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Trivia / Barbarella

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  • Creator Backlash: For years, Jane Fonda wasn't keen on the film and didn't like to talk about it; she especially disliked how sexual Barbarella was, and Roger Vadim noted that at the time she missed the satire in the screenplay (and therefore disliked the character's apparent "irrelevance to social and political realities"). But she came to embrace it eventually, as she said in her autobiography:
    "I never dreamed the film would become a cult classic and, in some circles, the picture Vadim and I would be best known for. It has taken me many decades to arrive at a place where I can understand why this is so and even share the enjoyment of the film's unique charms. ...By today's standards Barbarella seems slow...but I think the jerry-built quality of the effects and the offbeat, camp humor give it a unique charm."
  • Creator Breakdown:
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    • Jane Fonda was struggling with bulimia at the time, and thus was not wholly comfortable playing such a Ms. Fanservice.
    • Roger Vadim took to drinking during lunch, making filming that bit more difficult.
  • Creator Couple: Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim were married when the movie was made and first released.
  • Cut Song: Jackie Lee worked on the original soundtrack, written by Michel Magne, but her songs were removed before release.
  • Deleted Scene: The love scene between Barbarella and the Black Queen. It was rumored to be in European versions of the movie, but it's not true. The still photos of it indicate that the scene would've taken place near the end of the movie when they are inside the Mathmos.
  • Development Hell: Back in 2008, Universal was planning to remake the film with Robert Rodriguez as the director. Rose McGowan was to take the role of Barbarella, but Universal freaked out over the high budget and they didn't think McGowan was right for the role. Rodriguez was not willing to make any changes, so he shopped the remake to other studios. Further problems came when his backers wanted Barbarella to be aimed for the German audience. Rodriguez didn't like that plan, so he finally gave up in May of 2009. Later, it was announced that Robert Luketic was to take over the director's chair, but production didn't really get off the ground. Now that the film's proposed producer, Dino De Laurentiis, has died, the remake now seems really unlikely despite rumors that Anne Hathaway is attached to the remake.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: Jane Fonda and Milo O'Shea weren't told that the Excessive Pleasure Machine was rigged with flares and smoke bombs - in the hopes of getting authentic reactions from them when it exploded.
  • Missing Episode: See here.
  • Gay Panic: A lesbian love scene between Barbarella and The Black Queen was cut, though it was rumoured to be shown in the International Version.
  • Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: Jane Fonda dubbed herself in the French version.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: For the scene involving Barbarella being attacked by humming birds, wrens and lovebirds were used as it was illegal to ship hummingbirds overseas. The birds were not behaving as Roger Vadim had expected, which led to him employing a large fan to blow them at Jane Fonda, who had birdseed in her costume. Roger Ebert, after visiting the set, wrote that the fan led to birds "losing control over natural body functions, so it was all a little messy". Ebert concluded that "After two weeks of this, [Fonda] got a fever and was hospitalized. I can't reveal here how they finally did the scene".
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  • The Other Marty: David Hemmings replaced Italian actor Antonio Sabato in the role of Dildano. Set photos exist of Sabato playing the famous "hand sex" scene with Jane Fonda. Sabato's performance was deemed to be too serious and he was replaced, in more comedic tone, by Hemmings.
  • Playing Against Type: Portraying Dr. Ping was famous French mime Marcel Marceau who was cast against type playing a very talky speaking part.
  • Referenced by...:
    • Chapter 3 of the Yuri Genre manga Miyuki-chan in Wonderland is a parody of the film, with Miyuki taking the place of Barbarella as she's forced to adventure through Sogo. This being a yuri manga, much of the focus is given to the Black Queen (she also scores an appearance in the first CLAMP in Wonderland video, though it's very blink-and-miss), though we also get to see gender-bent versions of Pygar and Durand Durand.
    • Duran Duran is named after the villain of the film.
    • The transgender singer of Teniwoha's "Villain" asks Dr, Durand to come to her.
  • Role Reprise: Miles O'Shea plays Durand Durand in Duran Duran's movie, Arena, where he arrives on Earth, furious that the band have stolen his name.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Whilst he was still alive, the film's co-writer-director Roger Vadim was interested in making a sequel with either Sherilyn Fenn or Drew Barrymore playing Barbarella, but this never came to pass. In January 1969, Paramount announced a sequel as part of their production slate, imaginatively entitled Barbarella Goes Down, which would have seen Barbarella have undersea adventures. In 1990, Terry Southern said that he was contacted by de Laurentiis in 1990 to write a sequel "on the cheap...but with plenty of action and plenty of sex," and possibly starring Fonda's daughter.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Brigitte Bardot turned the role of Barbarella down, not wanting to play a sexualized character. Sophia Loren declined due to her pregnancy at the time. Raquel Welch turned it down too.
    • Ian McKellen flew to Rome to audition for a part. Although he didn't get it, he told Empire magazine that Jane Fonda cooked him breakfast while he was waiting to do his read through.

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