Making Of...
Making Of...

Splash Behind The Scenes

AKA:
Splash Picture
1984
Only in the 80s... A truly magical modern fairy tale
Go behind the scenes and learn what went on during the making of the 1984 Romantic Comedy movie starring Tom Hanks, John Candy, Daryl Hannah et al.
Contributed by: Marty Lawson
When Daryl Hannah saves Tom Hanks, the beach is actually an island owned by Disney in the Bahamas. Their cruise ships use it for a getaway for their passengers.
Contributed by: Jonathan Lim
Bill Murray turned down the role of Allen.
Contributed by: Kenneth Sutton
John Travolta originally read for the lead role, but he backed out on advice from his agent, since it was rumoured that Warren Beatty was fixing to make his own mermaid film, which never materialized.
Contributed by: Amanda Clement / Ellectrika
In the restaurant scene, you see Daryl Hannah's character eating a lobster. We all know the scene is faked because she happily devours shell and all. However, less well known is that the lobster you see is actually stuffed with leeks and mashed potatoes. Daryl is a devout vegetarian and apparently had to throw up into a bucket after each take. To this day, she still cannot eat leeks as they remind her of lobster!
Contributed by: Jeana Hong
Alan, Tom Hanks, lives in 25 Tudor City Place, a charming pre-war complex located in mid-town Manhattan next door to the United Nations. This Gothic style neighborhood is a favorite of film scouts as it has appeared in Serpico, F/X, The Peacemaker, The Godfather III, both recent Spiderman movies and The Intrepreter.
The tail took a very long time to put on and caused Daryl a lot of discomfort, especially in the blistering 1984 heat where all she could do was lay on a towel until it was her scenes.
After each day of shooting, the tail needed to be repainted.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
For the famous 'bath scene' they used a special air pocket to make the fish scales appear.

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.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
At the beginning sequence when the young Allen meets the young Madison (played by David Kreps & Shayla MacKarvich) the scene where she flips her tail out of the water was done using a baby-like mermaid tail attached to a rod, which was flipped out of the water.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
Making The Tail:

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.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
A Spanish galleon was constructed for the underwater sequences, which was eighty feet long, and ‘consisted of 1400 pieces of wood, had two masts, three full sized cannons, a wood grain hull, and was so life-like that people on a nearby cruise boat watching it clear customs at the pier in Nassau Harbour wanted to know how much gold was found’.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
Although the underwater scenes contained in the original script had been cut down dramatically, there was still a need to show the mermaid’s home. After debating whether to film these scenes on dry land and use special effects to create the illusion of being underwater during post-production, these ideas were scrapped according to Howard as they would not be believable. Therefore, plans were drawn up including lengthy and detailed storyboarding to film scenes underwater, beneath the shores of the Bahamas.

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.
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Deleted Scenes
When movies are made, scenes are often left on the cutting room floor.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
'The Sea-Hag' sequence: A sequence was shot of Madison meeting the old Sea-Hag by the ship-wreck who gives her a set of instructions to carry out and who tells her that she can only stay for six days out of the ocean, but she has to wet her tail every day, which explains the bathtub scene. Unfortunately the scene was cut. The Sea-Hag was played by Marilyn Moe-Stader.
Contributed by: Ellectrika
In one other deleted scene Madison is seen being followed by cats who can sense the smell of fish.
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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.
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Splash