Films

20 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Children Of Men

If there's one thing the movies have taught us about the future it's that it's a bloody bleak place. Fortunately director Alfonso Cuaron's depiction of 2027 London in Children Of Men, isn't just bloody bleak, it's bloody brilliant.

In tribute to events that are (probably) going to happen in 13 years' time, here's 20 facts you (probably) didn't know about the film.

TAKE THE ULTIMATE CHILDREN OF MEN QUIZ HERE

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men

    1.

    In the movie, the infertility crisis is the result of all women being infertile. In the original novel, it's the result of men producing no sperm.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 1

    2.

    As we pan into Jasper's house we see Michael Caine's character in a framed picture (top) looking rather a lot like John Lennon. That was intentional. Speaking of Michael Caine's portrayal, Alfonso Cuaron said: "He wanted Jasper to be like an older John Lennon – he wanted the body language and the nasal voice and the cadence of how he portrayed this character to reflect the way he said Lennon used to talk. And then after we shot some scenes, I saw some old footage of Lennon and it was identical."

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 2

    3.

    Theo never touches a gun or smokes an entire cigarette.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 3

    4.

    The cover of the Pink Floyd album Animals (pictured, top) features a floating pig above the Battersea Power station, the "Ark of the Arts" in the film. The pig can be seen out of the window when Theo speaks to his cousin (below). The album was released in 1977 and, being as the film is set in 2027, it would be the LP's 50th anniversary.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 4

    5.

    Oranges are a symbol of impending doom. Just before the car is attacked (pictured, top), Miriam very deliberately removes an orange from her bag and peels it. Just before the refugee camp falls into chaos, Kee and Marichka share an orange. This theme of oranges being a symbol of tragedy is also found in The Godfather trilogy (below) and in American Beauty, when [giant spoiler alert] Lester meets his maker.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 5

    6.

    The screenplay was credited to five writers including Spy Game scribe David Arata and Alfonso Cuarón himself. Clive Owen's insights impressed Cuarón and he contributed a great deal of uncredited work to the final script.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 6

    7.

    When we first see Julian (Julianne Moore), she is in the interrogation room with Theo. Just after she states her name as "Julian", you can see a headline beside Theo (lower left) that prominently displays the word "Moore".

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 7

    8.

    As the bus carrying Miriam, Theo and Kee arrives at Bexley Refugee Camp you can see a prisoner in exactly the same stance and haunting garb as was forced upon an a torture victim at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 8

    9.

    As Miriam is marched off said bus the music that's playing is Arbeit Macht Frei by The Libertines. "Arbeit macht frei," meaning "Work shall set you free," was written above the entrance at Auschwitz.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 9

    10.

    During a visit to his house by Theo and Kee, Jasper says "Shanti, shanti, shanti." "Shanti" is also found in the final line of T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land, a work with prominent themes of fertility.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 10

    11.

    The large black and white image in the dining room at Battersea power station (see here) is Pablo Picasso's "Guernica." The same image is drawn on the wall of the tunnel which Theo and Kee use to escape in the rowboat. The painting was Picasso's reaction to General Franco's bombing of Guernica, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 11

    12.

    Theo works at the 'Ministry Of Energy'. This is a nod to the terrifying "Ministries" in George Orwell's dystopian 1984.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 12

    13.

    The location that stands in for the Ministry of Energy is London's Lawrence Hall, owned by the Royal Horticultural Society and venue of the annual RHS Flower Show. P

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 13

    14.

    Kee's name is a homophone for "chi" (also pronounced "chee") which means the energy of life.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 14

    15.

    Theo wears a London 2012 Olympic fleece in the movie. The announcement that London would host that Summer Games was made prior to filming, with the games taking place 6 years after the movie came out. You can buy the exact fleece, here, for £1495.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 15

    16.

    A day after the Olympics announcement, while Cuarón was preparing the film, the London bombings occurred. The director never considered moving the production. The opening terrorist attack scene on Fleet Street was shot a month and a half after that fateful day at this spot.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 16

    17.

    It's rare for authors to go on record as loving movie adaptations of their own work, if they played no part in the production. PD James loved Children of Men, however, saying: "It’s obvious that this film departed from the book, but I’m so proud to be associated with this film."

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 17

    18.

    After seeing Charlie Hunnam's performance in Cold Mountain (2003), Alfonso Cuarón called him up and offered him the role of Patric.

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 18

    19.

    The film never explains the reason for the infertility. This has been attributed to Cuarón's dislike for expository film: "There's a kind of cinema I detest, which is a cinema that is about exposition and explanations." He once said. "It's become a medium for lazy readers... Cinema is a hostage of narrative. And I'm very good at narrative as a hostage of cinema."

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Children Of Men 19

    20.

    The movie uses several lengthy single-shot sequences, the longest of these are shots in which Kee gives birth (3 mins 19); an ambush on a country road (4 mins 07); and a scene in which Theo is captured by the Fishes, escapes, and runs down a street and through a building in the middle of a raging battle (a 6 mins 18 whopper). This video about the technique on the movie is well worth watching.