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15 Super Facts About Super Troopers

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Released in 2001, Super Troopers is the second feature from Broken Lizard, the comedy group made up of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske—all of whom wrote and starred in the film (with Chandrasekhar directing). The movie focuses on five Vermont state troopers who spend most of their time messing with each other and the people they pull over, until potential budget cuts force them to engage in actual police work.

After making $23,182,223 at the box office, strong word-of-mouth and frequent cable airings led to impressive DVD sales and a quick cult comedy status. The film has become so popular that within the last few years alone, professional athletes have played the movie's “meow game” on unsuspecting interviewers, making last year’s filming of a sequel inevitable and majorly welcomed. Here are some facts behind the movie’s shenanigans.

1. HARVEY WEINSTEIN SAID HE WOULD BUY THE SCRIPT, BUT THEN HE COULDN'T TELL IF IT WAS FUNNY.

The film was developed with Miramax, after Broken Lizard impressed head honcho Harvey Weinstein with their first feature, Puddle Cruiser (1996). Paul Soter told Rolling Stone that a Miramax executive told them to approach the film “as if you'll never get to make another movie again. Lay everything out as if this is the only chance you're going to get from now on.” Despite following through, Weinstein read it and, according to Chandrasekhar, reportedly said, "Eh, I don't know. Maybe I just don't know comedy. I don't know. It's funny, but I don't know." Still, Weinstein played a key role in getting the movie sold.

"[Weinstein] comes up to me and says, 'I'm going to do you a favor. Come meet me at the bar,'" Chandrasekhar recalled. "We met up at the bar for last call and had a drink with him [at Sundance]. When people saw us hanging around with Harvey after that movie, the other studios were like, 'Oh, sh*t. We'd better f*cking get on this.' He created a market for the film basically by shadow play. He didn't even see the middle of the movie. He said, 'When you hang out with me, you'll sell your movie.' It went as well as it could possibly go." Fox Searchlight ended up purchasing the rights for a reported $3 million.

2. MORE THAN 20 DRAFTS WERE WRITTEN.

Heffernan estimated that the group wrote more than 20 drafts of the script, with more jokes added every time. "We try to do one joke every six seconds," he said.

3. ONE STUDIO WANTED BEN AFFLECK IN IT.

Broken Lizard was looking to raise $5.5 million to make the movie, with the stipulation that the group's virtual unknowns would star and that Chandrasekhar would direct. Studios declined the opportunity after the group wouldn’t budge on their requirements. “They asked us if they could put Ben Affleck in one part, and they asked if someone else could direct it,” Chandrasekhar remembered.

4. THE FILM WAS FINANCED BY ONE INVESTOR.

Ultimately, the budget ended up being $1.25 million, which was funded by a single investor. “This one guy who had just retired from Wall Street and really wanted to get into film production saw the script and saw Puddle Cruiser and asked us if he could do our movie, and so he gave us the cash," Steve Lemme explained. "He put up the million and a quarter—and got it all back, too.”

5. BRIAN COX ASKED TO BE IN THE MOVIE.

When asked how they convinced Brian Cox, who is widely known for his work with The Royal Shakespeare Company, to appear in the film, Chandrasekhar told The A.V. Club that, "He actually called us. He's always playing parts like pedophiles and Nazi generals and nasty people, and he's a big Jerry Lewis fan, and thinks he's got that bone in him. He's been looking for a comedy to do, and he kept contacting us and contacting us, and he turned out to be amazing."

6. MARISA COUGHLAN GOT THE JOB BECAUSE OF HER THE EXORCIST IMPRESSION.

Marisa Coughlan was sought out specifically for the role of Ursula in the film because of a scene in Kevin Williamson's Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), in which she imitated The Exorcist (1973). Chandrasekhar called it “flat out genius.”

7. MOST OF THE EXTRAS WENT TO THE SAME SCHOOL.

Like the members of Broken Lizard, a majority of the background actors attended Colgate University, too.

8. THE OPENING SCENE WAS BASED IN REALITY.

The college kid (Geoffrey Arend) who was forced to eat drugs to get rid of evidence came straight out of the lives of some friends of the Broken Lizard guys. Border guards at the U.S.-Canada border found a joint in their Winnebago. When they were all asked to step out of the vehicle, one friend ate a stash of mushrooms meant for 10 guys. He tripped for two days.

9. HEFFERNAN AND CHANDRASEKHAR WORKED THEIR PARENTS INTO THE MOVIE IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

Heffernan’s mother and father wanted to be in their son’s movie, and Heffernan agreed, but he wouldn't tell them anything about their scene. They're the couple who Farva (Heffernan's character) pulls over and calls “chickenf*ckers.” (In 25 takes.) Chandrasekhar's nod was more low-key: his character, Arcot Ramathorn, shares a first name with his father.

10. THE ACTORS BROKE THE LAW.

On Chandrasekhar’s orders, Heffernan once impersonated a police officer to stop traffic for a scene, after production assistants failed to do so. Stolhanske got caught using his rollers while driving 100 miles per hour, but pleaded he didn’t know they were running. Lemme drove around in his police car, and in uniform, and flashed his rollers at one woman who cut him off successfully.

Years later, Lemme was pulled over while driving 120 miles per hour; it turned out that the officer, nicknamed "Mac," was a huge Super Troopers fan. Instead of a speeding ticket, Lemme took selfies with the officer.

11. THE SYRUP WAS REAL.

The prop woman replaced the syrup in the bottles with iced tea, but Stolhanske claimed the iced tea didn’t give it “that glug, glug, glug thick look” when they chugged in. Chandrasekhar insisted that real syrup had to be used.

12. FARVA’S MUSTACHE WAS FAKE.

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“I had a stunt mustache,” Heffernan tweeted during an airing of Super Troopers.

13. HEFFERNAN DIDN’T WANT JIM GAFFIGAN IN THE MOVIE.

Jim Gaffigan ended up playing Larry Johnson, the man who innocently got himself involved in “the meow game." But Heffernan didn’t want Gaffigan involved because he always beat him out at auditions. Heffernan must have forgiven Gaffigan, as the comedian played a role in another Broken Lizard movie, 2009's The Slammin’ Salmon.

14. THERE WAS AN ALTERNATE ENDING.

In the alternative ending, the police officers busted some bad guys while working as meat-packers.

15. THE ORIGINAL IDEA FOR THE SEQUEL WAS TO SET IT IN THE 1970S.

In 2006, Chandrasekhar revealed an idea to make Super Troopers ‘76, a prequel featuring the fathers of the state troopers. By 2009, Chandrasekhar said the sequel now took place three months after the end of the original movie, with the troopers tasked with tackling land ownership squabbles between the United States and Canada. On October 24, 2015, filming for Super Troopers 2 began, months after raising more than $4.5 million on Indiegogo, which at the time was a record for the highest funded film in the crowdfunding website’s history.

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Big Is Coming Back to Theaters for Its 30th Anniversary
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Break out your giant piano: Big is coming back to theaters! As Entertainment Weekly reports, the hit Tom Hanks-starring comedy will be making its triumphant return to the big screen to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and 20th Century Fox.

Though the movie itself was released on June 3, 1988, these special anniversary screenings will take place next month. More than 700 theaters across the country will welcome Big back into cinemas on July 15 and July 18, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. screenings on both days.

Though the role of Josh Baskin—a teenager who magically gets his wish to be a grown-up, with both hilarious and dramatic complications—seemed tailor-made for Hanks and his talents, the production wasn’t all smooth sailing. Originally, Steven Spielberg (whose sister co-wrote the script with Gary Ross) was attached to direct, with Harrison Ford in the lead. When Penny Marshall came on board, Hanks was her first choice, but he passed on the part (as did Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks, and a string of other in-demand actors). Robert De Niro was attached for a time, but that eventually fell apart, too.

Fortunately, the project came full circle and Hanks was eventually convinced to come aboard. He earned his first of five (and counting) Best Actor Oscar nominations for the role.

Visit the Fathom Events website to find out if Big is coming (back) to a theater near you

[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]

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10 Fun Facts About Can’t Hardly Wait
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Columbia Pictures

When the teen film Can’t Hardly Wait—which was named after the Replacements song of the same name—arrived in theaters on June 12, 1998, it grossed $25,605,015 on a $10 million budget. In the 20 years since, the movie has found an even larger audience through DVD and cable. The premise follows Preston Meyers (Empire Records’s Ethan Embry) trying to connect with his dream girl, Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), all the while seeking advice from his best friend, Denise Fleming (a pre-Six Feet Under Lauren Ambrose).

Originally called The Party, most of the movie takes place during a rambunctious graduation party, featuring a before-they-were-famous cast, and Jenna Elfman as a stripper dressed as an angel. The movie culminates with Preston and Amanda sealing their romance and living happily ever after. Written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the two would later team up for Josie and the Pussycats. Here are 10 fun-filled facts about the ’90s teen comedy.

1. THE PLOT WAS BASED ON LOGISTICS.

Can't Hardly Wait was Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan’s directorial debut, so they liked the idea of having a self-contained and low-budget story to direct. “It was all practical,” Elfont told TIME. “The idea of doing a movie set at a party came first, because it seemed like it would be really cheap to shoot a movie in one location. Then we thought, what hasn’t been done? Nobody’s really done a high-school movie in a while. So we kind of fell into it that way. It was kind of an accident.”

2. SEVERAL SCENES IN THE FILM WERE CHANGED TO AVOID AN R RATING.

A year before the raunchy American Pie was released and jumpstarted R-rated teen films, Can’t Hardly Wait got watered down to get a PG-13 rating. Sony had issues with the underage drinking, and the fact there was no parental supervision at the party. “Well, who would have a high school party and have your parents there?!” Hewitt asked the Los Angeles Times. Seth Green, who played the virginal Kenny Fisher in the movie, gave a rundown of deleted or altered scenes, to Vulture.

“When [Jennifer] Love [Hewitt] first walks into the party, there’s a kid behind her holding a balloon and covering his mouth,” he said. “That used to be a beer bong, but the most expensive CG in the movie was [used] to make it [look] like that kid was smiling and holding a balloon. And then, there’s a scene where Charlie [Korsmo] and Peter [Facinelli] are at the piano. They toast, and then they cut to a wide shot where neither of them are drinking and then cut back to a close-up of them putting their glasses down because you can’t show the kids drinking.”

3. ETHAN EMBRY FORCED HIS WAY INTO PLAYING THE LEAD.

“It had been a while that I had the opportunity to play the ‘guy that gets the girl,’” Embry told VH1. “I had done those roles when I was a lot younger and this was the first time that someone would see me as a lead.” After Embry auditioned for the movie, he got offered the William Lichter part, which eventually went to Charlie Korsmo. But Embry turned the supporting part down. “I wanted to play the guy who gets the girl. That was sort of the driving thing.”

4. MELISSA JOAN HART AND JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT GOT “HIGH” ON B12 VITAMINS.

Hart purposefully chose the small role of the manic Yearbook Girl, as she was working full-time on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and couldn’t fit in a bigger part. While filming a night scene with Hewitt, Hart took B12 vitamins to stay energized, and offered them to a skeptical Hewitt, who thought the vitamins were drugs. “I finally convinced her it’s a vitamin, you can do it,” Hart told TV Guide. “So we took B12 vitamins, and then there was an owl in the tree. [Hewitt] was like, ‘See I’m high now, because there’s not really an owl in the tree.’ We were having these silly night giggles and just attributing it to B12 vitamins.”

5. JASON SEGEL HAD A CAMEO.

The actor was a year away from starring on Freaks and Geeks and seven from How I Met Your Mother when he signed on to play Watermelon Guy. Kaplan and Elfont recognized his talent immediately. “We knew how funny Jason was but there wasn’t a bigger part for him, so we were, like, let’s cast him as this watermelon guy,” Elfont told TIME.

Many other actors either got their start in the movie or became more famous as a result, including Lauren Ambrose and Freddy Rodriguez (both from Six Feet Under), Clea DuVall, Selma Blair, and Sean Patrick Thomas. “Everyone in that age range came in to read because there were no other jobs,” Kaplan told TIME. “That whole crop of people who turned out to be so talented and do so well for themselves afterward were in our movie literally, I think, because there was nothing else for them to do.”

6. EMBRY DOESN’T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT THE SHOOT.

Embry admitted to VH1 to being “the world’s biggest stoner” while making the film. “Nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time,” he said. He also confessed, “I haven’t seen the movie all the way through ... I never read the script.”

One thing he did remember, though, was the only scene he filmed with Hewitt, at the end of the movie. Before their characters kissed at the train station, Hewitt—knowing he smoked—had a basket of breath mints sent to Embry’s trailer. “And there was a basket of breath mints, you know? Like real pretty,” he said. “Like almost you give somebody flowers or a fruit basket but she gave me 50 breath mints. And it’s all different types. It was all very sweet. And that always makes me laugh thinking of that. Aww, Jennifer wanted me to smell good.” Embry took advantage of the gift and popped some breath mints into his mouth before filming. “They were rather nice cottonmouth alleviators,” he said during a Reddit AMA.

7. EMBRY DOESN’T KNOW—OR CARE—WHAT HIS CHARACTER'S LETTER SAID.

Early on at the party, Amanda finds and reads Preston’s letter and spends the rest of the film trying to find him. It must’ve been a powerful letter, because it finally brings them together at the end. “It was a prop! It was an envelope,” he told VH1. “I think I remember the directors asking me if I knew what was in there. It was a prop. It doesn’t matter. Like I know what’s in there? It’s called acting.”

8. THE CAST WOULD LOVE TO DO A SEQUEL.

In 2015, some of the cast reunited at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of the film. Hewitt tweeted: “Can’t Hardly Wait reunion movie anyone? Let’s get them to make it!” In a 2013 interview with VH1, Embry was tepid about a sequel. “Maybe if they paid me more than last time,” he said about a second one. “[He and Amanda] would have to not be together anymore. Amanda and him had a horrible breakup and there were kids involved. He drinks himself silly over a typewriter. I’d make that sequel.” But in a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post, Embry changed his tune. “Of course I would be thrilled to work with any of the players involved again,” he said. “If all the stars aligned, I would be happy to entertain that possibility.”

Peter Facinelli, who played Amanda’s ex-boyfriend Mike Dexter, told IFC his thoughts on a sequel. “You know how the whole movie takes place at the high school party? We could have the whole movie take place at the reunion. I thought it’d be a fun movie.”

9. PETER FACINELLI THINKS MIKE DEXTER TURNED INTO A LOSER.

If a sequel did occur, Facinelli has an idea about what happened to Mike. “Now he’s basically the loser,” he told IFC. “The nerd was the loser in the first movie. Now he’s like the loser and then he kind of climbs back and gets back on his horse. And the nerdy kid is now the Bill Gates who is kind of like the Mike Dexter, bossing everyone around. I think [Dexter’s] just literally a loser. He’s filled with self-doubt and he would basically rise to self-confidence again and come back on top.”

10. EMBRY THINKS PRESTON AND AMANDA ENDED UP WITH WEIRD JOBS.

VH1 asked Embry where he thinks the characters would be today, and he said: “She’s j*rking off dudes in Vancouver, and he’s making horror movies in upstate New York.”

Elfont took a more serious approach to the question, for TIME. “[The on-screen text at the end of the movie] says they’re still together,” Elfont said. “Who am I to argue?”

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