Bright Side

19 Facts About What Actually Happened on the Sets of Popular TV Series

Shooting a TV series is not an easy task, especially when it comes to high-quality projects. Costume designers, decorators, cameramen, and hundreds of other people spend countless hours creating a good product. Actors’ jobs are also not easy: sometimes, they have to spend 11 hours with gel on their hair or listen to a baby crying who is covered in jelly.

We at Bright Side love learning new things about what goes on behind-the-scenes of TV series, so we want to tell you about the secrets behind 9 series that are popular around the world.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale

  • Every maid has a special tracker on their ear with an individual number. The main character, portrayed by Elisabeth Moss, got the number 1985 which is the number of the year when Margaret Atwood’s novel the show is based on was published.

  • Almost all the paintings in the house of Commander Fred Waterford are the replicas of exhibits from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The producers decided that after the government fell, the new power would definitely take some masterpieces for their own collections.

  • According to Elisabeth Moss, the worst scene was shooting the birth scene in season 2. The actress said that the role of the child was played by several babies. “There was one baby that, in order to get that post-birth look — the gunk that comes on a baby — they put cream cheese and jelly on the baby. The cream cheese and jelly was odd. And the baby hated it, so it was screaming so loud.”

2. Killing Eve

  • Villanelle is a highly-qualified killer. She does missions all over Europe, so she can speak several languages fluently, including French and Italian. But actress Jodie Comer only speaks English. It was even harder because Comer is originally from Liverpool, so she speaks with an accent. To do the part well, she had a coach, “When we filmed in Tuscany, I had a whole Italian crew there to help me. I said, ’Guys, if I say anything that doesn’t sound right, or if I’m pronouncing it wrong, let me know,’ and they did.”

  • In season 1, Villanelle and Eve meet each other in the kitchen. In this scene, the killer is trying to wake Eve up and she splashes her with cold water. The hair of Sandra Oh, who plays Eve, was supposed to be wet and the effect had to be preserved for 11 hours. This is why the makeup artists put a lot of cheap and very poor quality gel on her hair.

3. Downton Abbey

  • The costumes of the actors couldn’t be washed. Sophie McShera talked about it in one of her interviews and she said that the actors had special patches in their armpits that were washed separately. The show even uses real clothes from the 1910s and 1920s. Unfortunately, many of them are too fragile to be laundered, often causing them to smell on set.

  • Queen Elizabeth is a fan of Downton Abbey. She even pointed out some mistakes in several episodes. For example, she noticed that in the series a First World War soldier was wearing medals that actually didn’t appear until the Second World War.

4. Mindhunter

  • Director David Fincher did a 9-minute scene with Jonathan Groff 75 times until he thought it was perfect. After every take, he came to the actors with a yellow notebook full of different comments. The director showed how fast every line should be said. He did it with all the 3 actors in the scene. Even the guest stars were shocked by how methodical Fincher was.

  • For actor Cameron Britton that played Ed Kemper, Fincher created a special atmosphere. He told the entire crew to not let Britton talk to anyone on the set. “I don’t want this to be a social thing. He has to literally come from Pluto and be in the show.” — Fincher said.

5. The Witcher

  • Henry Cavill said that he almost lost his vision while shooting the show. It was because of the lenses he had to wear for the part. He was warned that they shouldn’t be worn for more than a few hours, but the actor wanted to stay in character between takes.
    He says that a lot of dust from the volcanic rocks got behind his contacts and it almost didn’t end well. It scratched his cornea. It was hard for him to look at light and he had to hide in the shadows. Fortunately, his vision is fine now.

  • Yennefer had a difficult past: she had a hump and problems with her jaw. When the actress was doing these episodes, she had to wear back prosthetics that were very uncomfortable. But this issue only helped her play the part better.

6. Stranger Things

  • Do you remember Eleven reading a letter from Hopper at the end of season 3 and crying? Millie Bobby Brown didn’t rehearse this scene. She said she wanted to read the text with the cameras rolling, this is why her emotions looked so genuine.

  • The first time Millie Bobby Brown ever kissed happened on stage. When the scene was shot, she said, “THAT’S kissing?! That’s it? That sucked!”

7. Shameless

  • Justin Chatwin and Emmy Rossum play Steve and Fiona, who are dating. This couple had a lot of screen time and there are a lot of bed scenes involving these characters. The thing is, however, the actors who play characters in love don’t always get along and these 2 actors were no exception: they were constantly bickering back and forth, and Chatwin would even eat tuna sandwiches before intimate scenes with Rossum, to get back at her.

  • The creator, John Wells, wouldn’t let the actors bring the script on set. They were forced to learn all of their lines by heart.

8. The Young Pope

  • The Vatican authorities wouldn’t let the crew inside the buildings, but that didn’t stop the creators of the show. 40 builders and 25 artists recreated the Sistine Chapel at Cinecittà Studios in Rome.

  • Jude Law said that sometimes it was physically difficult to play Lenny Belardo. This was because of the heavy clothes of the Pope, which are basically 2 carpets sewn together. And the giant metal crown on his head didn’t make things any easier. He said, “I could barely move, and I have no idea how a 70- or 80-year-old chap does that, because I’m quite a healthy 44-year-old, and it was really uncomfortable.”

9. Vikings

  • Ancient battle scenes are pretty violent, which is why the creators of this show wanted them to look as realistic as possible. And they needed to use a lot of fake blood. In one of his interviews, makeup and prosthetics expert Tom McInerney talked about where they took it from, “We had to make approximately 10, 50-liter barrels of blood for every battle scene and the challenge was to make something that doesn’t stain the costumes or the actors’ skin. We even invented a new type of ‘blood’ made of sugar syrup and food coloring that washes out.”

  • Attention to detail is the calling card of the show. The creators wanted everything to be in line with the time period, including the soundtrack. While creating the main theme, Norwegian composer Einar Selvik didn’t use any modern instruments. He composed the music using only Scandinavian instruments. For example, one of them was made of the horns of a wild goat, and the strings of another instrument were made of horsehair.

Have you seen any of these shows? Are any of them your favorite?