20 facts you might not know about 'There Will Be Blood'
Miramax

20 facts you might not know about 'There Will Be Blood'

Paul Thomas Anderson broke out with his film “Boogie Nights,” a tale of sex, drugs, and depravity in the 1970s and 1980s porn industry in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a kinetic, chaotic, brightly colored film with a killer ensemble. That same man proceeded to make a classic movie that’s…a bleak, desaturated film with like three characters set in the early 1900s oil industry. Anderson is truly a filmmaker who can run the gamut. Here are 20 facts about his modern classic “There Will Be Blood.” Perhaps enjoy them with a milkshake.

 
1 of 20

Anderson’s homesickness may have led to the movie

Anderson’s homesickness may have led to the movie
Paramount

Anderson was working on a screenplay about two warring families, but it wasn’t working for him. At the time, he was staying in London and was feeling homesick. He saw the cover for a copy of Upton Sinclair’s “Oil!” that featured a California oilfield. Because of this, Anderson bought the book, and it inspired him to write his film.

 
2 of 20

You’ve possibly read another Sinclair book

You’ve possibly read another Sinclair book
Library of Congress

If the name Upton Sinclair struck a chord, think back to your high school English classes. Sinclair is the author of the novel “The Jungle,” a fictionalized version of the meatpacking industry and the harsh conditions many workers faced at the time. “The Jungle” was so incendiary that it actually led to changes in the law and the Meat Inspection Act. “Oil!” is also a fiction tale, but one with political and satirical intentions.

 
3 of 20

Anderson doesn’t consider his movie a true adaptation

Anderson doesn’t consider his movie a true adaptation
Paramount

While Anderson was inspired by “Oil!,” he does not consider the film an adaptation. For starters, he really only used the first half of the book or so for inspiration. The director would later say in an interview, “We were really unfaithful to the book. That's not to say I didn't really like the book; I loved it. But there were so many other things floating around.” Because of this, Anderson decided not to use “Oil!” for his film’s title and instead went with “There Will Be Blood.”

 
4 of 20

The movie was written for Daniel Day-Lewis

The movie was written for Daniel Day-Lewis
Paramount

It’s hard to think of anybody but Day-Lewis playing Daniel Plainview, and apparently, that was true for Anderson as well. He wrote “There Will Be Blood” with Day-Lewis in mind and even went as far as to send him a script before it was even completed.

 
5 of 20

Apparently Day-Lewis didn’t even need to see the script, though

Apparently Day-Lewis didn’t even need to see the script, though
Paramount

Day-Lewis signed on after receiving the script, but that wasn’t even necessary. The actor was a big fan of Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” and said that just the fact he was asked to do the movie was all it took to get him to sign on.

 
6 of 20

Paul Dano didn’t originally have a dual role

Paul Dano didn’t originally have a dual role
Paramount

Dano makes quite the impact on “There Will Be Blood” as fiery preacher Eli Sunday, but he also plays Eli’s twin brother Paul. Originally, though, the Sundays weren’t twins, and Dano was only cast as Paul. Kel O’Neill was originally cast as Eli, but Anderson decided to replace him early in the film. Dano had already filmed his one scene as Paul when Anderson asked him to play Eli as well. Dano agreed, and he started filming as Eli four days after being cast.

 
7 of 20

H.W. was played by a non-actor

H.W. was played by a non-actor
Paramount

For the child role of H.W. Plainview, originally they planned to cast, well, a child actor from New York or Los Angeles. Then, Anderson decided he should find a kid from Texas – where the movie was filming – who actually felt comfortable in a rough-and-tumble life. They landed on Dillon Freasier after talking to him and getting to know him, as opposed to having him read lines.

 
8 of 20

Dillon Freasier is still not an actor

Dillon Freasier is still not an actor
Paramount

Freasier got good reviews for his work as H.W., but it was not the start of a new acting career. To this day, Freasier has never acted in another film and given that he’s now a man in his twenties that probably isn’t going to change.

 
9 of 20

A comedian has a small role

A comedian has a small role
Comedy Central

Early in the film, you might catch actor, improviser, and standup comedian Paul F. Tompkins in the role of Prescott. While Tompkins primarily works in the world of comedy, he also had a small role in Anderson’s film “Magnolia.” You can hear Tompkins talk about his experience working on “There Will Be Blood,” and working with the notoriously method Day-Lewis, on his standup special “Laboring Under Delusions.”

 
10 of 20

The film caused problems for another acclaimed 2007 film

The film caused problems for another acclaimed 2007 film
Paramount

While “There Will Be Blood” is set in California, the film was shot in Marfa, Texas. One day while filming, they did a run-through of the scene where the oil derrick catches on fire, which filled the sky with smoke. This turned out to be a problem for the Coen Brothers, who happened to be shooting “No Country for Old Men” around Marfa at the same time. The Coens would get the last laugh, though, as “No Country for Old Men” won Best Picture.

 
11 of 20

The film’s iconic line has a real-life source

The film’s iconic line has a real-life source
Paramount

An Oscar darling about greed and oil is not the likeliest source of an oft-quoted film line, but nevertheless, we got “I drink your milkshake!” from “There Will Be Blood.” That line didn’t come from just anywhere, but where it came from is disputed. Anderson says he got it from New Mexico Senator Albert Fall speaking on the Teapot Dome Scandal in the 1920s. However, an investigation by the “Case Western Reserve Law Review” did not find anything about milkshakes in Fall’s testimony. Instead, they surmised it might have actually come from a 2003 statement from a different New Mexico Senator, Pete Domenici.

 
12 of 20

Anderson was deeply inspired by “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”

Anderson was deeply inspired by “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”
Paramount

Much like “There Will Be Blood,” John Huston’s classic film “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is about greedy men in the wide-open West, though they are after gold instead of oil. Anderson found “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” quite an influence when working on his film. In fact, he said that he watched the movie every night while writing the screenplay.

 
13 of 20

And the inspiration didn’t end there

And the inspiration didn’t end there
Paramount

John Huston’s filmmaking inspired Anderson, but Huston’s persona was also influential. Anderson sent Day-Lewis a documentary featuring Huston, hoping to have the actor use Huston’s mannerisms and speaking style as an influence for Plainview. Plainview did indeed model his character’s voice in part on Huston, but he also used recordings of men from the era the film is set as well.

 
14 of 20

The movie started a fantastic collaboration (and gave a famed musician a whole new career)

The movie started a fantastic collaboration (and gave a famed musician a whole new career)
Paramount

Jonny Greenwood is a member of Radiohead, and therefore will forever be a legend in music. The guitarist stepped outside of the band to work on the score for the small documentary “Bodysong.” Anderson heard that score, though, and was also a Radiohead fan. He asked Greenwood to create the score for “There Will Be Blood” and he did. It was well-received, and since then Greenwood has done the score for every Anderson film since. He also scored “You Were Never Really There.”

 
15 of 20

Greenwood couldn’t get an Oscar nomination, though

Greenwood couldn’t get an Oscar nomination, though
Paramount

Greenwood got nominated by a few movie award shows for Best Score, and he was also nominated for a Grammy. What he didn’t get, though, was an Academy Award nomination. Greenwood’s work was considered ineligible for Best Original Score because of the “original” part. He used pieces of previous works of his, including “Bodysong.”

 
16 of 20

The film still got plenty of Oscars love

The film still got plenty of Oscars love
Paramount

Even without Greenwood, “There Will Be Blood” got eight Oscar nominations. As we noted, “No Country for Old Men” took home Best Picture, and the Coens also got Best Director. In the end, the film won two Academy Awards: Best Cinematography and Best Actor.

 
17 of 20

Day-Lewis joined rarified air with his win

Day-Lewis joined rarified air with his win
Paramount

Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Daniel Plainview is considered one of the best acting performances of the new millennium, so naturally, he won Best Actor. When he did, he became the eighth actor to win a second Oscar for that category. Since Day-Lewis’ win, both Sean Penn and Anthony Hopkins have joined that group. However, the Irish actor has leveled up himself, as his win for “Lincoln” made him the only person with three Best Actor wins.

 
18 of 20

The film is dedicated to one of Anderson’s heroes

The film is dedicated to one of Anderson’s heroes
Cinecom International Films

While Anderson was editing the film, acclaimed filmmaker Robert Altman died. Anybody who watched “Boogie Nights” or “Magnolia” knows how much of an influence Altman had on Anderson. “There Will Be Blood” is dedicated to the memory of the late director.

 
19 of 20

Day-Lewis did the heavy lifting on this film

Day-Lewis did the heavy lifting on this film
Paramount

Day-Lewis certainly earned his Best Actor, and you could make that argument in pure quantity alone. There are only two small scenes in the entire film that Daniel Plainview isn’t in. One is when Eli is yelling at his father, and the other is the montage of H.W. and Mary Sunday leading up to their marriage.

 
20 of 20

“There Will Be Blood” is the best film of the decade

“There Will Be Blood” is the best film of the decade
Paramount

Or, at least, that’s what many people say. Critics from “Rolling Stone,” “Chicago Tribune,” and “Entertainment Weekly” are among those who named “There Will Be Blood” the best film of the 2000s. At the end of the decade, the late website Gawker aggregated as many end-of-decade movie lists as they could. The film that came out on top? Well, let’s just say it drank every other movie’s milkshake.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

More must-reads:

Customize Your Newsletter

+

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.