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21 True Facts About “The Matrix”

Who besides my wife doesn’t love The Matrix?

Hollywood.com presents 21 True Facts About The Matrix.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. The Wachowskis risked the film’s entire budget just to make it the way they wanted. 

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The original budget that the Wachowskis pitched Warner Bros. was over $80 million. Warner gave them $10 million, so they used all of it on the opening sequence with Trinity. The opening scene impressed executives at Warner so much when they showed it, they green-lit the original budget.

2. The film differentiates the Matrix and the real world through color.

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The scenes that take place within the Matrix are tinted green; those that happen in the real world have more of a normal coloring. The fight scene between Neo and Morpheus has a yellow tint, since it takes place in neither.

12. Other actors considered to play Neo were Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Thankfully, Keanu won out. He’s really the only Neo we can imagine. #canttouchthis

14 Things You Might Not Know About “Ghost”

Garin Pirnia and Mental_Floss present 14 Things You Might Not Know About Ghost.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. WHOOPI GOLDBERG CREDITS HER OSCAR WIN TO PATRICK SWAYZE.
On The View, Goldberg revealed that she only got the role of Oda Mae Brown because Swayze fought for her. The producers resisted casting her, but Swayze told them he wasn’t doing the film unless Whoopi was in it, too, and that she was right for the part—even though at that point she and Swayze had never met. “And I won an Oscar because of Patrick Swayze,” Goldberg said. In her 1991 Oscar speech, she thanked Swayze, calling him “a stand-up guy.”

4. DIRECTOR JERRY ZUCKER SAID HE’D CAST PATRICK SWAYZE “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”
In a video that appears on the Ghost DVD, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin—who won an Oscar for his script—talks about how Zucker was at first against casting Swayze as Sam. “Jerry wanted to see him on film, so went out and saw the movie Roadhouse, and we walked out of that movie and Jerry said to me, ‘Over my dead body,’” recalls Rubin. Swayze really wanted the role, and because Zucker appreciated Swayze’s gusto, he let Swayze audition. After Swayze read the end of the script aloud, Zucker changed his mind. “We all had tears in our eyes, right there in the office—and we knew how it ends,” Zucker told People in 1990. “I saw a side of Patrick that I never knew existed.”

3. GHOST TURNED DEMI MOORE INTO THE HIGHEST-PAID ACTRESS AT THE TIME.
By the time Ghost was released, Moore was already famous for her roles in St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night…, but she wasn’t considered a bankable star. After the unexpected $200 million domestic gross of Ghost, she hit box office gold with a trifecta of other huge hits: 1992’s A Few Good Men ($141,340,178), 1993’s Indecent Proposal ($106,614,059), and 1994’s Disclosure ($83,015,089). If you add up all of Demi’s film grosses, it comes out to more than $1 billion. In 1995, she was paid an unprecedented $12.5 million to take her clothes off in Striptease. The film wasn’t a huge hit, and a few years later she traded Hollywood for Idaho.

A Few Facts About Lucille Ball

Eddie Deezen and Neatorama present A Few Facts You May Not Know About Lucille Ball.  Here are three of my favorites…

* Lucy was born a brunette. She later was a blond model. It wasn’t until she was pushing 30 that Lucy first dyed her hair the world-famous red color. She became a redhead to appear in the 1943 movie Du Barry Was a Lady.

* Lucy had no eyebrows. For her first movie role inRoman Scandals (1933) she shaved her eyebrows off. (She played a slave girl.) They never grew back.

* Lucy was terrified of birds. Because birds were her main phobia, Lucy refused to stay in any hotel room that had pictures of birds or had birds on the wallpaper. No birds or pictures of birds were ever allowed in her home.

16 Biting Facts About “Fright Night”

Jennifer M. Wood and Mental_Floss present 16 Biting Facts About Fright Night.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. PETER VINCENT MADE THE STORY CLICK.
It wasn’t until Holland conceived of the character of Peter Vincent, the late-night horror movie host played by Roddy McDowall, that he really found the story. While discussing the idea with a department head at Columbia Pictures, Holland realized what The Boy Who Cried Vampire would do: “Of course, he’s gonna go to Vincent Price!” Which is when the screenplay clicked. “The minute I had Peter Vincent, I had the story,” Holland told Dread Central. “Charley Brewster was the engine, but Peter Vincent was the heart.”

5. RODDY MCDOWALL DID NOT WANT TO PLAY THE PART LIKE VINCENT PRICE.
Once he was cast, Roddy McDowall made the decision that Peter Vincent was nothing like Vincent Price—specifically: he was a terrible actor. “My part is that of an old ham actor,” McDowall told Monster Land magazine in 1985. “I mean a dreadful actor. He had a moderate success in an isolated film here and there, but all very bad product. Basically, he played one character for eight or 10 films, for which he probably got paid next to nothing. ..”

16. VINCENT PRICE LOVED THE MOVIE.
Holland had the chance to meet Vincent Price one night at a dinner party at McDowall’s. And the actor was well aware that McDowall’s character was based on him. “I was a little bit embarrassed by it,” admitted Holland. “He said it was wonderful and he thought Roddy did a wonderful job. Thank God he didn’t ask why he wasn’t cast in it.”

15 Fast Facts About “Days of Thunder”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 15 Fast Facts About Days of Thunder.  Here are three of my favorites…

6. AS WITH SO MANY THINGS, WE CAN THANK PAUL NEWMAN FOR THE FILM’S EXISTENCE.
The legendary actor and part-time racer shared his enthusiasm for motorsports with Tom Cruise when they made The Color of Money together. The two were then introduced to NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick (the inspiration for Randy Quaid’s character), who let budding racing enthusiast Cruise drive a stock car himself. Cruise’s reaction after taking a car around the track at 175 mph: “Hey, we gotta make a movie about this!”

12. AS YOU’D EXPECT, THE RACING SCENES WERE FILMED WITH THE CARS GOING MUCH SLOWER THAN THEY USUALLY WOULD: ONLY 120 MPH.
That’s down from the 200 miles per hour those cars would do in a real race. And still, even at a reduced speed, the work was dangerous. Tony Scott told The New York Times, “There’s a major crash in the middle of the movie at speeds of 120 to 140 miles an hour manned by stunt drivers. Things happen to metal at 140 miles an hour that don’t happen at 60 miles an hour.” Despite that, Scott boasted that the total on-set injuries for the entire production only added up to 13 stitches.

15. THE SCENE WHERE NASCAR BOSS BIG JOHN THREATENS TO FIRE TRICKLE AND BURNS IF THEY BUMP EACH OTHER ON THE TRACK AGAIN—THEN FORCES THEM TO DRIVE TO DINNER TOGETHER—WAS BASED ON A REAL INCIDENT WITH GEOFF BODINE AND DALE EARNHARDT.
Bodine and Earnhardt did not, however, destroy two rental cars in the process. But such shenanigans were attributed to 1950s racers Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly, who were the Cole Trickles of their day.

15 Punchy Facts About “Raging Bull”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 15 Punchy Facts About Raging Bull.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. IT PARTIALLY OWES ITS EXISTENCE TO ROCKY.
Comparisons to that other Oscar-winning boxing movie from four years earlier were inevitable, but the two were actually connected. Rocky was produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, and released by United Artists. When those same producers approached that same studio about doing another boxing movie, the studio said, “A sequel to Rocky? Sure!” That wasn’t what they had in mind (though they did soon enough), but in the meantime, Rocky’s huge success was enough to sell UA on another boxing movie.

5. PAUL SCHRADER FIXED THE SCREENPLAY BY ADDING JAKE LAMOTTA’S BROTHER, JOEY.
It’s strange to imagine Raging Bull without the Joe Pesci character, but that’s how Mardik Martin’s first drafts had it. He was adapting LaMotta’s 1970 memoir, Raging Bull: My Story, co-authored by LaMotta’s lifelong friend Peter Savage (born Peter Petrella). The book didn’t feature Joey as a prominent character, and it had Savage doing most of the things that Joey would eventually do in the movie. When Schrader was hired to build on the work Martin had done and take another stab at the screenplay, he decided the story would be more compelling if it involved brothers rather than friends (blood ties and all that), so he introduced the Joey character and excised poor old Pete. This creative license proved problematic later, when Joey LaMotta sued for defamation because the movie had attributed to him a number of unwholesome deeds (like beating the crap out of a neighborhood mobster) that had actually been perpetrated by Savage.

9. JOE PESCI WAS RUNNING AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT WHEN DE NIRO AND SCORSESE APPROACHED HIM ABOUT BEING IN THE MOVIE.
Pesci had been a professional actor and musician (he sang and played guitar) off and on since childhood, but he called it quits in the 1970s. His 1975 Broadway show with comedy partner Frank Vincent (whom he would later recruit to play Salvy in Raging Bull) had closed after a week, and his first movie, 1976’s The Death Collector (also featuring Vincent), was a flop. But Robert De Niro happened to see that film in 1978, and was so impressed by Pesci’s performance that he pitched him to Scorsese. The two tracked Pesci down and called him at his restaurant to coax him out of showbiz retirement.

11 Things You Might Not Know About “Apollo 13”

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present 11 Things You Might Not Know About  Apollo 13.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. Steven Spielberg Made a Crucial Suggestion.
To simulate the weightlessness inside the module, Howard and his crew were contemplating using wires and harnesses, a logistical decision that would’ve had his cast suspended like marionettes for months of shooting. Instead, Spielberg (a friend of Howard’s and frequent collaborator with Hanks) suggested that he look into the KC-135, a NASA-owned airplane that’s able to simulate zero gravity by maneuvering 45 degrees up and then plummeting.

Howard’s test shooting went well enough—and his producer, Todd Hallowell, was persistent enough—that NASA granted permission for a crew to film while on board the plane. That meant that …

9. “Houston, We Have a Problem” Was Not the Exact Quote.
One of the most popular lines in culture, Lovell’s grim delivery of his module’s malfunctions to Mission Control was not quoted word for word in the film. In reality, NASA received the message, “Houston, I believe we’ve had a problem,” not, “Houston, we have a problem.” (Maybe present tense made it more impactful.) Filmmakers also decided to have Hanks’ Lovell deliver the line; in fact, it was Swigert who first said it, though Lovell repeated it immediately as “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

12. The Checklist Fetched $388,375 at Auction.
Because it was shown so prominently in the feature film, Jim Lovell’s original checklist book filled with equations and other notes addressing their mission’s issues sold for $388,375 in a November 2011 auction. But the purchase was held up when NASA inquired whether Lovell actually owned the artifact outright. In 2012, President Obama signed a bill into law clarifying that astronauts had ownership of such materials.

15 Sweet Facts About “Stepbrothers”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Sweet Facts About Stepbrothers.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. JON HAMM ALMOST PLAYED DEREK.
It came down to Hamm, Thomas Lennon, and Adam Scott for the part of the jerk brother Derek. Scott got the part.

6. RICHARD JENKINS USED TO WORK FOR REILLY’S FATHER.
Toward the end of filming, Jenkins—who played Reilly’s father, Dr. Robert Doback—heard from the actor playing his son that his father was also from the Chicago area and used to work in the linen business. It was then that Jenkins realized that he had worked for John Reilly (John’s father) in the summer of 1969, and had met John Jr. when he was four years old.

9. PABLO CRUISE PLAYED THE PREMIERE.
The 1970s pop-rock group were so pleased to see one of their T-shirts worn in the movie’s trailer that they offered to perform at the film’s premiere.

17 Straightforward Facts About “The Sixth Sense”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 17 Straightforward Facts About The Sixth Sense.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. THE DISNEY EXECUTIVE WHO BOUGHT THE SCRIPT WAS FIRED BECAUSE OF IT.
Walt Disney Studios’ then-president David Vogel didn’t bother to consult with his superiors before paying $2.25 million for the rights to The Sixth Sense, and agreed to let Shyamalan direct the already-expensive film. Vogel’s boss was livid when he found out about the deal, and demanded that Vogel relinquish some of his power. When Vogel refused, he was canned.

6. DONNIE WAHLBERG LOST 43 POUNDS TO PLAY VINCENT GREY.
The former New Kid on the Block wanted to prove that he was serious about pursuing an acting career.

8. THE COLOR RED WAS SYMBOLIC.
Shyamalan explained that anything “tainted” from the ghost world or that had some connection to it was colored red in the movie, like the basement doorknob, or the dress of the killer mom.