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The Orphanage (2007) Poster

(2007)

Trivia

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Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where it received a 10 minute standing ovation.
When the writer told the little girl who plays the blind orphan that she had pretty eyes, she replied, "Oh, do you like them? I picked them out myself!" What he didn't know: She was diagnosed at a very young age with a degenerative eye disease that was going to leave her blind. One of the last things her parents did while she could still see was let her see a big selection of glass eyes and choose the ones she wanted.
This scored the biggest box office opening for a film in its native Spain, outgrossing the similarly successful Pan's Labyrinth (2006).
One of the orphaned children Laura identifies in the photo she is shown she calls "Guillermo", an obvious nod to the Producer of the film. You also see his name during the scene where the window behind Laura smashes and she reveals the names of the old orphans and the dolls.
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Overawed at being in the company of acting veteran Geraldine Chaplin, J.A. Bayona broke the ice on her first day by hiding under a bed and grabbing her leg when she knelt down in the dark. Chaplin's scream in the film is one of genuine surprise.
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Over 400 children auditioned for the role of Simon.
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The top grossing film in Spain in 2007, outperforming Shrek the Third (2007) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007).
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Although uncredited, Guillermo del Toro plays the doctor at the Emergency Ward who tends to Laura after she injures her leg.
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The orphanage was an old colonial house in the town of Llanes. As a lot of J.A. Bayona's cinematic plans were impossible to achieve on location, several parts of the house had to be recreated on a soundstage. In fact, over 80% of the film was shot in a studio.
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'Belen Rueda' was J.A. Bayona's first choice for the lead from the start. This was mainly after seeing her performance in Alejandro Amenábar's The Sea Inside (2004).
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To prepare for her role, J.A. Bayona had 'Belen Rueda' watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and The Innocents (1961).
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Due to the cramped conditions for lighting, three caves were actually used for the location where Simon disappears.
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Spain's Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008).
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'Sergio G. Sanchez' wrote the screenplay in 1996, ending up in J.A. Bayona's lap in 2004. Bayona then approached his friend, Guillermo del Toro, to help him produce the film and double the budget and shooting schedule.
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J.A. Bayona wanted the film to hark back in tone to 1970s Spanish cinema. Hence the casting of Geraldine Chaplin who had starred in two successful films from that period, Anna and the Wolves (1972) and Cria Cuervos (1976).
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'Sergio G. Sanchez' originally wanted to direct his own screenplay but soon found that no Spanish production company would let an untried director helm such a major project.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Laura's necklace, a St. Anthony medallion, makes a clever reference to her plight. In Catholic religion, St. Anthony is a doctor and patron saint of lost items.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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