What You Wish You Knew Before Watching Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is remembered for capturing the awkward and hormone-packed teenage time we all experienced. When the movie was released in 1980, it certainly was surprising to see the portrayal on the big screen. Even today, though, the film tells the classic tale of young love. It’s even more intriguing because it’s on a deserted island.

Christopher Atkins, Brooke Shields / Brooke Shields / Randal Kleiser, Christopher Atkins / Brooke Shields.
Source: Getty Images

It was so popular that a remake was made; however, the original’s aura made it stand out. We are going to go over the reasons that made the movie a classic deserted island love story. Also, there are a few things to note for the next time you see the movie.

Brooke Shields Was Too Young

Long after the movie was filmed, released in theatres, and streamed online, the issue with Shields’s age was still a problem for many. The high level of attention led to Brooke Shields testifying in front of Congress that body doubles of lawful age were used in the movie.

Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins on the movie set.
Source: Tumblr

The costume designers also invested in a not-so-creative solution to cover any nudity displayed on the screen. This was important considering her character was topless for many scenes during the movie. They glued the long blond wig she wore to her body to solve this challenge. At least it was a wig and not her actual hair.

The Movie Was Based on a Trilogy

The movie and its sequel were based on a series of books written by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The first movie does seem to fall in line with the first book’s story; however, the sequel Blue Lagoon Returns doesn’t follow its ongoing plotline. The popularity of the first movie overtook the production.

Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins in Blue Lagoon.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Essentially it was just another version of the original hit movie. Stacpool’s following books were more focused on the South Seas population culture. He speaks about the changing environment due to the new arrival of Europeans. The writers probably thought that this wouldn’t interest audiences.

The 1980’s Movie Wasn’t the First

The first version of the movie was a silent film. In 1923, director W. Bowden created this adaptation of the story. 20 years later, Frank Lauder, a British filmmaker, made a well-acknowledged version of the movie. The film featured Donald Houston and Jean Simmons.

Donald Houston and Jean Simmons in Blue Lagoon.
Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The movie became the seventh highest-grossing domestic film of that year in the UK. You would think the actors would really enjoy working on the movie considering filming locations included Fiji. However, the movie took as long as three months to make because of storms. Another interesting fact was that Donald Houston was only chosen out of 5,000 possible actors.

An Unexpected Discovery on Set

Following in the original footsteps of the franchise, the 1980s version was also filmed in Fiji. While filming the movie, an iguana kept repeatedly appearing on set. A herpetologist (a person who studies reptiles and amphibians) by John Gibbons noticed that the animal appearing in the movie wasn’t familiar to him.

Randal Kleiser speaks to Brooke Shields behind the scenes.
Source: YouTube

To check his suspicions, he traveled to Fiji. There his discovered the crested iguana that has now officially become a new species of the island country. Who knew a movie set could actually contribute to science?

A Special Award in Her Honor

There are awards given to the best actors and directors, but did you know that awards are given for bad performances? Well, it exists, and it’s called the Golden Raspberry Awards. Also known as the Razzie Awards, it turns the classic awards shows we know into a parody and celebrates the worst cinematic depictions.

Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins attend an event.
Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Brooke Shields received a Razzie Award for being the Worst Actress. Harsh, I know. At least the cinemographs received an Oscar nomination. She shouldn’t feel too bad, though, because audiences still loved the movie.

The Director’s Mysterious Plan

Randal Kleiser, who also directed Grease, by the way, had a few tricks up his sleeve. He wanted the onscreen couple to show as much chemistry as possible. His brilliant plan was to put a picture of Brooke Shields on the ceiling of Atkins’s bedroom. That way, he would fantasize about her before going to sleep.

Randal Kleiser and Brooke Shields are behind the scenes.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Columbia Pictures

It worked! Atkins recalled her onscreen love interest, “Brooke and I had a little bit of romantic, innocent sort of romance at the beginning of the film… It was very nice-we were very, very close friends.”

From Romance to Ruckus

It seemed like their brief romance wouldn’t last onset. Shields and Atkins quickly began arguing during the filming. Atkins said, “She thought I took acting too seriously. I was always trying to get into a mood while she would be skipping off to joke with the crew.”

A picture of Shields and Atkins on the movie set.
Source: Tumblr

However, the bickering wasn’t all bad. The director utilized it for some of the more frustrating scenes between the couple. The director was clever, as any couple would probably fight if they were stuck on a deserted island together.

Adding Authenticity to His Work

It was important for Kleiser to have a deep understanding and feel for the surrounding of the movie. He decided to make himself and the crew live on a deserted island in Fiji that had no roads, water, or electricity.

A photo of the filming crew and main actors on the movie set.
Source: Tumblr

“We built a village of tents for the crew to live in and had a small ship anchored in the lagoon for our camera equipment and supplies,” said Kleiser. Maybe he went a little far, but this wouldn’t be the first time a director would go to such great lengths.

The Queen of Controversy

Blue Lagoon wasn’t the first movie that Shields received backlash for. Two years before making the film, she took part in Pretty Baby, a movie starring a 12-year old prostitute. People spoke out due to the nudity portrayed in the movie.

Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby.
Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

Two years before Pretty Baby, Shields took part in her first thriller movie, Alice, Sweet Alice. At nine years old, Shields’ character was murdered in a church for her older sister’s ceremony. It turns out even before Blue Lagoon, Shields was already stirring up rumors of controversy.

The Main Characters Were Cousins

Another reason that caused controversy was that the two main characters, Richard and Emmeline, were cousins. Don’t forget that the movie takes place during the Victorian period. People in this time would marry their family members and continue the family line.

Shields and Atkins in Blue Lagoon.
Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

In the movie, there is a hint to their family ties. Emmeline refers to Richard’s dad as “uncle” when the teenagers are deserted on the island. The second is that they have the same last name, Lestrange.

Old Ritual Practices on the Island

The characters in the movie go through a traumatizing experience. They must hunt for themselves, find food and water, and build shelter. Maybe the film gives you an alluring and dreamy atmosphere but setting that aside, there is more trouble in Paradise.

The tribe during a ritual in a still from the film.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Columbia Pictures

The other character that initially survives the shipwreck with them is Paddy Button, the galley cook. He warns the two kids that they cannot go to the other side of the island because there is a tribe that sacrifices people as a cultural ritual.

The Island is Open for Visitation

What could be better than taking a tropical adventure to one of the most beautiful island countries in the world? The public can now visit the original private island used as the setting for Blue Lagoon.

A picture of tourists visiting the island.
Source: Blue Lagoon Resort Fiji

Its official name is Turtle Island; it contains 14 private beaches, and only 14 couples are allowed on the island at a time. Even Shields and Kleiser took a visit to the island 35 years after the movie was released. I think I know where I’m taking my next vacation.

Recalling Booking the Role

Christopher Atkins was just a kid that was headed off to college. He was auditioning for model agencies, and he was requested to do the movie. He recalls not knowing anything about the film and how he had to do three auditions until he was finally booked for the role.

A portrait of Christopher Atkins.
Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

“The conditions during the filming were very rustic,” Atkins recalled. He remembers how the island had no water and no actual human living habitat. He mentioned how they were taken to the island from a boat they lived on for the first two weeks.

Reflecting on His Visit

35 years later, Atkins also visited Turtle Island, where the survival classic was made. “I felt like I’m a part of the island’s history, and that island’s a huge part of my life.” Revisiting the island brought back a lot memories for the actor.

A picture of Randal Kleiser and Christopher Atkins revisiting the island.
Source: Tumblr

While he recalled some fond memories, he also noticed the differences on the island. He recalled how he lived “in this tent off the beach” and how now the swamp located nearby is filled, and they screened the movie every Sunday night.

Critics Hated it, But Audiences Loved It

Critics cracked down on the movie. Rotten Tomatoes gave it the low rating of 8% with a comment stating, “A piece of lovely dreck, The Blue Lagoon is a naughty fantasy that’s also too chaste to be truly entertaining.” The Washington Post mocked how the characters couldn’t make apparent assumptions.

Brooke Shields in a still from the film.
Source: YouTube

People loved it, though, as it has become a classic. It is most likely due to the over-sexualized mannerism of two teenagers caught on a deserted island. Nevertheless, it’s a cheesy romantic story the people fell in love with.

Looking for Romance at 60

A recent update report has noted that Christopher Atkins is searching for love. He remarked that he is searching for a ‘very sexual’ girlfriend who is willing to put up with his ‘spontaneous craziness.’ He defined his ideal woman as fun but not to add any drama to the mix as he’s too old to deal with anything of that sort.

A current picture of Christopher Atkins.
Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

He mentions the woman needs “…to be open and what I mean by open is I believe that a good relationship is how healthy your intimacy is….” not just in the sexual sense.

Atkins Spiraled Out of Control

Playing on Blue Lagoon brought Atkins to the top, after which he auditioned the role of Ren on Footloose. “I had ‘Footloose,’” remarked the actor. Atkins recalled the mistake he made on his way to Palm Springs. He was planning to have fun and indulge on his trip, but he started just a little bit too early.

A dated portrait of Christopher Atkins.
Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images

He stopped to meet with the directors and producers, but he was already hammered when he arrived. After meeting with him, they decided this wasn’t the kind of person they wanted to work with and cut him.

He Lost it After That

Atkins was crushed after being burned because this was his one chance to take his career to the next level, “I messed up. I was a total idiot. It could have been a whole different ball game for me,” he shared. Losing the role led to a breakdown, and he ended up being hospitalized.

A portrait of Christopher Atkins.
Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

In 1986, he was amid a drug-related breakdown. He went off to rebab and got clean. Regardless of his troubling decisions, he remains optimistic, enjoying his time with his kids and work.

What Did the Director Have to Say?

Some critics called the movie a display of “kiddie porn;” however, the director spoke against this comparison. He drew inspiration from a film called ‘Glen and Randa,’ who were two kids who fell in love after the imaginative World War III, lacking education, adult influence, and indoctrination.

Atkins and Shields take a picture on the movie set.
Source: Pinterest

Blue Lagoon shared a similar feel highlighting the lack of education and naiveness that the two kids displayed. It interested him – the idea of children growing up in a place where they had to learn how to do everything independently.

Return to the Blue Lagoon

As previously mentioned, the book wasn’t a sequel but a continuation of the series. However, the 1991 movie, Return to the Blue Lagoon, focused on the famous romantic aspect that made the first one so popular. The movie took on a similar plot of two young children falling in love on a deserted island.

Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause in Return to the Blue Lagoon.
Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

Directed by William A. Graham, the movie was hated even more by critics than the original. Rotten Tomatoes wrote that it “lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.” Audiences didn’t take as much of a liking to it either.

The Modern Remake

The most recent remake that came out in 2012 is Blue Lagoon: The Awakening. It aired on June 16 on Lifetime. The star couple features actors Indiana Evans and Brenton Thwaites. Obviously, this is an updated take on the original 1908 classic, so there are some clear differences.

Indiana Evans and Brenton Thwaites in a still from the film.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Sony Pictures Television

However, the island vibes remained the same, considering it was shot in Maui, Hawaii, and California. The movie did alright, and compared to the 1980 classic, people and critics liked it. In the modern version, there is more focus on emotion as opposed to nudity.

A Few Key Differences

One of the significant differences is that the movie takes place in modern times as opposed to the Victorian Era. They are stranded in the Caribbean and not the Pacific Ocean. Also, they arrive on the island as fully grown teenagers as opposed to kids just hitting puberty.

A photo of Indiana Evans behind the scenes.
Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

There is a hint to the original as Christopher Atkins makes an appearance in the movie. The pair are headed off on a Senior trip; no, they are not cousins. The film focuses on the teenagers understanding more about themselves as they fall in love.

Who is Indiana Evans?

The 31-year-old is an Australian actress, singer/songwriter who has taken on several roles throughout her career, most notably as a mermaid in H20: Just Add Water. She also sang the song “No Ordinary Girl” on the show’s soundtrack.

Indiana Evans attends an event.
Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Her first movie was called Arctic Blast, where a solar eclipse threatens the globe, forcing it into an ice age. Following her role in the Blue Lagoon movie, she was cast in Secrets and Lies, a US television drama.

Who is Brenton Thwaites?

The actor is also a fellow Australian who began his career in the land down under. Since his role in Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, he has been cast in more recognizable movies such as Oculus, Th Giver, Gods of Egypt, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Brenton Thwaites attends an event.
Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Other notable roles include a lead in An Interview with God, a Christian film. Most recently, he was cast in the DC series Titans as Dick Grayson/Robin. He is also currently in a relationship with a fellow actress, Chloe Pacey.

Is There a Blue Lagoon?

It really is a place. The Blue Lagoon, located in southwestern Iceland, is an incredible geothermal spa worth a visit. The water in the “Lagoon” is supplied by the geothermal power station nearby. It’s 12 miles away from the airport and one of Iceland’s most popular places to visit.

A picture of tourists bathing in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
Photo by Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

It has an extremely blue color containing Silica – a combination of chemical formula SiO2 and an oxide of Silicon. This substance can be found at the lake’s bottom, which, like natural mud, can be rubbed on the body.

Is the Water Safe?

Maybe it crossed your mind that swimming in a weird substance combined with chemicals isn’t the best, but it is actually completely safe. The water that comes from the geothermal power plant is filtered and heated by Iceland’s volcanic landscape.

A panoramic shot of the Blue Lagoon Spa.
Photo by Tom Bell/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

It is entirely harmless. It’s just not a natural phenomenon; instead, a manmade spa. Studies have actually been done on the lagoon that shows it can help aid the skin disease psoriasis. In 1995, the Blue Lagoon company began selling skincare products with ingredients silica, algae, and salt inside.

A Teenage Heartthrob

Brooke Shields was an internationally known teenage icon. She represented the Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears of her time. She was considered insanely beautiful, covering shoots for over 30 magazines. She was noted for her long, luscious hair and a light sense of innocence.

A still of Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon.
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

She even admitted to being a virgin in her autobiography when she was 20 years old. She reflected on her innocence when she shot Blue Lagoon: “In Blue Lagoon, I’m using a glue gun, taping my hair, anything I can so my body doesn’t show I have boobs…”

Born into a Family of Stars

Shields was destined for fame as her mom Teri Shields was an actress and model. Her dad was a businessman. Shields was born in Manhattan, New York. According to some research done on Shields, her ancestors were noble Italian families from Genoa and Rome.

Brooke smiles while posing with her mother for a picture.
Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

Her mom helped her start her career when she was five years old, saying, “She’s the most beautiful child, and I’m going to help her with her career.” To put her on the path to success, she took horse riding lessons, ballet, and piano.

Starting Her Career Off Young

Shields began working with top names as early as 10 years old. She worked on a film called Annie Hall with the noted Woody Allen. She also began modeling for Ford Modeling Agency. At just 14 years old, she was the youngest model to book a cover on Vogue magazine.

A portrait of a young Brooke Shields.
Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images

She then did a photoshoot and ads for Calvin Klein jeans that led to much controversy. Her modeling for Calvin Klein would not only boost her career but make Calvin Klein a household designer.

From Movies to TV

Shields appeared on the Muppets as the young star to have ever done so. They did a segment called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She also hosted Saturday Night Live and was the youngest person to receive the opportunity.

A studio portrait of Brooke Shields.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Warner Bros.

She took a role in the hit classic Sitcom Friends portraying Joey’s stalker. Her recognition on the show paved the way for her being cast in Suddenly Susan, an NBC sitcom she played in for four years. Her performance on the show earned her recognition as she won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer.

She Had Roles on All the Big Shows

Where did this girl not act? Shields played Jackie’s mom on That 70’s Show. She also took part in an episode of the Simpsons during Season four. Near the end of the 2000s, she took guest star roles in Nip/Tuck and Two and a Half Men.

A dated portrait of Brooke Shields.
Photo by PL Gould/Images/Getty Images

She was also cast for an extended guest role on Entourage called “Blue Balls Lagoon.” She played Miley’s mom on Hannah Montana and then came back to play in Lipstick Jungle. She co-hosted the Today show on NBC and reappeared on Law and Order.

She Had Success on Broadway

In 1994, Shields took the role of Rizzo in a revival of Grease. She also played Sally Bowles in Cabaret. On a Wonderful Town, she appeared as Ruth Sherwood replacing Donna Murphy. The New York times loved it and complimented her on the performance.

Brooke Shields attends an event.
Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Shields took her talent to London as the show Chicago welcomed her as Roxie Hard at the Adelphi Theatre in London. She was perceived with great respect considering she had landed long-standing roles on revival shows for an actress who wasn’t a theatre veteran.

Opening Up About Losing Her Virginity

Shields lived in the extravagant upper east side in New York with her mom. During college, she dated future superman Dean Cain. In an issue of Health Magazine, she admitted that she lost her virginity to him at the age of 22.

Dean Cain and Brooke Shields attend an event.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

She has also been a major proponent of health and fitness. She was a huge supporter of athletics believing that it displayed an excellent allure for femininity. She pushes for animal rights and is a vegan. However, she became somewhat of a hypocrite when she later made her own mink fur coat.

Sharing Her Battle With Depression

She opened up about her fight with postpartum depression in magazines and on the Oprah Winfrey show. She raised public awareness for mental health when she wrote Down Came the Rain, sharing the challenges she experienced.

Brooke Shields walks on stage at the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Tom Cruise didn’t seem to like that she was using prescription medication, specifically taking Paxil, to assist with depression and denounced her as he was a massive proponent of Scientology. Brooke wasn’t quite to respond to Cruise and defended her decision, calling his comments irresponsible.

Shields Was Friends with Michael Jackson

Shields met Michael Jackson when she was 13 years old, and they immediately hit off. They had a lot in common, considering they were both child stars with demanding work schedules and overbearing parents. She shared her memories of him at his memorial service.

A portrait of Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson.
Photo by John Barr/Liaison/Getty Images

“We had a bond…Both of us needed to be adults very early, but when we were together, we were two little kids having fun,” shared Shields. She spoke about Michael accompanying her as her date to one of Elizabeth Taylor’s weddings.

Did Shields Date Michael Jackson?

In 1993, Jackson was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show and shared that the two were dating at that time. Shields also recalled that Jackson wanted to marry her and adopt a child together.

A photo of Michael Jackson kissing Brooke Shields.
Photo by Steve Graniz/WireImage/Getty Images

“That was one of the loves of my life. I think she me loved as much as I loved her, you know?” said Jackson. Jackson recalled he had her picture hanging all over his bedroom. They met at the Oscars, and both went to an after-party after the show. There they danced the night away.

Her Mom Interfered in Her Love Life

Brooke Shields and John Travolta were both busy actors when her mom decided to match them up. John had Blow Out coming out in theatres, and Shields had Endless Love. The age difference didn’t seem to matter to Teri, her mother, as Travolta was 11 years older than her daughter’s minor.

Brooke Shields and her mother take a picture together.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Of course, the couple weren’t really dating, and their relationship was purely platonic; however, Travolta admitted to having deep regard for Shields. He recalled that she was something that just screamed goodness and was a special person.

She Was Overworked

Being the daughter of a mother who wanted to control your life was a challenge, to say the least. It seems Teri realized the talents Shields had at an early age. In her Memoir, Shields shared details of her relationship with her mother on the set of Pretty Baby.

A photo of Brooke Shields in the airport.
Photo by PA Images/Getty Images

She loved her mom, but they did have their fair share of bristling disagreements. Regardless, her mom did stick up for her as she reported that her daughter was being overworked on the set to the labor board.

Shields Had Her Share of Traumas

While attending the Cannes Film Festival, someone jumped out of the crowd and cut Shields’ hair. He was stopped, but the entire experience was a little too much for Shields. “I hated everything about Cannes… I had never seen frenzy like that.”

Brooke Shields attends an event.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The heightened attention was shocking from her perspective, and the event wasn’t something she had previously experienced. The level of focus on her stardom was scary and well beyond her expectations. Who wouldn’t be scared if someone was threatening to cut your hair with scissors?

Her Mom Was an Alcoholic

“My mother’s alcoholism kept me on the straight and narrow throughout my childhood and teen years,” she shared. As opposed to falling to the negative side while she was taking care of her mother, Shields remained focused.

A portrait of Teri and Brooke Shields.
Photo by Robert R McElroy/Getty Images

She wanted to keep her mom living and breathing and do well in school. She couldn’t bear to “lose it” herself; otherwise, that probably would have led to catastrophe. Shields recalled how fame wasn’t all that it was cut out to be. The benefits are obviously on the financial side as she was able to help friends.

Learning to Walk Again

One of the most recent updates on Shields shows us that she is undergoing a challenging recovery process. While working out at a Gym in New York, she fell on a balance board and landed on her femur, leading to a fracture.

Brooke Shields attends an event.
Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images/Getty Images

She recalls the accident: “It felt like it was all in slow motion. And I just started screaming.” She immediately began surgery after she was rushed to the hospital. They put two metal rods close to her hip and later added five more and a metal plate.

Becoming a Mom Was a Must

Shields did whatever she could to become a mom. She underwent as many as seven trials of IVF to make her dream come true. She wasn’t willing to give up on the joys of becoming a mom and having a family.

Brooke Shields and her daughters pose for a portrait.
Rowan Francis Henchy, Brooke Shields, Grier Hammond Henchy. Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Shields would let nothing get in her way and even admitted to becoming a crazy person to make this a reality. Understanding the power that kids had was clear to her. “Children have the sharpest instincts,” she said. It was something she experienced when she was young as well.

Sending Her Kids Off to College

Shields shared an emotional farewell with her daughter on Instagram as she sent her first daughter off to college. This is a bittersweet moment for many parents, especially considering how important it was to become a mom.

Brooke Shields takes a picture with her oldest daughter.
Rowan Francis Henchy, Brooke Shields. Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

Shields also shared pictures with her daughter at her prom. She assisted her with the proper attire as her daughter wore the same one her mom did at the 1998 Golden Globes. Having her daughter wear the dress brought her back to the memorable night.

Passing Down Some Life Lessons

Brooke Shields made her mom very rich. “My mom’s perspective was, if I did a movie, we could buy a house, or if I did a job, we could get a car.” Essentially, she was using the money she made to buy things immediately instead of saving for the future and possibly investing.

A portrait of Brooke Shields and her mother.
Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

Ultimately this made Shields extremely rich and then immediately poor. Instead of getting down about all the financial losses, Shields took it as a lesson to make better decisions in the future and to pass it on to her kids.

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