It has been twenty years since the Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes-led sci-fi thriller “Demolition Man” hit cinemas. Looking back on it though, the one thing that most people remember is a visual gag – the three sea shells.
For those who haven’t seen the film, Stallone’s character is a cop who is put into cryostasis and awakens several decades into the future. When he uses a public toilet for the first time, he discovers there is no toilet paper – only three sea shells on one side.
He doesn’t know how to use them, a fact that makes everyone else highly amused. To this day it’s still not known how they work (two for clamping, one for scraping?), and the film’s writer Daniel Waters isn’t going to say.
At a recent Q&A for the 25th anniversary screening for “The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane” in Los Angeles though, Waters did reveal how the scene came about and an attendee has paraphrased and posted his quote on Reddit:
“I won’t tell you the actual secret, but I’ll tell you where it came from. There’s a scene where Stallone has to use a restroom. I’m trying to come up with futuristic things you’d find in there. I was having trouble, so I called my buddy, another screenwriter across town, asked him if he had any ideas.
Ironically enough that guy was taking a dump when he answered the phone, looked around his bathroom and said ‘I have a bag of seashells on my toilet as a decoration?’ I said ‘Ok, I’ll make something out of that.'”