The Soylent Green Prop Food Was Actually...

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When Charlton Heston first read the novel aboard a transatlantic flight, little did he know that he was about to board a film that would become a cult classic with one of the most memorable movie quotes in history.

1. Soylent Green wasn’t Heston’s first sci-fi film.

Two years before its release, Heston starred in Planet of the Apes (1968) and The Omega Man (1971). Soylent Green was based on the novel, Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, which explored a world with too many people. The movie was the last to be filmed on the MGM backlot before it was destroyed. The land was then used for... housing.

2. Soylent Green wasn’t in the book.

At least, not how it existed in the film. The book had "soylent steaks," which was supposed to suggest soybeans and lentils. The movie turned that into "Soylent Green" after they added a horrifying secret ingredient into the mix. Thankfully, the prop food wasn't the real thing. It was simply wood that was painted green. 

3. They created fog for the film.

Or rather, movie magic fog. The director wanted the atmosphere to be unique for the sci-fli flick, so they tried something new. They filmed water that had been dyed green and then applied those shots like a filter. The layered effect made it seem as if the air in the film was green. 

4. It had a cordless phone before cordless phones.

In the scene when Heston called his boss, the phone’s cord wasn’t long enough for him to hit his mark. So the director cut the cord. Fleischer thought the audience would balk at the idea of a cordless phone, but he liked the way the shot looked enough to do it anyway. Years later, he said, “Today, they would have laughed if I left the telephone wire in.”