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: (Courtesy of Tyson at Head In A Vice) There is a legend that Elvis Presley (who died in 1977) makes a cameo in “Home Alone“. Many of those who believe that Elvis is still alive maintain that, the heavily bearded man standing in the background of the scene where Mrs. MacCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis.

2: Matthew Broderick was offered the role of Johnny Utah in “Point Break” before Keanu Reeves was eventually cast. Others who auditioned were Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen .

3: Director Jason Reitman stated that if George Clooney had passed on the role of Ryan Bingham in “Up In The Air“, he would have rewritten the part for Steve Martin. Reitman claimed that the movie would have become “much more like “Lost in Translation” was for Bill Murray.

4: Terrence Malick originally worked on a screenplay for “Che” which was limited to Che Guevara’s attempts to start a revolution in Bolivia. When financing fell through, Malick left the project, and subsequently Steven Soderbergh agreed to direct the film.

5: Quentin Tarantino wanted James Woods to play a role in “Reservoir Dogs” and made him five different cash offers. Woods’ agent refused the offers without ever mentioning it as the sums offered were well below what Woods would usually receive. When Tarantino and Woods later met for the first time, Woods learned of the offer and was annoyed enough to get a new agent. Tarantino avoided telling Woods which role he was offered “because the actor who played the role was magnificent anyway”. It is widely accepted that the role that Tarantino was referring to was Mr. Orange (played by Tim Roth).

6: At the age of 10, Leonardo DiCaprio was advised by his agent to change his name to a more American-friendly one. ‘Lenny Williams’ was the suggestion. Needless to say, he did not follow that advice.

7:Die Hard” was based on a book by Roderick Thorp entitled “Nothing Lasts Forever” – a sequel to another book entitled “The Detective“, which in 1968 was made into a film starring Frank Sinatra. Because of a clause in Sinatra’s contract for “The Detective” which gave him the right to reprise his role in a sequel, he was actually the first person offered the role of John McClane, even though he was 73 years old at the time.

8: Christoph Waltz was originally cast as Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method“, but dropped out of the project in order to film “Water for Elephants“. Viggo Mortensen was later cast instead.

9: The original version of Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” included a scene where Marcus Licinius (Laurence Olivier) attempts to seduce Antoninus (Tony Curtis). The Production Code Administration and the Legion of Decency both objected. At one point, the censors suggested it would help if the reference in the scene to a preference for oysters or snails was changed to truffles and artichokes. In the end the scene was cut, but it was put back in for the 1991 restoration. However, the soundtrack had been lost in the meantime and the dialogue had to be dubbed. Curtis was able to redo his lines, but Olivier had died. Joan Plowright, his widow, remembered that Anthony Hopkins had done a dead-on impression of Olivier and she mentioned this to the restoration team. They approached Hopkins and he agreed to voice in Olivier’s lines in that scene. Hopkins is thanked in the credits for the restored version.

10: Samuel L. Jackson had just undergone treatment for drug addiction and had only two weeks from his discharge from rehab to the start of filming his role as Gator Purify in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever“. Jackson has gone on record as saying that Gator’s ravaged look was not make-up, but actually the result of his own detoxification. As a result of his performance, the Cannes Film Festival introduced the Best Supporting Actor Award specifically to honour Jackson.

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 Tuesday…

(For earlier editions of Trivia Tidbits click here.)



  1. Great stuff as always. Wait…did you say Matthew Broderick as Johnny Utah??? Heaven help us!!!


  2. Frank Sinatra as John McClane? AWESOME! I can already imagine how the line “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker” would have sounded with Sinatra saying it. GOLD.


    • That’s a beauty isn’t is Ryan? Apparently, all true. Die Hard was actually a sequel in book form to the earlier Sinatra film. Of course, the characters name was changed. When Sinatra played him, his name was Joe Leland.


  3. Woah, Lenny Williams would be such a terrible name for Leo πŸ˜›


  4. Lenny Williams!! LOL!!!


  5. Fun stuff as always, Mark. “Lenny Williams” is hilarious, as is the idea of a 78-year-old Sinatra playing John McClane.

    The Elvis one is just weird… I know “Elvis Lives” theorists are often a bit nutty anyway, but it’s pretty obvious that guy doesn’t look like Elvis would at 55.


    • Thanks Morgan. Yeah, the Sinatra one’s a cracker. When he played the character his name was Joe Leland which was all changed for Die Hard.

      I find the Elvis one fascinating. It’s always bizarre when you hear these claims.


  6. Can definitely see Christoph Waltz playing Freud.


  7. Wow. as always some great bits of trivia here, Mark. I learned quite a bit and was surprised. Spartacus, Jungle Fever, James Woods. But most of all, Elvis is still in movies?! Whoa! πŸ˜‰


  8. Great trivia as always. I heard the one about Spartacus before but never knew too much about it.


  9. “Truffles or artichokes.” That is freaking hilarious. πŸ™‚ It amazes me the way censors minds work.


  10. Woah, that Elvis/Home Alone one blows my mind a little.


  11. Happy new year Mark and all the best wishes for 2013. Great facts…as for the Elvis one…I don’t see any similarities.


  12. Great stuff as always man, really interesting to read.


  13. That Elvis thing is just weird. I mean, it’s weird enough that people actually think Elvis is still alive, but if he wanted to keep a low profile, do they really think he’d want to be an extra in Home Alone?!

    Also, I still love the name The Legion of Decency, even if they are a blight in film!


    • Yeah man. I’m sure Elvis would be more interested in other things. It’s very bizarre to say the least.

      The Legion Of Decency! What a name eh? I really can’t go these types though. The ones that make decisions on all our behalf.


      • Me neither, proper winds me up when things get cut or whatever due to decency. I can’t remember if the Legion of Decency is the same thing but I remember ‘The Church’ used to have a massive say on what was and wasn’t allowed in film. Ridiculous.


      • Yeah, I remember the church having a say as well. Wasn’t “Life Of Brian” banned for a while because of the catholic church? Ridiculous man!


  14. Ahah, Lenny Williams is too funny!

    Also cannot get over the Elvis/Home Alone thing. People have too much time on their hands. πŸ™‚


  15. Gold as always Mark. Thanks for the mention, strange one the Elvis thing, but made me laugh and nice to see others enjoy it.


  16. Very interesting, and first one is just hilarious (spooky, hahaha). I also read somewhere that Patrick Swayze was offered the role of Johnny Utah, but he turned it down because he liked Bodhi and wanted to play him.


    • Yeah, as for Point Break… I had originally heard that it was a project for Ridley Scott with Matthew Broderick and Charlie Sheen involved. Then all the info changed. I had heard that about Swayze playing Utah as well but according to Bigelow, it was always going to be Reeves and Swayze as Utah and Bodhi respectively. She’d kinda has to say that though.

      Thanks for stopping by, as always!


  17. I just can’t see anyone but Tim Roth playing Mr.Orange. But then I look at James Woods and think, yeah that could have worked.


  18. Sorry to be getting to TTT almost a week later. I have to say, this may be the best one yet. 1, 3, 7, 9 and 10 are AMAZING. Glad DiCaprio didn’t change his name to “Lenny Williams”. Yeesh.


  19. I had no idea about James Woods. No wonder he was so annoyed!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: