Speed (1994) Poster



Jump to: Spoilers (8)
Sandra Bullock actually learned to drive a bus for the film, passing her test on her first attempt.
A Fox producer realized they might have a movie hit in their hands when he noticed that, during test screenings, audience members would walk backwards when they needed to go to the bathroom so they would miss as little as possible.
There was an instance where a schoolboy saved the lives of a schoolbus full of kids, when the driver had a heart attack, by climbing on to the driver's lap, jumping on the brake pedal and pulling the bus to the side of the road. When asked later why he did it, he told them that he had seen "that bus movie". At half time during an NFL game, there was a ceremony hailing the boy as a hero.
Script doctor Joss Whedon rewrote the script uncredited. According to Graham Yost, the credited writer of Speed, Whedon wrote most of its dialogue.
Jan de Bont insisted that Keanu Reeves get a sensible haircut as would befit a hard-working cop. 20th Century Fox were horrified when they saw the buzzcut that he adopted for the film, threatening to postpone the film to allow his hair to grow back.
The film literally ran out of money before it was completed. When the film was first previewed for an audience, the subway scenes were animated story boards. The audience loved them so much, the studio came up with the funds to shoot the scenes properly.
For the bus jump sequence, a ramp was built. The bus was started from about 1 mile back and accelerated towards the ramp. When it hit the ramp it had reached a speed of 61 mph. The bus traveled 109 feet and its front wheels reached an altitude of 20 feet from the ground, which was higher than anyone had anticipated. Because of this, the cameras were not placed correctly and the top front part of the bus goes out of the frame when the bus reaches the maximum point of the jump.
Keanu Reeves breaking the glass on the bus door in the beginning of the movie was an accident, however it was left in the final cut.
The scene in which Annie (Sandra Bullock) takes the chewing gum out of her mouth and pretends to put it on her seat in order to have an excuse to change seats and move away from the obnoxious Stephens was improvised by Bullock.
Keanu Reeves did approximately 90% of his own stunts.
Keanu Reeves initially turned down the lead as he found Graham Yost's original script to be too much like a Die Hard (1988) clone. He signed on after Jan de Bont brought in Joss Whedon to retool the script.
The watch Jack was wearing, the Casio G-Shock DW-5600C, had been discontinued when filming commenced. Due to the film's success, the watch was in popular demand and the company started making them again.
The subway train that comes crashing up onto Hollywood Blvd at the ending was actually a bus, decked out to look like a subway train.
Renny Harlin and Quentin Tarantino were offered the chance to direct, but turned it down. Tarantino later named the film as one of his 20 favorite films since 1992.
Glenn Plummer's driver's license was taken away two days before his scene was scheduled to be filmed.
The plane destroyed by the exploding bus has the logo "Pacific Courier Freight" on its side. This same name is on the truck used by the terrorists in Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) - an in joke by production designer Jackson De Govia.
Director Jan de Bont came up with the idea for the opening elevator sequence while working as a cinematographer on Die Hard (1988). While riding in an elevator in the building used as the skyscraper in that film, the elevator got stuck on the 40th floor, and de Bont had to climb out the escape hatch and jump onto another elevator to get out.
The bus jump scene was done twice, as the bus landed too smoothly the first time. The bridge was actually there, but erased digitally.
Jack's registration plate is '646 TEZ'. 'Tez' means speed in Hindi.
The 105 freeway in California had recently been completed, but not opened at the time of production. The filmmakers were given all the time they needed to complete the freeway scenes without the hassle of closing down an operating major freeway.
The bus jump scene was not in the original script, director Jan de Bont came up with the idea one day when he was driving around Los Angeles and noticed one section of the I-105 freeway was missing.
A special bus was used for the bus jump scene. This bus was modified so that it could reach a speed of 70 mph and it was equipped with powerful shock absorbers. The driver seat was moved back 15 feet so that if something went wrong the driver wasn't ejected from the bus. The seat itself was a suspension mechanism between the ceiling and the bus floor to avoid the driver from suffering spinal compression on impact.
Voted one of AFI's Top 100 Heart-Pounding Movies of all time: number 99.
The shot when the bus enters LAX and a plane is seen taking off right behind it, took more than 50 takes.
The film was originally written with the intention that Jeff Bridges would play Jack and Ellen DeGeneres would play Annie. DeGeneres was initially chosen because the role of Annie was going to be a comedic role opposite the serious role of Jack.
When the police were looking at police mugshots, the first photograph was of David MacMillan, who is a sound mixer on the film.
Various actors were offered the role of Jack and reportedly turned it down: George Clooney, Stephen Baldwin, William Baldwin, Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Keaton, Tom Cruise, Jeff Bridges, and Tom Hanks.
In early drafts of the script, the bus was supposed to circle around the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium as opposed to LAX. However, the studio couldn't get the rights to film there.
Filming at the airport took around three weeks. Was made slightly difficult when a plane's engine was being tested and it was extremely noisy.
There is a picture of an ocean wave on the side of the bus, more noticeably when the bus is circling the airport. That photograph was taken by Jan de Bont, for a campaign that was done for the American oceans, "Heal the Bay".
The script was pitched to Paramount Studios, which placed the movie on turnaround and suggested to writer Graham Yost that his script, which called for the movie to end after everyone gets off the bus, had "too much bus" in it, implying audiences would not go for a movie in which a bus is driving around for two hours. Yost then added the subway scenes, and the modified script was presented to Fox Studios, which agreed to film the movie.
For the bus jump sequence, the city of Los Angeles gave permission to shoot on the I-105 freeway during the last month of its construction. This required the filming crew to be constantly on the move, depending on the location of the workers. It also created continuity problems because the appearance of the set kept changing as the construction crews would erect or tear down structures.
John McTiernan turned down the role of director for Speed (1994). Eventually, it was decided that a newcomer should direct and the producers picked Jan de Bont, who had been in charge of cinematography for Die Hard (1988) and The Hunt for Red October (1990), two movies directed by McTiernan.
Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro were considered for the role of Howard Payne.
20th Century Fox were not convinced to begin with that Keanu Reeves had enough star clout to front the film and insisted on a big name actress to star alongside him. Jan de Bont refused. Fox relented to his casting of Sandra Bullock with Reeves only two weeks before shooting began.
The birds flying through the gap in the freeway were digitally added special effects.
Before filming began on the freeway with the gap in it, all the lines and signage had to be put in and taken out on a regular basis before and during filming. Filming took places for around two and a half weeks.
There are 3 different ads on the bus and they are as follows (with their slogans): The Great LA Zoo - "Good Vibrations"; Heal the Bay - "Leave your children something to remember you by"; and Santa Monica Bank - "Money Isn't Everything. (Yeah, Right.)"
The subway scenes were shot aboard the actual Los Angeles' Metro Red Line. They often used the same short stretch of track over & over, but most of the time, that subway tunnel you see is real. The only subway scenes that were faked in the studio were the scenes with Reeves and Hopper fighting on top of the train, and the last final seconds before the crash.
The bus-jumping scene was shot at the junction of the Harbor (110) Freeway and the Century (105) Freeways. The artificial gap in the freeway was created by early CGI.
The bus number is 2525. 25+25=50. The bus has to stay above 50mph.
Filmed on location on LA's 105 freeway before it was opened to the public.
The famous The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) sequence was the filmmakers' wry commentary on the uncompleted state of Interstate 105, which had become a running joke among LA motorists. It was finally (and quite coincidentally) completed in late 1993 shortly before the film's release, years behind schedule.
The scene where the bus smashes into an empty jumbo jet plane being towed across the runway was was actually filmed at the Mojave Airport. According to the DVD Commentary, Jan De Bont says it was "out in the desert, on an old runway".
The police helicopter used by the Captain (or Lieutenant) in the movie, N599DB, spent several years thereafter in operation as C-FCPS, Calgary, Alberta, Canada's police helicopter "HAWC 1". It was retired and sold to a private citizen in late 2006.
Writer Graham Yost named the main character Jack Traven after B. Traven, writer of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
The picture on Harry's desk is that of director Jan de Bont's wife Trish.
When Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) says "Be prepared. That's the Boy Scouts' marching song", he is quoting the opening line to "Be Prepared", a song by Tom Lehrer.
Paramount optioned the script first, in 1992, but did not proceed with it.
The black helicopter used by Mac was a NoTar helicopter. NoTar means the helicopter didn't have a tail rotor.
The plane cost $80,000.
The advert on the back of the bus reads "Money isn't everything. Yeah, right!"
Some of the shots of the subway train as it runs off the rails are of a miniature model.
Michael J. Coo is a key grip on this movie, and is the cop in the second photograph of police mugshots. The name on the file reads Michael Coo.
The ad that appears on the tail of the first bus that explodes says "Save the Clams" was an advertisement for The Bank of Santa Monica.
The number plate of the bus '2525' was California 539724.
Line producer Ian Bryce was driving the towing vehicle, which was towing the large airplane at the airport.
In the screenplay, Howard Payne's name was Howard Fisk.
In the original screenplay, Howard Payne's name was Howard Fisk.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Jack's sidekick, Harry, was originally to be played by Ed Harris and in this version was going to be revealed as the mad bomber. However, when Ed Harris opted out, and Jeff Daniels signed, the producers felt that the audience would not accept the sudden twist in character so Harry was kept as a good guy throughout and the mad bomber written as a separate character.
According to script doctor Joss Whedon, the Alan Ruck character (Stephens) was originally written as an abrasive lawyer, who gets his comeuppance in an unexpected death scene. Whedon re-wrote him as the sympathetic, dull-witted tourist of the final version, but kept the death scene, intending to give it more emotional impact. His character changes were kept, but the death was written out.
A "deleted scene" sees Jack shooting Howard Payne in the neck, just after he'd shot his partner in the leg at the beginning of the film. Later in the film, you can see the oval scar on Payne's neck caused by the deleted shooting.
There was originally a scene called "Officer Baker's failed rescue" in which a bomb squad officer called Baker was going to be lowered onto the bus from a helicopter only to have to pull up when a bridge gets in the way, where he meets an unfortunate end. This scene storyboard can be found on the special edition DVD complete with optional commentary by Director Jan de Bont.
In an earlier script, the bus driver Sam (Hawthorne James) had to be removed from the bus because he had suffered a heart attack and not because he had been shot.
The Los Angeles airport would not allow any explosions to take place to avoid frightening travelers. The explosion scene that takes place when the bus collides with the airplane was filmed in Mojave, California.
At least 12 different buses were used during the shooting of the movie: - 2 buses for exterior shots - 2 buses that were blown up - 2 buses for interior shots - 2 buses for action sequences and "hitting things" - 1 bus for the jump sequence - 1 bus modified so that it could ride on 2 wheels during the sharp right turn sequence - 1 bus slightly raised so that a man in a mechanic car could fit underneath. It was for the sequence in which Jack Traven tries to deactivate the bomb. - 1 bus with an extended platform in front so that a filming crew could shoot the driver from the front. The filming crew referred to this bus as the "pope-mobile".
The name tag on Howard Payne's policeman's uniform reads 'Fisk,' which, in early versions of the script, was the character's name, Rudy Fisk.

See also

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

Contribute to This Page