Well, that's awkward! Singin' in the Rain has remained one of the most iconic movies since its debut in 1952, but what many viewers don't know is that everything wasn't always perfect behind the scenes of the film — there were actually many set secrets that we're not finding out about until now!
Rita Moreno — who played Zelda Zanders in the movie — confessed in an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly that she thinks she could have played Debbie Reynolds' role of Kathy Selden better than she did. "I remember honestly thinking I could have done that part," Rita recalled of Debbie's inexperience at age 19. "I was a way better dancer." She added that Debbie "was another silly little contract player like I was."
Debbie and Gene in Singin' in the Rain.
Apparently, the movie's star, Gene Kelly, wasn't as calm of a director and actor as you may think. According to his wife, Patricia Kelly, he was "was juggling a lot of different balls" during the blockbuster's filming. He even gave Debbie a hard time, even though Rita claims Gene thought the late actress was "perfect for the role." Before she passed away, Debbie had said, "He was never satisfied. I never got a compliment. Ever."
Maybe it was because when he was filming that iconic scene where he kissed chorus girl Kathy, he was really battling a 103-degree fever from being in the freezing cold rain for two days. "He would go lay out on the sidewalk in the sun and kind of bake the fever out of him," his widow told Closer. "It’s pretty remarkable when you watch that sequence and it emits such joy, to think he was pretty ill when he did it."
Gene in Singin' in the Rain.
Despite everything, though, Singin' in the Rain meant a lot to Gene, who sadly died in February 1996. Patricia says he "would be delighted" by the film's staying power. "He used to say to me, ‘I’d love to come back in 100 years and see what people are watching.’" Well, you got your wish, Gene!
For more on Singin' in the Rain, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive news!