National Lampoon’s Animal House, released in 1978, is considered one of the seminal comedy movies of all time. With a wonderful cast and a hilarious script, Animal House is widely regarded as a classic and a hugely influential movie. With John Belushi at his charismatic, and toga-clad best, Animal House is a movie we could enjoy time and time again.
There are so many great stories about the film and the production process, and many of these have gone down in pop culture folklore. They don’t make movies like Animal House anymore, and that’s one of the things that attracts us so much about it. As a tribute to one of the all-time greatest comedy movies, here are some things you definitely didn’t know about Animal House.
The script took three months
The original screenplay for the film was based on serial killer Charles Manson, and, was understandably rejected. After a three-month brainstorming session, screenwriters Harold Ramis, Chris Miller, and Douglas Kenney used their real-life college experiences as inspiration. This led to one of the quickest rewrites of the year, and the fast nature led to as much funnier and tighter script.
Donald Sutherland is to thank for the film
The movie owes a big debt to Canadian screen legend Donald Sutherland. The veteran actor agreed to sign on and was the reason Universal Studios decided to greenlight the movie. The film did not have a big star attached, and the studio was reticent to go ahead with the movie. It was only once Sutherland, who was a big star at the time, agreed to sign on, that the film wound up happening. Sutherland had enjoyed success in The Dirty Dozen, M*A*S*H, Klute, and the acclaimed thriller Don’t Look Now, for which he won a BAFTA nomination.
Big names turned down roles
There are some pretty big name stars who turned down roles in Animal House. As you may know, Belushi, Ramis, director John Landis, and producer Ivan Reitman, had a close working relationship with actors like Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. In fact, Murray, Aykroyd, and Chevy Chase all turned down roles in the movie due to the fact that they had scheduling conflicts. But the group would all wind up working together on future successful projects such as The Blues Brothers, and Ghostbusters.
It was Kevin Bacon’s first movie
Yes, legendary Hollywood icon Kevin Bacon made his big screen debut in Animal House. Many people erroneously believe that Friday the 13th is his debut, but it was actually Animal House. At the age of 20, Bacon won the part of Omega pledge Chip Dillon. It wasn’t a starring role, but it did kick off a glittering career for the Philadelphia native. Bacon is best-known for movies like Footloose, Mystic River, and JFK, but Animal House was a strong start for the young actor.
These are just a few of the cool facts you never knew about National Lampoon’s Animal House. The movie is considered one of the most influential of all time and made John Belushi a household name. Even today the movie holds up against most modern comedies and is a film we all love. We hope these fun facts have whetted your appetite and expanded your knowledge of the film.