Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bits of Movie Trivia-MASH, Almost Famous, Rio Bravo, etc.

Dove just discovered that every time I submit a trivia update on, it's recorded into an itemized history. This makes for a pretty easy blog entry. Here are some bits of trivia I've learned somewhere or other and contributed to the over the years.

Check out my 10-year retrospective on 2001 in film

Front Page (1974)- Billy Wilder felt that Chicago was the most exciting newspaper town in the country and as a result, this incarnation of The Front Page was the first to mention the city of Chicago by name and use actual Chicago newspapers.

X-Men (TV show)-Fox initially had a lot of resistance to the cartoon series before it became a success. They felt that the target audiences, kids under 10, wouldn't be interested in a romantic love triangle between Cyclops, Jean, and Wolverine. They also thought kids wouldn't keep up with a show that was serialized

Futurama (TV)-Billy West was inspired by Lou Jacobi's performance in the Diary of Anne Frank when he was creating the character of Zoidberg. He imagined Zoidberg to have Yiddish mannerisms because of the last name. He also said he was attracted to the idea of a doctor that was poor

Bullworth (1998)-1) Beatty was described by writing partner Jeremy Pikser and biographer Peter Biskind as so insecure about his script that he went to former collaborator Elaine May with the script. She told him it wasn't any good but Beatty suspected that because May was writing the script to a rival political satire, "Primary Colors," that she was looking out for her own interests.
2) Co-writer Jeremy Pikser described the experience of working with Beatty as frustrating. He was paid by the studio a lump sum per each draft produced and Beatty spent months working and reworking a single draft. Tired of being away from his family, Beatty's ego and the lack of pay, Pikser left the L.A. Office where he and Beatty were writing the script to return to his family in L.A. The two finished the rest of the process via telephone and fax.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)-The Boy Scouts of America did not allow their brand to be used from the film, so Jefferson Smith got changed from being a Boy Scout leader to being a "Boy Ranger" leader

Dogma (1999)-William Donahue of the Catholic League lambasted the film and publicly protested against it for months without actually seeing the film, after which his office called View Askew offices and said "Dr. Donohue requests a special screening of Dogma so that he can speak about it intelligently." Kevin's response was: "So what has he been doing the past six months?"

Seargent York (1941)-When the film was being made, America still had an isolationist position and Warner Brothers initially worried that the film would be condemned for being seen as too pro-war in attitude. Jesse Lasky went to great lengths to avoid marketing the film as a war picture. By the film's release, however, Hitler had conquered much of Europe and the public attitudes towards war changed greatly, helping Seargent York become one of the studio's biggest moneymakers on all time.

Rio Bravo (1959)-Hawks' instructions to Martin who showed up in an almost comical cowboy outfit on the first day of shooting were not to play a cowboy but just play a drunk.

MASH (1970)-The studio sent Robert Altman a memo in post-production that he found condescending and in retaliation he recorded the memo and played out over the movie
on one of the loudspeakers

Almost Famous (2000)-Cameron Crowe's mother appeared on the set for a cameo, and Crowe made every effort to keep her away from Frances McDormand, who was playing a character based on her, apart. This was so that McDormand's interpretation of the part wouldn't be swayed, but when he left the set for a few minutes on the first day
of shooting, he returned to find McDormand and his mom having lunch together.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)-
1) Sean Penn improvised during his takes and tried to find ways to aggravate the actor who played Mr. Hand, even off camera. He also did things to get genuine startled reactions from the extras who played his classmates through unexpected improvisations.
2) Nicholas Cage, 17 at the time, lied about his age so that he could get a part in the film.

Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)-Writers Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson named several of the places and crewmembers in the film spontaneously on things and people they saw around them at the Italian restuarant where they did a lot of their consolidation with each other for the film. Pescapada Island, for instance was named for one of the dishes on the menu. Some of the characters' names are named after waiters and patrons at the restuarant.

Charlie Wilson's War (2007)-Charlie Wilson said in a USA Today article that he had no qualms about the film saying, "Anything I might have objected to was provable." He had just suffered from a heart attack but was able to make it to the red carpet premiere

Thunderball (1965)-When Ian Flemming wrote the novel, he had just suffered from a heart attack and was spending time in a health spa. This is most likely why the beginning of the film is set in a health spa

Lost in Translation (2003)-The redheaded lounge singer wasn't a professional actress, but rather the real-life lounge singer of the Hotel where the cast and crew were staying at, and they thought her performance of the Scarborough Fair fit the theme of the film so well, they asked her to be in the movie

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