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: Before Martin Scorsese made “The Aviator” in 2004, many had tried to produce a Howard Hughes biopic before him. Among the failed attempts are:
• A companion piece to “Reds“(1981) planned by actor-director Warren Beatty.
• John Malkovich and partner Russell Smith attempt in 1993.
• The adaptation planned by Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes who wanted Johnny Depp in the lead.
• A Brian De Palma-directed biopic with Touchstone which fell through because of the $80 million price tag.
• In January 2000, it was announced that Milos Forman was to direct a biopic with Edward Norton as Hughes and a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
• In January 2002, Jim Carrey and director Christopher Nolan tried to start the project with Castle Rock Productions but it didn’t get off ground soon enough to beat Scorsese’s movie into production.
2: As David in “The Lost Boys“, Kiefer Sutherland was only meant to wear black gloves when riding the motorbike. However, while messing around on the bike behind-the-scenes, he fell off, breaking his arm so he had to wear the gloves through the whole movie to cover his cast.
3: In “Blade Runner“, Ridley Scott and Jordan Cronenweth achieved the famous ‘shining eyes’ effect by using a technique invented by director Fritz Lang known as the ‘Schüfftan Process’; light is bounced into the actors’ eyes off a piece of half mirrored glass mounted at a forty five degree angle to the camera.
4: While filming “The Last Samurai“, Tom Cruise narrowly escaped potentially fatal injuries after a sword was swung within one inch of his neck. He and his co-star Hiroyuki Sanada were acting out a sword fight scene when the incident happened. Sanada swung a sword at Cruise who was on an off-camera mechanical horse at the time. But the machine reportedly malfunctioned and failed to duck at the right moment. Sanada stopped the blade just one inch from his neck.
5: In preparation for his role in “Lawless“, Shia LaBeouf drank moonshine in order to gain as authentic an appearance as possible. By his own admission his drinking and over-aggressive attitude caused co-star Mia Wasikowska to try and leave the film.
6: Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of John Bender in “The Breakfast Club” but the production couldn’t afford his salary at the time. John Cusack was originally cast as Bender, but director John Hughes decided to replace him with Judd Nelson before shooting began.
7: Stanley Kubrick would reportedly call Stephen King at 3am to ask him questions about “The Shining“. According to King, one famous exchange had the director ask the author, “Do you believe in God?”. When he replied in the affirmative Kubrick yelled “I knew it!” and slammed the phone down.
8: According to Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis, in Dan Aykroyd’s original rough draft of “Ghostbusters“, the story was going to take place in the future and that there would be teams of Ghostbusters like there are paramedics and firefighters (thus explaining basing the Ghostbusters HQ in a fire station). According to Reitman, such a film would cost “at least $300 million in 1984 dollars”. So Harold Ramis was brought in to rewrite the script and bring it into modern times.
9: Singer and Actress, Courtney Love, insists that the role of the heroin dealer, Lance (played by Eric Stoltz) in “Pulp Fiction” was offered to Kurt Cobain. Quentin Tarantino has steadfastly refuted this claim, saying he never even met the late Nirvana singer. Kurt Cobain did thank Quentin Tarantino in the liner notes to “In Utero“, allegedly due to the musician’s love for “Reservoir Dogs“. QT returned the favour in the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack notes by thanking Nirvana. Sadly, the timing of the release meant the thanks were followed by ‘RIP Kurt’.
10: According to Guy Pearce on the DVD commentary of “L.A. Confidential“, he attended a James Ellroy one-man show in his native Melbourne, Australia while the film was in pre-production. Pearce notes that during a Q&A session following Ellroy’s performance, an audience member asked if any of Ellroy’s books would ever be adapted into film. Ellroy replied that not only was L.A. Confidential in pre-production, but two Australian natives (Pearce and Russell Crowe) were cast in the film. The audience erupted into laughter, thinking that Ellroy was playing a wry joke on the audience by randomly naming two local actors and claiming they were cast in a big-budget Hollywood film. Pearce, who was sitting in the audience, was mortified. It was only a year later, that the audience learned that Ellroy was, in fact, telling the truth.
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.)