12 Regal Facts About The Princess Diaries

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When moviegoers first met Anne Hathaway, she was a frizzy-haired teen named Mia Thermopolis who lived in a firehouse and just happened to be royalty. The Princess Diaries was Hathaway’s silver screen debut, but that wasn’t the only notable thing about director Garry Marshall’s family flick. He managed to snag semi-retired Dame Julie Andrews to play Mia’s grandmother, the queen of (fictional) Genovia. Also in the cast? A secret Coppola and an actual politician. Read the details on Marshall’s casting choices, as well as his sly Pretty Woman references, below.

1. ANNE HATHAWAY GOT THE PART BY FALLING OUT OF HER CHAIR.

How did 18-year-old Anne Hathaway land her first movie? Simple: by falling on her face. Hathaway was apparently so nervous during her audition that she slid off her chair, which immediately endeared her to Garry Marshall. He cast her as klutzy Mia based on that audition alone.

2. GARRY MARSHALL WAS A JULIE ANDREWS SUPERFAN.

Marshall was open to casting an unknown as Mia, but there was only one person he wanted for Queen Dowager Clarisse Renaldi: As far as he was concerned, it was Dame Julie Andrews or bust. “She’s so talented and I’m a great admirer of her,” Marshall told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “I went 11 times to see [her in the 1956 Broadway production of] My Fair Lady in New York and she fascinated me. I said to myself, ‘She’s very good, whoever that girl is.’ Now I am just thrilled that we are working together!”

3. IT WAS FILMED ON THE SAME STAGE AS MARY POPPINS.

Andrews returned to a sentimental place for this shoot. The Princess Diaries was filmed on Stage 2 in Walt Disney Studios—which is also where Robert Stevenson shot the movie that made Andrews a star, Mary Poppins. “Karma, I tell you,” she said in an interview. “When I went onto that soundstage, there was a little plaque on the door that says, ‘Mary Poppins was filmed here’ and suddenly I became very nostalgic.” The set got another plaque in 2001 when it was rechristened “Julie Andrews Stage 2” to honor the actress.

4. IT WAS ORIGINALLY CALLED THE PRINCESS OF TRIBECA.

The film’s first title referenced its literary roots. In Megan Cabot’s book series The Princess Diaries, Mia and her mom live in Manhattan. This was the original plan for the movie, too, so it was called The Princess of Tribeca. But the location was changed to San Francisco further into production, which meant the name had to be tweaked as well.

5. THE CAST WAS FULL OF FAMILY MEMBERS.

For Marshall, The Princess Diaries was a family affair. His daughter Kathleen played Queen Clarisse’s assistant, Charlotte Kutaway; his wife Barbara played Lady Jerome; and his granddaughters Lily and Charlotte played the two girls who ask Mia for her autograph. He wasn’t the only one roping family members into roles. Marshall’s longtime friend Hector Elizondo (who acted in every single movie Marshall made, including this one) got his granddaughter, Juliet, a small part as the Genovian prime minister’s daughter, Marissa Motaz.

6. JULIE ANDREWS AND HECTOR ELIZONDO CONSPIRED TO MAKE THEIR CHARACTERS A COUPLE.

In The Princess Diaries, widowed Queen Clarisse begins a romance with her limo driver, Joe—and it was all thanks to Andrews and Elizondo’s easy chemistry. “In the original script he was just a guy who drove a limo,” Elizondo told SFGate. “But slowly we evolved this other character. That came from the reading: Julie and I looked at each other and said, ‘Hmm, you’re cute.’ We liked each other very much.”

7. ROBERT SCHWARTZMAN’S FAKE BAND PLAYED A SONG BY HIS REAL BAND.

Mia’s love interest, Michael Moscovitz, plays keyboard for a fictional band called Flypaper. Coincidentally, the actor who played Michael has a band of his own. Robert Schwartzman is the frontman for Rooney, whose single “Blueside” appears in the movie. Schwartzman actually plays the song onscreen at a Flypaper band practice, along with another real-life Rooney bandmate, Ned Brower.

8. HE’S ALSO PART OF A HOLLYWOOD DYNASTY.

Schwartzman has only acted in a handful of films, but you might’ve seen his brother Jason in a Wes Anderson movie or two. If not, he’s got plenty of other famous family members. Robert’s mom is Talia Shire, his uncle is legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, and his cousins include Sofia Coppola and Nicolas Cage. No wonder he showed up in Sofia’s first two movies, Lick the Star and The Virgin Suicides.

9. THERE’S A PRETTY WOMAN CONNECTION.

Marshall’s movie Pretty Woman has a lot in common with The Princess Diaries. Both films have a Pygmalion-esque transformation story and actors like Elizondo and Patrick Richwood. But they also contain an identical joke: In The Princess Diaries, Mia accidentally breaks a glass at her first fancy dinner. A sympathetic waiter immediately runs over and assures her that “it happens all the time.” Similarly, in Pretty Woman, Vivian embarrasses herself at a posh dinner when she accidentally flings an escargot across the room. A waiter catches it mid-air and tells her “it happens all the time.” The craziest part? Both waiters are played by the same actor, Allan Kent.

10. THE MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO PLAYED HIMSELF.

Willie Brown, who served as San Francisco’s mayor from 1996 through 2004, appears as himself at the movie’s climatic Genovian Independence Day ball. He even gets a line. When a reporter asks him if he thinks it’s going to rain, Brown quips, “It never comes down on Willie Brown.”

11. WHITNEY HOUSTON WAS A PRODUCER.

Whitney Houston was one of four credited producers on the film. She also returned to produce the sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. See if you can spy her at the end of this B-roll footage.

12. THE MOVIE NEARLY COST HATHAWAY LATER ROLES.

While promoting 2015's The Intern, Hathaway admitted that she struggled to be taken seriously after The Princess Diaries. “It was a great first job. It was a hit,” she told The Huffington Post. “But at the same time, it was a hard thing to be like, 'You know, Robert Rodriguez, I swear: I can do one of your movies.' It was hard to get into rooms to be taken seriously for roles that weren't princesses.” In one case, this bias nearly cost her a job. Hathaway’s director on Becoming Jane, Julian Jarrold, initially didn’t want to meet with her at all. Her first audition didn’t impress him either, but she won him over in the second one. Weirdly, she did this by showing up sleep-deprived.

“I was tired and I wasn’t in a very good mood,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I guess Julian realized that I wasn’t the happy, smiley, untroubled girl from The Princess Diaries. He offered me the role after that.”

8 Sequels That Received Oscar Nominations for Best Picture

Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It’s rare when a movie sequel manages to stand up to the original entry in a film series. Even rarer? When a sequel is so good that it nabs an Oscars nomination for Best Picture. Here are eight movies that did just that.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

When Mad Max: Fury Road was released in theaters in 2015, no one thought that it would be a critical darling—or an awards contender . But when the Academy Award nominations were announced in 2016, the latest entry in George Miller’s Mad Max franchise earned a whopping 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Fury Road is the fourth installment in the series and was the first to hit theaters in 30 years (since the release of 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). It’s also the first movie in the franchise to receive any recognition from the Academy.

2. Toy Story 3 (2010)

A still from 'Toy Story 3' (2010)
Disney/Pixar

In 2011, Toy Story 3 was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Animated Feature. Though The King’s Speech ended up taking the night’s top prize, Toy Story 3 (which was named Best Animated Feature) made history that night, as it was the third ever animated movie to score a Best Picture nod; 1991’s Beauty and the Beast and 2009’s Up are the other two films to earn the same accolade.

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Although the first two installments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy—2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring and 2002’s The Two Towers—were each nominated for Best Picture, it was the final movie that ended up winning the Academy Award in 2004. In fact, The Return of the King won 11 Oscars that year, sweeping every category in which it was nominated, and tying Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most awards received in one night.

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

In 2003, The Two Towers won two of the six Oscars for which it was nominated, for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. Rob Marshall’s musical Chicago beat it out for Best Picture.  

5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in 'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In 1992, The Silence of the Lambs made a clean sweep of the “Big Five” categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Jonathan Demme, Best Actor for Sir Anthony Hopkins, Best Actress for Jodie Foster, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Ted Tally. Although The Silence of the Lambs isn’t a direct sequel to Michael Mann’s 1986 film Manhunter, it’s based on the sequel novel to author Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, on which Manhunter was based. It also features the character Hannibal Lecter in a major role, who was played by Brian Cox in Manhunter—before Hopkins made the role his own. Got that?

6. The Godfather: Part III (1990)

Though it’s often considered the far inferior film in The Godfather trilogy, The Godfather: Part III received seven Academy Award nominations in 1991, including Best Picture and Best Director for Francis Ford Coppola. Ultimately, it lost to Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves, making it the only installment in The Godfather Saga not to win a Best Picture Oscar.

7. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Al Pacino in 'The Godfather: Part II' (1974)
Paramount Pictures

In 1975, The Godfather: Part II became the first sequel in Oscar history to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It won the coveted award two years after the original film was named Best Picture. The sequel was nominated for a total of 11 Oscars, with three separate nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category alone: one for Michael Vincenzo Gazzo (who played Frankie Pentangeli) and Lee Strasberg (as Hyman Roth), and one for Robert De Niro, who took home the statuette for playing the younger version of Vito Corleone.

8. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Though it lost Best Picture to Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend at the 1946 Oscars, The Bells of St. Mary’s is the first movie sequel to be nominated for the Academy’s biggest prize. The film is a sequel to Leo McCarey’s previous film, 1944’s Going My Way, which won the Oscar for Best Picture a year earlier. While Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s feature different stories and casts, Bing Crosby stars in both movies as Father Chuck O'Malley.

An earlier version of this article ran in 2016.

James Cameron Directed Entourage's Aquaman, But He Could Never Direct the Real One

Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for AMC
Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for AMC

Oscar-winning director James Cameron is no stranger to CGI. With movies like Avatar under his belt, you’d expect Cameron to find a particular sort of enjoyment in special effects-heavy movies like James Wan's Aquaman. But Cameron—who directed the fictional version of Aquaman featuring fictional movie star Vinnie Chase in the very real HBO series Entourage—has a little trouble with suspension of disbelief.

In a recent interview with Yahoo!, Cameron said that while he did enjoy Aquaman, he would never have been able to direct the movie itself because of its lack of realism.

"I think it’s great fun,” Cameron said. “I never could have made that film, because it requires this kind of total dreamlike disconnection from any sense of physics or reality. People just kind of zoom around underwater, because they propel themselves mentally, I guess, I don’t know. But it’s cool! You buy it on its own terms.”

"I’ve spent thousands of hours underwater," the Titanic director went on to say. "While I can enjoy that film, I don’t resonate with it because it doesn’t look real.”

While Aquaman was shot on a soundstage, Cameron will be employing state-of-the-art technology that will allow him to actually be underwater while shooting underwater scenes for his upcoming Avatar sequels.

[h/t Yahoo!]

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