Facts about the movie ‘The Blue Lagoon’
Brooke Shields was only 14 when she filmed The Blue LagoonSadly sexy, slightly salacious, romance on an island that has largely capitalized on booming hormones. The film was shocking when it debuted on July 5, 1980, but even 40 years later, it can still drop some jaws. Here’s a look at some of her most compelling treats, complete with undiscovered iguanas and a nifty nudity concealment trick.
1. The Blue Lagoon is based on a trilogy of books by Henry De Vere Stacpoole.
Although the film closely follows the events of the first book in the series by Henry De Vere Stacpoole, also called The Blue Lagoon, the continuation of the film (years 1991 Return to the Blue Lagoon) breaks with the storyline featured in the 1920s trilogy to essentially re-tell the original story (read: more tanned teens falling in love on a tropical island). Stacpoole’s books were much more concerned with the culture of the people of the South Seas, especially since they were even more influenced by the arrival of European cultures.
2. The Blue Lagoon has already been adapted for cinema on two occasions.
In 1923, director W. Bowden devised a silent version of the story. More than a quarter of a century later, British filmmaker Frank Launder made a very well-received version for the big screen in 1949, starring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. The film was immensely popular, becoming the seventh highest grossing domestic film at the UK box office that year.
3. The Blue LagoonThe costumed team have come up with a trick to keep Brooke Shields covered.
Brooke Shields was only 14 when she filmed The Blue Lagoon, which posed problems for the production team, especially since Shields’ Emmeline is often topless. So the costume designers figured out a neat (and, really, pretty obvious) way to keep her covered at all times: they stuck her long-haired wig to her body.
4. Brooke Shields’ age has long been an issue.
Even after The Blue Lagoon has long been wrapped, finished, and theatrically released, issues with Shields’ age at the time of filming persisted. Years later, Shields testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that dual bodies – of legal age – were used throughout filming.
5. The Blue Lagoon was nominated for an Oscar.
Cinematographer Néstor Almendros was nominated for his work on The Blue Lagoon. And while he lost against Geoffrey Unsworth and Ghislain Cloquet for Tess, he already had an Oscar at home for his contributions to Terrence Malick’s film Days of paradise (1978). The talented DP, who died in 1992, was also nominated for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s choice (1982).
6. A new species of iguana was discovered when it appeared in The Blue Lagoon.
Portions of the film were shot on a private island that is part of Fiji, one of the habitats of the now critically endangered Fiji crested iguana. The iguana appeared throughout the film, and when herpetologist John Gibbons saw a first screening of the feature film, he realized that the animal that kept appearing on the big screen did was unfamiliar. So he went to Fiji (more precisely the island of Nanuya Levu), where he discovered the Fijian crested iguana, a brand new native to Fiji.
7. The Blue Lagoon won a Razzie.
Despite its stellar source material and Oscar-nominated camera work, The Blue Lagoon was not liked by everyone: the Razzies awarded the award for Worst Actress to Shields. The actress won (lost? Hard to say?) On a hugely mixed bag of other nominees who also included Shelley Duvall for The brilliant. Come on, Razzies.
8. The Blue Lagoon Director Randal Kleiser has hatched a plan to get his stars to love each other.
Because the chemistry between the two tracks was vital for the success of The Blue Lagoon, director Randal Kleiser (who also directed Fat) had the idea to make star Christopher Atkins feel a little bit in love with Shields by putting a photo of the young starlet on Atkins’ bed. Watching Shields every night apparently sparked feelings in Atkins; the duo had a brief romance while filming. “Brooke and I had an innocent, romantic kind of romance early on in the movie,” Atkins told HuffPost. “It was very nice, we were very, very close friends.”
9. The affection of Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins did not last long.
Despite their early attachment, Shields and Atkins quickly started bickering non-stop. “Brooke got tired of me,” Atkins said People in 1980. “She thought I took acting too seriously. I was still trying to get in the mood as she jumped in to joke with the team. Still, Kleiser even capitalized on it, using the tension to fuel even the most frustrated scenes, examining the tough things while his leads argued.
ten. The Blue LagoonMost of the filming took place on a desert island.
Kleiser desperately sought to capture the authenticity of the film, going so far as to live like his characters while directing it. “To shoot this kind of story, I wanted to get as close to nature as possible and bring our team to life almost like the characters,” Kleiser said. “We found an island in Fiji that had no roads, water or electricity, but beautiful beaches. We built a tent village for the crew to live in and a small boat anchored in the lagoon for our camera gear and supplies. This filming approach was quite unusual, but it felt right for this project. “
This story has been updated for 2020.