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A Hamster Held Up Production and Other Facts About 12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys | Image: Universal Pictures

Believe it or not, it’s been two decades since Terry Gilliam’s atmospheric film 12 Monkeys was released on January 5, 1996. The audience watched in suspense as prisoner James Cole, through no fault of his own, somewhat inefficiently time traveled to collect evidence that would help his government piece together the cataclysmic events of their environs. 

The list linked below contains facts surrounding the making of 12 Monkeys. One example follows: 

In the scene where Cole draws his own blood, you may not have noticed the out-of-focus hamster in the foreground. The shot called for that hamster to be spinning in its wheel, but the animal refused to cooperate at first. Gilliam, a well-known perfectionist, insisted the shot work exactly as he envisioned it, and the crew spent the rest of the day trying to get it right, succeeding several hours later. This meticulous approach was nicknamed “The Hamster Factor” by the crew for the remainder of the film’s shoot. That nickname also inspired the title for the behind-the-scenes documentary about the filming of 12 Monkeys.

Read more facts about 12 Monkeys, including how taking away Brad Pitt's cigarettes figured into the mix, in this article. 


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