The One Ring.
An ancient Roman gold ring was discovered on a farm in rural England in 1785. A stone tablet found at another site 140 years later curses a thief named Senicianus for stealing the ring from its owner, Silvianus. “Among those who bear the name of Senicianus,” reads the inscription, “to none grant health until he bring back the ring to the temple of Nodens.” One of the scholars who translated the tablet: Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien, who was a year away from beginning his seminal works revolving around a ring that curses its owner—The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Megan from Bridesmaids.
Melissa McCarthy partially modeled her raunchy character in the 2011 comedy on the Food Network’s Guy Fieri—star of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. According to McCarthy, she even wanted to wear the celebrity chef’s trademark spiky bleached hair and backward sunglasses, but producers told her, “You can’t actually be Guy Fieri!”
THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR.
In 1969, author Eric Carle was punching holes in some paper when he imagined a bookworm eating through a book. His publisher suggested a caterpillar instead. Good choice: The book has sold over 30 million copies.
“Dude Looks Like A Lady.”
The 1987 Aerosmith song was born when Steven Tyler and the band were taking a break from a recording session. They were partying in a New York nightclub and spotted a “lady” at the end of the bar with an enormous head of blonde hair. When the “lady” turned around, it was Vince Neil, the singer from Mötley Crüe. They went back to the studio and finished a song called “Cruisin’ with My Lady”…with new lyrics.
The only “companion” of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) during his four years spent on an island in 2000’s Cast Away had a real-life counterpart: While researching for the film, writer William Broyles, Jr., spent a few days on an isolated beach with no one to talk to…until a volleyball washed up on shore.