It’s been a while since I posted any of these but welcome back to Trivia Tidbits. For those of you out of the loop, this is a little compilation of 10 movie related facts that I always find interesting. So without further ado, this weeks are…
1: When “Donnie Brasco” was in its first stages, Joe Pesci was the first and main choice for Nicky. But after the release of “Goodfellas“, the idea gradually faded. This is the second film where Joe Pesci was considered for a role that eventually went to Bruno Kirby. The first was “The Godfather: Part II“, the role in question being that of the young Clemenza.
2: Joel Schumacher was originally set to direct the film “Devil’s Advocate” in 1994 before Taylor Hackford took over. Brad Pitt was also set to star as Kevin Lomax. Christian Slater, John Cusack and Edward Norton were also considered for the role before it eventually went to Keanu Reeves.
3: In Peter Mullan’s “NEDS“, many of the film’s events parallels Mullan’s own experiences growing up in 1970′s Glasgow. Mullan was part of a street gang, and tried to kill his abusive father at 14, both of which the protagonist does in the film.
4: Originally Charlie Sheen was turned down for the main role of Chris Taylor in “Platoon” because it was felt he was too young for the part. His older brother Emilio Estevez was offered the part but the project fell apart due to financial problems. Two years later the project was given the go-ahead, but Estevez had already committed to other projects. Charlie Sheen again read for the part and won it.
5: In the Coen Brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing“, the character Eddie Dane (played by J.E. Freeman) was originally written for Peter Stormare and was to be named The Swede. Stormare had to decline as he was appearing as “Hamlet” in the Broadway production. The part was then re-written and re-cast, and became The Dane.
6: Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” was apparently River Phoenix’s favorite movie, and while he was filming “Dark Blood” with it’s leading actor Jonathan Pryce, a gift was arranged. Pryce arranged for Phoenix to meet Gilliam, his hero. The meeting was set to happen the day Phoenix died outside the Viper Room. They never met.
7: In “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest“, most of Jack Nicholson’s scene with Dean R. Brooks upon arriving at the hospital was improvised – including his slamming a stapler, asking about a fishing photo, and discussing his rape conviction; Brooks’s reactions were authentic.
8: Paramount tried to go ahead with “The Godfather part III” for many years without Francis Ford Coppola who had refused to make another sequel. About twelve scripts were written. Most of the scripts included the Corleone family being led by Michael’s son Anthony, battling the CIA, Castro’s Cuban government, or South American drug cartels. A 1978 draft by Mario Puzo dealt with Anthony Corleone being recruited by the CIA to assassinate a Latin American dictator. Dean Riesner also wrote a draft based on Puzo’s ideas. Drafts were also written by Paramount producers Michael Eisner and Don Simpson. The film was scheduled for a Christmas 1980 release date. These scripts were discarded when Coppola decided to work on the script with Puzo. But Coppola eventually abandoned the project. Puzo wrote another script in 1986 with producer Nicholas Gage that featured Sonny Corleone’s illegitimate son Vincent Mancini while showing the early life of the young Sonny Corleone. Paramount considered directors Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Costa-Gavras, Alan J. Pakula, Robert Benton, Michael Cimino and Michael Mann. At one point they were even close to signing Sylvester Stallone to direct and star in the film.
9: In “Oldboy“, four live octopodes were eaten for the scene with Dae-su in the sushi bar, a scene which provoked some controversy abroad. Eating live octopus in Korea is commonplace although it is usually sliced first. When the film won the Grand Prix at Cannes, the director thanked the octopodes along with the cast and crew.
Throughout “The Departed“, Martin Scorsese used X’s mostly shown in the background to mark characters for death; examples include shots of Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the elevator before his death. Queenan (Martin Sheen) falling to his death (on the building’s glass windows as Queenan falls to the ground), and Sullivan (Matt Damon) in his office discussing the flow of information with Jack Nicholson’s Costello (the X is created by the light shining through the window). This is a homage to Howard Hawks’ classic film “Scarface” (1932).
So there you have it. 10 esoteric Tidbits to masticate on. Some you may know. Some you may not. If you have any thoughts, stick your donations in the comment box…
(For earlier editions of Trivia Tidbits click here.)