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The Pelican Brief (1993) Poster

Trivia

John Grisham wrote the part of Darby Shaw with Julia Roberts in mind. Roberts read the book once it was finished and agreed to the role without even seeing a script.
Jump to: Spoilers (1)
Filmed in sequence.
In class, Darby and Callahan discuss the Bowers v. Hardwick case. This was a real Supreme Court case that ultimately vindicated a state's right to make homosexual activity illegal. Darby passionately argues that the Supreme Court was wrong. Ten years after this film was released, the case was reversed in Lawrence (& Garner) v. Texas, which found such laws to be Unconstitutional.
The two main stars, Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington , do not appear on screen together until an hour and 8 minutes into the movie.
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The Region 1 and Region 4 DVD release was a flip sided disc that contained the movie split into two parts. You had to eject the disc and turn it over to continue watching. When the Blu-ray disc was released on February 10th, 2009 it was the first time since its VHS release that somebody could watch the movie straight through without stopping it.
For the scenes inside the White House, the sets created for Dave (1993) were used.
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Paul Rudd named his daughter after Julia Roberts character Darby.
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To research his role as reporter Gray Grantham, Denzel Washington spent time with Washington Post editors and reporters.
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The rights to "The Pelican Brief" were bought before the book was even written, John Grisham had written a sample from the book and the rights were bought on the spot.
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F. Denton Voyles is the FBI Director in most of John Grisham's books, when the FBI plays a part.
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The President questions Cole's idea of addressing the nation while wearing a cardigan sweater; this is based on a real-life incident in which then-president Jimmy Carter addressed the nation in a cardigan during the height of the fuel shortages in the 1970s.
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Although the Tulane Law School has moved to a new building since this film was released, the room where Julia Roberts and Sam Shepard meet for class early in the move is still a classroom: Jones Hall Rm. 102.
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FBI Director Denton Voyles also appeared in the John Grisham adaptation The Firm (1993), in which he was played by Steven Hill.
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Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington) and Smith Keen (John Lithgow) secretly meet at the home of George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon, VA. Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, NY.
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There were scenes filmed for the movie that showed Verheek in DC showing his colleagues 'The Pelican Brief'. These were cut from the final film but a brief glimpse of them is still visible in the theatrical trailer.
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Not only were the Georgetown Law library scenes filmed on location in the main reading room and one of the study rooms on the third floor of the school's library, the scenes at the Registrar's Office and the Career Services Office, and of Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts talking in an open area outside of those offices, are all shot in the main building of the Law Center (McDonough Hall). You can see actual Georgetown Law security officers as extras in the background of the McDonough scenes.
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One of three movies that features Julia Roberts and Sam Shepard on the same cast. The other two movies are Steel Magnolias (1989) and August: Osage County (2013).
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According to director Alan J. Pakula, he made a prank on the set involving the then couple Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett. Roberts was filming a scene where she is supposed to talk on the phone with the character played by John Heard. Pakula sent Heard's lines to Lovett (who was busy with his tour and away from where the film was being made) allowing him to speak to his wife. Roberts played the scene normally though she didn't recognized the voice over the phone and it was only after Pakula yelled "Cut!" that she knew it was Lovett who was acting with her.
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Denzel Washington's character, Grantham Gray, is in fact a white guy in the novel.
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The production "inherited" its set of Panavision E-Series anamorphic lenses from Natural Born Killers (1994), after that film's director, Oliver Stone, decided to shoot in standard 1.85:1 instead.
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Denzel Washington and John Lithgow starred in Ricochet.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Victor Mattiece, the main villain, never appears in the film.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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