Many a film has pitted mere humans against giant creatures, from ants to bees to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But the colossal toddler who runs amok in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid marks the first appearance of a giant preschooler — and maybe the last. ”You can’t just tell a 2-year-old, ‘Go stand on your mark,”’ says director Randal Kleiser wearily. ”They have to be tricked into doing everything. The amount of film we shot was astronomical.”
The Honey crew might have used up even more film had not the role of the expanding kid been cast with identical twins, Daniel and Joshua Shalikar. That way, whenever one of the tots wasn’t up to thesping, the crew could try cajoling his brother. ”Danny was generally better at improvising and fresh reactions,” says Kleiser. ”Josh was better at following directions, so we would alternate.”
Even so, terrible-two belligerence caused delays. Shooting the initial stage of Adam Szalinski’s enlargement was especially difficult, since these scenes involved a painstaking technique called split scale.
The trickiest of these shots, says Kleiser, shows a seven-foot-tall Adam knocking down his nursery door and tromping into the living room with it still in his hands. Production designer Leslie Dilley created a set with a miniature couch, table, wagon, and fireplace in the foreground, about 4 feet from the camera. Then, some 15 feet further away, actors Rick Moranis, Marcia Strassman, and Robert Oliveri stood against a wall, staring off to the right. When the two sets were lined up in a single shot, the adults appeared to be looking at Adam as he entered his scaled-down portion of the room. ”The problem,” says Dilley, ”was getting one of the twins to do the action without wandering past his side of the set, so the grown-ups would still be looking at him.” And you thought your kids were hard to keep an eye on.