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Eyewitness (1981) Poster

(1981)

Trivia

The film's original title during shooting was "The Janitor Can't Dance", which is the title that both Peter Yates and Steve Tesich liked, but 20th Century Fox forced them to change the title during post-production, at first to The Janitor (the U.K. title for the film) and finally to Eyewitness, a title Yates to this day still doesn't like.
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Sigourney Weaver's character was based on an infatuation that Steve Tesich had with a Washington, D.C. anchorwoman, in which he recorded her broadcasts and had pictures of her like William Hurt's character had in the film for Weaver. The anchorwoman in question, was brought in by Peter Yates for technical support on the set, to make Weaver's character more believable.
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In order to research his character, William Hurt actually moonlighted as a janitor, before production on the film began, and it would prove vital throughout the film.
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"The Janitor" was the movie's original title. The film's screenwriter Steve Tesich was once an office-building janitor himself.
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After the film's poor box-office showing under the title of "The Janitor" in the UK, its title was changed to "Eyewitness" for further theatrical releases in new territories.
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The basement where Deever (William Hurt) works, and which plays a vital part in the film, was shot on a set built by Production Designer Philip Rosenberg, at Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York City.
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One in a cycle of early 1980s thrillers, with a voyeuristic stalking/peeping tom killer. The movies include The Fan (1981), Eyewitness (1981), Body Double (1984), The Seduction (1982), Visiting Hours (1982), and Eyes of a Stranger (1981).
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The film cast features three Oscar winners: William Hurt, Morgan Freeman, and Christopher Plummer, and two Oscar nominees: Sigourney Weaver and James Woods.
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According to director Peter Yates, the script for the film was a hybrid of two screenplays that Steve Tesich had written and had gotten nowhere with either one. It was Yates who suggested that he combine the two scripts, Tesich originally balked at the idea, but finally gave in and this script was formed. Yates also said Tesich had trouble coming up with unusual plot twists because he cares more about character than plot when he writes.
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A novelization of the film was authored by John Minahan, and published as a book tie-in with the movie in 1981. The novel's dust-jacket cover featured a surreal photo of the likeness of a bespectacled William Hurt against a black background, with his right eye bleeding a large tear of blood. The blurb read: "A Mystery by John Minahan. Based on a screenplay written by Steve Tesich. Now a major movie thriller from 20th Century Fox".
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Second of three movie collaborations of Steve Tesich and Peter Yates. The first had been the Oscar winning Breaking Away (1979), where Tesich had won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, and the third and final film was Eleni (1985).
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William Hurt would go on to lead another film about television media called Broadcast News (1987). Both were produced by 20th Century Fox.
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First of three collaborations for William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. The subsequent films have been Vantage Point (2008) and The Village (2004).
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First of two movies directed by Peter Yates with a legal term title. The films are Eyewitness (1981) and Suspect (1987).
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The climax of the picture takes place in a riding-stable where the horses 'live' upstairs and come and go via a series of ramps: this was clearly filmed at (or on interior-recreations of) the Claremont stables, close to Central Park ,one of the last of its kind in central New York City and which is now sadly extinct.
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The television station featured in the film, was the real-life WNEW-TV, which is now the Fox 5 affiliate in New York City, WNYW.
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The television network that Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver) worked on, as a TV reporter, for the 6 O'clock news, was CBS.
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The film inspired the later 2000 Bollywood comedy-thriller movie Hum To Mohabbat Karega (2000).
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Many personnel of television station WNEW-TV made cameo appearances in the movie.
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