1: The title of the film “American Beauty” refers to a breed of roses that while pretty and appealing in appearance, is often prone to rot underneath at the roots and branches of the plant. Thus, the tagline “…look closer” tells the viewer that when they look beyond the “perfect suburban life” they will find something rancid at the root.
2: Before Peter Weir took the director’s chair on “The Truman Show” writer Andrew Niccol was going to do it with Gary Oldman in the lead role instead of Jim Carrey. Dennis Hopper was also originally cast as Christof, but walked off the set after his first day and Ed Harris replaced him.
3: The film “Gravity” is ninety minutes long. In reality, the International Space Station travels at approximately 17,500 miles per hour, and orbits Earth every ninety minutes. The debris field also circles Earth every ninety minutes.
4: In one scene in “Killer Joe“, Dottie (Juno Temple) asks if Joe (Matthew McConaughey) is a detective like “Magnum PI“. McConaughey was in the running for playing Magnum in a big budget remake of the series in 2007. He eventually refused it as he didn’t want to commit to years of playing the same character.
5: Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Orson Welles were considered for Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy” before Jerry Lewis. Carson was the only one that was actually offered the role before Lewis but he turned it down.
6: During the filming of “Moonrise Kingdom“, Wes Anderson rented an old mansion in Newport, Rhode Island for himself, editor Andrew Weisblum, and cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman, in which they had a room set up for editing the film. It had been arranged for the cast to stay in a nearby hotel, but eventually some of the actors also decided to stay at the mansion, including Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Jason Schwartzman. Murray later joked that the theory was to have everyone close by so that they could all work “ungodly art-movie hours.”
7: As the film “Ali” lay in development hell for more than a decade, several directors attempted to make the film until Michael Mann was finally chosen. The list included: Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, and Norman Jewison. Oliver Stone was commissioned as the project’s director at one point. Stone’s very first choice for the role of Muhammad Ali was Denzel Washington. However, when Washington signed on to another boxer biopic, “The Hurricane“, Stone opted to make “Any Given Sunday” instead. “The Hurricane” was made by Norman Jewison in the end.
8: While discussing “Aliens” during an interview, Sigourney Weaver said that each time one of the actors was to die she would give them a bouquet of flowers before filming began. When it was time for the weasel-like Paul Reiser to be killed she gave him a handful of dead blossoms.
9: For “Cape Fear“, both Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte had to alter their physiques for the film because the 6’1″, bulky, Nolte is clearly larger than the 5’10”, slimmer De Niro. Nolte lost a good deal of weight while shooting the film and De Niro bulked up his muscles considerably until De Niro was clearly Nolte’s physical superior. Interestingly the original Sam Bowden (Gregory Peck) was also slightly taller than the original Max Cady (Robert Mitchum).
10: The medical condition experienced by Leonard (Guy Pearce) in “Memento” is a real condition called Anterograde Amnesia – the inability to form new memories after damage to the hippocampus. During the 1950s, doctors treated some forms of epilepsy by removing parts of the temporal lobe, resulting in the same memory problems.
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.)