The haunted house ghost story remains one of the oldest themes in all of horror, dating back to 19th century novels (and folklore long before that). There’s something equally frightening and intriguing, and just a little bit ethereal about ghost stories. They frighten us, but provide a window into the afterlife, something most of us question and wonder about.
Despite the subgenre being so played out, every now and then a classic emerges, which is what happened back in 2001 when The Others was released. It wasn’t the same game changer of cinema that The Sixth Sense was two years prior, but it’s stood the test of time, and remains a favorite among horror fans.
So in honor of its 20th anniversary today, we thought it would be fitting to look at 20 fun facts about The Others!
1. Both Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman served as executive producers on The Others. It would be the last time they ever worked together. They separated only a few months after shooting wrapped, and their divorce was finalized the very same week the movie was released.
2. The film was actually a Spanish production, being shot entirely in Spain with a Spanish crew (including writer/director Alejandro Amenábar), despite being entirely in English.
3. Amenábar was reportedly nervous given that this was his first movie in English, and his first movie working with child actors.
4. During rehearsals, Nicole Kidman had terrible nightmares, and even briefly quit (but obviously came back).
5. Despite not being directly based on the classic work, many have pointed out that The Others feels tonally similar and inspired by Henry James’ “The Turning of the Screw”.
6. The “light allergy” that the children suffer from is a real genetic disorder called Xeroderma Pigmentosum. Affecting about 1 in 100,000 people worldwide, it presents with extreme sunburn and blisters when exposed to sunlight. Those affected by it also suffer from a shortened lifespan, which can be increased with complete avoidance of sunlight.
7. The “death photographs” were actually a semi-common thing in the 1800’s. Photography was still rare and expensive at the time, so families would often take a picture of a loved one when they died, so they would have at least one picture of them.
8. Alejandro Amenábar often played scary music on set to get everyone in the proper mood.
9. Tuttle, the caretaker, was named after George C. Scott’s character in the 1980 haunted house classic The Changeling.
10. The child actors Alakina Mann and James Bentley had to be kept indoors during the entire shoot, so they could look naturally pale.
11. The exteriors of the mansion were shot at Palace of the Hornillos In Las Fraguas, Spain. The house was first constructed in the late 1700’s, with expansions being added as late as 1920. It was a cleared a “site of cultural interest” in 2003.
12. Renée Asherson’s (the old woman/medium) final movie role. She was a famous stage/film actress whose career went back to 1935. She was 85 at the time of filming, but passed away in 2014 at the age of 99.
13. The Others received high critical acclaim, especially for a horror film. It was nominated for 2 BAFTA Awards (Best Original Screenplay and Best Lead Actress for Nicole Kidman) and won 3 Saturn Awards (Best Horror Film, Best Actress for Nicole Kidman, and Best Supporting Actress for Fionnula Flanagan).
14. Nicole Kidman was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama, but lost to Sissy Spacek for In the Bedroom. However, Kidman was also nominated (and won) in the Comedy/Musical category for Moulin Rouge.
15. It was also a huge financial success, grossing over $200 million on a $17 million budget.
16. In a rare feat, the movie opened up at #4 at the box office, but climbed to #2 by its 7th
17. Only movie to win the Best Goya Film Award in Spain, without having a word of Spanish spoken in it.
18. Writer/Director Alejandro Amenábar also contributed to the movie’s score.
19. A Bollywood remake called Hum Kaun Hai? was released in India in 2004.
20. In October 2020, it was announced that Sentient Entertainment would be producing a remake of The Others (set in modern day) with Universal distributing.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!