TUESDAY’S TRIVIA TIDBITS
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 a TV interview, Charlie Sheen credited Keith David with saving his life on the set of “Platoon“. While shooting in an open-doored Huey gunship, the helicopter banked too hard and Sheen was thrown towards – and would have gone through – the open door. David grabbed him and pulled him back in.
2: At one point Steven Spielberg considered directing “Awakenings” before passing it on to Penny Marshall. The time he spent on the project did yield one useful outcome for him: Steven Zaillian’s script took several short chapters, each about different patients, and put them together into a linear whole. This brought Zaillian to Spielberg’s attention, and he offered Zaillian the similar task of adapting “Schindler’s List“, which ended up winning Oscars for both of them.
3: Leonardo DiCaprio was originally offered the role of Dirk Diggler in “Boogie Nights“. He liked the screenplay but turned it down because he had already signed on to do “Titanic“. However, it was DiCaprio who suggested Mark Wahlberg for the role.
4: Martin Scorsese stated before the release of “Casino” that he created the “head in a vice” scene as a sacrifice, certain the MPAA would insist it be cut. He hoped this would draw fire away from other violent scenes that would seem less so by comparison. When the MPAA made no objection to the vice scene, he left it in, albeit slightly edited.
5: In “Aliens“, Lance Henriksen caught a dose of food poisoning from the milk and yogurt combination that he had to spew up when his chest was pierced by the alien queen’s tail. Having this lactose combination sitting around under hot studio lights created a bacterial breeding ground. Curiously, the crew of the first “Alien” film opted not to use milk for Ash’s “death” scene (where he also spews the milky substance out of his mouth) as they thought a fluid made of milk would go sour under the hot lights.
6: When trying out for the parts of Bill and Ted in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure“, each actor was paired up with another. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were paired up, Reeves trying out for the part of Bill while Winter tried out for the part of Ted. They were cast opposite what they auditioned for.
7: During the climatic motorcycle chase in “The Great Escape“, director John Sturges allowed Steve McQueen to ride (in disguise) as one of the pursuing German soldiers, so that in the final sequence, through the magic of editing, he’s actually chasing himself.
8: In “Glengarry Glen Ross“, Alec Baldwin, was initially hired to play Blake (a role which wasn’t in the original play) but with the agreement that if Al Pacino was unable to play Roma, Baldwin would play him. Early in preproduction it looked as if Pacino was going to be unavailable, so Baldwin began working on Roma, only for Pacino to join the project and Baldwin went back to Blake.
9: “Dances of Wolves” ran so far over budget that Kevin Costner was forced to invest his own money. This caused rumors that the film would be another out-of-control, disappointing western like “Heaven’s Gate“. In fact, some studio people were referring to it as “Kevin’s Gate”. It went on to win the first Best Picture Oscar for a western since “Cimarron“, over 50 years before it.
10: When the film “Gangs of New York” was first conceived in 1978, it was originally planned for Dan Aykroyd to be cast as Amsterdam Vallon and John Belushi as Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting. The project fell apart after Belushi died. A cast reshuffle had Mel Gibson as Amsterdam Vallon and Robert DeNiro or Willem Dafoe as The Butcher. Eventually, Leonardo DiCaprio was cast as Amsterdam Vallon and Daniel Day-Lewis was cast as The Butcher.
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.)