The cinema legend looks back on the rough production

By Nick Romano
July 01, 2017 at 11:24 AM EDT

The process of filming that iconic scene in The Sound of Music wasn’t as glamorous as it seemed. Julie Andrews has been talking about the making-of process since the film debuted in 1965, and on The Tonight Show Friday night, she again walked down memory lane.

“We had this monstrous helicopter that had a camera man very bravely strapped to the side where the door would be,” Andrews described to Jimmy Fallon of her scene in the open field. “He had a camera strapped to him, he was strapped into the copter, and he was over like this [shooting downwards]. And it started at one end of the field and I had started at the other and we walked together, and honestly this thing came at me sideways sort of like this giant sort of crab coming at me or a grasshopper or something, and then I’d come into view.”

She explained how sound speakers hidden off camera would blast music so she could lip sync. When the chopper came around, “the downdraft from the engines just flung me into the grass, and so we did this about six or seven times and I was spitting dirt,” she said.

Andrews, who can currently be heard as the voice of Gru’s mother in Despicable Me 3, and her costars filmed The Sound of Music “for ages because the weather was not kind to us,” as the Hollywood legend so eloquently put it. “Somebody forgot to mention that Austria has the world’s seventh-highest annual rainfall, and so we had a lot of rain while we were shooting.” In fact, “a lot of the time we actually shot with rain because you don’t see it that much on camera,” she continued. “It has to be an absolute downpour before it’s noticeable.”

NBC brought the film back to the spotlight with 2013’s The Sound of Music Live, starring Carrie Underwood in her role. Lady Gaga also performed a stunning Sound of Music tribute at the 2015 Oscars. Now another of Andrews’s iconic properties, Mary Poppins, is coming back with Mary Poppins Returns.

Andrews, however, won’t be making an appearance in the Disney sequel. “Julie was incredibly gracious, and we talked about it in a very general way but she made it clear right up front,” director Rob Marshall told EW. “She said, ‘This is Emily [Blunt]’s show, and I really want it to be Emily’s show. I don’t want it to be, “Oh, here comes that Mary Poppins.” I don’t want that. I really want her to take this and run with it, because she will be brilliant.’”

Watch her Sound of Music story above. The Tonight Show airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

The Sound of Music (Movie)

  • Movie
  • G
  • 175 minutes
  • Robert Wise