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10 Cool Facts About Body Heat

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After penning The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Lawrence Kasdan took advantage of his newfound fame by asking for—and receiving—the opportunity to make his directorial debut with Body Heat. The 1981 neo-noir classic that's celebrating its 35th anniversary starred Kathleen Turner in her feature film debut as Matty Walker, a woman who has an affair with weak-willed lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt). In true femme fatale tradition, she convinces Ned to murder her husband, Edmund, and make him think it was his idea.

1. GEORGE LUCAS HELPED GET IT MADE.

Though Lawrence Kasdan had made a name for himself as a writer, he was an untested director. So George Lucas agreed to sponsor Kasdan, but he wouldn't put the Lucasfilm name on Kasdan's movie because it was too dirty. Lucas gave Alan Ladd, Jr.—whose The Ladd Company was producing the film—$250,000 to use if Kasdan went over budget. Lucas also helped Kasdan by spending one day in the editing room and giving him "the most useful" pep talk.

"Making movies has nothing to do with the technical stuff," Lucas told Kasdan. "It has everything to do with what kind of person you are." Kasdan said it was the most important thing anyone ever told him about directing.

2. CHRISTOPHER REEVE TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF NED.

"I put myself down too much," Reeve told The Washington Post of the missed opportunity. "I didn't think I'd be convincing as a seedy lawyer." Reeve later regretted the decision, but was happy that his friend, William Hurt, was cast in the role instead.

3. INITIALLY, KATHLEEN TURNER WAS NOT ALLOWED TO AUDITION FOR IT.

As Turner remembered it later to Playboy, the filmmakers refused to let her audition for the role of Matty. "I happened to be in L.A. to read for some female mud-wrestling film—thank God I was not right for that part at all—and there was a woman casting Body Heat there," Turner explained. "I was able to see her and read for her and she got quite excited."

When Turner came back the next day to read a new scene, Kasdan admitted to her that he never thought he would ever hear the scene as he heard it in his head until just then.

After 20th Century Fox gave up on Kasdan and dropped the project because he wouldn't cast known stars, The Ladd Company wasn't convinced that Turner could handle the "lightness" of the movie. So she had to audition for them, too.

"I went into this room at The Ladd Company," Turner recalled. "It was all white on white on white—white sofa, white rug, blonde wood—and there was this huge ashtray in the middle of the table that was filled with cigarette butts—it was as if they had been sitting there all day, smoking and talking about [macho voice] the girl. I was standing there with the script and one of the vice-presidents said, 'Do drunk.' So I was doing drunk and I threw the script onto the table and it knocked into the ashtray and I watched it fly across the room. The butts went all over this white rug, scattered. I got down on my hands and knees and started picking them up—'This is the most embarrassed I’ve ever been in my life.' And they laughed. I swear to God that turned them around."

4. ALAN LADD DEMANDED THAT WILLIAM HURT SHAVE HIS MUSTACHE.

Kasdan once again showed gumption and stood up to an executive, despite his greenness in the industry. Hurt kept the caterpillar.

5. IT WAS SHOT IN FLORIDA—AND IT WAS VERY, VERY COLD.

The film was shot during a cold Florida winter. Turner and Hurt had to put ice cubes in their mouths before each take so their breath wouldn't show. Their sweat was sprayed on. When the two shot their sex scene, the crew was dressed in duffel coats and scarves.

6. THEY TRIED TO BREAK THE TENSION ON SET, BUT IT WAS SOMETIMES TOO MUCH.

When the tension got to be too much, Turner said that she and Hurt would have races up and down the lawn and/or jump into the water. But she also admitted that she would shake and cry in her dressing room after shooting almost every "heavy" scene. "It was just powerful stuff," she said.

7. RUMORS FLEW ABOUT TURNER, HURT, AND KASDAN.

One day while shooting, Turner was told by her agent that he heard she was having an affair with both Hurt and Kasdan. "I thought, Jesus Christ, this is what people are saying?" she said. "And it ruined something for me. It really hurt, because every time the three of us went off to talk and to rehearse, I’d be thinking, Who’s seeing this? You know—what are they thinking? It was rotten. I’ll never forgive this person for breaking my bubble. But I realized, this is the real world. So I’m much more careful not to allow myself to be in that kind of position anymore. But it hurt a lot then."

8. IT WAS MICKEY ROURKE'S BIG BREAK.

Mickey Rourke had already appeared in 1941 (1979) and Heaven's Gate (1980), but told Larry King that his breakthrough came from playing Teddy Lewis in Body Heat. When Rourke got the one-day gig, he was able to quit his job as a bouncer at a transvestite nightclub.

9. KASDAN HIRED EDITOR CAROL LITTLETON BECAUSE HE WANTED A STRONG FEMALE PERSPECTIVE.

Out of all of the editors Kasdan met for Body Heat, Littleton was the only one who used the term "film noir" in their discussion. That and the fact that Kasdan specifically felt he needed a female editor began a long professional relationship between the two. "The sexual nature of the screenplay convinced me I should have a strong female perspective throughout the process," Kasdan wrote in a tribute to Littleton for Editors Guild Magazine. "As a bluffing novice, I was making up ideas like that as I went along. I didn’t know any better. I wildly underestimated the influence Carol would have on me from that day forward. In the course of doing eight films together, she has been my teacher, moral touchstone, slave driver, confidante and friend."

10. TED DANSON'S ROLE IN THE FILM GOT A SLY NOD ON CHEERS.

Ted Danson, who played the dancing lawyer Peter Lowenstein, started his career-defining run as Sam Malone on Cheers one year after the release of Body Heat. In the series premiere, some of the bar patrons began debating what the sweatiest movie of all time was. Cliff Clavin offered Body Heat as his guess, to the knowing smile of Sam.

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Flurry Road: 5 Tips for Safe Driving on Winter Roads
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For drivers in the Upper Midwest, traveling during the winter can range from slightly unsettling to deadly. Between 2011 and 2015, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Auto Insurance Center, an average of 800 fatalities occurred annually as a result of weather-related accidents. Icy roads, poor visibility, and other factors can make cold-weather commuting a dicey proposition.

While we can’t control the weather (yet), we can increase our odds of navigating slush-filled roadways successfully. Mental Floss spoke with American Automobile Association (AAA) driving education expert William Van Tassel, Ph.D., for some key tips on how to get your winter driving in gear.

1. GATHER SUPPLIES.

Before you even start your car up for a trip through inclement weather, Van Tassel recommends you pack a worst-case scenario trunk full of supplies. “In case of emergency, you want things on board like water, a blanket, a flashlight, gloves, and kitty litter,” he says. (That last one is for traction in case you get stuck in a snowbank.) You should also have road flares, a shovel, an ice scraper, and a fully-charged cell phone to call for assistance if needed.

2. SLOW DOWN.

Posted speed limit signs assume you’re driving on clear and clean roadways. If snow or ice has accumulated, you need to adjust your speed accordingly. “In slick conditions, tires lose a lot of traction,” Van Tassel says. “You should be cutting your speed down by half or more.” Unfortunately, a lot of people learn this the hard way. “After a snowstorm, we’ll see more crashes on day one than days two or three.”

Van Tassel also cautions to avoid becoming overconfident on snow tires. While they provide better traction in bad weather, it’s not license to speed up.

3. MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE FROM OTHER CARS.

You should be doing this regardless, but bad weather makes it even more crucial. Keep your vehicle at a safe distance from cars behind, in front, and off to the sides, as well as away from pedestrians or cyclists. If you need to brake suddenly, you need time—and space—to avoid a collision. “You really want more space in front,” Van Tassel says. Try to stay between seven and 10 seconds behind the vehicle ahead. That means seeing a landmark and then counting down until you pass the same marker. If you’re only a few seconds behind, you’re too close.

4. DON’T STEER INTO SKIDS.

“That was an old rule of thumb,” Van Tassel says. “The problem is, by the time I remember to steer into a skid, I’m already in a ditch.” If you feel your vehicle sliding, it’s better to steer in the direction you want to go. “You’ll drive where you look, so don’t look at a telephone pole.”

To help maintain control of the car, you want to focus on doing one thing at a time. “If you’re going through a turn, brake, finish braking, then turn. Don’t brake and turn at the same time.”

5. KEEP YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON.

Yep, even in broad daylight. Bad weather limits visibility, and headlights allow both you and your fellow drivers to orient a vehicle. “You’re twice as visible to other drivers that way,” Van Tassel says. “When people can see you, they can avoid you.”

Van Tassel also recommends that drivers avoid relying on fancy car technology to keep them safe. While blind spot monitoring and lane changing sensors are useful, they’re not there so you can zone out. “The tech is there to back you up if you need it. Drive the car, but don’t rely on those things,” he says.

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25 Polite Compliments You Can Pay a Coworker
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January 24 is National Compliment Day, and a great way to celebrate is by making a concerted effort to praise the people you work with. Be sure to consider when an appropriate time and place for a compliment would be (for instance, shy people would rather be commended on their stellar presentation in private rather than in front of a crowd), but know that whether a coworker is a longtime friend or more of an acquaintance, lauding their work performance and letting them know you appreciate their skills could really make their day.

1. "YOU HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR."

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Every office has one person who knows how to ease tensions at work by cracking a quick joke or sharing a funny link. If this person's sense of humor makes your job a little more enjoyable, make sure to let them know.

2. "NICE JOB ON THAT PRESENTATION."

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Public speaking is intimidating, especially to someone who's new to their job and not used to giving presentations. Notice your coworker is nervous before a big meeting? Seek them out afterwards. Letting them know you enjoyed and learned from what they said will hopefully make them feel more confident next time.

3. "YOU ALWAYS KNOW WHEN TO LEND A HAND."

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You probably know someone who's always willing to help out with a project when you need it most, and odds are they rarely receive the recognition they deserve. Next time a coworker offers some relief when you're feeling overwhelmed, don't let it go unnoticed. Set aside time to tell them you see the great work they're doing and you appreciate it.

4. "YOU'RE A SAVVY PROBLEM-SOLVER."

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Being able to see problems differently is a valuable skill in the workplace. It can open up a team to new ideas and save precious time and resources. Sometimes you may be the person to spot the way out of a problem, and other times it's a coworker who points out the solution that was right in front of your face. If you're grateful for their point of view, they deserve to hear it.

5. "YOU'RE A GREAT COMMUNICATOR."

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Without communication, collaborating with the people in your workplace would be impossible. A great communicator knows how to understand other people's perspectives, explain their own, and make sure they're never keeping anyone in the dark. They're also not above receiving a compliment every now and then.

6. "I LOVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM."

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For some people, getting up and going to work each day is easy: They're personally invested in the company they work for and enjoy helping it succeed. Maybe you're not there yet, but you might see this level of passion and enthusiasm in at least one person you work with. Don't let that inspiring attitude go unrecognized.

7. "I APPRECIATE YOUR TRUST."

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Effective management is just as much about offering guidance and support as knowing when to back off. Sometimes leaving employees room to breathe is the best thing managers can do to encourage growth and creativity. It's also a thankless move that often goes unrewarded. Expressing your appreciation to your manager can make a big difference in their day.

8. "WHAT A FUN PARTY (LUNCH/HAPPY HOUR/ETC.)."

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People take certain work events for granted without stopping to consider the employees who make them possible. Birthday cakes don't magically appear and after-work happy hours don't plan themselves. Behind every fun break you get from your day-to-day duties, there's a coworker who took the initiative to make it happen, and they would like to hear that you enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

9. "YOU'VE GOT A KILLER WORK ETHIC."

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We all wish we could be the employee who blows through projects without breaking a sweat. If you're not that person, the least you can do is pay the tireless person in your workplace a compliment—especially after a big project that had them tackling most of the work.

10. "YOUR POSITIVE ATTITUDE IS INFECTIOUS."

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Just like one pessimistic employee can bring down the whole office, a positive person can have the opposite effect. It's hard to feel grumpy about starting a new week when the colleague sitting next to you does everything with a smile on their face.

11. "YOU ASK GREAT QUESTIONS."

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Asking about something you're not familiar with at work can be intimidating, whether it's about a new policy or procedure or perhaps about the ins and outs of a department you don't usually work with. But asking for help or clarification is also the only way to learn and grow. Complimenting a coworker who asks a lot of questions lets them know that not only is that OK, it's valued.

12. "I LOVE YOUR IDEAS."

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When someone introduces a great idea at work, people often respond in one of two ways: They get upset that they didn't think of it themselves, or they admire the person for their brilliance. If you want to strengthen work relationships and feel better in the long run, we suggest expressing the latter.

13. "YOU'RE GREAT AT TAKING INITIATIVE."

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Employees who take initiative help businesses run smoothly. Managers don't have to worry about babysitting them, and their coworkers never end up picking up their slack. Next time you go into work, find the person you know who always takes initiative and compliment them for their efforts.

14. "YOU'RE VERY CREATIVE."

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Even if your job isn't particularly inspiring, you may have coworkers who find everyday opportunities to be creative. Their creativity might shine through in the form of a sharply designed flyer, a well-written memo, or an innovative solution to the problem at hand. Sometimes people who don't work in a traditionally artistic field are rarely complimented for their creativity—you can change that.

15. "I APPRECIATE YOU TAKING RESPONSIBILITY."

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Do you know someone at work who's taken responsibility—whether for a botched performance, a failed pitch, or a missed deadline—even when they could have gotten away with keeping quiet? That's not easy to do. Recognize their actions, and they may be inclined to do it more often.

16. "YOU'RE SO FLEXIBLE."

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Sure, you can promise your coworker this is the absolute last time you'll ask them to push a meeting back a couple of days or move up a deadline by a week. Or, you can compliment them on being so flexible and thank them for working around the changes so efficiently.

17. "I LOVE YOUR CONFIDENCE."

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Confidence in the workplace is hard to ignore. It radiates from everything a person does, and when you're working on a project with such a person, it can make you feel more confident as well. Let this employee know that you appreciate their poise and self-assuredness.

18. "I APPRECIATE HOW TECH-SAVVY YOU ARE."

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Who do you turn to when your screen freezes, or when the long email you spent the last 15 minutes crafting suddenly disappears? Likely, instead of running to I.T. every time, you ask a nearby coworker who always seems to have the answers. Even if they don't share their know-how for the praise, they deserve a compliment and gratitude.

19. "YOU'RE A GREAT BAKER."

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People who bake for their coworkers are a special breed. By sharing what they made with the office, it means that they not only took the time to cook with you in mind, but also that they're sharing a bit of their personal likes or hobbies with you. What better time to compliment the chef than when they bring platter of fresh cookies to the morning meeting?

20. "I ADMIRE YOUR LEADERSHIP."

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A good leader is many things, including fair, compassionate, and hard-working. But whatever qualities your manager exhibits that make you appreciate working for him or her, find a chance to let them know you commend their leadership, and that you're a better employee because of it.

21. "YOU HAVE A MIND FOR DETAIL."

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Details make a big difference at work, whether you're writing a big report or a thank you email. Sometimes the details that make the biggest impact on a project are hard to notice on their own. See if you can spot the smart, subtle details the next time you're evaluating your coworker's work, and tell them if you're impressed by what you find.

22. "YOU'RE ON MY WAVELENGTH."

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It may not always top lists of most valuable skills to take into the workplace, but empathy can do wonders for office culture. When team members practice empathy and really make an effort to understand the people they work with, they make everyone's job easier. This is one skill that definitely deserves recognition.

23. "THANKS FOR BEING SO RELIABLE."

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No matter what you do for work, it's impossible to do your job entirely on your own. Reliable coworkers you can depend on for support, guidance, and inspiration are a priceless resource. If they make the effort to show up and work hard consistently, the least you can do is show them you appreciate it.

24. "YOU'RE A REAL TEAM PLAYER."

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In order to succeed as a team, your colleagues need to have the right attitude. Maybe there's one person on your team who sets a good example for the rest of you: They know exactly when to step back and listen to other people's ideas and when to come forward with their own. Sometimes being a good team player means swallowing your pride to do what's best for the group, and that's behavior worth celebrating.

25. "YOU GIVE GREAT ADVICE."

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At some point in your career, you've likely relied on a more experienced coworker for advice. Without mentors, many of the world's most successful people wouldn't be where they are today. Never be ashamed to ask for guidance, and once you receive it, make sure to show your gratitude.

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