TikTok Can't Believe These Revealed Secrets About Movie Food

Like the rest of us, the characters in your favorite movies or TV shows have to eat. But on a film set, food can be a bit more complicated – ice melts, produce browns, and actors get sick or full. Fake food often doesn't make the cut – viewers can tell when no one's eating the plastic spaghetti – and a movie without any dining scenes is unrealistic.

The amount of food preparation a scene requires depends, of course, on how much the characters eat. "It really depends on how much of a story point the food is and how important the scene is for the director," Chris Oliver, a Hollywood food stylist, tells Mental Floss. Shows in which food is a central theme often feature brightly lit, immaculate dishes; on the other hand, more casual dining scenes don't need perfection. "Realistic food is not all beautiful and perfect," says Oliver. "I make ugly food and burnt food, too."

According to Mental Floss, food stylists have a number of tricks up their sleeves to manage actors' full plates. Some of those trade secrets have been circulating on TikTok, thrilling food and film fans alike.

Ice, ice baby

One common issue that arises while filming drink commercials or bar scenes is how quickly the ice melts. Often after just one take under Hollywood's bright lights, a whiskey on the rocks can become neat. To remedy this recurring problem, David Ma recently explained on TikTok how filmmakers use an ice substitute that looks like ice but is made out of a synthetic material that keeps its shape in warm temperatures. The fake ice breaks like the real stuff and can be cut into different shapes and sizes depending on the drink recipe (you can even crush it for snow cones or blended drinks). 

Synthetic ice also has the added benefit of being quieter than real ice. It is made out of a "super squishy and bounc[y]" material that is reminiscent of Jello (though it doesn't taste as good). Per Ma's TikTok video, this makes it easier for an actor to deliver lines, drink in hand, without fighting to be heard over the sound of ice clinking around in a glass.

Commenters responded with an outpouring of non-synthetic appreciation and disbelief. "Dangggg y'all lie bout everything got me thinking it's real ice," remarked one person. "That's so cool," wrote another. The revelation may have plunged one commenter into an existential crisis. "Not even the ice is real! I'm questioning my whole existence at this point," they declared.


Have you ever wondered whether actors actually get to eat all the delicious food you see in the movies? According to filmmaker David Ma's TikTok video, most actors at least taste it. To make the eating scenes look real, actors really chew the food on their plates – they just don't swallow it. As Ma points out, most actors will chew their food until the camera cuts to another character, angle, or scene, at which point the actor can spit out their meal into a nearby bucket or trash can.

Because many scenes require multiple takes, actors would likely get sick after filming dining scenes if they swallowed all the food they put in their mouths à la John Cena. But since most viewers aren't watching to ensure their favorite characters are not only consuming but digesting their meals, filmmakers can get away with avoiding scenes in which you see the actor swallow their food, let out a belch, and wipe their mouth.

For some who viewed the video, the trick is now impossible to unsee. As one commenter put it, "I'm never not going to notice this now and it WILL drive me crazy." Someone else seemingly lost their appetite for films, writing, "omg this might have broken movies for me."