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Striking Distance (1993) Poster

Trivia

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Originally, the lead role was to be played by Ed Harris. It was then rewritten for Robert De Niro and, finally, Bruce Willis.
On an appearance in May 2004 on On the Record with Bob Costas (2001), Bruce Willis apologized to the movie-going public for this film, saying that "it sucked".
The movie was filmed in 13 weeks in summer of 1992 in Pittsburgh, its working title was "Three Rivers" and was scheduled to be released on May 21st of 1993. But after original cut was shown to test audience who hated it, extensive re-shooting was done in Los Angeles and story changes and removal of some plot parts were done to try and and make the movie better. Because of this, release date was pushed from May to September 17th. According to articles and reports at the time, reasons for why test audience hated the initial cut of the film were confusing parts of the story which were added into the director Rowdy Herrington's and Marty Kaplan's original script by main actor Bruce Willis. One source mentioned how original cut was like "Hudson Hawk without the laughs."

One of the veteran production members said that Willis "called the shots like he did on (Hudson) Hawk and like he used to do on Moonlighting. He had scenes rewritten. He did what he wanted to do. We were working with Orson Willis."

When news about re-shoots were reported, Columbia chairman Mark Canton went and said in interview that he "couldn't be more enthusiastic" about the film and how he predicted it's going to be a "beyond-sizable hit." But in order to do so, movie had to make $30 million-plus profit at box office. Canton was also known for being heavily involved in several other films in earlier years which were known for having very troubled productions and receiving bad receptions from audience during test screenings, some of them include Wes Craven's sci-fi horror Deadly Friend (1986), one of Bruce Willis's earlier box office flops The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), and John McTiernan's Last Action Hero (1993). Just like he did with Striking Distance, Canton also kept the news and rumors about problems on set of those films and bad response from test audience from the public and demanded heavy changes to be done on the films which only ended up hurting the films and studios more.

In Striking Distance case for example, all the love/intimate scenes between Hardy and Jo were re-shot to make them more sexier. Several dialogue scenes, like the scene in the bar between Willis and Sizemore, were also cut to make the film quicker paced. The change in tone of the film also made Columbia change the title from "Three Rivers" to "Striking Distance", as it now focused more on the action/thriller elements. Although it was his interference in the script and huge ego during filming that were the cause of problems with the production and the original cut, Bruce Willis was still very angry because he had to return for re-shoots, so much so that he blamed Herrington for it, despite the fact that Herrington still defended Willis in the interviews regarding the problems with the film. According to cast and crew, Willis treated Herrington very badly during both initial filming and re-shoots.

Striking Distance ended up being box office flop, earning only $24 million dollars on the budget of $30 million.
The Pittsburgh Police badges are plastic resin casts of actual PPD badges. The props crew was given 4 badges to use, and thus all of the badges are one of only 4 numbers. This was done with the agreement that all casts and molds had to be returned to PPD so they could be destroyed once filming was complete.
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Incidentally Ed Harris and Robert De Niro - each to be originally cast before Bruce Willis - co-starred in Jacknife (1989).
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The shotgun Hardy uses to take control of the barge is a Mossberg 500 Marine.
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One of the many troubled projects during the time Sony Pictures was run by Jon Peters and Peter Guber, it took a huge amount of resources to merely break even.
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Bruce Willis and Brion James were both in The Player (1992), but never in the same scene. Willis had less screen time than James too.
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Following the negative test screening, re-shoots and re-edits to make the film focus more on action, new ending was also filmed because test audience hated the original.
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Theatrical trailer shows lot of deleted, extended and alternate scenes, probably ones which were decided to be cut or changed after bad test screening of the original cut. There are also lot of promotional stills which show several other deleted scenes, like Tom and Jo pulling some man out of the water while group of people watches them or deleted part from the ending showing Tom kneeling over Nick's body.
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This film takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Incidentally this is also director Rowdy Herrington's place of birth.
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In the scene where Tom Hardy (Bruce Willis) - a cop who is fond of alcohol - enters the police station and searches in a drawer for some information - which he also pockets - on the Polish Hill strangler, then as Hardy is leaving he is encountered by Det. Eddie Eiler (Brion James). Eiler snidely remarks, "Hardy, what are you doing here? All the bars closed?" Hardy replies, "Just seeing some old friends Eddie". "You don't have any old friends". "And who better to know that than you huh scumbag?" quips Hardy. Eiler sees the not fully closed drawer that Hardy has been at. "Old friends yeah right. Motherfucker. Nick, he's been in the Polish Hill files". Thus Nick Detillo (Dennis Farina) follows Hardy (his nephew) out of the building and the scene in the police station ends.
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Bruce Willis - who was cast after Ed Harris and Robert De Niro were originally intended for the lead role - has co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction (1994), Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) and Unbreakable (2000). Like Willis, De Niro co-starred with Jackson in Goodfellas (1990) and Jackie Brown (1997), while Harris co-starred with Jackson in Cleaner (2007).
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Co-star Robert Pastorelli accidentally blurted out the big plot twist during an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman (1982) long before the film was released.
In the final underwater fight scene, a crew member's flipper is clearly visible for a couple seconds behind Jimmy to the right.
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