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14 Running Facts About Chasing Amy

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Chasing Amy, the third installment of writer/director Kevin Smith's legendary New Jersey series, starred future Batman Ben Affleck in his first notable lead role (with all due respect to Glory Daze) as Bluntman and Chronic comic book artist Holden McNeil. McNeil falls for another comic book artist, Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), to the annoyance of his writing partner, Banky Edwards (Jason Lee). Complicating matters further is the fact that Alyssa is a lesbian. Here are 14 fascinating facts about Chasing Amy, to commemorate its 20th anniversary.

1. ONE OF KEVIN SMITH'S KEY INSPIRATIONS FOR THE MOVIE WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH JOEY LAUREN ADAMS.

The inspiration for Chasing Amy came out of Kevin Smith's two-year romantic relationship with its star, Joey Lauren Adams. "The character of Holden is the closest to me I’ve ever written (casting Ben was aesthetically wishful thinking perhaps), and Alyssa is actually my voice of reason that I’d never listen to (I knew what I was doing/feeling was immature, but you just can’t fight City Hall, sometimes)," Smith wrote about the biographical nature of Chasing Amy. He said that Chasing Amy "is me on a slab, laid out for the world to see."

Adams was aware of this. "He didn't really leave New Jersey and ... I had traveled," she said in 2016. "He saw me as more worldly. It just created these insecurities and fights and problems. A lot of the scenes, he would write and give to me, and I knew they were apologies."

2. ACTRESS GUINEVERE TURNER WAS ANOTHER INSPIRATION.

Guinevere Turner starred and co-wrote 1994's Go Fish, which The Advocate called a "sassy, sexy, irreverent lesbian movie." Turner, a lesbian, and Smith became friends, and Smith was admittedly "obsessed" with Turner's former romantic relationship with her Go Fish director Rose Troche. Turner also befriended Clerks producer and co-editor Scott Mosier. Smith wondered what would happen if the two fell in love. He urged Mosier to write a movie about that idea, and when he didn't, Smith did. When he finished his script, he gave it to Turner to proofread.

3. TURNER'S MANAGER DIDN'T WANT HER TO MAKE HER CAMEO.

Turner made a small cameo in the film, despite the advice of her manager, who was worried that his client would ruin her career if she kept playing lesbians. When Turner's manager finally saw the movie at Sundance, he said, “I’m so glad we decided you should do that movie—that’s a great movie!”

4. IT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE A PG-13 MOVIE SET IN HIGH SCHOOL.

The studio initially suggested to Smith that he make Chasing Amy as a PG-13 high school movie. Smith thought about it for a time and wrote some scenes. Ethan Suplee was going to play one of the main characters, but then Smith changed his mind. "A week later, I was like, 'No,'" Smith told The A.V. Club. "Then the movie [Mallrats] tanked, and that sealed the deal. It was just like, that's the last movie I make that doesn't have anything on its mind."

5. MIRAMAX WANTED JON STEWART, DAVID SCHWIMMER, AND DREW BARRYMORE TO STAR.

Smith wrote Holden, Banky, and Alyssa with Affleck, Lee, and Adams in mind, but the studio wanted bigger names—so they came to a compromise. Instead of Miramax footing a $2 million budgetwith the actors they wanted, Smith suggested they only pay $250,000, with his actors, and if Bob and Harvey Weinstein liked what they saw, they could buy it for distribution.

6. BEN AFFLECK WAS INVOLVED IN EVERY STEP OF THE WRITING PROCESS.

Smith referred to Mallrats as something that "turned into a $6 million casting call for Chasing Amy." It was on the set of that movie where Smith got to know Affleck, who played Shannon Hamilton. "It was really in hanging out with Ben off camera that I discovered what a charming, insightful, and funny guy he actually is," Smith said. "I saw in him leading man potential."

"He called me up and said, 'Hey, I'm writing this movie about a guy who falls in love with this woman who's gay and I want you to play the guy,'" Affleck recalled. "I said, 'Well, I'd love to.' He sent it to me as he was writing it. It was really nice to be involved from the beginning, for somebody to put that much faith in me."

7. MIRAMAX WANTED SMITH TO "OPEN UP A BIT."

In the original draft of the script, Holden confronts Alyssa about her threesome heterosexual past over dinner in an apartment. Miramax sent a note suggesting to Smith to "open it up a bit." So instead, the confrontation took place at a hockey rink.

8. IT WAS SHOT IN 20 DAYS.

According to Jason Lee, there were four five-day weeks of rehearsal, followed by four five-day weeks of shooting. Lee said it was "one of the smoothest" productions he had ever been a part of.

9. ONE MEMORABLE SCENE WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR MALLRATS.

To Smith, Chasing Amy's "Jaws scene," in which Alyssa and Banky compare sex scars, represented "everything that is great about independent film: edgy and smart content that a studio would ax early on in the development stage (and I know whereof I speak—there was a version of this scene in [Mallrats], and the studio made me take it out)."

Another scene—in which Holden and Alyssa talk about true love while playing darts—had originally been written as a conversation between Dante and Randal in Clerks, but Smith lost the notebook he wrote it in and had forgotten about it until finding the notebook again.

10. ALYSSA HAS TWO SISTERS WHO APPEARED IN THE OTHER NEW JERSEY MOVIES.

One of Alyssa Jones' sisters, according to Smith's View Askew Productions' official synopsis of Chasing Amy, is Heather Jones (Kimberly Loughran), the woman in Clerks who asks Rick Derris (Ernest O'Donnell) for a ride to the beach from the Quick Stop. Alyssa's youngest sister is Tricia Jones (Renee Humphrey), the 15-year-old sex book author in Mallrats. Tricia had sex with Affleck's character Shannon Hamilton in the movie. Alyssa, in Chasing Amy, says she had sex with Shannon Hamilton when she was in college.

11. JASON LEE NEEDED SOME TIME TO CHANNEL BANKY.

"There's a moment in Chasing Amy where I do the thing where I bring my fingers together to Ben Affleck, and we shot it kind of early on," Lee told IGN in 2000. "I was basically asking him with my gesture, 'Are you and her going to hook up? What's the deal?' But I don't say anything. I wasn't finding it for some reason, and Kevin pulled me aside and said, 'This movie is more than Mallrats. It's going to require more thinking, and I want you to feel what's going on a little bit more than you had to do with Brodie in Mallrats. This is that kind of acting as well as dialogue acting.' And I thought, 'Wow. OK.' So then I went back in and found that moment through that, by relating to it and doing whatever you do as an actor to find those moments."

12. JASON MEWES WAS REALLY EATING SUGAR WHILE SILENT BOB MADE HIS SPEECH.

"There was a scene cut out of Clerks," Jason Mewes (Jay) explained. "Remember Kevin [Smith] bought a box of sugar? Well, he bought a box of sugar then I was eating sugar in Clerks. But they cut that out. So, I was like, 'I'm just sitting there doing nothing. What should I do?' He was like, 'I don't know.' I was like, 'How about the sugar?' And he was like, 'Yeah, do the sugar. It'll make up for when we did it in Clerks.' So then I did that." That scene needed "11 or 12" takes, in Mewes' estimation. "Yeah, I ate lots of sugar."

Affleck shrugged it off when a reporter said the sugar eating distracted him from the important scene. "Gave him something to do in the scene, I guess. It is kind of nasty. I said, 'Wow, that's a lot of refined sugar.'"

13. AFFLECK WASN'T READY TO SHOW IT TO ALL OF HIS FAMILY.

"It may alienate some people," Affleck believed. "My mother's best friend said she felt generationally challenged. This is not a movie I would particularly want my grandparents to see. The irony is that nobody has sex on camera and nobody gets killed. You have a movie with people talking the entire time. Yet, there's definitely a segment of the population that will find it just ... bothersome."

14. SMITH WAS MOST SURPRISED BY JOEY LAUREN ADAMS' PERFORMANCE.

"I mean, God, I know the girl personally very, very well, and in the two years we've been dating I've never, ever heard her be emotionally vocal," Smith told The A.V. Club. "The girl doesn't yell. If we fight, she doesn't yell. So when I watch that scene outside the hockey rink, and she's launching into her tirade, that is such a performance, because that's not her."

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11 Single Facts About Bridget Jones’s Diary
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While it's not officially a holiday movie, so much of the action in Bridget Jones's Diary happens around the most wonderful time of the year that the rom-com has become essential wintertime viewing for many movie fans. Based on Helen Fielding’s novel of the same name, it tells the story of a very single, and hopelessly romantic, working professional named Bridget (Renée Zellweger) who is determined to improve her love life. Enter two strapping gentlemen (Colin Firth and Hugh Grant) to vie for her heart. Get to know more about the timeless dramedy that’s been delighting audiences since 2001. Just as it is.

1. THE SOURCE NOVEL CAME ABOUT FROM AN ANONYMOUS COLUMN ABOUT SINGLE LIFE.

In the foreword of Bridget Jones’s Diary, author Helen Fielding wrote about how she came to conjure up the story: “The Independent asked me to write a column, as myself, about single life in London. Much as I needed the money, the idea of writing about myself in that way seemed hopelessly embarrassing and revealing. I offered to write an anonymous column instead, using an exaggerated, comic, fictional character. I assumed no one would read it, and it would be dropped after six weeks for being too silly.”

2. SEVERAL CHARACTERS ARE BASED ON PEOPLE IN HELEN FIELDING’S LIFE.


Miramax

These include Jude (Tracey MacLeod) and Shazzer (Sharon Maguire, also the film’s director). In a column for the Evening Standard, MacLeod described how she didn’t even realize she inspired part of her best friend’s story until Fielding’s book launch party. “At the launch party for the first Bridget book, I was cornered by a smug married friend, ‘So ... what's it like being Jude?’ she asked,” MacLeod writes. “I was outraged. Of course I wasn't Jude, with her self-help books and horrible boyfriend. My boyfriend wasn't anything like Vile Richard ... But as more people began to believe that Jude and Shazzer were thinly-veiled portraits of myself and Sharon, I secretly got to like the idea.”

3. TONI COLLETTE DECLINED THE LEAD, AND KATE WINSLET WAS CONSIDERED FOR IT.

Before Zellweger stole the show, Aussie Toni Collette and Brit Kate Winslet were up for the part. According to AMC, “Toni Collette declined the role because she was on Broadway starring in The Wild Party at the time, and Kate Winslet was considered but the producers decided she was too young.”

4. HUGH GRANT ONLY SIGNED ON WHEN RICHARD CURTIS WAS ANNOUNCED AS THE WRITER. 


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“The only reason [I was a hard sell] was because I didn't feel they had the script quite right for a long time,” Firth told Cinema.com. “And I kept saying, ‘It's not working. Just get Richard Curtis to come in and help rewrite it.’ Eventually they did, and as soon as Richard came on board, I signed on the dotted line. So that's all it was.”

5. RENÉE ZELLWEGER GAINED 17 POUNDS FOR THE PART.

Zellweger’s weight gain for the role had the media abuzz for a while. According to The Guardian, “In order to play the eponymous heroine in the film adaptation of Fielding's bestseller, the actress gained 17 pounds, consulting a dietitian and endocrinologist who devised a regime of three full meals a day, multiple snacks, and no exercise.”

6. ZELLWEGER WORKED AT PICADOR FOR THREE WEEKS.

Zellweger went full Method for her iconic role, and became a temporary employee of the Picador publishing house. “We came up with a plan: she would be Bridget Cavendish, Bridget for obvious reasons and Cavendish as she was to be passed off as the sister of Jonathan Cavendish, a friend of one of our company chairmen,” Picador publicist Camilla Elworthy told The Guardian. “That last bit at least is true, and no one was to know that Jonathan Cavendish was one of the film's producers.”

7. ZELLWEGER KEPT A PHOTO OF JIM CARREY ON HER DESK.


Miramax

While working at Picador, Zellweger kept a picture of Jim Carrey on her desk—which made her alter ego Bridget Cavendish seem like some sort of obsessed fan. “Under the name Bridget Cavendish, she answered phones, served coffee, and made photocopies—without being recognized by any of her co-workers, who offered career advice and wondered privately why she kept a photo of Jim Carrey (her then-boyfriend) on her desk,” noted Hollywood.com.

8. ZELLWEGER INVITED HER BOSS AT PICADOR TO BE AN EXTRA ON SET.

In Camilla Elworthy’s write-up for The Guardian, she noted how she became a part of the production. “Renée sent me a thank you letter and gift after she'd gone and I have seen her a few times since then," Elworthy wrote. "She invited me on to the film set one day. She informed me that I had to stick around and be an extra and made sure that I was put somewhere that I would be seen ... As a result, half my head can be seen for half a nano-second in the launch party scene.”

9. THE EPIC FIGHT SCENE BETWEEN GRANT AND COLIN FIRTH WASN’T CHOREOGRAPHED.

You can thank the two actors for the hilarity of the iconic scene. In a Vulture article about the greatest fight scenes in movie history, writer Denise Martin recalled the improvised spar, writing, “No stunt coordinators. No elaborate choreography. Just a perfectly realized wimp brawl between two upper-middle-class Englishmen coming to awkward fisticuffs in front of a Greek restaurant.”

10. FIELDING ASKED FRIEND SALMAN RUSHDIE TO CAMEO IN THE FILM.

Recalling how he came to be part of the film, famed novelist Salman Rushdie told Texas Monthly, “Helen Fielding, the author of the book, is an old pal of mine, and she asked if I’d come along and make a fool of myself, and I said, ‘Why not?’”

11. GRANT DIDN’T HEAR ZELLWEGER SPEAK IN HER AMERICAN ACCENT UNTIL THE FILM’S WRAP PARTY.

Zellweger was so engrossed with Bridget Jones that one of her leading love interests didn’t meet the real actress until the end of the shoot. “Not once did she stop speaking with that accent, until the wrap party,” Grant told Cinema.com, “when suddenly this weird ... Texan appeared. I wanted to call security, I didn't know who the f*ck she was!”

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15 Surprising Facts About Scarface
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Say hello to our little list. Here are a few facts to break out at your next screening of Scarface, Brian De Palma’s gangsters-and-cocaine classic, which arrived in theaters on this day in 1983.

1. IT WASN'T THE FIRST SCARFACE.

Brian De Palma's Scarface is a loose remake of the 1932 movie of the same name, which is also about the rise and fall of an American immigrant gangster. The producer of the 1983 version, Martin Bregman, saw the original on late night TV and thought the idea could be modernized—though it still pays respect to the original film. De Palma's flick is dedicated to the original film’s director, Howard Hawks, and screenwriter, Ben Hecht.

2. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A SIDNEY LUMET FILM.

At one point in the film's production, Sidney Lumet—the socially conscious director of such classics as Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men—was brought on as its director. "Sidney Lumet came up with the idea of what's happening today in Miami, and it inspired Bregman," Pacino told Empire Magazine. "He and Oliver Stone got together and produced a script that had a lot of energy and was very well written. Oliver Stone was writing about stuff that was touching on things that were going on in the world, he was in touch with that energy and that rage and that underbelly."

3. OLIVER STONE WASN'T INTERESTED IN WRITING THE SCRIPT, UNTIL LUMET GOT INVOLVED.


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Producer Bregman offered relative newcomer Oliver Stone a chance to overhaul the screenplay, but Stone—who was still reeling from the box office disappointment of his film, The Hand—wasn't interested. "I didn’t like the original movie that much," Stone told Creative Screenwriting. "It didn’t really hit me at all and I had no desire to make another Italian gangster picture because so many had been done so well, there would be no point to it. The origin of it, according to Marty Bregman, [was that] Al had seen the '30s version on television, he loved it and expressed to Marty as his long time mentor/partner that he’d like to do a role like that. So Marty presented it to me and I had no interest in doing a period piece."

But when Bregman contacted Stone again about the project later, his opinion changed. "Sidney Lumet had stepped into the deal," Stone said. "Sidney had a great idea to take the 1930s American prohibition gangster movie and make it into a modern immigrant gangster movie dealing with the same problems that we had then, that we’re prohibiting drugs instead of alcohol. There’s a prohibition against drugs that’s created the same criminal class as (prohibition of alcohol) created the Mafia. It was a remarkable idea."

4. UNFORTUNATELY, ACCORDING TO STONE, LUMET HATED HIS SCRIPT.

While the chance to work with Lumet was part of what lured Stone to the project, it was his script that ultimately led to the director's departure from the film. According to Stone: "Sidney Lumet hated my script. I don’t know if he’d say that in public himself, I sound like a petulant screenwriter saying that, I’d rather not say that word. Let me say that Sidney did not understand my script, whereas Bregman wanted to continue in that direction with Al."

5. STONE HAD FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER.

In order to create the most accurate picture possible, Stone spent time in Florida and the Caribbean interviewing people on both sides of the law for research. "It got hairy," Stone admitted of the research process. "It gave me all this color. I wanted to do a sun-drenched, tropical Third World gangster, cigar, sexy Miami movie."

Unfortunately, while penning the screenplay, Stone was also dealing with his own cocaine habit, which gave him an insight into what the drug can do to users. Stone actually tried to kick his habit by leaving the country to complete the script so he could be far away from his access to the drug.

"I moved to Paris and got out of the cocaine world too because that was another problem for me," he said. "I was doing coke at the time, and I really regretted it. I got into a habit of it and I was an addictive personality. I did it, not to an extreme or to a place where I was as destructive as some people, but certainly to where I was going stale mentally. I moved out of L.A. with my wife at the time and moved back to France to try and get into another world and see the world differently. And I wrote the script totally f***ing cold sober."

6. BRIAN DE PALMA DIDN'T WANT TO AUDITION MICHELLE PFEIFFER.


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De Palma was hesitant to audition the relatively untested Pfeiffer because at the time she was best known for the box office bomb Grease 2. Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Kelly McGillis, Sharon Stone and Sigourney Weaver were all considered for the role of Elvira, but Bregman pushed for Pfeiffer to audition and she got the part.

7. YES, THERE IS A LOT OF SWEARING.

According to the Family Media Guide, which monitors profanity, sexual content, and violence in movies, Scarface features 207 uses of the “F” word, which works out to about 1.21 F-bombs per minute. In 2014, Martin Scorsese more than doubled that with a record-setting 506 F-bombs thrown in The Wolf of Wall Street.

8. TONY MONTANA WAS NAMED FOR A FOOTBALL STAR.

Stone, who was a San Francisco 49ers fan, named the character of Tony Montana after Joe Montana, his favorite football player.

9. TONY IS ONLY REFERRED TO AS "SCARFACE" ONCE, AND IT'S IN SPANISH.

Hector, the Colombian gangster who threatens Tony with the chainsaw, refers to Tony as “cara cicatriz,” meaning “scar face” in Spanish.

That chainsaw scene, by the way, was based on a real incident. To research the movie, Stone embedded himself with Miami law enforcement and based the infamous chainsaw sequence on a gangland story he heard from the Miami-Dade County police.

10. VERY LITTLE OF THE FILM WAS ACTUALLY SHOT IN MIAMI.

The film was originally going to be shot entirely on location in Miami, but protests by the local Cuban-American community forced the movie to leave Miami two weeks into production. Besides footage from those two weeks, the rest of the movie was shot in Los Angeles, New York, and Santa Barbara.

11. ALL THAT "COCAINE" LED TO PROBLEMS WITH PACINO'S NASAL PASSAGES.

Though there has long been a myth that Pacino snorted real cocaine on camera for Scarface, the "cocaine" used in the movie was supposedly powdered milk (even if De Palma has never officially stated what the crew used as a drug stand-in). But just because it wasn't real doesn't mean that it didn't create problems for Pacino's nasal passages. "For years after, I have had things up in there," Pacino said in 2015. "I don't know what happened to my nose, but it's changed."

12. PACINO'S NOSE WASN'T HIS ONLY BODY PART TO SUFFER DAMAGE.

Still of Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface' (1983)
Universal Home Video

In the film's very bloody conclusion, Montana famously asks the assailants who've invaded his home to "say hello to my little friend," which happens to be a very large gun. That gun took a beating from all the blanks it had to fire, so much so that Pacino ended up burning his hand on its barrel. "My hand stuck to that sucker," he said. Ultimately, the actor—and his bandaged hands—had to sit out some of the action in the last few weeks of production.

13. STEVEN SPIELBERG DIRECTED A SINGLE SHOT.

De Palma and Spielberg had been friends since the two began making studio movies in the mid-1970s, and they made a habit of visiting each other’s sets. Spielberg was on hand for one of the days of shooting the Colombians’ initial attack on Tony Montana’s house at the end of the movie, so De Palma let Spielberg direct the low-angle shot where the attackers first enter the house.

14. SOME COOL TECHNOLOGY WENT INTO THE GUN MUZZLE FLASHES.

In order to heighten the severity of the gunfire, De Palma and the special effects coordinators created a mechanism to synchronize the gunfire with the open shutter on the movie camera to show the huge muzzle flash coming from the guns in the final shootout.

15. SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS A FAN OF THE FILM.

The trust fund the former Iraqi dictator set up to launder money was called “Montana Management,” a nod to the company Tony uses to launder money in the movie.

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