17 Truthful Facts About A Few Good Men

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Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin first came to the public's attention after writing the legal drama A Few Good Men, first as a play, then as a film. Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore starred in the 1992 Rob Reiner-directed movie about two U.S. Marines who are court-martialed for the murder of a fellow Marine, purportedly under orders from their higher-ups. Here are some truths about the critically-acclaimed courtroom drama that you can definitely handle.

1. AARON SORKIN WROTE THE PLAY ON BAR NAPKINS WHILE BARTENDING.

Sorkin’s older sister, Deborah, had recently joined the Navy JAG Corps fresh from graduating from law school when she called him one Sunday morning. Deborah told Aaron about a case she was working on involving a hazing gone wrong at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, where the accused said they were ordered to do it by a superior, involving a “Code Red.” Sorkin then went to work as a bartender at Broadway's Palace Theatre. While patrons were taking in the first act of La Cage aux Folles, he began writing A Few Good Men on some cocktail napkins. He went home that night and typed up what he had written on the napkins on a Mac 512 K he shared with his roommates, and continued to do so until he was finished.

2. LINDA HAMILTON AND JODIE FOSTER AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF LT. COMMANDER GALLOWAY.

A then-eight-months-pregnant Demi Moore ended up getting the part, and was paid $2 million for the role.

3. JASON ALEXANDER WAS SET TO PLAY LT. SAM WEINBERG.

But when Seinfeld was renewed by NBC for a second season, he was no longer available. Reiner then gave Kevin Pollak the part after he read with Cruise.

4. TOM CRUISE SAW THE BROADWAY PLAY BEFORE SIGNING ON TO PLAY LT. KAFFEE.

He also insisted on learning all of the “legalese” dialogue in the script.

5. LANCE CPL. HAROLD DAWSON WAS PLAYED BY ROB REINER’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT.

Wolfgang Bodison started in the mail room at Reiner’s production company, Castle Rock, before becoming a production assistant, then Reiner’s personal assistant on Misery. He was scouting locations for A Few Good Men when Reiner decided Bodison looked like a Marine and that he should act in the film. Bodison has gone on to act in other films, as well as write and direct.

6. JOSHUA MALINA WAS IN BOTH THE BROADWAY PLAY AND THE MOVIE.

Frequent Sorkin collaborator Joshua Malina played PFC Downey for the last six to eight months of the stage production. He played Tom, Colonel Jessup’s clerk, in the movie. It was his first feature film role.

7. DESCENDANTS OF HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS TOOK PART IN THE PRODUCTION.

Frank Capra III was first assistant director. Marlene Dietrich’s grandson, J. Michael Riva, was the production designer.

8. JACK NICHOLSON WAS PAID $5 MILLION FOR 10 DAYS OF WORK.

Nicholson, as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, was in just three scenes in the entire movie. Technically he worked an extra morning for free when Reiner and crew didn’t get all of his footage shot in time.

9. NICHOLSON DID A LOT MORE WORK THAN HE HAD TO.

He recited the famous courtroom speech an estimated 40 to 50 times, at full intensity every time—even for all of the shots that were of Cruise, Moore, Pollak, Kevin Bacon, and the rest of the courtroom simply reacting to what he was saying. Nicholson said he was “quite spent” by the time he finished.

10. A LOT OF DEFERENCE WAS SHOWN TO NICHOLSON.

The three-time Oscar winner told Reiner he noticed that when he walked into the first rehearsal, the rest of the cast rushed to their seats. "Afterward I told him, 'Rob, it was so strange I felt like the (expletive) Lincoln Memorial,'" Nicholson told the Los Angeles Times. "I blushed actually."

11. KEVIN POLLAK’S MOTHER HIT ON JACK NICHOLSON.

Pollak wrote about the incident in his book, How I Slept My Way to the Middle, and recalled the story during an appearance on Conan.

12. REINER THOUGHT ONE LINE OF DIALOGUE WAS MUCH FUNNIER.

After Galloway tells Kaffee and Weinberg she has the medical reports and Chinese food, she suggests they eat first. After a beat, Weinberg asks, “You got any Kung Pao chicken?” Reiner thought it should have gotten a laugh. He claimed it never did.

13. KIEFER SUTHERLAND WAS A BAD DRIVER.

Multiple takes were needed for a scene in which Kiefer Sutherland's Lt. Kendrick drives the legal team around the base, after he clipped a couple of Marines. He wasn’t used to driving a military Jeep.

14. SORKIN MADE A CAMEO.

Fittingly, he’s in a bar scene, as one lawyer talking to a woman about a case.

15. THERE WAS A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT GALLOWAY.

An unnamed executive gave Sorkin the note: "If Tom Cruise and Demi Moore aren't going to sleep with each other, why is Demi Moore a woman?" His response? "I said the obvious answer: Women have purposes other than to sleep with Tom Cruise." He claimed the incident was his worst experience as a screenwriter.

Demi Moore said she really wanted the part in the first place because Galloway was a “genderless” role. Roger Ebert in his 2.5 star review wrote that a friend of his intuited that Galloway was originally written as a man. In Sorkin’s third draft of the screenplay, dated months before shooting, the movie ends with Kaffee asking Galloway out on a date. She responds by telling him to wear matching socks, like she did before the first day of the trial. That exchange did not make it into the movie.

16. THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REFUSED TO ENDORSE THE FILM.

This meant that the filmmakers couldn't utilize any military installations during filming. Most of A Few Good Men was shot on a Culver City soundstage.

17. FOUR LAWYERS HAVE CLAIMED KAFFEE WAS BASED ON THEM.

The men all played a role in Deborah Sorkin’s Guantanamo Bay case, where 10 Marines faced assault charges, each with his own lawyer. One advertised on his law firm’s website that his exploits became the basis for Kaffee, and it was great for his career. Through a spokesman, Sorkin told The New York Times that Kaffee wasn’t based on anybody.

Jessup was though, according to Jack Nicholson, who recalled two Marine generals who were on set as consultants. They both knew the actual Jessup and his story.

George R.R. Martin Doesn't Think Game of Thrones Was 'Very Good' For His Writing Process

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

No one seems to have escaped the fan fury over the finals season of Game of Thrones. While likely no one got it quite as bad as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, even author George R.R. Martin—who wrote A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the show is based, faced backlash surrounding the HBO hit. The volatile reaction from fans has apparently taken a toll on both Martin's writing and personal life.

In an interview with The Guardian, the acclaimed author said he's sticking with his original plan for the last two books, explaining that the show will not impact them. “You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself,” he stated.

He went on to explain how even his personal life has taken a negative turn because of the show. “I can’t go into a bookstore any more, and that used to be my favorite thing to do in the world,” Martin said. “To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognized within 10 minutes and there’s a crowd around me. So you gain a lot but you also lose things.”

While fans of the book series are fully aware of the author's struggle to finish the final two installments, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, Martin admitted that part of the delay has been a result of the HBO series, and fans' reaction to it.

“I don’t think [the series] was very good for me,” Martin said. “The very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day … I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.'"

Still, Martin has sworn that the books will get finished ... he just won't promise when.

[h/t The Guardian]

Attention Movie Geeks: Cinephile Is the Card Game You Need Right Now

Cinephile/Amazon
Cinephile/Amazon

If you’ve got decades worth of movie trivia up in your head but nowhere to show it off, Cinephile: A Card Game just may be your perfect outlet. Created by writer, art director, and movie expert Cory Everett, with illustrations by Steve Isaacs, this game aims to test the mettle of any film aficionado with five different play types that are designed for different skill and difficulty levels.

For players looking for a more casual experience, Cinephile offers a game variety called Filmography, where you simply have to name more movies that a given actor has appeared in than your opponent. For those who really want to test their knowledge of the silver screen, there’s the most challenging game type, Six Degrees, which plays like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with the player who finds the fewest number of degrees between two actors getting the win.

When you choose actors for Six Degrees, you’ll do so using the beautifully illustrated cards that come with the game, featuring Hollywood A-listers past and present in some of their most memorable roles. You’ve got no-brainers like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (2003) and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990) alongside cult favorites like Bill Murray from 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Jeff Goldblum in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984). Of course, being a game designed for the true film buff, you’ll also get some deeper cuts like Helen Mirren from 1990’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Sean Connery in 1974's Zardoz. There are 150 cards in all, with expansion packs on the way.

Cinephile is a labor of love for Everett and Isaacs, who originally got this project off the ground via Kickstarter, where they raised more than $20,000. Now it’s being published on a wider scale by Clarkson Potter, a Penguin Random House group. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon now for $20 before its August 27 release date.

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