Five Fast Facts About HOWARD THE DUCK - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Five Fast Facts About HOWARD THE DUCK

No one laughs at a master of Quack Fu!

Released August 1st 1986, the critical and commercial failure from executive producer George Lucas, Howard The Duck was a loose adaptation (especially in tone) of the popular Marvel comic book series. Taking home four Razzie awards, and initially not even making back half its budget, the film has subsequently become something of a cult favourite.

On the anniversary of its cinematic release, pour yourself a drink, run a nice bath and whilst you're waiting for it to fill check out these five fast facts about Howard The Duck.

1. Although several TV adaptations of Marvel characters had aired, including the very successful The Incredible Hulk series, Howard The Duck marked the first full length feature film for any Marvel comic book character that was specifically made for cinema .

2. George Lucas had originally considered making a Howard The Duck film as his next project after completing American Graffiti in 1974, introducing his collaborates - the film's eventual diretor Willard Huyck and producer by Gloria Katz - to Steve Gerber's comic book series, praising its elements of film noir and absurdism, and describing it as "very funny". However, a small project called Star Wars kept Lucas busy for the next decade, but in 1984, after Lucas relinquished his presidency of Lucasfilm to focus on producing films, he once again began to seriously consider adapting Howard the Duck as a film, and met with Gerber to discuss the project.

3. The film was optioned by Universal Studios after a partnership with Marvel Comics, primarily because the studio had passed on previous projects in which Lucas was involved, which had been very successful - you may have heard of his work? A-hem.

Gerber later revealed that the screenplay was originally intended to be an animated film, but the adaptation became live-action because Lucas' deal with Universal contractually stipulated it to be so.

4. To play the physical role of Howard, Huyck and Katz initially cast a child actor and hired dwarf-actor Ed Gale to perform stunts and portray the role during evening shoots. The child actor found the shooting conditions to be too difficult to handle, so Gale took over the role completely.

As for the voice of Howard the Duck, that wasn't cast until after shooting on the film was completed, which made synchronisation extremely difficult. Huyck and Katz auditioned a number of actors including John Cusack, Robin Williams and Martin Short for the voice of Howard, eventually casting prominent stage actor Chip Zien, because they felt his nasally voice worked well for the part.

5. The negative reaction to the film had a varying effect on the cast. The bad press right at the opening weekend had Lea Thompson (who played Beverly Switzler) accepting a role in Some Kind of Wonderful which she had refused previously, because, as she said,
"I had to get on another movie, I wouldn't have done the movie if Howard wasn't such a bomb."
Although Tim Robbins (Phil Blumburtt) stated that he doesn't look back negatively at Howard The Duck,
"I got this big job that was paying a really decent salary and it was for George it was a huge deal at the time. And then it wound up going over its shooting schedule, and I ended up getting paid twice for that movie because of all the overtime."
Robbins admitted that he thinks more about the money he made than the quality of the film.

According to Ed Gale, he went onto Spaceballs after Howard The Duck's release, he was cast because Mel Brooks felt,
"Anybody who's in Howard the Duck can be in my movie."
Gale's next on-screen work came as the stunt double for Chucky in Child's Play. The actor revealed that to this day he receives more fan mail for his Howard the Duck portrayal than for his Chucky performances.

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