Leprechaun is a movie that is commonly overlooked for good reason, but it does feature a very famous face: Jennifer Aniston, of Friends fame.
The 1993 film that co-starred Warwick Davis as a psychotic, killer leprechaun in North Dakota tried to build a brand around a unique horror antagonist like Hellraiser and A Nightmare On Elm Street did. Also true to formula in horror films of the 80s and early 90s, Leprechaun starred a fresh-faced Aniston as its final girl. Ridiculous as the premise sounded, there had been other franchises to succeed with similarly out-of-the-box ideas, but Leprechaun was a flop. Its $1 million budget only cleared $8.6 million at the box office and, while it sparked an entire franchise, reviews were resoundingly negative, with some critics even saying it was unwatchable.
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Possibly the one bright spot to come out of Leprechaun – other than the sequels and an origin story that have become synonymous with B-horror movies on SyFy – is that Jennifer Aniston managed to get a fantastic career out of it.
Leprechaun Was Inspired By Lucky Charms Cereal
Horror movies are known for being films that can make a lot of money with a minimal budget. In order to be successful, sometimes all it takes is a good premise or a good villain to keep an audience’s attention. Such was the thought process of Mark Jones when he structured the idea for Leprechaun. Jones, who had gotten his start in television with shows like The A-Team, decided he wanted to branch into movies and thought budget horror was his best bet. He started writing the script in 1985 and got his initial inspiration for the character from the Lucky Charms cereal, wanting to make a leprechaun character with an evil twist. He cast lead actor Warwick Davis, who had seen a decline in his career after his work on Willow, as the leprechaun. Despite it being a chance for Davis to get back under the spotlights, he wrote about Leprechaun in his book, Size Matters Not, and said that parts of the experience were “a little blasphemous.” Given that he did his own stunts and had to experience actors running in slow motion because he couldn’t keep up with them, this seems like a fair assessment.
Aniston Went From Leprechaun To Friends A Year Later
Before Leprechaun, Aniston had acted off-Broadway and worked additional part-time jobs as a telemarketer, waitress, and a bike messenger. She acted in a few television shows that flopped as well, but Leprechaun was her first feature role in a film and critics hated her performance. Aniston has made little mention of the film since she became famous, but has mentioned being embarrassed by it in the past. Though it’s not certain whether Leprechaun was what ultimately launched Aniston’s wildly successful career, she got the role of Rachel Green in Friends barely a year later and has since become one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. Friends has been critically acclaimed and is one of the most watched television series of all time. During seasons nine and ten, Aniston reportedly was paid $1 million an episode.
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