It's the runaway success story that no one saw coming. Yep, we're talking about The Greatest Showman, the movie musical everyone's seen six times (and counting). Sure you know the script — and the songs — off by heart, but you might not know some of the amazing, surreal and outright unbelievable stories behind your favourite tunes.
Get ready to fall in love with Hugh Jackman's box-office hit all over again with these seriously heartwarming behind-the-song stories:
The music was written by the same dream team behind 'La La Land'
You might not know them by name but you'll have definitely heard some of their music before.
The composing duo (known together as Pasek and Paul) were responsible for many of La La Land's biggest tracks, as well as the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash Dear Evan Hansen — aka the musical every celebrity from Beyoncé to Reese Witherspoon won't stop raving about.
'This Is Me' peaked at number 10 on the ARIA Chart
Perhaps the most loved song from the film, 'This Is Me' became an instant hit, peaking at number ten on the ARIA Charts in Australia. Sung by Keala Settle who played Lettie Lutz in the movie (the bearded lady with the powerhouse vocals), the song also won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
With the soundtrack finding such a huge fan base, Hugh Jackman has said his only regret was not releasing the soundtrack earlier: "If we all had our time over again, we would have released the album probably around three months before [the movie opened]."
Fun fact: Pop singer Kesha has since also released her own recording of the inspiring song.
Hugh Jackman had to buy Keala Settle whiskey before her audition
The demo for 'This Is Me' was originally recorded by Broadway star Shoshana Bean. When Keala Settle was asked to workshop the song with The Greatest Showman's songwriters, she initially refused, thinking Bean was a better choice of singer.
"I knew Shoshana had done the demo and I said, "You call her, tell her to come and sing it, and I'll sing back up for her." Because I'm a huge fan, I love her voice," Settle told Variety.
"Finally when it was time to do it, T-minus one day, Hugh [Jackman] and Michael [Gracey, film director] came up to me and said, "What is it going to take for you to sing this song?" I said, "If you buy me a bottle of Jameson, I'll do it." They kept it in a bag and said, "This is yours if you sing the song." I'm very cheap that way."
'This Is Me' was inspired by Pasek's own life
Writer Benj Pasek's real-life struggle growing up as a closeted teen inspired 'This Is Me':
"I'm a gay man who grew up in the closet when I was a teenager," he explained to Billboard. "You experience the world telling you that you're not lovable, you're unwanted, or something about you is broken, and you feel like you have to fix yourself or hide yourself."
"I think it's amazing to work on a song that you think is your own private struggle and you realize that once you shine a little bit of light on it, there are a lot of other people sort of huddling in the dark there too," Pasek added.
Settle's audition workshop convinced production companies to make the film
After she finally agreed to the workshop, Settle's rendition of 'This Is Me' brought the cast and crew to tears (Jackman included) and Pasek credits the moment as the film's turning point.
"I really do believe having Keala sing is one of the reasons the film was greenlit," Pasek says. "The way she delivered it in that room was so undeniable."
Settle was offered the role immediately after. You can watch the beautiful goosebump-inducing moment below:
Hugh Jackman had a skin cancer removed the day before the film's read-through
The day before the film's big production workshop — where the movie studio would finally decide whether or not to give the film the greenlight — Hugh Jackman had undergone surgery to remove a skin cancer from his nose.
With 80 stitches in his nose, the actor was not supposed to sing. However, Jackman surprised everyone there when he suddenly began belting out the song 'From Now On'. All in the name of showbiz!
Zendaya performed her own trapeze stunts in 'Rewrite the Stars'
In her duet with Zac Efron, 'Rewrite the Stars', the 21-year-old had to perform a acrobatic sequence involving ropes, pulleys and a trapeze. Training in the lead-up to the shooting of the scene, Zendaya aimed to use as little of her stunt double as possible.
When she arrived on set on the day, the actress suddenly became nervous. "The rig was like 15 to 20 feet taller, and there was no net," she says. "No net, because back in the day, they didn't have those yet so I was hooked up so I was safe, but visually that's a little — that's a lot to get over, you know?"
Luckily it was Hugh Jackman to the rescue. "Right when I was about to go up, in the cherry picker to go up to the thing, and Hugh Jackman walked by and he goes, "Zendaya, you're a badass.' And I was like, 'Take me up.'"
Yep, that would be all the inspiration we would need!
Now available on Blu-ray & DVD with a bonus sing-along edition, so you can re-watch all the incredible moments from The Greatest Showman at home.
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