Brian De Palma was a part of the onslaught of new directing talent in the 1970s, along with Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. But De Palma’s career took a different path, as he took on smaller films and made a signature style out of mimicking the likes of Hitchcock and Orson Welles.
De Palma’s more popular films include Carrie, Blow Out, Scarface, Mission: Impossible, and Carlito’s Way. Here are 9 things about the curious auteur you may not have known…
1. De Palma bases his most famous cinematic predilection, voyeurism, on a specific childhood incident. When he was a child, his parents split up, his mother accusing his father of infidelity. The young De Palma spent several days stalking his dad with recording equipment, hoping to find evidence to confirm his mother’s suspicions.
2. In the 1970s, one of De Palma’s earliest jobs in Hollywood was watching auditions, interviewing actors, and was given recognition in the film’s credits. That film was Star Wars.
3. De Palma is a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, and he directed The Boss’s famous video for Dancing in The Dark.
4. He introduced Martin Scorsese to a young up-and-coming actor named Robert De Niro when Scorsese was putting together Mean Streets. He again received special thanks in the credits.
5. De Palma has never done an audio commentary to any of his films.
6. Originally slated to direct Flashdance, De Palma abandoned that film once he read the screenplay for Scarface.
7. A strange fight happened on the set of Carlito’s Way between De Palma and Sean Penn. Sean Penn demanded 30 takes of the shot of Kleinfeld asking Carlito to help him with Tony T’s escape. When De Palma wanted to move on to the next shot, Penn screamed at De Palma. He continued to yell at De Palma on the ride back to New York City. He later called De Palma on the phone to continue yelling at him. De Palma said that was the only argument they had on the film.
8. There are two techniques De Palma has perfected: the voyeur shot, the split screen where foreground and background are in focus.
9. According to De Palma, originally Sissy Spacek was cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars and Carrie Fisher in the film Carrie. however, Fisher was not willing to do nude scenes and Spacek had no problem with this, so the two switched parts.