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15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About There Will Be Blood


We don't know about you, but Paul Thomas Anderson's epic, oil boom drama lived with us long after the movie's dramatic climax. Indeed we can say, hand on heart, that we haven't had a single milkshake since 2007 without bursting into a loud, bad Daniel Plainview impression.

Far beyond that, though, this sprawling parable of American capitalism was and remains a modern day masterpiece. Here, we doff our sweat-stained hats to There Will Be Blood by presenting 15 facts we hope you didn't know. Drink them up.

Try your luck at the There Will Be Blood quiz right here

(Images: Rex, YouTube & Wikicommons)

1. Anderson's longtime costume designer, Mark Bridges, gave Daniel Day Lewis three hats to choose from and the actor spent time with them all before deciding on his preference. "They were all good," Bridges told The Washington Post "And he took them and lived with them for days. He sort of creates mini-worlds, and so he took them, just took them for a spin, so to speak, and settled on this [pictured] one as the one he felt most comfortable with and most represented the character he was creating. You knew he was Daniel Plainview once the hat went on. And by the way, the sweat stains are real."


2. Most of the silver mining scenes were shot at the Presidio mine in the ghost town of Shafter, Texas. Shafter was a booming mining town in the early 1900s but as of the 200 census has a population of just 11. It was also the location for several scenes in the 1971 movie The Andromeda Strain (pictured).


3. Plainview is based on the real-life oil tycoon Edward Doheny (pictured, right). Doheny set off the oil boom in southern California in 1892. The bowling alley scene was actually filmed at Greystone Mansion, a California estate Doheny built as a present for his only son. The house's descending staircase is one of the most famous sets in Hollywood.


4. The 55-room, Tudor-style residence was built for over $3 million and was, at the time, the most expensive home built in California. The list of movies it has appeared in is (not literally) endless and includes: Batman & Robin, The Big Lebowski, The Bodyguard, Ghostbusters II, Indecent Proposal, The Prestige, The Social Network, X-Men and all three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies. (Image: Wikicommons)


5. There's confusion as to where the infamous milkshake line has its origins. Some sources suggest Doheny himself said something similar, but most, including Paul Thomas Anderson, suggest it was said in a 1924 court hearing that heavily involved Doheny. After the Teapot Dome Scandal Doheny was acquitted of bribery charges. During those congressional hearings it was United States Senator from New Mexico Albert B. Fall who reportedly said: "Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake." Unlike Doheny (pictured right), Fall (pictured left) was found guilty of bribery charges and was jailed for one year.


6. ...However (TWIST!) in 2013, an independent attempt to locate the milkshake statement in Fall's testimony proved unsuccessful. An article published in the Case Western Reserve Law Review suggested that the actual source of the quote may have been remarks as recently as 2003 by Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, during a debate over drilling in Alaska. Domenici stated: "The oil is underground, and it is going to be drilled and come up... Here is a giant reservoir underground... Just like a curved straw, you put it underground and maneouver it, and the 'milkshake' is way over there, and your little child wants the milkshake, and they sit over here in their bedroom where they are feeling ill, and they just gobble it up from way down in the kitchen, where you don't even have to move the Mix Master that made the ice cream for them."

So, basically, nobody knows for sure where it came from. Let's move on...


7. In 2006, when Paul Thomas Anderson was shooting the movie in Marfa, Texas, the Coen brothers were close by shooting No Country for Old Men. When Anderson and his crew were testing the pyrotechnic system used in the film’s famous oil derrick scene, a huge billow of smoke drifted into the Coens shot forcing the brothers to suspend shooting for the day. The two films would eventually go head-to-head for Best Picture at the 2008 Oscars, with No Country winning through. Bonus fact: The classic James Dean movie, Giant (1956), was also shot in Marfa.


8. Daniel Day-Lewis had a year to prepare to play Daniel Plainview, but Paul Dano had just 4 days to prepare for his part as Eli Sunday. Why? Well, two weeks into the 60-day shoot, Anderson replaced the actor playing Eli Sunday with Paul Dano, who had originally only been cast in the much smaller role of Paul Sunday. The New York Times Magazine suggested that the intended actor, Kel O'Neill, had been intimidated by Day-Lewis's immersive methods. Both Anderson and Day-Lewis deny this. Either way, Dano was given the part on Thursday and had to start shooting the following Monday. The previous two weeks of scenes with Sunday and Plainview had to be re-shot with Dano instead of O'Neill and Eli and Paul Sunday were made identical twins, with Dano playing both. Everyone got that?


9. Dillon Freasier, who plays young HW Plainview was not an actor when he was chosen for his role. After several unsuccessful attempts to cast established Hollywood child actors, the casting director began searching for potential actors in rural schools near Marfa, and found Dillon. In an interview, Day-Lewis told the story of what happened when Freasier's mother researched his past roles: "She thought she better check out this bunch of people taking care of her son. So she got hold of Gangs of New York. Absolutely appalled, she thought she was releasing her dear child to this monster. And so there was a flurry of phone calls and somebody sent a copy of The Age of Innocence," a movie in which Day Lewis plays a far more civilised man than the killer he portrayed in Gangs (pictured). It worked.


10. To build his character, Day-Lewis started with the voice. Paul Thomas Anderson sent him recordings from the late 19th century to 1927 and a copy of the 1948 film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, including documentaries on its director, John Huston. Anderson stated that he went as far as watching The Treasure of the Sierra Madre every night before filming started.


11. The first line of dialogue - the word "no" - occurs at 4 minutes 55 closely followed by the line "there she is". However, it's not until almost 15 minutes into the movie that there's anything close to discourse. Speaking to EW in 2007, Paul Thomas Anderson said: "I always had a dream about trying to make a movie that had no dialogue in it, that was just music and pictures. I still haven't done it yet, but I tried to get close in the beginning [of There Will Be blood]."


12. We could have had to wait a lot longer than 4 minutes 65 for a word to be spoken. Speaking to indieLondon, Daniel Day Lewis said that the original script would have demanded up to 30 minutes of silent footage had they stuck to it.


13. It was incorrectly reported that Day Lewis built a derrick in a field behind his house in County Wicklow, as part of his preparations for the part. "When I read that," he said "I thought 'That’s not a bad idea, I might try that.' But we were a bit short on help at the time."


14. They had just one take to nail the burning of the derrick. "There was no going back if we’d got it wrong," said Day Lewis. "We’d have been absolutely shagged. But we had a good [special effects] guy called Steve Cremin and he really just did everything right, thank God."

Cremin's an interesting guy. He has worked on a raft of notable movies with moments of special effects genius - usually shunning CGI in favour or real, tangible effects. Perhaps most memorable was on 1999's The Sixth Sense. You know when characters' breath becomes visible whenever they are in a room with a dead person? Cremin's work... "Everyone thought that was [computer generated]," Cremin says. "We did it for real. We built a cold room where we could drop the temperature within like 12 minutes."


15. The script originally ended with Plainview bludgeoning Eli to death with "a heavy silver tumbler" not a bowling pin. Nice note to end on. Bye then.



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