Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 13 Surprising Facts About Carlito’s Way. Here are three of my favorites…
6. JOHN LEGUIZAMO TURNED DE PALMA DOWN FOUR TIMES.
Leguizamo played the memorable (to most) Bronx native Benny Blanco only after De Palma let him create his own character. He told The A.V. Club that he turned the director down four times because he “just felt that it wasn’t enough of a part. Luckily, [Brian] De Palma and I had worked together on Casualties Of War (1989), so he let me improvise my ass off. I totally went off. I created this character, you know, all the bizarre back story, that he’s a go-getter who can’t wait to meet Pacino. I think that was the first time I really felt like I had found myself in movies. That was a great time… I’ll always love De Palma, because Carlito’s Way was where I found myself in film.”
9. PENN AND DE PALMA DID NOT ALWAYS GET ALONG.
“He’s an operatic moviemaker, so the reality level is somewhere off in De Palma-ville, and to get hold of it is impossible,” Penn claimed in 1996. “How to serve him is hard to get a grasp on, so it can become confrontational. And it did, to a degree, on Carlito’s Way.” He also said that working with Pacino was something he loved. “Working with him balanced that whole experience out.”
“I remember when I was shooting Carlito’s Way,” De Palma said, after he was asked if any of his actors took things too far. “There’s this scene where Sean is all coked up, and he’s trying to get [Al Pacino] to go on the boat trip with him. Because of where the sun was, I was shooting Sean over Al’s back for the beginning. I shot ten, fifteen takes, and I thought it looked pretty good. But Sean said, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ I said ‘What?!’ He said, ‘We don’t have it.’ I said, ‘I think we do.’ He said, ‘I need a few more takes.’ He said, ‘Twenty.’ I said, ‘Twenty?? Ok…’ I shot ten more, I think, and then I said, ‘Sean, I have to shoot this two-shot, then I gotta go over and shoot Al. He’s been playing to you all morning.’ But Sean was never happy with the scene. And I came around, and shot a two-shoot, and an over-the-shoulder.”
11. A PLANNED WORLD TRADE CENTER SHOOTOUT HAD TO BE CHANGED AT THE LAST MINUTE.
“I had elaborate storyboards of this whole shootout on the escalators that were in the World Trade Center,” De Palma said. “I spent weeks and weeks photographing it … and a couple of days before we were about to shoot, they blew it up.” The epic shootout took place in Grand Central Station instead.