30 Surprising Facts About Robert Zemeckis You Probably Didn't Know


Robert Zemeckis, famous for his crowd-pleasing films, is often credited as the innovator in visual effects, especially in film scenes shot at night. An Academy Award Winner, he is known for never having a fixed shot in his movie, with the camera constantly moving. Here are some really interesting facts about the American director, film producer and screenwriter:

  1.  He is well renowned for producing movies at the fore-front of technology with state-of-the-art special effects, especially with very long and complicated opening shots, in cases like "Back to the Future," "Forrest Gump," and "Contact."
  2.  He reportedly utilizes all cement fixtures and streets soaked with water, in an effort to create extra dramatic effect, for scenes shot at night, in most of his movies.
  3.  One of his trademark scenes will be where the main character starts a fight in a restaurant or bar, and then flees into the street, with a very complicated chase ensuing, like in the three movies of "Back to the Future," and also the "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
  4.  Zemeckis is known to have a main protagonist, in almost all his movies, which will unwittingly inspire real-life people, events and things, for instance "Back to the Future" and "Forrest Gump."
  5.  Another one of his trademark scene is where he uses 90-degree angle shots, looking straight up at subjects from below the floor level.
  6.  While CGI effects are considered to be one of his trademarks, his personal favorite is reportedly the good old-fashioned close-up due to its uniqueness to filmmaking.
  7.  His "Back to the Future" movie's script was reportedly rejected for a total of 44 times, by every studio claiming it to be too soft for the type of teen movie at the time. Zemeckis has archived the letters of rejection from all the studios.
  8.  His movie "Forrest Gump," was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in the year 2011.
  9.  He initially developed the 1985 movie "Cocoon," for around a year, before he was fired by 20th Century Fox executives, after watching the final cut of his 1984 movie "Romancing the Stone," thinking it to be a disaster destined to fail. "Romancing the Stone," turned out to be one of the best films of 1984.
  10.  He was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on November 5, 2004.
  11.  Robert Lee Zemeckis was born on May 14, 1952, to Alphonse Zemeckis, a Lithuanian-American and Rosa, an Italian-American, in Chicago, Illinois.
  12.  He went to Roman Catholic grade school and Fenger High School, before attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. He later transferred to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California.
  13.  During his childhood, his family had no music, no books, but he loved television, which was the actual inspiration to him. His parents had a 8 mm film home movie camera.
  14.  Zemeckis started filming family events like birthdays and holidays, which led to the production of narrative films with his friends incorporating stop-motion work and other special effects.
  15.  It was through an episode of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," that he got to know the existence of film schools. He decided to attend a film school, after watching the 1967 movie "Bonnie and Clyde," with his father.
  16.  His parents initially disapproved the idea of film school more out of concern as in their circle that was kind of a dream really impossible to turn true.
  17.  His application for transfer to USC was initially rejected due to his average grades. He gave an "impassioned plea" to the official promising to improve his studies by attending a summer school and eventually convincing the school to accept him.
  18.  He won the Student Academy Award at USC for his film "A Field of Honor," through which he caught the attention of Steven Spielberg.
  19.  It was reported that Zemeckis sat next to Spielberg and showed his student film, which the latter thought was spectacular. With this meeting, Spielberg became his mentor and executive produced his first two movies.
  20.  Following the failure of his first two movies, along with the Spielberg-directed "1941" in 1979, he and writer Bob Gale, his close friend and his co-writer from his time at the USC, gained a reputation for writing "scripts that everyone thought were great, but somehow didn't translate into movies people wanted to see."
  21.  When he approached Disney with the idea of his film "Back to the Future," the company turned it down thinking that the premise of a mother falling in love with her son was too risqué for a film under their banner. Disney was the only company to think the movie to be risqué, while other companies claimed the movie to not risqué enough.
  22.  He dubbed his picture "Back to the Future," as "the film that would not wrap," because they shot night after night, he was always "half asleep" and the "fattest, most out-of-shape and sick I ever was."
  23.  His 1988 movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," marks the only time cartoon characters from Walt Disney and Warner Brothers appeared together on-screen.
  24.  For the final cut of the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the first audience was mostly comprised of eighteen and nineteen-year-olds, who reportedly hated it. However, after the entire audience walking of the screening, Zemeckis said he wasn't changing a thing.
  25.  It is reported that till date, he keeps the stop-motion model of the flattened Judge Doom from his 1988 movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," in his office.
  26.  He married actress Mary Ellen Trainor in the early 1980s, and had a son named Alexander Francis. The marriage ended in divorces, as he described it to be difficult to balance with filmmaking.
  27.  He married Leslie Harter, a famous actress on December 4, 2001, and has three children with her - two sons - Zane Zemeckis, Rhys Zemeckis and a daughter named Zsa Zsa Rose Zemeckis.
  28.  It was reported that he was in talks to direct a DC Extended Universe movie based on The Flash, by Screen Junkies on April 27, 2017.
  29.  In the movie "Forrest Gump," it is reported that Zemeckis decided to leave out several planned effects shots, including one shot which involves Forrest running into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters.
  30.  He is said to have used the paintings of Norman Rockwell as the design inspiration for the town of Greenbow, Alabama in the movie "Forrest Gump." In fact, the school hallway scene, where Forrest sits while his mother talks to the principal, is reportedly a direct re-creation of Rockwell's painting "Girl with a Black Eye."
  31.  Robert Zemeckis Net Worth: $60 Million

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