Already have an account?
Get back to the
Movies

‘Funny Face’: 16 Wild Facts About the 1957 Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire Musical

Find out who almost played Jo Stockholm and just how much older Astaire was then Hepburn

Tags:

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire teamed up in 1957 for the musical Funny Face. It follows fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire) after he meets a shy but beautiful girl named Jo Stockton (Hepburn). Dick convinces Jo to go to Paris with him to become a model. It has catchy tunes, the classic glitz and glamour of a Hepburn movie and an adorable love story. And we went and found out 16 shocking facts about the film that will totally change the way you watch it. 

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire team up in the 1957 musical romantic comedy Funny Face, in which fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire) meets the shy, but beautiful, Jo Stockton (Hepburn) and convinces her to go Paris with him to become a model. Filled with catchy tunes, classic glitz and the glamour that defines an Audrey Hepburn movie, this is an adorable love story.

And what went on behind-the-scenes is almost as riveting as the film itself, as you’ll see in the 16 facts that we’ve gathered which just may change the way you watch Funny Girl.

Looking to stream Funny Face? It is available on SlingTV

MUST READ: The 10 Best Audrey Hepburn Movies, Ranked — Plus Where to Stream Them

1. Audrey Hepburn turned down another leading role to star in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Before becoming Jo Stockton, Hepburn was offered the lead role of Gigi in the 1958 film of the same name, but she turned it down to do Funny Face. In return, Leslie Caron went on to star in Gigi

2. Fred Astaire’s character, Dick Avery, is based on a real person

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Fashion photographer Richard Avedon was the real-life inspiration for Dick Avery. Avedon even worked on the film and took a lot of photos that were used for its marketing. 

MUST READ: Fred Astaire Movies, Ranked: The Silver Screen Icon’s 12 Most Memorable Roles

3. There was a big age gap between Astaire and Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Fred Astaire was 30 years older than Audrey Hepburn when they were filming Funny Face. Astaire was 58, Hepburn 28. 

4. Hepburn did all of her own singing and dancing in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Unlike My Fair Lady, where all of her singing vocals were done by Marni Nixon, Hepburn did all of her own singing in Funny Face. She also did all of her own dancing.

MUST READ16 Surprising Behind-the-Scenes Facts About ‘My Fair Lady.’

5. There were riots happening in Paris during filming 

Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

While filming in Paris, there were a lot of violent riots and political upset happening all across the city. This made the cast and crew feel very on edge and anxious about filming there.

6. Hepburn was nervous while filming Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Hepburn was nervous about filming all the dancing scenes with Astaire because of his extensive dance background. But, with practice and preparation, coupled with Hepburn’s ballet background, she was able to do it. 

MUST READ: The ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Cast: A Look Back at Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and More Stars of the ’60s Classic

7. The film received a lot of praise 

Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

During the 1958 Oscars, Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy were nominated in the Best Costume Design category. They lost to Orry-Kelly from Les Girls (1957). Funny Face was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration categories, but lost all of them.

8. A fashion model appeared in Funny Face

Dovima on set in 1957
Dovima on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

In the film there is a model named Marion, who was played by Dovima. She was one of the top fashion models at that time, and often worked with Avedon. 

MUST READ: Gregory Peck Movies, Ranked: 20 of the Screen Legend’s Best

9. Hepburn and Astaire were lied to by producers 

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Desperate to get both Hepburn and Astaire to star in the film, the producers told each of them that the other had signed on when they hadn’t. The hope was that it would motivate Hepburn and Astaire to sign on, because they wanted the opportunity to work with each other. It worked, the two agreeing to star in Funny Face. 

10. Filming was based on Hepburn’s husband’s locale 

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Audrey Hepburn was married to Mel Ferrer during filming and did not want to be separated from him for that long. Because of that, producers matched up when Hepburn would be filming the Paris scenes with Ferrer’s filming of 1956’s Elena and Her Men — shown in America under the name Paris Does Strange Things — so they could spend as much time together as possible.

 MUST READ: A Look Back at the Original ‘Get Smart’ Cast— Plus, Fun Facts About the 1960s Sitcom!

11. Funny Face was based on a Broadway musical 

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Leonard Gershe’s unsuccessful Broadway musical Wedding Bells served as the inspiration for Funny Face. The play was written by Gershe after he fictionalized a love story between two of his friends. 

12. Paris’ weather had to be worked into the script 

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

While filming in Paris it was unseasonably rainy, so the cast and crew had to work the weather conditions into the story, particularly during the balloons photo shoot scene and the wedding dress scene. It also lead to Hepburn and Astaire consistently slipping on mud and wet grass.

MUST READ: The Best Movies of 1963: Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of the Top Films Turning 60!

13. Someone else almost played Jo Stockholm 

Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Originally, Cyd Charisse was offered the role of Jo, but decided against it. Coincidentally, Hepburn’s agent initially refused to let her work on the film — until Hepburn read the script and loved it, proclaiming her desire to star in the production.

14. Many of Hepburn’s family members had cameos in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

Hepburn had a terrier named Mr.Famous who appeared in Funny Face. He was the dog in the basket during the Anna Karenina train shot. Hepburn’s mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, also appeared as a sidewalk café patron. 

MUST READ: 13 Wacky Behind-the-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew About the Movie ‘Grease’

15. Astaire starred in the original 1927 Broadway version of Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

In 1927, Astaire starred in the Funny Face Broadway musical with his sister, Adele Astaire. However, the plot of the musical and movie are entirely different, minus a few of the songs and the name.

16. Hepburn filmed another movie right after 

Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 (funny face)
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on set in 1957 Moviestillsdb.com/Paramount Pictures

When filming for Funny Face wrapped, Hepburn stayed in Paris to film her next movie, Love in the Afternoon (1957), with Gary Copper


For all things 1950’s, click here!

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.