It was 1986 and this was another movie I shouldn’t have been watching while 7 years old. Obviously I turned out fine or whatever, but don’t do the math on my age when I tell you that the David Cronenberg remake of The Fly is 30 years old today. Let me drop some Brundle Science on your faces like so much vomit drop.
1. Jeff Goldblum had just met and begun a relationship with Geena Davis while filming Transylvania 6-5000. After Goldblum won the part of Seth Brundle, he suggested Davis for the role of love interest Veronice “Ronnie” Quaife. Davis won the role and the real-life couple brought a certain realistic feel to the doomed on-screen relationship.
2. Vincent Price starred in the original 1958 The Fly and Goldblum reached out to the icon via letter. Goldblum wrote that “I hope you like it as much as I liked yours”. After viewing the movie, Price wrote back that it was “wonderful right up to a certain point… it went a little too far.”
3. Mel Brooks was a producer on the film and attempted to keep that fact a secret. Brooks was afraid that people would assume The Fly was supposed to be funny. When he was found out, he handed out deely boppers at the film’s premier.
4. Brooks also came up with one of the film’s most iconic lines when discussing how the other characters should feel about Seth’s transformation into the Brundle Fly. “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
5. Goldblum and Davis were not the studio’s first choices for the film. Goldblum’s face was seen as not suitable for the prosthetics his character would require (what the fuck??) and Davis was also underestimated. Cronenberg had the final say and kept his choices.
6. The infamously disgusting vomit drop that Brundlefly uses to melt his food into a liquid was achieved with honey, eggs, and milk.
7. Tim Burton was once attached to direct the film. Robert Bierman (Vampire’s Kiss) was also attached at one point. Cronenberg was always the first choice, but he was embroiled in Total Recall at the time. Once his time with Total Recall was done, Cronenberg was open to rewriting the script and directing for $750,000. Brooks was able to get Cronenberg $1,000,000.
8. The baboon on set had an attraction to script supervisor Gillian Richardson. Goldblum, however, was able to cow the baboon through virtue of being taller. The baboon accepted Goldblum as the alpha on set. Cronenberg talks about this in the DVD commentary, which can also be enjoyed in a write-up over at Film School Rejects.
9. Chris Walas created and designed the Brundle Fly makeup. His name was the first in the credits, leading him to note that as the reason for his Oscar win for Best Makeup.
10. Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton declined to play Seth Brundle while John Lithgow auditioned for the part.
11. Laura Dern and Jennifer Jason Leigh were in the running to portray Veronica “Ronnie” Quaife.
12. One of the scenes cut from the original film involved a baboon and a cat being sent through the telepods, forming a cat-baboon hybrid. Brundle beat the creature to death with a pipe, causing test audiences to hate the character.