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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’

40 Minutes of Special Effects

As soon as the film begins, you can see all of the hard work both the designers and effects team did, especially apparent with the tens of thousands of CGI trees in the background. Because Whoville was created with extensive CGI, 40 minutes of the entire film are special effects.

92 Days Being the Grinch 

As the Grinch, Jim Carrey spent countless hours in full costume. The shoot took around a year, and Carrey had to be in full costume for all of his scenes, which cover the majority of the movie. He ended up spending 92 full days in his Grinch costume.

Yak Fur, Colored Contacts, and Spandex

The Grinch’s costume is mostly made of dyed green yak fur woven into a spandex suit, a clearly uncomfortable outfit. To add to the discomfort, Carrey also had to wear yellow contacts that obstructed his vision. He also endured the hours of prosthetics and make-up that were necessary to transform him into the well-known character.

Jim Carrey’s Struggles

During production, Carrey often struggled with the unbearable Grinch costume. The first time he went into hair and make-up, his transformation took a whopping 8.5 hours. He became so irritated that he kicked a hole through a wall and had to recieve CIA training on how to cope with torture in order to get through his hours in costume. Hair and make-up soon learned how to transform him in around 2.5 hours, and production eventually added the yellow eyes digitally when the contacts became too painful to bear.

The Director Wore the Grinch Suit

Ron Howard, the director of the film, decided to show his sympathy for Carrey by suiting up in the Grinch costume one day before shooting. Upon arriving, Carrey actually thought Howard was a stunt double and was annoyed at how much the double didn’t resemble him. When he realized who it was, however, he was very appreciative for his act of sympathy.

1000 Hours of Make-Up

In total, it took over 1000 hours to apply make-up and prosthetics for all of the “Whoville” characters. The film received an Academy Award for Best Make-up and Hairstyling and was also recognized for using the most make-up ever in a film, beating out the previous record-holder, The Wizard of Oz.

152,000 Pounds of Crushed Marble Snow

In order to get snowy scenes and a winter landscape for a movie filmed in California, over 152,000 pounds of marble were crushed to create artificial snow. This was seen as more authentic than having CGI snow and ultimately contributed to the film’s long production.

Tim Burton Almost Directed

Tim Burton was originally set to direct the film. His vision was closer to the original 1966 animated film and had a slightly darker tone (as expected). However, due to scheduling conflicts, Ron Howard was ultimately chosen for the task. Despite the directorial change, the film ended up being a huge success.

Who School for the Whos

In order to learn the behavior and mannerisms of the “Who” characters, the actors had to go to “Who School.” Many of the actors were also Cirque du Soleil performers, which explains many of the stunning acrobatic stunts that take place in the film.

More than 250 Hand-Made Costumes

Suss Cousins, a Los Angeles sweater designer, worked with a team to create 250 original costumes for the film. They were made quickly over four months. and each knitter made around 83 hand-knitted costumes so each Who would have their own signature look.

Brynn Lilley

U Penn '22

Brynn is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and studying design. When she’s not working on design projects or writing, you can find her watching bad comedies or looking for stray cats to bring home.
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