When it comes to the timeless classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there’s more than meets the eye. Behind the elegant facade lies a treasure trove of captivating trivia that will leave you amazed. From behind-the-scenes anecdotes to surprising details about the film’s production, here are 10 fascinating facts that shed new light on the enchanting world of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.Holly Golightly
1. The Original Ending
Believe it or not, the film’s original ending differed from the one we know today. The subtle nuances in the book’s ending gave a completely different twist to Holly Golightly and changed the essence of the characters. In Truman Capote‘s novella, Holly Golightly decides to flee the country and leave her cat behind, as they both represent independence and not belonging to anyone. However, in the film, she has a change of heart and embarks on a search for her beloved feline while also finding the love she had allegedly been seeking. This changes a lot Truman’s original character Holly as she would rather go wondering in Brazil and see the world, rather than staying at home with her new husband and a cat.
In the book, the sexual orientation of the narrator also plays a big part. Although he loves Holly, he would have never been romantically involved with her, while the Hollywood version couldn’t resist the temptation of a passionate on-screen kiss. In the book, the narrator lets Holly go, receiving only a note from her, unaware of her whereabouts but hoping she has found a place to call home. This ending provides a more realistic portrayal compared to the Hollywood version.
However, the filmmakers decided to give the film a more optimistic conclusion, where Holly and Paul part ways with the possibility of a future reunion. This change was made to preserve the film’s romantic spirit of that time and appeal to a wider audience.
2. Truman Capote Wanted Marilyn Monroe in the Leading Role
The role of Holly was originally envisioned for Marilyn Monroe, who had expressed interest in playing the character. Truman was good friends with Marilyn and firmly believed that she was the perfect fit for the role. He saw her vulnerability, sensuality, and comedic timing as ideal qualities to bring Holly Golightly to life on the big screen. The combination of Marilyn’s star power and the complex nuances of the character would have undoubtedly created an intriguing portrayal.
Unfortunately, despite the initial intention, Marilyn Monroe was not ultimately cast as Holly Golightly. There are different accounts of why this casting didn’t come to fruition. Some sources suggest that Marilyn’s team considered the role too risky for her image at the time, while others claim that she was discouraged by Capote’s remarks about her suitability for the part. As a result, Audrey Hepburn was eventually chosen for the role, but she was not the studio’s first choice. Shirley MacLaine, Natalie Wood and Kim Novak were also in the running and even Audrey was hesitant at first.
Ultimately, the studio decided on Audrey Hepburn, a choice that would forever solidify her place in film history. Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly became iconic, showcasing her grace, charm, and vulnerability in a way that resonated with audiences worldwide. The consideration of these other actresses highlights the significance of casting decisions and the impact they can have on the overall success and enduring legacy of a film.
3. Moon River Almost Didn’t Make The Final Cut
One of the most beloved songs in cinematic history, Moon River, almost didn’t make it into the film. Initially, the studio executives wanted to remove the song, considering it unnecessary. Audrey herself was not so confident in her singing abilities. However, director Blake Edwards and composer Henry Mancini fought to keep it, recognizing its emotional resonance and its potential to become an iconic part of the film. Audrey also fought for her glorious moment after seeing the scene and told everyone that they will remove the song over her dead body. Their persistence paid off, as Moon River went on to win an Academy Award for Original Song.
4. The Cat’s True Identity
The adorable cat that accompanies Holly Golightly throughout the film is affectionately known as Cat – a cat with no name. However, the real life cat definitely has a name and it is Orangey. Orangey was a trained feline actor, owned by Frank Inn, who had appeared in several other films, including the 1961 film The Incredible Shrinking Man. His presence added warmth and charm to the scenes and became an integral part of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
He’s all right! Aren’t you, cat? Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s.Holly Golightly
5. The Famous Apartment Building Sold for $7.4M
The building used to portray Holly Golightly’s apartment is located at 169 East 71st Street in New York City. Known as the Beekman Apartment, it has become an iconic landmark associated with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The interior of the apartment was shot at Paramount, but the exterior was real and it made the place extremely popular, hitting the market for $10M in 2014 and being sold eventually for $7.4M one year later.
The exterior shots of the building, with its charming fire escape and brownstone architecture, captured the imagination of viewers and added to the film’s romanticized depiction of New York City.
6. Truman Capote’s Cameo Appearance
Truman Capote makes a cameo appearance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In a brief scene, Truman can be seen standing outside Tiffany & Co. as he passes by Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak. Although his cameo is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, it serves as a nod to the creative mind behind the captivating story.
7. Tiffany’s Opened on a Sunday for the First Time since the 19th Century for the Film Crew
Tiffany & Co., the renowned jewelry store on Fifth Avenue, opened its doors on a Sunday for the first time since the 19th century to accommodate the production. This exceptional occurrence demonstrates the special arrangements made to capture the essence of the film’s iconic setting.
To ensure the security of the valuable jewelry and accessories on display during filming, Tiffany & Co. took extraordinary measures. They deployed a team of 40 armed guards to patrol the store’s floor, preventing any potential theft or unauthorized handling of the precious items. This level of security underscores the significance of the jewelry’s role in the film and the importance of preserving its integrity during the production process.
You know those days when you get the mean reds? (…) Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!Holly Golightly
8. Audrey Did Wear The Tiffany Diamond, but Not in The Film
One of the most iconic jewelry pieces in the film is the stunning necklace worn by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. The necklace, known as the Tiffany Diamond, is a yellow diamond pendant that was found in the mines of South Africa in 1877.
The diamond itself is estimated to be worth over $30 million due to its rarity and size. However, it’s important to note that the necklace featured in the film was a replica, as the original Tiffany Diamond remains a part of Tiffany & Co.’s collection. However, Audrey had the privilege of wearing the renowned Tiffany Diamond in 1961, during the publicity campaign for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Only four women have ever worn this fabulous diamond. The first was Mary Whitehouse in 1957, Audrey and later on, Lady Gaga at the 2019 Academy Awards when she received the Oscar and Beyonce in a Tiffany & Co. ad campaign in 2021.
Other pieces worn by Audrey Hepburn, such as earrings and bracelets, were also carefully selected to complement the character’s sophisticated style. While the exact value of these pieces is not widely disclosed, they would likely hold considerable worth due to their association with the film and their connection to the renowned jewelry brand, Tiffany & Co.
9. The Iconic Party Scene was Filmed in 6 Days
The spectacular party scene required an impressive six days to capture on a Paramount soundstage. Director Blake Edwards had a brilliant idea to make it feel authentic and vibrant, so he called all his personal friends to play extras. He throw a REAL PARTY! The atmosphere on set was electric and filled with excitement. I mean, it was a true party, indeed! No acting required.
The producers went the extra mile and brought huge amounts of real champagne, a staggering 120 gallons of soft drinks, and enough yummy snacks like hot dogs, cold cuts, chips, dips – you name it!
Creating the perfect atmospheric haze was another essential element for the scene. To achieve this, the guests smoked 60 cartons of cigarettes but this was not enough, so Blake used a beekeeper’s smoke and covered the entire set in a veil of smoke. He truly created an immersive experience and the party scene became one of the most memorable scenes in films.
10. Holly’s Hairstyle was Inspired by The French Twist
Audrey Hepburn’s hairstyle in Breakfast at Tiffany‘s has become legendary. The chic updo, created by hairstylist Alexandre de Paris, was inspired by a popular hairstyle known as the French twist. It perfectly complemented Holly Golightly’s sophisticated look and became a sought-after style in the 1960s. Hepburn’s hairdo remains an enduring symbol of elegance and has been emulated by countless fans over the years.
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The famous sunglasses worn by Audrey Hepburn also have an interesting story. Designed by Oliver Goldsmith, the sunglasses were a part of Hepburn’s personal collection and were incorporated into the film’s wardrobe. The oversized frames and dark lenses added an air of sophistication to Holly’s look, solidifying their status as a fashion icon.
And, I believe, there is no need to mention the famous Little Black Dress custom made by Givenchy for Audrey, which turned Chanel’s initial design into one of the most famous dresses in the world and a staple of cinema costumes. The collaboration between Givenchy and Hepburn became legendary, and the iconic black dress she wears in the film has become synonymous with both the character and the actress herself.