Bird Box is the new Netflix sensation taking the world of online streaming by storm. Sandra Bullock stars as Malorie, a stern mother who has to survive with her two kids in a post-apocalyptic world taken over by some seriously creepy monsters. Luckily there are plenty of helpful birds on hand to warn of any danger, but still – you won’t want to watch this alone. Bullock and many of her co-stars spend a lot of screen time blindfolded so they don’t look directly at the monsters, which kill on sight.
In the article below, we’ve brought you 25 crazy facts you didn’t know about Bird Box. Scroll down the list to find out why the monsters never appear in the movie, plus we reveal why the book ending is so much darker than the film. Warning: spoilers ahead. Enjoy!
25. John Malkovich had a weird connection with the birds on set
John Malkovich has a reputation as a bit of an eccentric guy in Hollywood. And he managed to confirm his weirdness on the set of Bird Box when he reportedly forged a strange connection with the birds used during filming. Many of Malkovich’s cast members confirmed that the actor became some kind of bird whisperer.
Without any prior animal training, Malkovich would tell the birds to move their feet and they would do it. Creepy! Malkovich’s character Douglas was one of the fan favourites but surprisingly he wasn’t in the original books.
As fans of the movie will know, if everyone had just listened to Douglas in the first place then things would have turned out a lot better! Malkovich must have had fun filming this one after unearthing his previously unknown bird skills.
24. Sandra Bullock spent 50% of her shooting schedule blindfolded
Lead actress Sandra Bullock famously insisted on being fully blindfolded for all the of scenes in which she was required to do so.
However, unsurprisingly this led to a few difficulties during filming. Bullock previously revealed that she would run into the cameras a lot when blindfolded.
The actress has also estimated that she spent half of her entire shooting schedule with a blindfold on. That’s pretty crazy when you consider just how long a movie can take to film.
Bullock’s choice to wear a genuine blindfold wasn’t popular with everyone on set, either.
Director Susanne Bier reportedly suffered ‘sleepless nights’ when it became clear that the actress refused to remove her blindfold.
In most film scenes requiring a blindfold, the actor in question normally cuts holes in their costume so that they can see clearly.
23. Sarah Paulson and Bullock both hate being scared
Sarah Paulson has had a great run of film and television work in recent years, so many people were pleased to see her involvement in Netflix’s Bird Box.
However, it’s pretty amazing that the actress even accepted the part of Jessica in the first place.
Why? Well, both Bullock and Paulson have previously revealed that they absolutely hate being scared. Wow! That must have made filming very interesting for the pair.
Bullock stated: “I don’t like to be scared. I hate being scared. I hate, hate people who think it’s funny to stand behind doors and scare you because they know that you hate being scared.”
Paulson agreed with her co-star and admitted that she couldn’t quite believe where her movie career had taken her: “I don’t know how I found myself sort of working a lot in that genre,” Paulson told People magazine.
The actress was referring to both Bird Box and her work on American Horror Story.
22. The monsters weren’t included because they ended up being too comical
This fact is particularly revealing..
There’s plenty of suspense throughout the movie, but fans have been left wondering why they never actually caught a single glimpse of the dreaded monsters devastating planet Earth. It turns out that there’s a hilarious reason why the monster never appear.
Apparently producers did want the elusive creatures to pop up at some point in the movie, and set designers created a monster to star in a scene opposite Bullock.
However, despite the fact that the actress was initially shocked by the creature, she began to find it hilarious very, very quickly. Oops!
The actress revealed that the creature was “a green man with a horrific baby face. It was snake-like.”
However, due to the fact that the monster became comical, the director decided to scrap the scenes in question.
21. Bullock demanded that Paulson play her sister
Sandra Bullock has had a long career in Hollywood, so she’s allowed a few diva demands from time to time, especially when it comes to her fellow cast mates.
Apparently the actress required that Paulson play her sister in the film.
The pair are firm friends and Bird Box actually marks their second collaboration together after they starred in Ocean’s Eight in 2018.
Despite the fact they’ve only known each other a year or so, the two actresses have revealed that they feel as though their friendship spans decades.
Bullock revealed to People magazne: “We connected when we did Ocean’s, it just felt like there was a shorthand that was there by the time that we met for the first time. I don’t know why that is, it just is.”
20. The film ending is slightly different to the book ending
Bird Box is actually based on the 2014 post-apocalyptic novel by Josh Malerman.
Although the movie stayed very close to the book in a lot of ways, the book ending is way darker than the film version could ever be. At the end of the film, we see Malorie and the kids delivered safely to the sanctuary.
There’s plenty of happy, smiling people there and not a monster in sight. It’s revealed that the sanctuary is safe because it’s actually an old school for the blind, so most of the inhabitants can’t see anyway.
However, in the books there is a different reason as to why none of the sanctuary residents are blind – all of the people there intentionally blinded themselves to stay safe. Grim!
Susanne Bier previously reflected on the vital difference: “The movie is slightly more positive. The movie is, in many aspects, different from the book, but it’s also very rooted in the book.
“The book also has a kind of positive ending and I would not have wanted to do an apocalyptic movie that didn’t have a hopeful ending.”
19. Bullock removed a layer of blindfold when running with the child actors
As we’ve already seen, there were plenty of obstacles to Sandra Bullock’s filming of Bird Box.
But she wasn’t entirely lacklustre when it came to health and safety, especially when she had to shoot any scenes with the child actors.
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Bullock revealed that during any scenes when she was running with Boy and Girl, the actress made sure not to hit them against any trees etc by removing a layer from her blindfold.
Why not just put holes in the blindfold instead?!
Bullock explained: “Any time I had the kids and I had to run I had [the crew] eliminate one layer of the blindfold so I could see outlines.”
Apparently the two kids, Vivien Lyra Blair and Julian Edwards, were also hooked onto her for safety purposes.
18. There’s a hidden reference to The Walking Dead
Any Walking Dead fans out there might be interested to find out that one of their favourite characters actually got a shout out in Bird Box.
One of the voices at the other end of the walkie talkies is from a guy called Rick who inhabits the safe community. Guess who is this is a reference to?
‘Rick’ is a hidden reference to lead character Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. And that’s not the only crossover with the hit zombie show.
Did you notice that Otis aka Pruitt Taylor Vince also makes an appearance in Bird Box? Check out the image below to jog your memory:
Funnily enough, he plays Rick in the movie – a nod to his on-screen character’s fellow survivor. Nice!
17. Both Susanne Bier and Bullock initially passed on the film
Bird Box could have looked very different indeed if Susanne Bier and Sandra Bullock hadn’t been tempted back to the movie script.
Apparently both the director and lead actress initially passed on the film, which has been in development for a long time.
The script for Bird Box was initially developed around seven years ago, straight after the book was published.
However, Bier passed on the project and only came back to it after the political and social situation in the USA and Europe changed dramatically (Bier is originally from Denmark).
Bier later explained her decision to take the helm of the movie, saying that Bird Box felt a lot more realistic in today’s political climate.
She stated: “It feels more relevant now; it feels like a more dystopian point in time.”
16. Bullock had never rowed a boat before filming Bird Box
There’s a very significant rowing scene at the end of the movie.
Malorie has to guide her children safely to the sanctuary without being tempted by the voices of the monsters. Apparently this scene was filmed in sequence, meaning that Bullock – who had never rowed a boat before – had to learn fast.
“We filmed in sequence,” Bullock recently explained in an interview.
“So when you see me pushing off the boat, getting into the water, I had never rowed a day in my life. But as we started progressing filming, my rowing got better and better, like it would have for her.”
Apparently Bullock purposely didn’t practice her rowing beforehand because her character wouldn’t have been able to do this either. Nice bit of method acting from Bullock there!
15. It wasn’t Susanne Bier’s first time filming a thriller
Bird Box has really managed to boost Susanne Bier’s reputation as a film maker.
However, the Danish filmmaker has had a long career in the media industry, and you might not realise that she’s actually been responsible for some well-known thrillers in the past.
Bier previously worked on the BBC series The Night Manager, which starred Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in a John le Carré spy thriller. Nice!
She was also the woman behind the camera when it came to filming 2014’s Serena, which starred Oscar favourite Jennifer Lawrence and her regular co-star Bradley Cooper.
Working on both of these projects must really have helped Bier when she was directing Bird Box. The Netflix movie has been praised for its suspense and the implied fear that runs throughout the film.
Nobody can doubt Bier’s credentials either – she was the first ever woman to win a European Film Award. Nice!
14. Bird Box broke Netflix records with its opening weekend
You’ve probably realised that Bird Box has proved a hit with audiences.
However, even Netflix executives couldn’t quite predict just how popular the movie would be. Apparently the horror movie broke a few records with its opening weekend.
One week after the initial release online, the streaming giant issued a statement claiming that over 45 million accounts had streamed the film.
Wow! That’s a pretty impressive stat. However, it’s still tricky to try and determine exactly how many online streaming accounts actually watched the movie the whole way through.
As CNN pointed out, Netflix didn’t state whether they had included accidental clicks or partial viewings in this figure.
Still, that’s pretty good going for Sandra Bullock and co.
13. There’s some easy-to-miss deaths in the movie
There’s no getting around the fact that Bird Box contains a lot of deaths.
Many of them are extremely gruesome and disturbing, with some viewers losing track of exactly just how many characters were slain by the entities. Of course, in the age of Internet, one eagle-eyed audience member managed to spot a hidden death in the film.
One user claimed that they had already seen one pair of anonymous corpses in the movie before. Remember when Malorie first arrives at the safe house?
She meets a couple there who are frantically trying to find their kids – the pair end up making a rather foolish attempt to save them, and they disappear into the ether. Or do they? During the blindfolded drive scene, Tom runs over two lifeless corpses in the road.
If you were looking hard enough, you’ll notice that they’re the exact same couple who left the safe house. Yikes.
It’s this kind of devotion to detail that makes Bird Box truly scary!
12. Apparently there’s a lot of religious allegory in Bird Box
There are plenty of religious images in Bird Box which you might have missed first time around.
Some are more obvious than others – at one point, various characters discuss Christian prophecies in an attempt to try and make sense of what’s happening to the world around them.
But some of the film’s religious themes are a little more hidden from view. Some people online have claimed that one of the main ideas in the movie is the need to remain blind in order to survive.
This resonates with the idea of ‘blind faith’ i.e. stumbling around and following an idea without questioning it. In Bird Box, anyone who tries to remove their blind fold and live with sight is quickly killed off.
Some internet users believe that this trend proves the film is trying to ask some bigger questions about religion.
Does the movie try and argue that religion relies on ignorance to keep itself going? Deep!
11. You could also argue that mental health issues are an underlying theme
Just like religion, many people have stated that mental health is another theme of Bird Box.
One of the major plot points in the film revolves around the fact that any human who looks directly at the entities is doomed to commit suicide. Some people live for a little longer as insane tools of the monsters.
Apparently this is a wider comment on how society responds to mental illness. In the movie, any character that blinds themselves to the issue can survive and move on.
We’re not sure quite how this sends out a positive message about mental health and how best to deal with it though!
And how does this theory fit in with the insane characters who turn on others and betray them to the monsters?
10. You can still see a silhouette of one of the monsters during one brief take
We’ve already stated that the monsters were purposely removed from the film.
However, one eagle-eyed viewers believes that they’ve spotted a creepy silhouette of one of the beings in a frame from Bird Box that you almost definitely missed the first time around.
At one point in the film, you can see an open window – a shadow passes by it and the viewers are given a very quick glimpse of what the monsters might look like.
Did you spot this the first time around? Neither did we! Apart from that one brief glimpse, viewers are also given an idea of what the monsters might look like thanks to the crazed drawings of Gary, the villain.
In the end it doesn’t really matter because the film’s implied fear is what makes it so gripping in the first place.
It’s a bold choice from the director but in our opinion it definitely works!
9. Douglas is always right
Douglas isn’t exactly Mr Nice Guy.
John Malkovich portrays an obnoxious survivor who seems intent on getting drunk rather than thinking about the apocalypse occurring on planet Earth (to be fair, we can’t really blame him!). However, some fans have noticed a special trait about his character.
Have you noticed in the film that all of Douglas’ predictions come true? Despite the fact that he’s an extremely abrasive personality, unfortunately the other characters should have paid a lot more attention to what he was saying.
Maybe this is another theme of the movie which throws the spotlight on our propensity to judge people quickly, despite the fact that they might have something worthwhile to say.
Douglas was 100% correct about inviting Gary into the safe house, for example.
That really didn’t turn out well for anyone….
8. Bird Box was written before The Road…kind of
Many people have drawn comparisons between Bird Box and other movies.
One of these is the 100% grim post-apocalyptic film The Road (2009), which was based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy. However, Josh Malerman actually wrote his novel before the The Road appeared in cinemas.
A rough draft of Bird Box had already been completed by the time films such as The Road and M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Happening (2008) gained worldwide attention.
In The Happening, a mysterious plague spreads throughout the planet which causes people to commit suicide, while The Road portrays a horrific journey made by a father and his son in a dark post-apocalyptic land.
Arguably the fact that the children are called ‘Boy’ and ‘Girl’ is a reference to The Road.
In the 2009 film, the main characters are simply named ‘Man’ and ‘Boy’.
7. The location of the movie seems to change
The location of Bird Box seems to change over the course of the film.
At the start of the movie, several cities and places in Northern California are mentioned, including Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton and Sausalito.
Furthermore, the river that Malorie and the two children cross is the Smith River, located in Del Norte County (right near the California/Oregon border).
However, the San Francisco Chronicle recently highlighted the fact that the house where the survivors take shelter is clearly in Monrovia, Los Angeles.
In fact, most of the non-woodland/river scenes were shot in LA too, including most of the street scenes.
Did you notice this time first time around?
6. The movie sparked an idiotic blindfold craze
It’s 2019 and people are still into crazy internet challenges.
Unfortunately, the success of Bird Box – along with its unique storyline feature – meant that the movie immediately sparked a ‘Bird Box challenge’. Can you guess what it involved?
Hundreds of people (including plenty of children) challenged themselves to cross a certain distance while blindfolded. This started happening both indoors and outdoors, often with hilarious (or harmful) effects.
Of course, when videos started to surface of people injuring themselves after running into doors and other objects, Netflix decided to try and calm things down a little bit.
They were forced to release the statement above on Twitter to try and get people to stop taking up the challenge.
We really hope it works!
5. There are plenty of unexplained questions left at the end of the movie
Esquire recently published a hilarious article with all of the unanswered questions left over in Bird Box.
It’s safe to say that there are more than a few gaping plot holes in the movie, as well as vital plot points which were never explained to the viewer! For one thing, how did Sandra Bullock (or any of the other survivors from the initial scene) avoid seeing the monsters?
It also seems bizarre that the monster chose certain people to spread its powers even further and trick survivors into looking at the entities.
It’s never explained why Gary and co were spared instant death and instead were allowed to go around and do the monster’s bidding. Which seems like a pretty big deal to us… Everything about the way in which the monsters operate is completely unquestioned.
Probably the best question we’ve seen, though, regards the infamous birds themselves.
Esquire writes: ‘Why did Sandra Bullock prioritize saving three birds in the midst of a mass suicide event?’ We can’t like this enough!
4. The film’s executives have been accused of faking publicity around the movie
Netflix has recently been accused of manipulating social media to try and generate more publicity.
In the first few days after the film’s release, a journalist named Sam Weinberg (@samiswine) picked up on the idea that Netflix may have been retweeting memes about its new thriller movie from a series of fake Twitter accounts.
This was being done in order to create the illusion that Bird Box was way more popular than it actually was. Many of the tweets and memes being retweeted by Netflix were from accounts with very few followers.
Most of these accounts only had followers in single figures, and perhaps even more suspiciously, the accounts were often brand new i.e. they had only been created in the last couple of weeks. Shady!
All of these new accounts seemed intent on tweeting about only one thing – how great Bird Box is. Hmmm…
It’s not the first time Netflix’ ‘clever’ use of social media has been analysed, but this is particularly dodgy. However, it’s not the only strategy that the company seemingly employed to try and generate further controversy.
3. There’s another conspiracy too…
Remember the Bird Box challenge we mentioned earlier?
Well it turns out that the phenomenon might have actually been started by Netflix! When they posted that warning tweet about people needing to look after themselves rather than take part in the challenge, only a very low number of ‘challenge’ videos actually existed.
The New Statesman pointed out that before the tweet was published, only around ten videos existed, but after the warning the Bird Box challenge instantly exploded online.
It began to be shared by major video platforms and popular Youtubers, before being picked up by some of the biggest new outlets on the web. A cynical marketing ploy by Netflix? What do you think?
The New Statesman actually contacted Netflix for comment but for some reason they didn’t respond.
Sounds fishy to us!
2. Lots of the actors have also appeared in American Horror Story
If you’re an American Horror Story fan then the cast of Bird Box will have been very familiar to you.
Sarah Paulson famously starred in the recent American Horror Story: Apocalypse (2018). The eighth series was set in a post-apocalyptic world, much like Bird Box, and also starred BD Wong (who plays Greg in the Netflix thriller).
Danielle Macdonald plays Olympia in Bird Box and also turns up in an episode of American Horror Story’s sixth season.
Meanwhile Rosa Salazar (who plays Maria) appeared in four terrifying episodes of the show’s first ever season as one of the murdered nurses who gets trapped in the house.
In fact, one of Salazar’s previous projects gets a mention in Bird Box. At one point Charlie compares their situation to a load of kids running around in a maze.
This is a nod to The Maze Runner series, in which Salazar once appeared.
1. It’s unclear what the title actually refers to
Bird Box is a rather strange name for a thriller movie.
Although the birds are an important part of the story, they don’t actually appear in it all that much. Initially, most people assume the title refers to the shoe box where the children keep their warning birds.
However, some people have argued that the title might also be a reference to the sanctuary depicted at the end of the film.
This is because the safe haven has a special courtyard filled with birds.
What did you think of these facts? If you want to find out even more about Bird Box then never fear – we’ve included a list of the cast and their real-life partners below. Enjoy!
Real Life Partners Of The Bird Box Cast
Bird Box contains a stellar cast of actors you’ve almost definitely seen on the big screen before. From Sandra Bullock to John Malkovich, there are some great performances in the post-apocalyptic thriller which have left fans wanting more. There’s also a few up-and-coming actors in the mix too, including Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes and American Horror Story actress Rosa Salazar.
Although most of the characters in Bird Box don’t really have too much time for long-lasting relationships, in reality the cast of the Netflix thriller have very healthy dating lives. Therefore, in the article below, we take a look at the real-life partners of the Bird Box cast. Enjoy!
1. Sandra Bullock & Bryan Randall
Sandra Bullock is the star of Bird Box – she plays a tenacious mother named Malorie who is forced to protect both herself and her children after her partner Tom succumbs to the entities.
Fortunately Bullock’s love life hasn’t been quite so turbulent in real life and she has been dating LA photographer Bryan Randall since 2015.
The couple are fiercely private about their relationship, but we have managed to find out a few things about them (including the fact that they seem to love getting coffee together!).
Bullock first met Randall when she hired him to photograph her son Louis’ birthday (Randall specialises in children and outdoor photography).
They were first spotted together in September 2015 but rumour has it that they had already been dating several months before that. Bullock has two kids named Louis and Leila, while her partner Randall has a daughter named Skylar from a previous relationship.
Apparently he’s a doting father, which is good news for Sandra who has also embraced parenthood.
2. John Malkovich & Nicoletta Peyran
John Malkovich brought the character of Douglas to life in Bird Box.
Away from the cameras, Malkovich has quietly enjoyed a lengthy relationship with his current partner, Nicoletta Peyran. The couple started dating in 1989, not long after the actor divorced his wife Glenne Headly.
Malkovich met his long-term partner after the pair worked on The Sheltering Sky together. Peyran was second assistant director on the movie and it looks as though the couple were smitten because they’ve been together ever since!
The couple have two children together named Amandine and Loewy.
They’ve been living the high life in France for a number of years and live for part of the year in Provence. They even make their own brand of wine, as Malkovich once revealed in an interview.
“My wife does the organisation, I just drink, and that is not hard. I thought our wine would be terrible, but not at all. We make cabernet sauvignon and a rosé from the same grape; wines not ordinarily made in the Luberon.”
Sounds like a great life to us!
3. Sarah Paulson & Holland Taylor
Sarah Paulson wasn’t in Bird Box for too long but like everything she does, the actress put in an unforgettable performance as Malorie’s sister, Jessica.
Paulson raised more then a few eyebrows when she started dating Holland Taylor in 2015 (Paulson is 44 years old while Taylor is 75).
Still, the pair clearly make it work and can often be spotted at red carpet events together or out and about in their home town of Los Angeles.
The Bird Box actress has also been very vocal about criticism of her relationship with Taylor and recently opened up about her love life in an interview with Elle.
Paulson explained: “I didn’t choose to fall in love with the person I fell in love with. But I think why it’s interesting to people is that on paper, it’s unconventional.”
“For a person who might find themselves in a situation that they fear will be misperceived or judged, maybe they could see me living my life in a way that is authentic to me—just trying to be as real as possible.”
“If that inspires anybody else, that can’t be a bad thing.” Nice!
4. Trevante Rhodes & ?
Trevante Rhodes rose to fame in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight before playing Malorie’s lover Tom in Bird Box.
The actor has caught the eye of more than a few people, mainly thanks to his ridiculous good looks and athletic physique. So is the 28-year-old Rhodes dating at the moment or not?
It seems as though the actor is a bit of a lone ranger at the moment. He’s been spotted a plenty of awards ceremonies walking the red carpet, but Rhodes is always alone. Aww!
Many people wondered whether the actor might be gay, considering that he played a homosexual character in Moonlight.
Rhodes had this to say about the rumours: “I was born loving women but I easily could have been born loving men. It’s the exact same sensation… You don’t fall in love with someone [just] for their physical [traits], but for their mental.”
“The only thing people need to do is love one another — for who they are and who they love.”
Aww! He sounds like an old romantic to us.
5. Jacki Weaver & Sean Taylor
Jacki Weaver has popped up on our screens a few times in recent years, but in Bird Box she plays Cheryl, one of the movie’s many unfortunate victims.
Cheryl isn’t really a main character so she doesn’t have time to develop a relationship. Away from the cameras though, Weaver is happily married to Sean Taylor.
The couple tied the knot in 2003 and it looks as though they’re still very happy together. Before meeting Sean, Weaver had actually been married four(!) times – twice to the same person.
Fortunately, she’s found love with Taylor and the pair can often be seen at various show biz events together.
The couple live in a West Hollywood apartment together and first met during a production of David Williamson’s play Soulmates. They were both performing at the Sydney Opera House in 2002 when a spark occurred.
Weaver has had her fair share of bizarre romances in the past though.
The actress once described gay director Richard Wherrett as the ‘love of her life’: “I knew Richard was homosexual from the very beginning, but it didn’t affect my falling in love with him. It didn’t affect any aspect of our relationship.”