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Bird on a Wire (1990) Poster

Trivia

Mel Gibson's and Goldie Hawn's characters are supposed to be former lovers, who are the same age. In real-life, there is an eleven-year age difference between Hawn (born in 1945) and Gibson (born in 1956).
The baboon seen in the movie was, according to the film's production notes on the DVD, the only male baboon in the world that was trained to work in front of a film camera.
The size of the gigantic zoo set measured 83 feet wide by 350 feet long and was almost six stories high. The DVD production notes state that the movie's massive zoo set was the "largest studio set ever built in Vancouver". It was constructed at the Bridge Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. Production Designer Philip Harrison said that the zoo set was "a once in a lifetime" undertaking.
Producer Rob Cohen has said of this movie: "There have been other films with car chases, helicopters, motorcycle rides through impossibly narrow alleys, rooftop escapes, et cetera. But this picture's specialty was the zoo climax and the difficulty shooting it".
The final negotiating point to convince Mel Gibson to do this film, was the offer of a use of a producer's house for the summer, allowing Gibson to shoot the film, and give his large family an excellent summer vacation home.
The walls of the cages of the zoo set were made of just plaster, so the production had to be especially careful that animals, like the tigers, did not put a foot through any of the plaster-set walls.
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The movie's star teaming of Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn marketed them as "Mel and Goldie" in a similar way that the promotion of the earlier Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn movie Best Friends (1982) had promoted them as "Burt and Goldie".
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Two watering crews were employed to water all the plants in the rainforest on a full-time basis, right throughout the zoo shoot.
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Director John Badham has said of working with wild animals on this movie: "No animals are easy to direct. They don't read the script. It's kind of like controlled chaos - you have to be really ready to catch something exciting that may happen, and you have to be ready to deal with things that are dangerous, because these are wild animals, and they will hurt you."
There were two major bridges which spanned the rain-forest central sixty foot crevasse. Both of them were more than three stories high. The main suspension bridge had to be engineered and reinforced, to be able to withstand crew and equipment weighing 1,200 pounds.
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Three kinds of sand were brought in for the movie's enormous zoo set. This included sixteen truckloads that were transported from Oregon. The three sand types were mixed together, and then sifted three times, so as to filter out and remove any glass particles that could possibly hurt any of the big cat's paws. The mixed sand was used to put on the concrete floors of the animal cages, which were cushioned with four inches of the sand, so as to protect the big cat's paws.
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The movie debuted at the number one spot at the U.S. box-office in 1990, and went on to gross over 138.6 million dollars worldwide.
Animals in the zoo sequence included a lion, one baboon, an iguana, a seven foot monitor lizard, a twelve foot python, three jaguars, four alligators, six tigers, six chimpanzees, and twenty-five kinds of parrots.
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End credits scroll down instead of up.
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Wes Tritter, who played Scottie, improvised his leap over the sandwich board.
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The name of the man who runs the hotel, into which Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn check, following the helicopter chase, is Norman, as in Norman Bates in Psycho (1960).
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Though he has since acted in other major movies, and though he had directed for television, Bird on a Wire (1990) was the last big cinema movie that Bill Duke appeared in as an actor, before he directed his first movie, which was A Rage in Harlem (1991).
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When Joe Weyburn (Stephen Tobolowsky) goes to check on Ricks last places of employment, you get a brief glimpse of the name David Puttnam and Columbia pictures. A reference to Puttnam's brief, and turbulent, time as head of Columbia pictures in the '80s.
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The movie is "set in numerous U.S. locations, but shot almost entirely in British Columbia." according to show-business trade paper 'Variety'.
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John Badham's first feature film in three years. Badham's previous movie had been Stakeout (1987).
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There were three waterfalls constructed in the rain-forest set, with the largest of them being about three stories high. This waterfall, and its two companion waterfalls, according to the film's production notes, were the first ever built on a soundstage in Canada.
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The name of the yacht was "Mister Wiggly".
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In the first car chase scene, all of the roads are almost completely wet (on a perfectly fine, clear, hot day), allowing the cars to drift and spin out easier - which is a common technique utilized by stunt crews in movies.
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In the mall scene, when Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn are walking to the stairs, the provincial flag for Saskatchewan can be seen, and as they start walking down the stairs, the provincial flags for Ontario, British Colombia, and Prince Edward Island can be seen behind them.
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Goldie Hawn did most of her own stunts for the film, after being convinced by Mel Gibson to do so. She was originally reluctant to perform them, fearing the harsh and overwhelming nature of the tasks. She was eventually so pleased with her stunt performances, that she kept her stunt man's jacket after filming resumed, and as of 2017, still exhibits it next to her Oscar statuette.
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This was the only movie, in which Goldie Hawn appeared, during 1990, but in the same year, Hawn had an Executive Producer credit in My Blue Heaven (1990).
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The movie was filmed during April, May, June, and July 1989.
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Huge over-scale leaves were manufactured for the background of the zoo set, with real plants planted in the foreground for the closer shots.
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The name of the zoo seen at the end of the picture was the "Woodlands Park Zoo". The name of the new attraction there was the "Amazon Rainforest - African Savannah".
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The movie's title logo formed a gun-sight with a silhouetted bird out of the letter "O" in the word "on" of the film's title.
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Rick Jarmin's (Mel Gibson's) year of birth is given on a computer screen as being 1954. In real-life, Gibson was born in 1956.
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The make and model of the crop dusting plane was a Piper J-3C-65 Cub light aircraft, while the make and model of the black chopper that chased it, was a Hughes 369D helicopter. Both aircraft are seen flying upside down, and even doing a 360 degree loop, something which had also been seen in John Badham's earlier movie Blue Thunder (1983).
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Animal Stunt Coordinator Monty Cox brought with him, for the movie, his own personally owned two male tigers, and scouted Canada to find other big cats for the picture.
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An animal casting call was conducting for the movie's extensive zoo sequence finale. This included finding an iguana, a twelve foot python, and twenty-five kinds of parrots.
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Show-business trade paper 'Variety' called this picture a 1990s version of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934).
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One of three 1990 movies starring Mel Gibson which were first released in that year. The other pictures were Hamlet (1990) and Air America (1990). Bird on a Wire (1990) though was shot in mid-1989, but did not debut in theaters until 1990.
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Debut feature film of actor Christopher Judge.
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Last movie to regularly use the 1963 Universal logo (some later movies, such as Inglorious Basterds, used it for a "retro" feel).
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The nickname of Richard Jarmin (Mel Gibson was "Rick", while his nickname for Marianne Graves (Goldie Hawn) was "Muffy".
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Mel Gibson sports a ponytail in this movie. In some of the flashback sequences, Gibson is seen sporting a long thick 70s era style mustache.
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On a computer screen, seen in the movie, an alias for criminal Richard Jarmin (Mel Gibson) read "David Putnam, Columbia Pictures".
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The name of the hairdresser's salon was "Raun of Racine Hair Styling", while the cropdusting company name on the plane was "Hauman's Speed Kill Cropdusting Services". Both "Raun" and "Hauman" had similar sounding names.
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Star billing: Mel Gibson (first), Goldie Hawn (second), David Carradine (third) and Bill Duke (fourth).
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French visa # 74232.
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Finnish censorship visa # 96767 delivered on 2-7-1990.
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Finnish censorship certificate # 96767 delivered on 2-7-1990.
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Clyde Kusatsu, who plays Mr. Takawaki has worked with Rob Cohen on another movie - Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993).
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