To add to the credibility of the underwater scenes, the stunts team studied the moves of the bottle-nosed dolphin which was then relayed to Hannah who mimicked the twist and turns in her mermaid tail.
Next Section: Deleted Scenes
There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.The following missing scenes from Splash are believed legit. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.
Next Section: Alternate Versions
Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie on Blu-ray or DVD.
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