It’s been a while since I posted any of these but welcome back to Trivia Tidbits. For those of you out of the loop, this is a little compilation of 10 movie related facts that I always find interesting. So without further ado, this weeks are…

1: When “Donnie Brasco” was in its first stages, Joe Pesci was the first and main choice for Nicky. But after the release of “Goodfellas“, the idea gradually faded. This is the second film where Joe Pesci was considered for a role that eventually went to Bruno Kirby. The first was “The Godfather: Part II“, the role in question being that of the young Clemenza.

2: Joel Schumacher was originally set to direct the film “Devil’s Advocate” in 1994 before Taylor Hackford took over. Brad Pitt was also set to star as Kevin Lomax. Christian Slater, John Cusack and Edward Norton were also considered for the role before it eventually went to Keanu Reeves.

3: In Peter Mullan’s “NEDS“, many of the film’s events parallels Mullan’s own experiences growing up in 1970’s Glasgow. Mullan was part of a street gang, and tried to kill his abusive father at 14, both of which the protagonist does in the film.

4: Originally Charlie Sheen was turned down for the main role of Chris Taylor in “Platoon” because it was felt he was too young for the part. His older brother Emilio Estevez was offered the part but the project fell apart due to financial problems. Two years later the project was given the go-ahead, but Estevez had already committed to other projects. Charlie Sheen again read for the part and won it.

5: In the Coen Brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing“, the character Eddie Dane (played by J.E. Freeman) was originally written for Peter Stormare and was to be named The Swede. Stormare had to decline as he was appearing as “Hamlet” in the Broadway production. The part was then re-written and re-cast, and became The Dane.

6: Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” was apparently River Phoenix’s favorite movie, and while he was filming “Dark Blood” with it’s leading actor Jonathan Pryce, a gift was arranged. Pryce arranged for Phoenix to meet Gilliam, his hero. The meeting was set to happen the day Phoenix died outside the Viper Room. They never met.

7: In “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest“, most of Jack Nicholson’s scene with Dean R. Brooks upon arriving at the hospital was improvised – including his slamming a stapler, asking about a fishing photo, and discussing his rape conviction; Brooks’s reactions were authentic.

8: Paramount tried to go ahead with “The Godfather part III” for many years without Francis Ford Coppola who had refused to make another sequel. About twelve scripts were written. Most of the scripts included the Corleone family being led by Michael’s son Anthony, battling the CIA, Castro’s Cuban government, or South American drug cartels. A 1978 draft by Mario Puzo dealt with Anthony Corleone being recruited by the CIA to assassinate a Latin American dictator. Dean Riesner also wrote a draft based on Puzo’s ideas. Drafts were also written by Paramount producers Michael Eisner and Don Simpson. The film was scheduled for a Christmas 1980 release date. These scripts were discarded when Coppola decided to work on the script with Puzo. But Coppola eventually abandoned the project. Puzo wrote another script in 1986 with producer Nicholas Gage that featured Sonny Corleone’s illegitimate son Vincent Mancini while showing the early life of the young Sonny Corleone. Paramount considered directors Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Costa-Gavras, Alan J. Pakula, Robert Benton, Michael Cimino and Michael Mann. At one point they were even close to signing Sylvester Stallone to direct and star in the film.

9: In “Oldboy“, four live octopodes were eaten for the scene with Dae-su in the sushi bar, a scene which provoked some controversy abroad. Eating live octopus in Korea is commonplace although it is usually sliced first. When the film won the Grand Prix at Cannes, the director thanked the octopodes along with the cast and crew.

10: [Spoilers]
Throughout “The Departed“, Martin Scorsese used X’s mostly shown in the background to mark characters for death; examples include shots of Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the elevator before his death. Queenan (Martin Sheen) falling to his death (on the building’s glass windows as Queenan falls to the ground), and Sullivan (Matt Damon) in his office discussing the flow of information with Jack Nicholson’s Costello (the X is created by the light shining through the window). This is a homage to Howard Hawks’ classic film “Scarface” (1932).

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.)

52 Responses to “TRIVIA TIDBITS”

  1. Always very interesting. I really enjoy this feature. Keep the trivia coming! River Phoenix is one of those people who makes me so sad whenever I hear about him. So much potential, and we’ll never know how it might have been.


    • Thanks Smash! I’d become a lackadaisical with this feature of late but I really should get back into it. Most people seem to enjoy them.

      Totally with you in Phoenix. Such a great actor that was shaping up very nicely indeed.


  2. Oh my god the x’s!!! That is so badass!!

    I did know about the octopi thing do to some wikipedia-ing. Never ever, had I heard them called “octopodes” before I was looking into Oldboy, however.


    • The X’s are great aren’t they? This was new to me until recently.

      Yeah, Octopodes. This was also new to me. Looks like we’ve learned a new word today 😉

      Thanks for dropping in 🙂


  3. Woo hoo! It’s back! Fantastic stuff my friend. I was particularly amazed by the bit from The Departed. Never heard or noticed that at all. Very cool.


    • It’s back, bro! Don’t know why I left it so long. Well, it was probably due to the fact that they were getting harder to put together. It was over a year ago I started this and the material started drying up.

      Very cool about The Departed, though, eh?


  4. I think number 10 is my favorite yet – how cool. Now I want to watch it again.


  5. Interestingly enough Brazil is my favorite movie too. Hmm.

    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is my favorite Nicholson movie. His performance was electric. Louise Fletcher’s restrained, domineering performance as Nurse Ratched was a great yin to the yang of crazy, over the top Jack.

    Have you seen Peter Mullan in the one off series Top Of The Lake? I think it aired on BBC 2 there. Jane Campion (The Piano) is behind. It stars Elizabeth Moss and Holly Hunter. The show was nominated for several Emmy’s here a including one for Mullan. Unfortunately he lost. 😦 Kind of along the lines of The Killing or Broadchurch (read depressing, but gripping) you might like it.

    Mark, ever hear of the actress Laura Frasier? She’s a born and bred Glaswegian. She stars on TV’s Breaking Bad on AMC with Brian Cranston. I was quite surprised when she did an interview for the show and this beautiful Scottish accent came out of her… which I just absolutely love. I mean I could listen to Kelly Macdonald natter on all day. LOL.

    The X’s in The Departed is fascinating. Never caught on to that. I guess you can use oranges only so much. Unless of course you’re Breaking Bad.


    • Hey Dave, nice to see you dropping by, man.

      Yeah, Top of the Lake was on TV here not that long ago. I only caught a bit of it, though. Looked good but I didn’t want to ruin it by trying to play catch up. I’ll check it out in full when I get a chance. Didn’t know Mullan was nominated for an Emmy, though. Nice one.

      I’d heard of Laura Frasier but not overly familiar. She does sound like Kelly Macdonald but then that’s how we all sound here. 😉

      Great video on Breaking Bad there. Referencing The Godfather and its use of oranges as a symbol of death perhaps? That’s a series I really need to start. I’ve been busy with Game of Thrones, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire but can’t wait to get into it.


  6. backlashcomix Says:

    Yep the trivia’s always interesting. You can probably always look this stuff up individually, but having a little article like this highlighting trivia from various movies always makes for a nice little read. Good work!


    • Yeah, this stuff is readily available on the Internet you just need to weed it out. Trivia is something I’ve always been taken with so it’s a pleasure putting them together. Even better when others enjoy them too. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  7. Yay, Tuesday Trivia is back! Nice one on our man Chuck too, he..he… Love him in that film. Hiiih, that trivia on Oldboy is soo gross! Not interested in seeing that one at all.


    • I’m hoping to keep the posts coming again Ruth. They’re getting harder to do but I’ll try.

      Yeah, our man Chuck! He was actually quite good in that. It’s hard keeping up with Pacino but he done well.

      I don’t think you’d appreciate the violence or subject matter of Oldboy, Ruth. It’s a marvellous film but not one for your good self, I’d imagine.


      • Yeah, Chuck was good indeed in Devil’s Advocate, I’m glad he ended up getting cast.

        Glad you understand Mark. Just based on some reviews I know Oldboy is not for me. I did like Stoker from the same director though, but it’s quite a different film, not as gory 🙂


      • Oldboy has some very disturbing moments that Stoker comes across as very tame in comparison. You’ve just reminded me that I need to finish a review on Stoker. It’s been lying in my draft folder for months now.


  8. I’ve heard about the x’s before. Makes me kinda wanna go back and rewatch it, and see if I can’t find all of those x’s for myself. B)


  9. Great tidbits. Numbers 10, 8, 5, and 4 are my favorites. I’m not a Charlie Sheen fan, but Platoon wouldn’t have worked as well without him.


    • Cheers man. Can’t say I’m all that much of a Sheen fan either but he was great in Platoon and really held his own. As much as I’m not a fan, I do find his personal life quite intriguing.


  10. Took four of the slimy buggers ay 😀


  11. Great to see the tidbits back! 6 is so creepy! 9 is totally crazy! I knew he had eaten a live octopus but didn’t know there were several. Yeesh! And I absolutely love #10!


  12. A very welcome return of this feature Mark! I love that fact about The Departed, that’s a new one to me. Also, I noticed Neds was on TV not too long ago and I meant to record it but forgot, really keen to check that out.


    • Cheers Chris. The feedback is always positive on this feature so it makes me wonder why I let it go for so long. Anyway, it’s back now (for the time being, at least).

      Yeah, I noticed Neds was on too. It’s a good little film, man. You should check if out. I’m sure Film4 will repeat it sometime.


  13. I love it when directors leave clues among the set that foreshadow an event like the “x” in The Departed. Reminds me of M. Night’s use of red in ‘Sixth Sense’. Also found #7 amusing. “Where do you suppose she lives?” One of the best lines to end a scene. Great post.


    • Thanks Cindy. M. Nights use of red was great as well.

      Well remembered on that quote. That’s when Jack’s shows him his deck of cards isn’t it? Superb stuff. It’s a film that’s in my personal top three.


  14. I like the X’s in The Departed, makes me want to watch it again.


  15. I look forward to your review of Stoker, Mark 🙂


  16. Wow, I never noticed the X’s…very interesting one!


  17. Great to see this little segment back. I found number 6 so devastating. What a fuckin sad story man. Number 10 was super interesting too.


    • Thanks man. I’ll try and keep it regular again.

      It is quite sad about Phoenix and Gilliam. I could have seen both of them working together at some point too. Unfortunately we’ll never see that.


  18. Excellent trivia, That Oldboy one is gross. Eating four, now that’s dedication to your work.


  19. Hi, Mark:

    I’m going to fall back on two classics by Kubrick.

    #1/: Peter sellers was offered and was up for a fourth character in ‘Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb’. Kubrick offered Sellers the chance to play Maj. ‘King’ Kong. And Sellers was up for it. Until Slim Pickens became available.

    Always been impressed with the authenticity of the flight deck, throttles, buttons, lights and switches of Kong’s B-52. The DoD was too. And sent some DoD investigators to take a look around and perhaps stop the film. Kubrick showed the investigators photos of a typical flight deck from ‘Jane’s Book of Aircraft’. The investigators left.

    #2/: Bruce Willis was first taken on to play Matthew Modine’s role of ‘Joker’. Willis was too old and opted for the role of D.I Gunny Hartman. Willis took on the role and left the production shortly after. Claiming “Artistic Differences”.

    R. Lee Ermey sat and watched from the sidelines as a Technical Adviser/Supervisor. Kubrick had Ermey audition with about 20 minutes of ad lib. Offered the role to Ermey. Who delivered magnificently and was denied an Oscar nomination and win.


    • Hey Jack!

      Nice highlight on Dr. Strangelove. I hadn’t heard that before but I did know about the Full Metal Jacket ones. Can’t honestly say that I could see Willis in that role, though. As for Ermey; he was absolutely superb. A perfect choice.


      • Glad I could help, Mark:

        Willis was definitely too old for Joker. Though Modine was perfectly serviceable. Bringing the “What the Hell am I doing here?!!!” attitude and character Gus Hasford had written in ‘The Short Timers’ to life.

        The one actor and character who caught my attention early on was Arliss Howard and his Cowboy. Who’s made a career of consistently delivering in smaller roles.


      • Yeah, man. Arliss Howard. I hadn’t seen him for years until he turned up in True Blood recently. I always liked Howard but his roles were always small and few and far between.


  20. Wow!! some really interesting facts here. Except for the improvised stapler sequence from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, and maybe the facts about ‘Platoon’ and ‘The devils Advocate’ (it just sounded familiar), the rest I’ve never herd of till now. It’s a pity about Phoenix, dying the exact day he was to meet his hero.
    I found the last ‘X’ fact the most interesting (although even that sounded a bit familiar, but am not sure), nice fact to end this post with.


    • Glad you found something of interest, man. It’s always nice to hear that people take something from these posts. I’m just about to post some more. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂


  21. Tragic about Phoenix, of course. And the Nicholson bit is funny, as Nicholson bits usually are.

    You want to know the thing that really surprised me, though? I had always thought Charlie was the older brother. 😀


  22. 8 cannot be true surely!


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