Welcome back to Tuesday’s Trivia Tidbits. For those of you out of the loop, this is a little compilation of 10 movie related facts that I will be posting weekly and info that I always find interesting. So without further ado, this weeks are…

1: In “Interview With The Vampire“, Christian Slater was given the role of Daniel the interviewer upon the death of River Phoenix, who was originally supposed to be Daniel. Slater donated his $250,000 salary to two of Phoenix’ favorite charities.

2: There are only five performers to be nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate films: Peter O’Toole as Henry II in “Becket” and “The Lion in Winter“, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone for “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part II“, Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley in “Going My Way” and “The Bells of St. Mary’s“, Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and Paul Newman as ‘Fast Eddie’ Felson in “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money“.

3: Humphrey Bogart was involved in a serious automobile accident late in the production of “Beat the Devil“. Several of his teeth were knocked out in the accident, hindering his ability to speak clearly. Director John Huston hired a young British actor noted for his mimicry skills to re-record some of Bogart’s dialog during post-production looping. And although the talent of the young impersonator is such that the difference is undetectable while viewing the film today, it is a young Peter Sellers who provides Bogart’s voice during some of the scenes.

4: Brad Pitt owns the rights to the Hong Kong thriller “Infernal Affairs“. He wanted it to be remade with he and Tom Cruise in the leading roles. The movie was eventually remade as “The Departed” and originally he was part of the cast as Colin Sullivan (the Matt Damon role). He later dropped out but continued to produce the film under his (and his then wife Jennifer Aniston’s) production company, Plan B.

5: In “The Wizard of Oz“, at the end of the sequence in which Dorothy and the Scarecrow first meet the Tin Man, as the three march off singing “We’re Off to See the Wizard“, there is a disturbance in the trees off to the right. There was a long rumour that it was one of the crew committing suicide by hanging himself and that it could actually be seen in the film. It is in fact, a large bird stretching its wings.

6: Steve McQueen was first offered the role of Capt. Willard in “Apocalypse Now” but he turned it down and Harvey Keitel was then cast. Two weeks into shooting, director Francis Ford Coppola replaced Keitel with Martin Sheen, stating he was not happy with Keitel’s take on the character and that the actor “found it difficult to play him a passive onlooker“. To make matters worse, Sheen had a heart attack during the filming and some shots of Willard’s back are of doubles, including Sheen’s brother Joe Estevez who was flown out specially. Coppola was so worried that backing would be withdrawn by the studio and distributor if news of Sheen’s heart attack leaked out, that he kept it quiet, even to the extent of explaining Sheen’s hospitalization as being due to “heat exhaustion”.

7: In “Easy Rider“, Rip Torn was originally cast in the role of George Hanson (eventually played by Jack Nicholson). According to Torn, Dennis Hopper pulled a knife on him during a pre-production meeting. On “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, Hopper claimed it was Torn who pulled the knife. Torn sued Hopper for defamation and won.

8: When engaged to Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp had “Winona forever” tattooed on his arm. After they broke up, he had the n and a surgically removed to simply say “Wino forever“.

9: In 1996, during a traffic stop for speeding, Robert Downey Jr was arrested for drunk driving, possession of heroin, and possession of an unloaded pistol in his pickup truck. This was his first reported brush with the law at age 31. He was given a suspended sentence of 3 years, and granted probation with requirements of random drug testing and drug counselling. In 1999, he violated his probation with further drug and alcohol abuse and he eventually received his sentence of 3 years in prison.

10: Roderick Jaynes, who is credited with editing most of the Coen brothers’ films, does not, in fact, exist. The name is a pseudonym for Joel and his brother Ethan.

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.
See you next Tuesdayโ€ฆ

(For earlier editions of Trivia Tidbits click here)


  1. I can’t decide if Johnny Depp is an idiot or a genius for doing that! I also love that Wizard of Oz fact, I think even the thought of it being someone hanging themselves makes the whole thing really creepy.


    • I’m with you on the Depp deal. He certainly redeemed himself from a stupid decision in the first place.

      As for Oz, I believed for years that it was someone hanging but last year I found out for sure that it is indeed a bird. I paused the DVD and you can see it quite clearly. I think I was a little disappointed it wasn’t someone hanging, to tell you the truth ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. The Wizard of Oz tidbit is really creepy. What if they took out the person hanging in post-production and tried to make it look like a bird? I’m a conspiracy theorist ๐Ÿ™‚

    #8 is hilarious, and Francis Ford Coppola always had a lot of trouble with Apocalypse Now. One day, a whole tsunami wiped his set and he had to wait some years to shoot again for the actors schedules to slow down.

    Great facts!


    • I enjoy a good conspiracy theory myself Alley, so you never know. Stranger things have happened. It was clearly a bird when I seen it though. (Unfortunately) ๐Ÿ˜‰

      As for Apocalypse Now, that film was fraught with difficulties, i’m surprised they even managed to finish it. The documentary on the making of it makes very interesting viewing as well. If you haven’t seen that, you should check it out. “Heart of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse”.


  3. Damn, great list. I’ve always found the Wizard of Oz to be creepy as shit, now a bit less so. So thank you!


  4. LOVE the Bogie tidbit. Great stuff and loads of fun. Keep these coming!


  5. “Slater donated his $250,000 salary to two of Phoenixโ€™ favorite charities.” That was incredibly kind of him. Excellent factoids as always! ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Filmfella Lozz Says:

    Hi Mark. Great post. Thoroughly interesting read. Tidbits; the majoirty of which I didn’t know.

    How about Stallone originally cast as Beverley Hills Cop?! That would’ve never worked.

    Or a (scheduled) fight scene in Raiders…whereby Indy was was suppose to beat the crap out of that sword weilding dude surrounded by the crowd – But on the day Harrison Ford had the flu and asked Spielberg if he could just shoot him….and the rest is history.

    Or the final scene in Casablanca at the airport/base; to conceal the fact they were in a closed studio, they employed a bunch of midgets to act as aircraft workman to show depth and distance. Funny.


    • Nice to see you here Lozz. Yeah, I’ve been doing these for a few weeks now. It’s a recent feature of mine.

      Nice additions to the cause there. I didn’t know about the Casablanca one though. That’s a cracker.


  7. Oooh, I didn’t know River Phoenix was supposed to play Slater’s role in Interview w/ the Vampire. No doubt he’d be much better in it, I miss him, the good ones always die young!!

    I just read that about Departed, and I also knew about Depp’s ill-advised tattoo, ahah. I don’t know why people do that knowing that feelings often change, especially in fickle Hollywood!

    Nice one, Mark!


    • Cheers Ruth. I totally agree on Phoenix. He was my favourite actor at the time of his death. Totally gutted when I heard the news and he hadn’t even reached his full potential yet. Apparently his family were held liable for the costs of a film called Dark Blood that they couldn’t complete when he died. Not sure how all that panned out though.


      • I know!! He’s even more talented than Joaquin I think, I saw him in a movie called Jimmy Riordan and I thought, this kid’s gonna be huge! Well, I like Joaquin too so I’m glad he didn’t actually ‘retire’ from acting ๐Ÿ™‚


      • I seen Jimmy Riordan a while ago but it was Stand By Me and Running On Empty that convinced me about him. I like Joaquin also but again I agree, I think River is the better actor.


  8. Interesting post, I didin’t know that about the Oscars.


  9. filmfellahenry Says:

    More great facts! Considering it was Dennis Hopper’s knife play that got Nicholson in Easy Rider, my respect for him has risen even higher! Keep up the good work Mark!


  10. I do love these posts, they make great reading for a midweek lull. Thanks as ever Mark


  11. Good stuff man, good stuff ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. All golden this week, Mark!


  13. Love this section ๐Ÿ™‚ 3, 6 and 7 are fascinating.


    • Thanks Fernando. Yeah, I’m a big fan of Keitel and would loved to have seen him in Apocalypse Now. It’s a shame that didn’t work out. As for Rip Torn, I don’t dislike him but the character that eventually went to Nicholson is one of his most iconic. Nicholson was the best thing about the film for me.


  14. Did you mean to say, “Slater donated his $250,000 salary to two of Phoenixโ€™ favorite charities.”? Or should that be “donated $250,000 of his salary……..” I can’t see Slater making only $250,000 for that movie.


    • This was the information I picked up Russell and as far as I’m aware its accurate. It was a small role though so a quarter of a million is that far fetched. He was rarely in it. Thanks as always for camping out my man.


  15. For the first time I knew quite a few of these. Seeing them all together though reminds you how extraordinary they are.


    • Good! That’s the whole point. Throwing a few random things together and seeing how they work. There have been some readers that try to tick off as many as they can from each post. I think the closest anyone ever came to knowing them all is 9.


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