As superhero movies continue to soar in popularity, so does the public interest in everything to do with their creation and their stars. Along with being excited about knowing how the movie magic works, with everything from practical effects to the computer generated ones, fans love to see the shenanigans that their favorite superheroes get up to when the cameras aren’t rolling. Many superhero movies were made without the presence of social media, so many great photos from behind the scenes of those films are only available in special collective sets or are released by the owners of the photographs themselves years after the fact. But since the onset of social media, fans get to see epic behind the scenes photos as they occur.
They get to feel part of the creative process, as well as see a cheekier side of both heroes and villains. Studios have even begun to realize that they can roll behind the scenes antics into extremely successful marketing campaigns. CBR has compiled a list of 15 in-costume superhero actors in behind the scenes shenanigans, involving characters across productions that span several decades. Experience your favorite superheroes and supervillains in a whole new context, and catch a glimpse of the fun grown adults have in spandex.
15 HEATH LEDGER SHOWS THE JOKER’S NICER SIDE
Everyone acknowledges that Heath Ledger’s take on The Joker in The Dark Knight was inspired. It wasn’t the campy criminal that Jack Nicholson portrayed in Batman or Cesar Romero in the television series starring Adam West. He gave us a truly sinister sociopath who was clinically insane long before he was scarred. It made audiences wonder if the Joker’s transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime was the inevitable outcome of an unstable mind, rather than the occurrence of a traumatic event.
Here we see Heath Ledger, in full face makeup, posing for a decidedly convivial photo outside his trailer with a pair of stunt men on the set of The Dark Knight. It’s been said that Heath went to a dark place psychologically to get in character to play The Joker, so it’s nice to see him taking a break from his method performance to hang with the crew.
14 THE AVENGERS ACQUIRE A NEW RECRUIT
Getting to hang out with the members of the Avengers on a daily basis would be a blast for anyone. Especially since Chris Evans was known for organizing nights out on the town by texting the cast “assemble”. The movie itself was one of the most popular superhero movies of all time (the first MCU movie to break a billion dollars), thanks to a cast with great chemistry as well as some amazing special effects.
In a glimpse behind the scenes during the final battle, Joss Whedon apparently decided to “assemble” alongside the cast, though his super posing skills look super lacking by comparison. This from the guy who didn’t include the founding Avengers members, Ant-Man and Wasp, because there were “too many characters” already. It’s good to be the boss!
13 SPIDER-MAN AND MINI SPIDER-MAN
The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield had a lot to set right. It was the first reboot of the Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, which went off the rails somewhere in the middle of Spider-Man 3 when he sported an emo haircut and shot finger guns at women while swaggering down the street. Sony still owned the rights to the Spider-Man franchise and wanted to reignite public appreciation for their friendly neighborhood superhero.
Here we see Andrew Garfield hanging out between takes with a fan who obviously still loves Spider-Man (most likely due to the fact that he wasn’t born when the other movies came out). Sadly, the Amazing Spider-Man didn’t do anything to help boost the faith in the franchise, but it didn’t probably matter to this kid who will get bragging rights forever.
12 ARROW LEADS OR ROCK STARS
We’ve all seen photos of Christian Bale in the Dark Knight trilogy, eyes rimmed with coal so that only pale slivers of white peak out from behind the imposing cowl and mask. Here we have Stephen Amell aka the Green Arrow and Colton Haynes aka Arsenal kicking back between takes, sporting some serious guyliner. Differing from the comic book version of the Green Arrow (blonde, with a goatee and mask), this version has Oliver Queen only ever throw some green face paint around his eyes to hide his identity, along with a very large hood.
In this shot they both have their quivers and ammo at the ready, and apparently their trusty umbrellas. Both of these guys are known for doing the majority of their owns stunts and taking the action sequences very seriously.
11 IS THERE ANYTHING WONDER WOMAN CAN’T DO?
The Wonder Woman film proved audiences wanted to follow the adventures of a strong female superhero. With the right cast, script, and special effects, any superhero movie can come to life with jaw dropping realism. From her first onscreen appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot sparked hype, and her stand alone film didn’t disappoint.
She portrayed a woman out-of-time, who often took things literally and at face value, often coming across as serious minded and determined. Here we see a glimpse of her silly side behind the scenes of Justice League, in which Gal Gadot is balancing her sword. Her training included Kung Fu, kick boxing, jiu jitsu, and capoeira in order to assume the role of the Amazonian, as well as fencing.
10 SUPERGIRL RELAXING AFTER A LONG DAY
After a long day of saving the world, what superhero wouldn’t relax in a hot tub, turn on the bubbles, and let the stress just melt away. They might remove their supersuit first, but who are we mere mortals to judge what a superhero does on her time off. Here we see Melissa Benoist aka Kara Zor-El soaking behind the scenes of the CW’s Supergirl.
She was the first to audition for the role, though the casting directors would see several thousand more actresses before circling back around to her. The Supergirl comic title was cancelled in 2015 shortly before the series came out. It made its grand reappearance as part of the “DC Rebirth” event, though the series has nothing to do with the events in the comics.
9 THE EPIC RACE BEHIND THE SCENES OF CIVIL WAR
In Captain America: Civil War, not all of the Avengers are happy to fight alongside one another. And they certainly aren’t making any new friends, even when Black Panther and Spider-Man show up. Many iconic scenes in the film depict Team Iron-Man going against Team Captain America, both respective Avengers having taken sides on the issue of superheroes having to register their superpowers with the government to be properly regulated.
Iron Man gets two new recruits in T’Challa and Spidey, while Cap gets an assist from the Winter Soldier and Falcon. During the final day of shooting, when the movie wrapped production, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie had a foot race in costume through a busy airport. Originally part of a take, by the last one both actors said to hell with it, and decided to race for real.
8 HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARLEY
Lots of surprising things happened on the set of Suicide Squad, like Jared Leto sending cast members everything from live rats to soiled dirty magazines. That sort of zaniness is almost expected considering the rag tag group of misfit villains that made up the group in the comics (a notable absence being Bane).
The character of Harley Quinn is a fan favorite, introduced to the Batman and DC Universe by way of Batman: The Animated Series, and instantly becoming popular. Margot Robbie played her cute craziness to perfection, and during the course of filming celebrated her 25th birthday, in costume, with a cake that was decorated with several comic book covers depicting her character. No doubt the gifts she got were infinitely better than whatever The Joker (or Leto) would have given her.
7 WONDER WOMAN IS A SKATER GIRL
Throughout the original Wonder Woman television series, Lynda Carter cruised around in a variety of different ways, from cars and motorcycles to the invisible jet. In the 1978 episode “Skateboard Wiz”, she’s on a skateboard. It’s what you do if you’re vacationing in California with your friends. Of course, if you’re Wonder Woman, your vacation gets derailed by the discovery of an illegal gambling organization.
With the help of a young skateboarder who also happens to have a photographic memory, she foils the organization and learns how to skateboard in the process. A special Wonder Woman skateboarding outfit was designed for her, with pads and protection reflecting her typical bracers and shield (and of course, a helmet). Pioneer skateboarder Ellen O’Neal was on hand to give Lynda pointers, presumably on how to skate in stilettos. Here she is with a group of skateboarding kids on set.
6 TAKE YOUR PET TO WORK DAY
Guardians of the Galaxy was the surprise hit of 2014, and everyone fell in love with a monosyllabic tree, a talking raccoon, a couple of aliens, and a snarky treasure hunter from Earth. The set sure looked like a fun one, especially with personalities like Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista cracking wise. While filming in UK studios, a myriad of small mammals were brought to set, which included meerkats, lemurs, and yes, a real raccoon for all the cast to play with.
Here we have Zoe Saldana, aka Gamora, making a fuzzy friend, who seems perfectly at ease cradled in her arms. Gamora is known for her no-nonsense, tough exterior with no sense of humor,who rarely smiles. To see Zoe in full costume with such a huge grin on her face is certainly different, but who can blame her?
5 WHEN BATMAN MET HIS CREATOR
The 1989 Batman film by Tim Burton was the first serious attempt to bring the Dark Knight to the big screen following the campy chronicles of the caped crusader in the ‘60s Adam West television show. Bob Kane, creator of the Batman character, was brought on board as a writer and creative consultant and was originally hesitant about the casting of Michael Keaton in the titular role.
Here we have a shot of both of them together shaking hands, smiling like they’ve just gotten a good whiff of Joker Gas. Kane began to appreciate the timing that Keaton’s comedic background brought to the role, and the ironic sense of humor he brought to Bruce Wayne. It was Keaton who ultimately suggested Batman’s voice be a register lower than Bruce’s to conceal his identity, a tactic used by every actor to play Batman in every Batman movie since.
4 DEADPOOL GETS A NEW SIDEKICK
Deadpool is often lauded for it’s no-holds-barred raunchy humor, foul language, and gun-blazing action. It follows in a long line of R-rated superhero movies, which include Blade, The Punisher (any incarnation), and Watchmen. None of them were as massively successful as Deadpool, however, and that could be because the right mixture of all of those elements hadn’t yet been achieved. Ryan Reynolds is known for his mad comedic skills both in and out of the red suit.
It’s only fair that he acquire a sidekick with equal comedic chops in the form of the UK’s latest funnyman import, James Corden, aka the host of the Late Late Show with James Corden and Carpool Karaoke. Here we have Corden sporting a copy of Deadpool’s costume, and looking quite pleased to do so. The actors are reportedly both big fans of each other.
3 SLICING GANGNAM STYLE
When famous Korean pop star PSY visited the set of Wolverine, he instantly sought out Hugh Jackman in order to coach him on how to properly dance “gangnam style”. Hugh was onboard and, with adamantium claws in hand, danced alongside PSY to the popular hit song of the same name. The singer even got to have a pair of his own claws to dance with.
Hugh looks like a natural (presumably because he practices in front of the same mirror he bench presses in front of). Apparently he was way more of a sport than Ryan Seacrest, who PSY visited a few days later, and was reluctant to dance with him. While Wolverine is normally pretty serious and grumpy, Hugh Jackman is more than happy to be ridiculous between takes. The Youtube video does not disappoint!
2 SMALL CHILDREN, THE SECRET TO DEFEATING SUPERVILLAINS
You can’t keep small children away from the sets of superhero movies -- if there are caped and cowled adults running around fighting the forces of evil, they’ll find a way to be a part of it. This tiny fan is clearly on the side of justice, sporting a Captain America shield and a Spider-Man shirt -- obviously an Avenger in training. He’s completely disarmed Tom Hiddleston, aka Loki, rendering the God of Chaos helpless to his charms.
While Loki was able to cause quite a bit of destruction to the Avengers during the filming of the movie by the same name, here he seems like a pushover from the powers of the innocent. This from a man who was once interviewed saying that the entire plot of the film and the formation of the team happened because his character had gotten so dang evil.
1 ABLE TO LIFT WHOLE TAXIS WITH A SINGLE FINGER
Many consider Christopher Reeve to be the one and only Superman. Beginning in 1978, he played the Man of Steel on four separate occasions, the last being in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. This shot is from that film, in which Christopher Reeve holds up a taxi with both hands, conveying his otherworldly strength. Between takes, and while the taxi was still hoisted in the air above him, Reeve decided to have this shot taken.
While he co-wrote the film, he also held it responsible for being his career kryptonite. It suffered from budget cuts, office politics, and creative disagreements on all sides. The movie Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh was in fact a film that ignores the events of Superman III and Superman IV. Whatever the ultimate opinion of Superman IV, at least we got this gem out of it.
Which of these BTS shots is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!