Brooke Shields has had a long and wildly successful career as a model and TV/film actress and continues to be part of the fabric of pop culture. One of her most iconic movies came from early in her career, as Emmeline in Randal Kleiser’s The Blue Lagoon. The 1980 coming-of-age drama was a massive hit, but it was made under a number of wild conditions. And Shields recently reminisced on the nudity, pneumonia, and rat infestation that came with shooting it.
The Blue Lagoon takes place in the Victorian period and follows two young people (Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins) who become shipwrecked on a remote island. They eventually go through puberty and fall in love, all while wearing next to nothing. On a recent episode of her podcast Now What? With Brook Shields, she and her co-star reunited and swapped war stories about their wild experience on the movie’s set. Atkins shared a recent conversation he had about how the movie wouldn't be made now, with Shields responding with:
So exactly what was going on during Blue Lagoon’s photography? To start, the two young actors were nearly naked throughout filming, including Brooke Shields who was just 14 years old at the time. That alone is enough to give one pause, but she and Atkins had plenty of noteworthy stories from their time working together decades ago.
While appearing together on Now What?, Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins were able to do a deep dive into their experience on Blue Lagoon, and how much the movie continues to mean to generations of fans. He referenced the animals that were hurt during production, thanks to scenes like the one where he had to spearfish. That’s when Shields started rolling out the reasons why filming where they did was so challenging and even dangerous. As she put it,
Ouch. Clearly, the elements were no joke while filming The Blue Lagoon. This makes the fact that Brooke Shields managed to ensure it and film the project at such a young age all the more impressive. But things certainly sounded dangerous for the cast and crew as they shot the movie in Fiji.
As if rats, bugs, and infected cuts weren’t enough, Brooke Shields disclosed she actually got pneumonia during Blue Lagoon’s principal photography. It actually happened as they were filming the birthing scene, with the cast and crew seemingly impressed by her “performance” when struggling to breathe. She explained:
While Blue Lagoon might have earned Brooke Shields an infamous Razzie award, you can’t deny that she really went through it to bring her character to life. And the things she was asked to do at 14 years old probably wouldn’t be asked by another child actor nowadays. Luckily she seems to have a good perspective and sense of humor about bringing that iconic movie to life.
The Blue Lagoon is available to rent from a variety of streaming sources. Brooke Shields has two upcoming movie projects coming and recently appeared in the Christmas rom-com, Holiday Harmony. Be sure to check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your trips to the theater in the New Year.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.