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: As a producer of “Schindler’s List“, Steven Spielberg shopped directing duties on the film to numerous colleagues, because he was afraid he couldn’t do the story justice. He was turned down by Martin Scorsese (who was interested but ultimately felt it was a subject that should be done by a Jewish director), Roman Polanski (who didn’t feel he was yet ready to tackle the Holocaust after surviving it in childhood), and Billy Wilder (who wanted to make this as his last film). Apparently, it was Wilder who convinced Spielberg to direct it himself.

2: Up until his death in 1978, actor John Cazale appeared in only five feature films in his career: “The Godfather“, “The Conversation“, “The Godfather: Part II“, “Dog Day Afternoon” and “The Deer Hunter“. All of them were nominated for Best Picture (with three of them actually winning the award).

3: Leonardo DiCaprio dropped out of the role of Stephen Meyers in George Clooney’s “The Ides Of March” but stayed on as executive producer through his company Appian Way. Chris Pine was then considered before Ryan Gosling was cast.

4: Among its 8 Academy Award nominations, “Silver Linings Playbook” became the first to earn nods in all four acting categories since “Reds” in 1981 and the first “Big Five” (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing) nominee since “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004z

5: Originally the movie “Three Amigo’s” was supposed to star Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Martin mentioned it in a Playboy interview published January 1980, referring to the movie as ‘The Three Caballeros‘.

6: Writers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen suffered writer’s block while writing “Miller’s Crossing“. They took a three week break and wrote “Barton Fink” a film about a writer with writer’s block. The name of Tom Regan’s (Gabriel Byrne) residence is “The Barton Arms“. In one of the newspapers an article reads ‘Seven Dead in Hotel Fire,’ another reference to Barton Fink.

7: The director of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy“, Adam McKay has said that in the first draft of the script, the story was about a planeload of news anchors who crash in the mountains and discover that the plane which they collided was carrying monkeys and martial arts equipment, leading to a battle between cannibalistic newsmen and star-throwing monkeys.

8: The extraordinary cost of the production of “One From The Heart” would lead to director Francis Ford Coppola’s declaring bankruptcy. Originally intended as a small film after the enormous cost, pressures and production problems of “Apocalypse Now“, One From The Heart rapidly ballooned from a projected budget of $2 million to over $25 million. Coppola has stated that the films he made during the rest of the 1980s and most of the 1990s, such as “The Outsiders“, “The Cotton Club“, “The Godfather: Part III“, “Jack” and “The Rainmaker“, were done to pay off the debts incurred by the production of this film.

9: Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were both slated to play the lead in “Footloose“. The casting directors were impressed with Cruise because of the famous underwear dance sequence in “Risky Business“, but he was unavailable for the part because he was filming “All the Right Moves“. Lowe auditioned three times and had dancing ability and the “neutral teen” look that the director wanted, but he pulled his knee, and the injury prevented him from taking the part. After watching “Diner“, the director had to convince the producers to go with Kevin Bacon.

10: In “The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus“, according to Terry Gilliam, the last line Heath Ledger spoke for filming on the set was “Don’t shoot the messenger.” When Johnny Depp filmed his role after Ledger’s death, Depp asked Gilliam if he could try a new ad-lib: “Don’t shoot the messenger“, unaware that Ledger had improvised an identical line. Gilliam was astounded, remarking, “Heath is still out there. Johnny’s channeling Heath somehow…

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. Again some interesting facts. A shame that John Cazale had such a short career, he gave memorable performances.


  2. Nice trivia. I’ve heard the first one before. It’s sad John Cazale had such a short career. He was a great actor.


  3. Good to see this make a return Mark! There were a lot of disappointed people last week! 😉 I like the Ledger/Depp fact, that’s pretty weird.


  4. Never knew that about Anchorman, I bet that’s where the idea for the news channel rumble came from. 😉

    I DID know that about John Cazale though, that’s a classic piece of movie trivia. Guy threw nothing but strikes. LOL


    • I think if Anchorman played out that way, I might even have enjoyed it Fogs. LOL.

      I realise that the Cazale one is common knowledge but I thought I’d throw it in as a reminder. You’re spot on with his choices. Nothing but strikes indeed. It makes you wonder where you could have went in his career. Top quality stuff.


  5. Love the fact Anchorman makes it. Must of killed you! 😉


    • It DID kill me man! 😉 But you know that I like to throw some scraps your way sometimes. Thought you and Fogs would have liked that one. Besides, this feature is not (just) about my tastes. It’s about the wonderful world of movie news in general. Across the board. 😉


  6. That’s a shame about Cazale and Ledger. Both were amazing talents that were taken from us way, way too soon. Nice list, as always man.


  7. So glad Gosling ended up playing the lead in The Ides of March. It’s actually my favorite performance of his and I think he fits the role better than DiCaprio and especially Pine would.


    • I enjoyed Gosling in Ides and glad he got the role but I thought the film itself could have been stronger. My favourite performance of his is definitely Half Nelson. Outstanding! Cheers Sati.


  8. Great stuff Mark! I did know a handful of these. I always like to test myself each Tuesday and my movie knowledge. But alas, each week you teach me something different. Hats off to you.


    • Haha! Thanks Nick. That’s a fine compliment sir. I sometimes forget that people may actually use this feature as a tester of their movie knowledge. Glad you mentioned that man. Cheers.


  9. Yay, the Trivia Tuesday is back! 😀

    Oh man, that girl in the red dress in Schindler’s List gets me every time. Glad Spielberg ended up directing, it’s certainly remains one of his best and most personal works.

    Wow, that tidbit about Dr Parnassus is so eerie. I miss Heath. I quite like that film, very strange but enjoyable and quite poignant actually.


    • The Trivia is BACK Ruth. 😉
      It wasn’t until you asked about it last week that I realised I had completely been living on another planet and then had to apologise to my fans. LOL.

      That image is certainly something isnt it? Spielberg was the right choice and I think Scorsese was right. This material demanded a Jewish director.

      Strange one about Ledger/Depp isn’t it? I liked that film as well. I normally do enjoy Gilliam’s film’s. I totally escaped into that. Plus the fact, that my all time favourite musician Tom Waits got to play the devil. Dream casting for me! 😉


      • Glad to see it back Mark! And a nice set of trivia here.

        Yeah, I quite like Parnassus. The cast are amazing, I also like Andrew Garfield which was very good. Waits really relished on being bad, he’s VERY creepy! I think it’s cool that the three actors who replaced Heath donated their earnings to his daughter Mathilda.

        Btw, you’re invited to see a trailer of a British crime thriller I’m stoked about… and I have Code 46 review coming up tonight as well. Thanks for the recommendation! 😀


      • Thanks Ruth. If you hadn’t have said, I’ve have probably remembered by Thursday or something? 😉

        Yeah, great cast all round on Parnassus. Everyone involved were great and even though it was an enforced move, I think Law, Farrell and Depp fitted well into the story. Very thoughtful of them as well. Great gesture for Ledger’s daughter.

        Sounds great on both accounts Ruth. I’m a little behind on keeping up these days as you’ve noticed but I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled.


  10. “and Billy Wilder (who wanted to make this as his last film)”
    I’d heard this fact before but NOTHING else you mentioned about Schindler’s List. Wow.

    “nd the first “Big Five” (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing) nominee since “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004z”
    Still not sure why Million Dollar Baby got that much praise. I hated it.

    “f news anchors who crash in the mountains and discover that the plane which they collided was carrying monkeys and martial arts equipment, leading to a battle between cannibalistic newsmen and star-throwing monkeys.”
    I am not surprised.

    “” When Johnny Depp filmed his role after Ledger’s death, Depp asked Gilliam if he could try a new ad-lib: “Don’t shoot the messenger“, unaware that Ledger had improvised an identical line. Gilliam was astounded, remarking, “Heath is still out there. Johnny’s channeling Heath somehow…“”


    • I didn’t even know the Wilder one until recently but it’s interesting thinking of what the film might have been.

      Totally agree on Million Dollar Baby, Alexander. I really didn’t take to that film either. It’s one of the most overpraised film’s I’ve ever came across and it certainly didn’t deserve it’s wins either. Morgan Freeman was particularly good though.

      I’d have preferred this version of Anchorman. Hated the film but might I’ve liked this take on it.

      Praise Jeebus indeed! Stranger than fiction.

      Thanks for checking in Alexander. Good to see you stopping by. 🙂


  11. God I want that Anchorman in the sequel ahaha xD


  12. Love it! Welcome back!


  13. Great trivia, Mark. Cazale’s career is certainly an interesting one… another of those James Dean type situations where you really wonder where he would have gone.

    I knew about the Depp/Ledger thing from when I watched the film… I think it just goes to show the wisdom of going with actors who were close friends of Ledger. They’re more likely to think on his wavelength.


    • Absolutely Morgan. It make you wonder doesn’t it? I feel the same about River Phoenix. Who knows what might have been from these guys.

      That’s a good point on actors and their relationship/friendships. They must all be channeling a certain creativity that can sometimes overlap. That would certainly seem the case in this this film.

      Thanks for stopping by again Morgan!


  14. Excellent trivia, Cazale was such an underrated actor.


  15. Excellent job again Mark. Is that Anchorman fact true?? Geez.
    I think Tom Cruise would have been great on Footloose, it would have been interesting to see if it would have more popular than the existing one.


  16. Wow, had no idea that Billy Wilder was close to directing Schindler’s List. Would have been really interesting to see how that played out.


    • It certainly would have been Eric. We all get the idea of how it would have been with Polanski. All you have to do is look at The Pianist. Scorsese and Wilder would have been very interesting though. Cheers man!


  17. Great stuff! I wish I could be as productive as the Coens when I’m having writer’s block.


  18. […] -See what you thought you knew, but didn’t, here: Happy-Hap#4 […]


  19. Great stuff as always my friend! Awesome bit about the Coens. Didn’t have any idea about the origin of Barton Fink.


  20. Great tidbits as always, Marky! #10 is very eerie but also kind of cute.


  21. First time caller, long time listener (always wanted to say that on the “air”) of your blog and just stumbling over to your Tidbits series. All great little gems of the biz’ and the happenings of some of our favorite films. I’m always stupefied when I read of various other actors associate with films, usually actors that would have been disastrous in the respective roles. Cheers->


    • Hey Rory! Thanks for stopping by. Every week I post these and they seem to go down well with people. I’m always surprised at which actor was associated with a particular role as well. Most of the time you just can’t picture them pulling it off.


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